Al Pastor, the Thrill of the Grill

When in the mood for tacos of spit-roasted meat (usually pork) “al pastor,” or shepherd’s style, several hounds say they head to Taqueria San Jose. But although the taco al pastor at the original Taqueria San Jose in the Mission is first-rate, says Robert Lauriston, “the Oakland branch isn’t in the same class at all, I’m not sure they even have a vertical spit—they were just scooping precooked out of a steam-table bucket when I was there.”

Nothing puts al pastor over the top like a spit crowned with pineapple, its juices trickling down to lubricate the meat. You even get a slice of the roasted fruit in your taco. This variation is tough to find, but rworange says the version at Taqueria La Selva on weekend nights is the best she’s had in the Bay Area.

DezzerSF thinks that the pineapple-topped pastor at Taqueria Los Portales might be the Bay Area’s best, with subtle but complex seasonings and that unmistakable barbecued flavor.

El Gordo taco truck has al pastor on a spit, adds Dezzer, but no pineapple.

Taqueria San Jose [Mission]
2830 Mission Street, San Francisco

Taqueria San Jose [East Bay]
3433 International Boulevard, Oakland

Taqueria San Jose [Marin County]
615 Fourth Street, San Rafael

Taqueria La Selva [East Bay]
1049 23rd Street, Richmond

Taqueria Los Portales [East Bay]
36782 Cedar Boulevard, Newark

El Gordo [East Bay]
4201 International Boulevard, Oakland
No phone number

Board Links: Tacos Al Pastor - Vertical Spit with Pineapple - Anyone in the east bay?
SF: Tacos and guarache at El Cachanilla?
Tacos Al Pastor @ Los Portales (Newark)
Richmond street feast part 2: Taqueria La Selva - the best al pastor tacos vapor in the Bay Area

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