You might be thinking, "Do we really need another Mexican food place in the Mission?," and to that I’d answer, "YES!"
Aside from a spruced up menu from typical Mission District taquerias, like tasty fried sweet plantains, grilled squid Veracruz, and deliciously spicy albondigas en chipotle (pork and beef meatballs), Tacolicious II has what every Mexican food joint should have, margaritas!
Lines have formed daily for years at Puerto Alegre just down Valencia Street, and I’ve got to think it’s because that is one of the only places in the Mission serving Mexican food with the benefit of a full liquor license. It certainly isn’t the “incredibly average” cuisine, as one friend recently called it.
So with the recent flooding of new restaurants to the Valencia Corridor comes Tacolicious II, or T-lish, as they sometimes call it, on Valencia Street between 18th and 19th, a somewhat more up-scale taco stand than we are accustomed to.
The restaurant opened up a few times around Thanksgiving weekend to test things out, and is officially open for their first full day of business Tuesday, from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, their scheduled hours seven days a week.
I celebrated a friend's 40th birthday there on Saturday night and it was packed, but worth the wait. Days later, I can't stop thinking about the nopal prickly pear margarita, or sampling a few more of their selection of tasty tacos like: butternut squash, fried local rock cod, shot-and-a-beer braised chicken, traditional carnitas, and braised beef short rib to name a few Executive Chef Telmo Faria whips up for $4/each, 4/$13 or 10/$31.
Excited about the new digs, Saturday night Faria said, “A lot of my favorite restaurants are in the Mission. To actually do our concept in a space between 16th and 21st Streets is nuts, there is so much going on.”
What got me even more excited was seeing the desert options, including churros con chocolate, flan and the Chocolicious Taco, which, sadly, had sold out for the night by the time I ordered it.
In addition to being a great spot for some tacos and margaritas, Tacolicious II also has an outdoor serving area with heat lamps and a beautiful mural of the view of the city from Dolores Park, a local favorite. They also have a private room in the back that can accommodate 50 to 75 people, and a small bar out front with a TV for viewing the game of the day or night beside the cool open kitchen.
Now here’s the kicker, next to Tacolicious II, with a connecting open doorway, is Mosto, an incredible tequila bar with a small food menu consisting of 4505 chicharones, tamale, fish of the day and two taco choices: nopal (cactus) and al pastor. The bar is open in the evenings until midnight serving your choice of 325 different tequilas with a great display case of many of the cooler bottles. The ceiling of mason jars is a nice touch.
To my surprise, the restaurant and the bar don’t offer the same things, totally setting them apart from one another, despite their geographical connectedness.
There are a lot of new restaurants to check out in the Mission District these days, but I can already tell Tacolicious II is going to be taking a lot of my time away from the others. Easily the best place to get a taco and margarita in the city.