Normally, chilaquiles, that magnificent combination of tortilla chips, beans, cheese and salsa—breakfast nachos, essentially—would be a standalone dish. Not so at El Mil Amores, a 2-month-old, upscale Mexican restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Here, chilaquiles are but one element of the CDMX Plate, the centerpiece of the brunch menu, sharing plate space with scrambled eggs served atop roasted purple potatoes and an inventive and cream-filled “concha” french toast.
The menu—the whole shebang, really—is chef-owner Andrea Becerra’s love letter to Mexico City, her hometown.
Although the front facade has a hot pink door and contemporary neon sign, Becerra told The Standard that her restaurant’s interior and soundtrack were inspired by the movies of the early 1950s. “The flavors are from the food that my grandma used to cook for us,” she said.
El Mil Amores, Spanish for “the thousand loves,” takes its name from a 1954 film starring Pedro Infante, a leading actor of Mexican cinema’s Golden Age. Infante is roughly comparable to Clark Gable—if Gable had also been an accomplished bolero singer.
The restaurant keeps slightly nonstandard hours, opening at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends and closing no later than 5 p.m. In short, it’s a breakfast, brunch and lunch place, with hefty midday entrees such as Enchiladas Suizas and Costillitas en Chile Quemado (pork ribs in an adobado sauce over rice and beans). The balance of the morning menu contains Mexican American a.m. staples like Huevos Rancheros alongside more elaborate options like a Chipotle Eggs Benedict and Tres Leches Pancakes. But maybe not for long.
Becerra said she plans to change the menu every three months. “I like to rotate: guajillo sauce, adobo sauce. The enchiladas are sometimes going to have mole.”
She makes all the salsas herself, as well as soups and stews—spicy or otherwise—like pozole, barbacoa and birria.
In the vast galaxy of Mexican eateries spread throughout the Mission (or the entire Bay Area), El Mil Amores stands out for its commitment to romantic, Spanish-language music, from the postwar greats to Andrea Bocelli. It’s also notable for its commitment to heat.
“I don’t count the chilies when I put them in the blender,” Becerra said.
2780 21st St.
Astrid Kane can be reached at email@example.com