There aren’t a lot of rooftop restaurants in this city, which any self-respecting San Franciscan will tell you is totally and completely fine. But on the days when the fog gods disappear and leave the city beautiful and cloudless, we head to El Techo. Because sometimes the only way to spend a sunny afternoon is with a gorgeous view of downtown and many margaritas.
The rooftop spot in the Mission makes very strong cocktails and works best as a day drinking spot, when staring out from the sun-drenched patio has repeatedly inspired us to say, “Wow, isn’t the skyline so pretty?” It’s located above an Argentinian steakhouse on the rooftop of a five-story building. Outside, there are plenty of high tops and square tables protected from the elements by a roof, heat lamps, and lots of standing room along several long rectangular bars. It also works as the backdrop for an energetic date night, a quick cocktail before dinner at a nearby restaurant, or a fun Friday night catch-up with a group of friends (if you’re OK with the longer wait times).
And while drinking, you might get hungry. El Techo has a menu of mostly Latin American snacks and larger plates, like some solid fish tacos, chicharrones, and a decent chicken adobo with rice and beans that’s also big enough to share. But we’ll say flat-out: the food doesn’t really live up to the sweeping views. Which we’re totally fine with, because the food alone is clearly not why you’re here. If you go in expecting strong drinks, great views, a lively atmosphere, and decent food, you’ll, hands-down, leave happy.
The chicharrones are crispy, tender, fatty, and one of the best things on the menu. They also come with house-made tortillas, salsa, and limes, and are sold by the pound. Half a pound is good enough to split with two people, but will set you back $24.
Our go-to order, especially when we’re looking to eat something easy and quick in between all the margaritas. The fish is light and crispy, and topped with a nice rocoto aioli.
Not our favorite item here, but this easily shareable dish works if you’re looking for something heartier. Red rice, salsa, cabbage, and tortillas accompany a nicely grilled adobo-marinated chicken thigh.