Rápido y Delicioso
The knock on Mexican food in American restaurants is that every dish tastes the same. Tostados, burritos, tacos — the texture is different, but your taste buds will strain to tell one from the other.
That’s not the case at Papito Hayes, a small, skinny place in the culinary free-fire zone of Hayes Valley, close to the opera, ballet and symphony. Each dish here tastes distinctly different which may be the beneficial effect of a French chef-co-owner designing Mexican meals.
Ingredients are seasonal, local and organic — that’s become the norm in San Francisco, though not yet in many Mexican restaurants.
The sangria is moreish, the portions are generous, the price is reasonable. Service ranges from fast-but-pleasant to the Whatever Shrug.
Let’s run through those tastes…
Homemade guacamole: fresh, bold, a bit oniony. Beet salad: pomegranate, jicama, cantaloupe add distinctive flavors. Ceviche Papito: Best in San Francisco—roasted pineapple lifts it above the others. Tacos: Each one distinctly different from the others. Don’t miss the shrimp tempura taco. Arroz con leche: rice pudding made zesty with fruit.
425A Hayes Street (near Gough) 415.554.0541; Monday-Friday 11:30am-10pm. Saturday & Sunday 11am-10pm; http://www.papitohayessf.com