Saturday, February 06, 2010

Regalito Rosticeria

Quick Rotisserie Chicken with Style
3481 18th St. (at Valencia), San Francisco
Mission District
PH: 415.503.0650
Open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations, major credit cards accepted

The Mission District is undoubtedly San Francisco’s epicenter for culinary innovation with a combination of high-profile stylish restaurants and ethnic restaurants serving up some of the best Mexican food in town. Regalito Rosticeria seems to be a bit of a hybrid – fresh authentic Mexican cuisine served up in a funky, colorful environment.

I dropped into Regalito for the first time a few weekends ago, looking for a late lunch. Regalito still has that new-car look even though it’s been a couple of years since I first noticed its brightly colored exteriors off Valencia Street. The colors are non-stop inside with multi-colored paintings on lime-colored walls.

Opened by Chef Thomas Pena, the restaurant has a friendly open feel with a long counter running down the narrow restaurant, giving you a view of the busy cooks marinating large containers of pork or pounding out hand-made tortillas.

The menu has a variety of appetizers, entrées, soups and salads, but a common theme is freshness and local sourcing of ingredients. I kept it easy and ordered the specialty, the Pollo Regalito ($11), a quarter roasted free-range chicken. You can choose from lime or chile-garlic marinade, so I went with the lime marinade. The plate comes with a pile of warm tortillas, saffron-colored rice, salsa, and whole pinto beans.

The chicken was tender and tasty, falling off the bone with the touch of my fork. The lime flavor was very subtle, and I sometimes felt the chicken tasted like any other rotisserie chicken around town. The beans and rice was nice but also a bit average. Maybe it was what I ordered. Maybe if I experimented with anything with carnitas or chorizo I might get more flavor with punch.

Along with my chicken I ordered a mango aqua ($3.50), which was super fresh and had a real strong mango flavor that I liked.

The service is extremely friendly, treating me like family. You pay a bit more for the Mexican food compared to other restaurants in the neighborhood, but part of that is for the fun environment and quality ingredients. Regalito looks like a fine place to drop in for fresh Mexican food when you want something fast and can’t decide where to go. It seems like one of those places that you don’t often think of, but you’ll walk away satisfied that you did.

No rating since this is a mini review, but Regalito is a reliable alternative when you’re looking for something simple and fresh. I’d definitely go back to check out the rest of the menu.

Regalito on Urbanspoon

More rotisserie reviews:
Limon Peruvian Rotisserie
Il Cane Rosso


JulieK said...

Did they have mole? that's my favorite..

Hungry Dog said...

Thanks for reviewing this....I have been meaning to check this place out for awhile. It's right near our vet so I always notice it! :)

Single Guy Ben said...

Hi Julie, yes, I think they had mole as part of their entrees. I'm actually not a big mole fan although I'd eat it if it was in front of me. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever made salted caramel anything? Can I request you do a salted caramel pudding or pot de creme that would not be too sweet? There's something magical about salted caramel.

Single Guy Ben said...

I made chocolate covered caramels for the holidays. Did you see that post? Oh, but I do love caramel pudding. I have to find a good recipe. But part of me am afraid to find out what's end it and I may not want to eat it anymore. That happened to me when I made a cheesecake once. :)