Ancient Mayan recipes distinguish this SF restaurant’s menu

Ancient Mayan recipes distinguish this SF restaurant's menu


Las Mestizas, a traditional one Maya kitchen on the edge of Bernal Heights, moves to a new location in the heart of the marina. Owner Fausto May said he plans to reopen on Chestnut and Scott streets in mid-February.

He told The Standard that the move was motivated by a desire to work in a larger space in a neighborhood where Yucatán cuisine is less rare.

The star of Las Mestizas’ menu is the cochinita pibil, an ancient recipe of slow-roasted pork marinated in Mayan spices and wrapped in a banana leaf. May said cochinita pibil, which he learned to prepare from his grandparents, is very labor intensive, requiring five hours to roast the day before serving.

“Our restaurant will be home to cochinita pibil in the city,” May said.

Las Mestizas, meaning people of mixed Indigenous and European heritage, also serves panucho, a tostada-like dish made with a deep-fried handmade tortilla that is filled with black bean puree and topped with lettuce, shredded chicken, avocado, tomato pickled red onions, and cabbage .

May opened his restaurant on Mission and Cortland streets two years ago, and he said he’d like to see his cooking find its way to the marina. For him, most Mexican restaurants in the marina are more Americanized, while his recipes come straight from his home region in the Yucatán Peninsula.

“I’m excited but nervous at the same time,” he said. “It’s a whole new project for me in a neighborhood I’m not familiar with. But I am ready for the challenge.”

Las Mestizas

📍 2280 Chestnut St., SF