Number 22: Pupusas at Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo

Pupusas revueltas with rice and beans from Montecristo.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

Just a few streets down from McLaren Park, on a stretch of Geneva that takes you from San Francisco to Daly City and then Brisbane in a matter of blocks, is Cafe and Restaurant Montecristo, whose exterior is draped in Christmas lights and whose interior is clean and sparse. The television is always on — telenovelas, a soccer game — and the staff occupy the place as if it's their home, stopping by tables to visit for a few minutes or gathering around a table to share a snack.

The informality is not a measure of quality: The restaurant's Salvadoran food is some of the best in the city. Montecristo's pupusas are patted out with the surest of hands, forming the masa exterior as thin as a few millimeters at its center. The pork, beans, and cheese inside, spread all the way to the edges, are blended so thoroughly that, by the time the griddled corn cake is blistery and a little crusty, they alloy into an oozy, meaty mass.

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