San Francisco Mission district food tour

San Francisco Mission district food tour


San Francisco Mission district food tour

San Francisco Mission district food tour



We are told to meet at the corner of 14th and Mission street across from the armory (A large brick building that looks like a prison and was a real armory and sporting venue built-in the early 20th century) waiting for our Mission street food tour to begin.  Right on time our tour guide, Michael approaches and we wait a few more minutes to collect the last stragglers before we begin the tour. This is going to be a really fun San Francisco Mission district food tour eating our way through local purveyors, cafes and specialty food vendors in this hip area of the city.


Eating our way around the Mission district

We start by walking a whole block to our first stop at 4505 Meats on 1909 Mission street.  A local butcher and meat purveyor, 4505 Meats sell a variety of fresh meat cuts, sausages and charcuterie to the public. We start off sampling some yummy hot dogs with bacon bits – they are so moist and flavorful dressed up in a bit of Dijon spread. Right afterwards, they take out some fresh made pork rinds –  they just melt in your mouth after the first crunchy bite. Scary, I almost ate a whole bag to myself, they are that good!



4505 Meats on Mission Street, San Francisco

4505 Meats on Mission Street, San Francisco



 Who wants to try the bacon studded hot dog – delish!

Tasty hot dogs like the bacon studded dog at 4505 Meats on Mission

Tasty hot dogs like the bacon studded dog at 4505 Meats on Mission


We are off to a great start and take a quick walk around the Mission to the trendy areas around Valencia and 16th, a hot spot of restaurants and shops attracting an uber hipster and youngish crowd. We duck into Picaro restaurant at 3129 16th Street, a popular  mainstay on 16th street, offering Spanish tapas style dishes and refreshing sangria. We get to sample garlicky aioli spread, pan-fried artichokes, some spicy roasted potatoes, garlic shrimp and a vegetable/mushroom medley and wash it all down with delicious sangria. ( I’m trying hard to pace myself since we are only at our 2nd stop, but the tapas are quite tasty)


Tapas and delicious sangria at Picaro – a winning combination



Tapas and Sangria at Picaro restaurant on 16th street

Tapas and Sangria at Picaro restaurant on 16th street






Large burritos at La Cumbre, Mission District

Large burritos at La Cumbre, Mission District


Following the latin theme, we walk less than a block away to La Cumbre at 515 Valencia Street. Another local institution on the Mission and this is a traditional Mexican eatery whose claim to fame is starting the Mission street take-out burritos with  the owners making larger style burritos wrappers to hold more rice and other ingredients, wrapped in aluminum foil for take out or eating on the premises. The owners take pride in sourcing food products from farms and quality distributors – and it makes a big difference to the taste. I order just one carnitas taco with fresh guacamole – OMG the meat is so tender and yummy. I eat the whole thing despite being full at this point. (Most of the group ordered burritos and ended up taking them to go after a few bites)



Chile Lindo in the Mission district of San Francisco

Chile Lindo in the Mission district of San Francisco



I’m practically rolling down the street before we hit our next stop only few blocks away, Chile Lindo at 2944 16th street. A very colorful and small hole in the wall spot with only 4 -5 outdoor stools or take-out, they only make five types of traditional Chilean empanadas ranging from chicken, beef, vegan to a rotating specialty. Even with a limited menu, the empanadas where flying out the door as fast as they can make it. We were also able to sample some Alfahor, a dessert made with caramel, coconut kneaded dough, it’s totally yummy. Local restaurateur and political activist Paula Tejada runs a very tight and small footprint in the Mission street food scene and her small shop is a must visit spot to enjoy her traditional empanadas.



Cool places to visit in San Francisco including Clarion Alley

Cool places to visit in San Francisco including Clarion Alley


Checking out the cool street art at Clarion Alley


Along the way to our next food stop, we take a break and wander through Clarion Alley.  It’s a popular spot for local artists to create graffiti and street art on all the walls, doors and buildings in the entire alleyway. The artwork changes constantly so it’s fun to come back and visit to see what is new.  I created a photo tour of Clarion Alley in an earlier post that you can see here.



Southpaw on Mission street - southern style BBQ

Southpaw on Mission street – southern style BBQ



Brisket and BBQ yummies at Southpaw on Mission

Brisket and BBQ yummies at Southpaw on Mission



Just outside Clarion Alley is our next stop on Mission street at Southpaw BBQ  on 2170 Mission street. The restaurant serves southern style barbecue meats along with local Southern favorite sides like creamy grits, deep-fried pickles, macaroni and cheese along with locally crafted beers made on the premises. We get to sample some of the craft beers on tap along with yummy appetizers and entrees off their menu. It was fun to try the different regional flavors of BBQ sauce in the Miller Lite containers with squirt bottles. My personal favorite BBQ sauce ends up being the sweet and thick Texas style sauce.


Dandelion chocolates and goodies on Valencia

Dandelion chocolates and goodies on Valencia


Two dessert spots were included in the tour starting off with a visit to a chocolate makers Dandelion chocolate on 740 Valencia street. We sampled a variety of chocolate nibs in different percentages of cacao. They also create hand-made  marshmallows. The marshmallow sample paired with chocolate nibs were the perfect pairing after all the heavy BBQ dishes and beer. I really loved the natural space and open air environment of this shop.


Bi - Rite Ice Creamery on 18th street

Bi – Rite Ice Creamery on 18th street


To cap off our last stop, we head out to the Bi Rite Ice Creamery at 3692 18th street. We make it to the end of the line which was packed and almost a block long.  But instead of waiting, we all opt for the shorter soft served ice cream which was equally yummy trying every soft serve samples. I end up settling for a nice cone of salted caramel ice cream and it is out of this world yummy, a perfect ending to  this foodie extravaganza.

Here are more photo highlights of the area:


Stunning street art at the Women's building in the Mission district

Stunning street art at the Women’s building in the Mission district


 Cool street art in the Mission District

Entire buildings of painted street art facades

Entire buildings of painted street art facades


 Exploring trendy shops and galleries on Valencia street

Trendy shopping and galleries on Valencia Street

Trendy shopping and galleries on Valencia Street



Hanging out with fellow bloggers Kristi Trimmer with Dragonfly Running and Stephanie Quilao with Vibrantly.


Photo op with fellow travel writers at Southpaw on Mission

Photo op with fellow travel writers at Southpaw on Mission


You will definitely walk away from this tour completely full with all the food that you will be sampling (or gorging ). If you do take this tour go hungry because you will be fed a lot of food and get your moneys worth.


More details to the Mission street food tour

The tour is a relatively easy and flat walking tour covering around 10 or so blocks of the Mission district neighborhood, wear comfortable shoes.

Walking tours last between two – two 1/2 hours depending on walking and waiting time at establishments.

Drinks are also included in most of the venues on the tour.

For more information on this tour or others through Explore San Francisco, visit their website here. Thank you for visiting and reading about the San Francisco Mission district food tour, if you enjoyed it please share it with any of the social media buttons on the post.



If you enjoyed this post, please do check out these San Francisco posts

San Francisco views from above

Cool graffiti at Clarion Alley

Exploring North Beach and the Greenwich steps

Filbert Steps from Coit tower

20 quirky and fun places to explore in San Francisco

Best views to photograph in San Francisco

Places to eat in San Francisco

Cool stairs of San Francisco

Fun and unusual activities in San Francisco


Also, thank you to Explore San Francisco for hosting me, all opinions and thoughts are my own and I had a fantastic time on the tour and recommend taking their food tours.


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25 Responses to San Francisco Mission district food tour

  1. Michael Moran/ Explore SF November 16, 2014 at 12:57 am #


    Better late than never. Thank you for the great shots, kind words, and for being such a great guest on our Explore SF: Mission District Food Tour. Please come again and take another of our food tours!


    Explore SF

  2. Alexandra C. August 21, 2014 at 3:04 am #

    This looks incredible! My husband are hoping to visit San Francisco and our Brazilian friends that live there sometime soon. This is such a good list. 🙂 Thank you! -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  3. Laura August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    San Francisco is probably the perfect place for a food tour. And I will definitely be needing that Nutella stuffed cookie from the chocolate shop. Yum!

  4. Tara Lepore and Jessi Honard August 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Oh my gosh. This post made us so hungry! Thanks for the inspiration to head back to San Fran 🙂

  5. Heather August 18, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    Wow, now this is a food tour! I’d have been rolling down the street right next to you – it all sounds so good!

  6. Lauren August 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Sounds like you had an amazing time and I would love to try those Chilean vegan empanadas….mmmmmm! Lots of great pics here too! Thank you so much for linking up with #WeekendWanderlust!

  7. Carmen (CarmensTravelTips) August 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    I just visited the Mission District recently. Apart, for all the great food and restaurants in the area, what I was mostly drawn too was the street art on the buildings. Thanks for linking up to the #Weekendwanderlst this week.

  8. Sabina August 16, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    This looks amazing! A bacon studded hot dog? OK FINE, if you insist I’ll have one… or twenty.

  9. Kate O'Malley August 16, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    What beautiful images. I have always wanted to go to San Francisco. Your images (and all that beautiful food!) really inspires me. Love you blog! 🙂

  10. anna parker August 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    what a great way to see a city, but also to know what is good – i bet that no one would find these places without the food tour, and now you know all the local haunts! Good job it was a walking tour, that was a lot of eating!

  11. Jackie August 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Wow I hope you got over the gorging Noel, cos as gorgeous as the food looks it was a Lot of Food 🙂 But hey if you know beforehand it’s possible to prepare yourself for this great gorge. I adore the painted street art facades, fantastic, and everything that you have portrayed here about San Francisco. As for the food, let’s just say that my mouth is watering even though it’s only 9.15am 🙂 Super photos as always.

  12. Chris Boothman August 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Looks like a great food tour Noel and I have to admit I was sold as soon as I saw the BBQ brisket followed by the ice cream!

  13. Paula Tejeda August 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you Noel for your great mention of Chile Lindo!!

    Paula Tejeda
    Chile Lindo

  14. Tanaya August 15, 2014 at 8:06 am #

    Wow, it all looks so good! The BBQ, the chocolates, the gorgeous murals! I miss S.F. and would love to follow your steps on this food tour next time I’m up north. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Rhonda Albom August 15, 2014 at 3:17 am #

    I love the mission district graffiti, but it was the Mexican food photo that I was most interested in. I do miss the Mexican food in California.

  16. Marilyn Armstrong August 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    I hope you don’t mind my asking but who hosts your site or are you self-hosting? I’m becoming less and less happy with WordPress. I’m looking at sites I like to find out who hosts them … I hope I don’t have to move, but I may not have a choice. I hate the idea of moving, though.

    • Noel August 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

      It’s a self hosted WP site and I have it on a Go Daddy account which I’m happy with. I have a easy to specialize template called Canvass

  17. Miriam August 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Very good pictures, luv the street art,an improvent since I lived ther in 1965! Close up of the food is mouth watering, grat shots Noel, luvpua


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I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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