[SF, Mission] Mr. Pollo- $30 4-course tasting

Mr. Pollo is a quirky tiny little restaurant on Mission that serves a 4 course dinner for $30. Reservations are recommended and can be done by texting the host. The whole restaurant is roughly the size of a studio apartment, and have just enough space for 4 tables, a counter, a kitchen and just enough space for the server to move around and serve food. The restaurant has 3 seatings a night. First one is 6pm and last one is 930pm.

Mr. Pollo used to be a Colombian restaurant that actually served chicken. Manny Torres Gimenez took over at some point and started doing tasting, but kept the popular arepas. The current chef- Jonny, continues the tasting and the arepas. There is no menu. The chef (Jonny) serves up whatever he feels like.

The menu that evening:

Appetizer: Golden beets with a cilantro vinaigrette cotija cheese. Flavors from every spectrum: Sweetness from the beets, tartness from the vinaigrette, bitterness from the microgreens. Refreshing for a summer SF evening.

Arepa with monterey jack cheese with two types of sauces- cilantro garlic, and the tomato jalapeño. The arepa was griddled and slightly crispy on the outside. The sauce worked well with the mashed chicken. Pretty tasty.

Seared ahi on a bed of corn with onion and aioli, with an avocado tomatillo sauce on the side. The mellow tasting ahi got a bit of sweetness from the corns and aioli and a little bit of heat from the tomatillo. Pretty nice.

The coconut sorbet with macadamia and Hawaiian black sea salt. Refreshing and a dash of saltiness to pump up the sorbet flavor.

Got a glass of pinot grigio to go with the meal.

The meal overall was pretty nice, and when the price is factored in, the meal is a very good value, considering one can easily spend more than $30 on just the main course alone these days in the city.

Mr. Pollo retains a bit of a mystery air with all the windows covered with black paper. Its hard to even know if they are open walking along Mission.

The chef loves travelling and eating, and periodically closes the place up to fly somewhere and eat at all the fancy places. Seating at the counter will get you an opportunity to chat throughout the meal on where he likes to eat locally and internationally, among other topics. I’d book a meal there to eat and chat with him on food and restaurants.


I haven’t heard a report from here in quite some time, thanks for the update. At what time did you leave the restaurant relative to your seating time?

If you’ve had arepas anywhere else, How would you compare them?

i went years ago, and loved it. loved the arepa too, but felt it was too much as a starter - it was so huge and heavy. but definitely bang for your buck.

I saw this place on Best Thing I Ever Ate.

Didn’t know that. I went looking for the video and here it is. Who’s that person at Food Network calling SF Frisco?!

I went at 6. Finished at 730. Every table started and finished around the same time.

I wish I could tell you something. The last arepa I had was at Pica Pica years ago at Napa Oxbow. I don’t remember much about it any more. And that is Venezuelan, and this is Colombian so there may be differences, if we assume that they are made the traditional ways.

Coupa Cafe is closeby though. I will drop by and have an arepa if I have a chance.

LOL. as someone who occasionally asks for extra rice in my burritos, the arepa and the volume of the food in that meal was just right. :smiley: At some point I was thinking that I might need to fill up with some pupusas at La Santaneca next door (btw, anyone knows how the pupusas are there?), but I didn’t need extra food.

The queue at the nearby La Taqueria was absurd! Its as if the food is free! @mariacarmen Gotta make it to Prubechu at some point though after reading your review though. Now that tasting looks heavy…!