San Francisco is NOT one of those cities where you have restaurants that are extremely popular and you can’t figure out why. For example, in Vancouver, outside Stephos on Davie Street, there is always a huge line up. I could never figure out why because the staff were extremely rude, the food terrible, and they’ve been cited on occasion for health concerns. I ate here once… and never went back.
In SF you look for restaurants with lots of people because that’s an indication that the food is good. SFers are very particular (and vocal) about the quality of what they eat.
Tropisueño (75 Yerba Buena Ln) is a good example of this. This restaurant is always busy, bustling, and loud. My first attempt to get into Tropisueño was thwarted by a long line up and an hour-long wait. I have concerns about walking around the city after a certain time and opted to come back another evening. I had much better luck on my second attempt and was seated right away.
Every meal starts with a large basket of homemade chips and a variety of warm and cold salsas… all extremely tasty. To this, I added the Caldo de Mariscos, which comes with black beans and brown rice. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful the soup tasted. It had exactly the right level of spiciness.
I have a feeling that this restaurant will end up on one of the “best of” posts in the future.