When the Marina’s gourmet Mexican hotspot decided to open a second outpost in the Mission last year, eyebrows were raised. How would a house of high-end tacos fare in a neighborhood overflowing with cheaper alternatives? With resounding success, of course.
Tacolicious (741 Valencia Street) takes the highest-quality, house-made ingredients and ups the ante with inventive ensembles and a modern approach. The menu is tweaked with the seasons and highlighted by several standouts that appear exclusively at this location. Right now you can sink your teeth into their very own take on a Mexican Pizza, inspired by none other than Taco Bell. If you think that this popular fast food chain provides poor inspiration for a gourmet dish, you have no idea how far the chefs here have expanded the boundaries of this addictive appetizer. Based atop a crust of chorizo and refried beans–stuffed between two crispy-fried flour tortillas–this monumental munchie is topped with an abundant layer of gooey and tangy Oaxacan cheese, fresh-sliced jalapenos, and heaping chunks of tomato bulging out beyond a sea of house-made salsa ranchera. Una Pizza Mexicana is as much of a textural thrill as anything else, providing you with both a pastry-like crunch and a warm, chewy finish. It’s large enough to be cut into slices and enjoyed with friends and family.
And speaking of family, Tacolicious opens for weekend brunch at 11:30AM making it a prime spot to bring la madre this Sunday. In addition to a sunny, mural-lined patio, their Valencia location has something else Mom will appreciate: lighter fare. The Albacore Tuna Tostadas, for example, are packed with the subtle flavors of the sea, plated perfectly with the deep pinks of the fish contrasting against the vibrant green slices of avocado and golden-brown crisped leeks speckled atop. Wash these delicate bites down with a tequila shot from their extensive list of aged Mexican spirits, or take a break from the hot Mission sun with an ice-cold tallboy of Tecate, with lime and salt.
Tacolicious’ modern approach to familiar cuisine contributes greatly to its surrounding culinary landscape–mostly in the way of full bellies. That’s the only measure of success that matters when making Mexican in the Mission.