The person who first decided to offer something more than a bowl of nuts at a bar deserves a place in the good ideas hall of fame. Because, let’s face it, serving food to people who are several negronis deep is a license to print money. Also, no one actually cares if the food is mediocre. Mezcalito, a mezcal bar in Russian Hill, continues in this time-honored tradition. If you head into dinner thinking Mezcalito is a restaurant, there’s a good chance you’ll be underwhelmed. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time.
However, it does mean that the menu is all over the place. We are generally wary of places that think they can successfully serve Mexican food, a cheese plate, and a lobster roll with fried pickles. But, unlike that bar you always ended up at in college, Mezcalito manages to keep it together on most fronts - the tacos and tostadas are solid, and the burger is very good. More importantly: the drinks are strong, and the happy hour deals are excellent.
This is the kind of place to come to catch up with friends, mourn a break up, or blow off steam after a long, taxing week of riding a double decker bus with spotty wifi to your luxury corporate office. It’s very loud and generally packed (with people you’ve probably seen on Tinder), which makes for a very entertaining time. As long as you’re taking your evening at Mezcalito as an opportunity to observe the mating rituals of past-their-prime frat bros and not as a place to find your next significant other or have a deep and meaningful discussion on the finer points of astrophysics.
Even though you show up to Mezcalito for the drinks, if you end up staying for some food you’ll be in a pretty good place. Especially if you’re looking for a night out in Russian Hill that doesn’t involve drinking beer from a boot or watching sports. Unless dodging people you went on one date with is a sport, in which case, start stretching and stay hydrated. Mezcal is technically 62.5% water, so it’s basically Gatorade.
This is not the most beautiful dish (the octopus looks like sliced up bananas), but it is excellent. The sauce/salsa is mole-esque and the potato salad on it sounds strange but somehow works. This is probably the one must-order on the menu.
While this tastes quite good, very fresh and a little citrusy, the presentation looks like rolled up ham slices on a supermarket meat platter. We’re not going to pretend we know how to make ceviche look pretty, but there’s probably a better way to do this.
This is a stellar burger. The bun is soft, the cheese is abundant, and the caramelized onions take it up a notch from your basic cheeseburger.
Caesar salads are underrated, but this one that shouldn’t be overlooked. The salmon portion is pretty big and can be a true entree salad if you’re looking to at least attempt to be semi-healthy whilst eating dinner in a bar. A solid choice.
Ok, we get that you want to be inventive, but coating lettuce in granola is just f*cking weird. Not a ton of flavor and sort of a chore to eat. Pass.
These are the best tacos at Mezcalito, mostly due to the pineapple and sauce.
A little too chewy. You should not get these.
Sometimes this is mussels and sometimes it’s clams. We’re never going to complain about a good bowl of shellfish with buttery, toasty bread to sop up all the sauce.