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Papito Hayes

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

 

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