San Francisco, US

A parade of delicate snacks provides the opening salvo of Val Cantu's intricate tasting menus at Californios. Set amid a myriad of ultra-casual Mexican restaurants in San Francisco's Mission District, Cantu's ambitious, elevated expression of the cuisine is something of an anomaly. Here, one-word dish descriptions like Frijoles (beans), Menudo (tripe soup) and Horchata (cinnamon-flecked rice milk) belie complex, nuanced creations that simultaneously respect tradition and explore innovation. Just like a Broadway play, tickets are sold for each night's performance.

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3115 22nd Street, Mission District, San Francisco, CA 94110

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