I think most people readily enjoy Mexican food, certainly here in San Francisco. Gracias Madre, however, very tastefully combines Mexican cuisine with vegan principles – opening up this flavourful cuisine to those on a strictly plant-based diet. The chefs at this Mission location make interesting combinations of vegetables and nut butters that stand on their own – this is not substitution food, but creatively enhanced traditional Mexican.
During previous visits, I had the company of one non-vegan and one very vegan friend. In both cases, we ate and thoroughly enjoyed nearly the same things. The gorditas, grilled masa and potato cakes, are a great start – crispy and topped with tangy salsa. The tamal was very nice as well – stuffed with sautéed zucchini and onions, it was flavourful and rich without being heavy.
I also like that the tables are shared – the other guests we chatted with gave us tips on ordering (“it’s lighter than typical Mexican, so don’t worry about over-ordering”). There are also a few tables outside in the sheltered alcove – great for watching the world go by on Mission Street on a sunny afternoon.