San Francisco needs more rooftop bars. Medjool, the central Mission hotspot that closed last year, wasn't always the best ambassador, however. The very idea seemed to have gone before the NIMBY death panel until Argentinean steak house Lolinda threw open the doors to the simply named El Techo de Lolinda (i.e., Lolinda's Roof).
For that we should be glad. Let the elevator whisk you up to a view you can't get in Dolores Park, and drinks you can't buy from that one gruff hawker known as “Cold Beer, Cold Water.” El Techo's pan-Latin American cocktails reboot the familiar and dust off the obscure. You can get a margarita or a caipirinha, or try the Chilcano, a pisco-and-ginger-beer concoction that gets upgraded with bitters and fresh ginger syrup. It's as fruity as it looks. Tequila fans shouldn't overlook the subtler Mexican Firing Squad, made with Calle 23 Reposado.
The chef is the same, upstairs and down, but five stories up the emphasis is on fancy bar snacks and shareable plates. Try a seriously spicy mango ceviche, chicharrones by the pound, or stick to basics like quesadillas, fried plantains and guac. Be warned, however: those extra chips aren't free. (Also note that El Techo fills up as quickly as the elevator can ferry the hordes.)
Of course, happy hour tends to coincide with that moment where the wind picks up and people wearing shorts regret their fortitude. “Do you like [pitchers of] piña coladas? And getting caught in the fog?” Fear not, for you are in an orchard of heat lamps. Forget the marine layer. The Mission has a panoramic bar again.