La Urbana
Clams with braised oxtail and cabbage tostadas. Image courtesy of Eric Wolfinger.

Chips and guac, tacos and margs. These are likely the first things that come to mind when you think about Mexican food. And they are not what you will find at La Urbana in NoPa.

Indeed, traditional fare is nowhere to be found on the menu at this new modern cantina, where contemporary flavors from Mexico City cuisine intermingle with fresh local ingredients. The plates intended for sharing include a spicy vegan version of chicharron (an alternative to traditionally fried pork rinds, $6) and a shepherd?s pie-esque huevos con chorizo ($6). Lighten things up with the roasted beet and smoked almond salad ($11) before digging into the tierra y mar, tender Dungeness crab and rib eye topped with pineapple puree ($26).

You won?t even get regular ol? margaritas here. Instead, sip on the Violet Flower cocktail, smooth tequila mixed with lush citrus and topped with a crisp rosé Champagne. 

The decor is wholly original too: Salvaged furniture-turned-shelving and kaleidoscopic tiles were brought in from Mexico City, and the outdoor mural of the chica bonita is of the owners? friend.

If eschewing tacos means bucking tradition, we're bona fide rebels. 

661 Divisadero St.; 415-440-4500 or laurbanasf.com

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