The Mission offers so many dining options-cuisines, scenes, atmospheres-it can be overwhelming to figure out where to eat unless you're laser-focused. We encountered this recently when our lunch plans at HiLo BBQ were foiled because it turns out they aren't open for lunch! Where to eat? Since our grilled meat dreams were dashed, we decided to just walk until we found something that tickled our fancy, and perused a bunch of menus in windows to figure it out. What looked good to me didn't to hubby, or the stroller friendliness of the restaurant was in question. Luckily we came upon Little Chihuahua on Valencia and 16th just as a major hunger fit was setting in, and all was settled.
I eat just about anything (I once at a fish eye as a honored guest as a banquet in West Africa). But my desert island cuisine, if I could never have anything else, would be Mexican food. My desert island meal? Burrito. On my last trip to Mexico I sacrificed an afternoon of cocktails by the pool to take an authentic regional cooking class. So it took no convincing for me. Hubby is a more selective eater, but as we checked out the menu he felt right at home as well.
Little Chihuahua is really Cali-Mex cuisine. The ingredients are super fresh and pop in your mouth, aren't drowning in cheese (unless you like that sort of thing), and don't leave you needing a nap after your meal. Service is really fast--order at the counter, take a number, ad wait for your food to arrive in no time. Even as the line grew with eat-in and to-go orders I noticed people getting in and out quickly.
Hubby went for his standard quesadilla-this time with pork. The silence from his side of the table when it came let me know he was happy, while I opted for a carne asada tostada salad, essentially a deconstructed burrito in a fried shell. It could be healthy if you don't inhale the fried shell like someone I know did, but it's huge enough for two meals so you can spread out the calorie guilt. My only complaint was the carne asada seemed a little light on flavor--I had to pack on the salsa and hot sauce to get that spice and heat I was looking for. Keep in mind if you're a fan of the spicy like me and order accordingly. The obligatory chips and salsa were plentiful--try not to fill up before your food comes.
Space-wise, there was plenty of room for our big stroller to fit comfortably without blocking any aisles or cramping any other tables, and high chairs are available as well. You're asked to bus your table so if you have your hands full with a little one plan accordingly. Or just ask one of the staffers for help like I did. They're really nice.
Side note: As an added bonus If you want to stroll after your meal a bit check out the graffiti in the alley just past the restaurant. There are some amazing murals and montages there!
581 Valencia St (between 17th St & 16th St)
San Francisco, CA
Stroller Friendly? Yes
Takes Reservations? No
High Chairs? Yes
Changing Table? No