La Taquería is the most well-known Mexican food spot in the Mission, and for good reason. This restaurant is almost always packed, as people can’t deny their authentic, filling, cheap Mexican food. La Taquería is cash-only and they close at 9 p.m., so while this isn’t the spot for post-happy hour tacos, it’s still a delicious way to fill up on the cheap!
La Oaxaqueña (pronounced ‘Lah Wa-hah-ken-yah’) is another popular Mission spot for traditional Mexican food. They have the same delicious meat options for all of their entrées, but they go above and beyond with their specialty options. Reviews rave about the Jumbo Grasshopper (Chapulines) Tacos, and yes, they’re made with real grasshoppers. Try their venison torta sandwiches and jumbo ostrich tacos. This location is open until 2 a.m., so if you want to explore Oaxacan cuisine after hitting the bar scene, be sure to check La Oaxaqueña.
This hip and stylish Mexican restaurant has three locations around the city, but it first opened in the Marina. After becoming known for some of their Mexican-inspired dishes such as the Marina Girl salad, Tacolicious blends tradition with San Francisco-chic. They have a full bar with a variety of beers and tequilas, and stay open until midnight, so this restaurant serves as a great local hang-out spot. Chic does come at a cost, however, so be prepared to pay a touch more for your meal here than at a more traditional taquería.
Rouge | Nick’s Crispy Tacos
This Russian Hill Mexican restaurant is a popular location for a variety of reasons. Nick’s is an all-ages restaurant that caters to everyone. Also, at night, Nick’s turns into Rouge, a full-serve bar known for hosting private events. If you’re looking for a place to host your mixer (that also serves delicious and cheap tacos) give Rouge | Nick’s a call.
Check out Chino’s Taquería in Outer Richmond. Located on the commercial stretch of Balboa Street, this small taquería offers cheap Mexican food to residential San Franciscans near Ocean Beach. Chino’s has large burritos, a communal seating area, and a utilitarian ambiance perfect for a lazy afternoon in the city. The restaurant is cash-only, so be sure to stop by an ATM before your meal.