Friday, January 3, 2014

Review: Colibri Mexican Bistro, San Francisco

Whenever we have international visitors they invariably want to try the local and very authentic Mexican food. While there are many choices for budget friendly taquerias in the Mission sometimes a more refined outing is called for and this is when I take them to Colibri.

The front of the restaurant is an unassuming shop front not far from Union Square but inside are wonderful fresh Mexican dishes that never fail to impress.

Guacamole $12USD

The guacamole is made to order with the ingredients and heat of your choice. It comes served in a heavy stone bowl, with various chili sauces and a choice of fresh handmade tortillas or chips (or maybe both!). 

Empanadas $13USD

Freshly empanadas (baked wheat dumplings) stuffed with ground pork, onion, garlic, and roasted peppers. Served with a chipotle sour cream and pink pickled cabbage. The stuffing isn't too heavy and the dough is light and crisp. I can't get past the pickle though, I wish there were about 5 times as much of it.

Duck in Mole Verde $20USD

Pan seared duck breast cooked to perfection and served in a green mole sauce with peppery green leaves and a fried potato cake. The sauce is divine and the accompaniments set off the dish perfectly.

Carnitas $18USD

This isn't the kind of carnitas you're going to find in the back of  food truck; prime pork is marinated and served with guajillo and arbol chili salsa. I advise asking for additional fresh tortillas for the carnitas and excusing yourself as you wolf them down with your hands.

Pechuga Rellena de Huitlacoche $18USD

If you're a fan of earthy tastes then huitlacoche (a black corn fungus) will likely light your taste buds on fire. For me it's a little overpowering but I'm assured that this chicken breast stuffed with vegetables and huitlacoche is delicous.

Mole Poblano $18USD

The over the top delicious and decidedly moreish Mexican dish of ground spices, nuts and chocolate over bone in chicken. This is a wonderful rendition and leaves you wanting more.

Arroz a la Mexicana $5USD
Frijoles Negros $5USD
Nopales Asados (cactus) $8USD
Ensalada Mixta $10USD

Sides are very reasonably priced and all excellent - no rice left all day in a steam truck this is light spiced and delicious. I generally skip the rice and beans and get a salad, but sometimes the staples are just right. Think about the size of your party and order 1 side between 2 people - most of the main dishes are very rich.

Room for dessert? Growing up with a lot of Spanish food the flavours of Mexican desserts always appeal to me - creamy caramels and subtle spices. 

Churros Rellenos  $8USD

Fried donuts stuffed to the gills with thick dulce de leche caramel served with caramel sauce and rich ice cream.  

Caballeros Pobres $8USD

A freshly made creamy pastry is fried and dusted in sugar and cinnamon. This strikes me right in the nostalgia bone being very similar to the leche fritta dessert I grew up with (recipe).

A quick nod to the drinks at Colibri - their beer and tequila selection is excellent and may be worth a stop for drinks and small plates only. Their coffee is some of the best in the Bay Area, strong thick Mexican espresso that goes perfectly with the desserts. 

The service is to be commended also; I've only ever had excellent and quick service with no loss on the taste or quality. The prices are a little upmarket if you're used to bean and burrito Mexican but for a group dinner this is by no means expensive. Definitely recommended. 

Colibri Mexican Bistro

White table Mexican
Great service and better coffee

438 Geary St
San Francisco
CA 94102
Ph: (415) 440-2737

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