20 courses 🍽. All the wine🍾. 80’s soundtrack 🎶. People I Love ❤️. A wonderful night celebrating another trip around the sun ☀️.

Californios SF is a 20 tasting course contemporary Mexican culinary gem, family owned and operated by chef Val M. Cantu. Californios is the term for Mexican settlers in California, and after 2 years as a buzz-worthy culinary pop up experience, Cantu opened Californios in 2015 in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Accolades aside (the first Mexican restaurant to receive 2 Michelin stars, anointed as one of the rare 4 star restaurants by SF Chronicle Food Editor Michael Bauer), the service and knowledge transcends the expected Michelin experience – the entire Californios family (from servers to chefs) warmly welcome each guest into their tucked away culinary haven, and proudly present every plate with short and sweet origin stories to keep the Mexican culture and history fiercely tethered to this remarkable experience.

Gorgeous and cool decor (the menu – seen on the table – is rad on its own), cozy vibe, and bright, luxuriously layered food with a perfect wine pairing for every course, it made my birthday feel like a dream.

The best and brightest Californios SF dishes of our Michelin 2 Star, 20 course tasting menu:

Ostiones Divorciados – Tomales Bay Kumamoto Oysters 2 Ways

Chicharron – Black Barley crisps with smoked goat cheese

Yuca – Santa Barbara Uni / Sea Urchin Tacos with Avocado and Pine Nuts

Esquites – Sweet Corn and Lobster Soup

Tres Frijoles – Golden Oestra Caviar Topped Layered Beans

Barbacoa– a5 Wagyu Beef with Smoked Pineapple

Mango Granita – Mango with chocolate mint

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