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Papito – a Mexican Bistro with small front and big kitchen

5. raging. hard. stars.

It’s that good.

When we arrived at this hole-in-the-wall bistro on the perch of San Fran’s Potrero Hill, admittedly I was more than a little out-of-breath and somewhat on the verge of fainting.  The Frenchman who spoke fluent Spanish showered us with warm hospitality in accented English, he was somewhat a character, which, along with the cocktail (the name of which I cannot remember) – a perfectly quirky concoction of Mexican beer and Bloody Mary mix, really helped to perk me up.

It was a gorgeous day in the City by the Bay so we took a table outside.  Five minutes after we sat down, a local resident in the neighborhood brought his guitar over and started playing some music, all because he just loved the place and felt like it.  This was the kind of vibe that always gets me, the easy-going conviviality that turns a restaurant into a community.

And then, the food, ooh la la, the food!

The menu is adventurous but friendly.  Locally sourced ingredients boast freshness and creativity.  Do yourself a favor and get the Elote Asado, grilled corn on the cob topped with mexican mayo, chili salt, and queso cotija.  So delicious and messy, they will make a noisy chewer out of the most ladylike of eaters.  Duck confit tacos are exotic-sounding and yummy-tasting.  Prawn quesadillas offer a perfect balance between fresh seafood and smoky grilled tortilla.  But don’t eat too much of the mains since you will want to save room for dessert.

Trust me.  Best flan in North America.  Creamy, sweet, rich – lingers on the tongue with the dripping caramel.  Yes, I’m still talking about the flan.

I’ve sent my culinary spies into mission.  I will get that recipe at any cost.