20 cheap eats for under $20 in San Francisco
Image 40 of 41
20. Chilango( Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )
Chilango's goal, said the waitress, is to serve food that reminds diners of home.
"If that's the goal," I thought to myself, "I shouldn't be here."
Happily, Chilango's fare doesn't even faintly resemble my home cooking. It's Mexican food with a San Francisco pedigree, which means it uses ingredients such as free-range and grass-fed meats, made-to-order tortillas and organic vegetables.
An open kitchen dominates the space in this Castro neighborhood cafe; images of Frida Kahlo stare out from beneath glass mosaics on the tables, black-and-white photos decorate the walls.
The word chilango, the server said, describes someone from Mexico City. It also describes the style of the food here: rustic Mexican, the kind of dishes that would be served in the Mexican capital. I can't vouch for the authenticity of the food I sampled, but the chips and chunky guacamole ($7) and the citrus-marinated ceviche del pescado ($10 lunch, $12 dinner) were outstanding.