Nachos are not just Super Bowl food. They're a dish pretty much everyone can get behind, be they vegetarian or carnivore. They're just fun to eat! How can anyone say no to a big, sloppy pile of chips and cheese and beans or whatever that you are forced to share and pull apart section by section? Also, they make for great drunk food, and stoned food, and sports-watching food, and sunny patio food, and winter-depression-battling-treat-yoself food, all at the same time. Below, we bring you what we consider to be SF's finest purveyors of the nacho arts.

El Castillito
While Castillito is one of the more humble taquerias about town, they're also a Castro favorite and arguably the business everyone wanted to protect when they made noise about Chipotle trying to move in down the street last year. Castillito is known for their al pastor, which is of course the best thing to have on a plate of nachos. And they aren't shy with the toppings here. You can expect a pile of chips and cheese with a mountain of meat and a deluge of guac, pico, and crema obscuring the whole thing. And it's good. -- Jay Barmann
136 Church Street near 14th


El Farolito Taqueria
Though the wisdom of data journalism passed over El Farolito's burrito in favor of La Taqueria's, in the nacho arena the slighted taqueria is nothing if not a champion. The style is chunky, with thick cuts of meat (here, carnitas) sliced avocado in favor of guac, and jalapeños for days. Chips, too, are thicker: the better to withstand the delicious burden. But, in the case of these nachos, a fork is no faux pas. -- Caleb Pershan
2779 Mission Street (at 24th)

Green Chile Kitchen
The glorious nachos at this decade-old New Mexican spot in NoPa are the kind of thing you have to Instagram, and gush about, and go back for more of. You can get them with your choice of meat (or sautéed vegetables), and green or red chile sauce, and I'll go ahead and recommend the red, with pork. They come piled high with fresh chips, beans, guac, and crema, and they are delicious. And if you're on a serious binge, there's always a pie milkshake waiting for dessert. -- Jay Barmann
1801 McAllister Street (at Baker)

Photo: Instagram

At Hi Tops' sister spot in the Castro, you'll find some slightly more upscaled nachos than the sheet tray you can get across the street at the sports bar that are nonetheless just as noteworthy. Homemade tortilla chips come topped with well seasoned pinto beans, red and green salsa, queso fundido, crema, and your choice of meat or seasonal veggies. And they have them on the brunch menu, being that they are one of the Lord's favorite hangover remedies. — Jay Barmann
2200 Market Street at Sanchez

Photo: Linda C./Yelp

Hi Tops
The first thing most people mentioned when we called out that terrible plate of four chips at Eureka was the sheet-tray mound of nachos you could get at nearby gay sports bar Hi Tops for just a few bucks more. The chips are good, the pulled pork is sweet and tangy, but these nachos are also monstrous enough for a meal for three people even without any meat on them, with generous amounts of beans, cheese, jalapeños, and fresh avocado. (At $20 for a full order, or $11 for a half, they're not as cheap as they once were, but that full order feeds 4, at least.) They're perfect for any game day, or any Tuesday. -- Jay Barmann
2247 Market Street (at Sanchez)

Little Chihuahua's carne asada nachos: Eddie W./Yelp

The Little Chihuahua
Little Chihuahua's home to the Choose Your Own Adventure of nachos. Options include "Regular," shrimp, carne asada, grilled vegetables, wild mushrooms, pollo asado, carnitas, or chile verde chicken. Unlike a lot of places, they make sure you know that two of their four bean options (their whole black and refried black) are vegetarian, which is important to folks who prefer to avoid even hidden animal in their foods. Add to that a solid chip offering, a generous hand with the guac, and their salsa bar to determine your individual level of heat, and you're in nacho paradise. -- Eve Batey
292 Divisadero Street, 4123 24th Street or 581 Valencia Street

Photo via Nopalito.

We've written about Nopalito before, and with good reason. The restaurant's mezcal paloma and tacos de pescado al pastor are reason enough to visit their Panhandle or Inner Sunset locations, but equally deserving of attention are the spot's totopos con chile. While nacho traditionalists might consider these tortilla chips covered in house-made salsa de arbol, cotija cheese, onions, cilantro, crema and lime "too fancy," it would be to their own detriment. The tortilla chips pack a punch all on their own, and the hard cow's mild cheese nicely balances out the kick. To top it off, the serving size is generous. Basically, what we're saying is, you should go eat these. — Jack Morse
306 Broderick Street, between Fell and Oak Streets, 1224 9th Avenue between Irving and Lincoln

Pancho Villa's nachos: Caleb Pershan

Pancho Villa Taqueria
Not automatically heavy, nachos can also be refreshing and light. That's the approach at Pancho Villa, where lettuce and diced tomato adorn the taqueria's offering. The choice of succulent meat and rich beans is yours: carne asada and black beans are in the photo, but refried beans make for easier chip-dipping and that perfect crunch-softening. -- Caleb Pershan
3071 16th Street (at Valencia)

Puerto Alegre's carne asada nachos: Caleb Pershan

Puerto Alegre
When nachos call for a fork (as they often do) it's likely an issue of ingredient distribution and chip ratios. You won't find any such barriers to enjoyment at Puerto Alegre, where thin, highly fried tortilla chips are all you'll need to enjoy a panoply of cheese, sour cream, guacamole, picante salsa, and (if you're doing it right) rich, high-quality carne asada. A citrus-heavy cadillac margarita, as pictured, will talk you into "just one more" heaping chip, and though the moderately sized dish can be (and in this case, has been) eaten by one diner, it's probably better as a shared plate for two. -- Caleb Pershan
546 Valencia Street (near 16th)

Señor Sisig's nachos: Señor Sisig

Señor Sisig
Sisig makes it all worth it, from tracking down the mobile operation to the inevitable line of the Filipino fusion faithful. They've been featured on Diners, Drive-In's, & Dives if you'd like to hear Guy Fieri opine on the expert meat marinade... or you could just take our word for it and try the salty, spicy, sweet and slightly charred cuts. Though burritos with sticky garlic rice are the truck's standby, standout nachos are another perfect vehicle for Señor Sisig's incredible sisig-style pork or chicken. -- Caleb Pershan
Various locations, most often 2nd and Minna and 300 Pine

Photo: Yelp

The totally non-traditional, tuna-topped Lava Nachos at Sushirrito are nonetheless a huge local hit — and I can attest they're less gross than these cauliflower nachos they're trying to pass of in Los Angeles. The limited-supply item is made with brown rice chips, spicy tuna, pepper jack, ginger guac, scallions, and seaweed. Mock them if you must, until you've tried them. — Jay Barmann
Multiple locations

Photo of Underdogs' nachos with pork by Priscilla W./Yelp

The Taco Shop at Underdogs
Underdogs' nachos don't come with any nasty surprises. (Sidenote: If you put zucchini or broccoli in my nachos without a clear warning, I hope terrible things happen to you.) It's a simple concoction of pinto beans, Monterey Jack, jalapeños, guacamole and the ominous-sounding "Mexican sour cream" (i.e. crema). The things that take it over the top are the generous portion of their house-made pico de gallo, and their chips, which might be some of SF's best. Substantial but not mouth-injury inducing, they're exactly the right mix of salt, fat, and corn. For $3.75 more you can add steak, chicken, or pork, and if you ask nice you might even get them to add on some of their fantastic grilled shrimp. -- Eve Batey
1824 Irving Street between 19th and 20th Avenues

Nachos, a happy hour specialty at this after-work downtown destination, are what restaurants love to call "shareable." But with Tropisueño's nachos, you might not be so generous. Folks favor the carne asada variety, for which you'll probably want a fork at some point, but don't worry: There's plenty to go around. The dish is hefty to say the least, and at just $7-9, your wallet will probably have room for more. —Caleb Pershan
75 Yerba Buena Lane between Mission and Market Streets

The Nachos at Velvet Cantina. Photo: AmyC/Yelp

Velvet Cantina
The frustration of having to move my hand four-five inches to the left or right to ensure that my nacho chips get a little bit of everything has driven me to distraction on more than one occasion. The practice of a massive blop of sour cream in one hemisphere, a guac glob in another, and salsa plopped somewhere in between is one of the greatest horrors of our modern age. But not so at longtime Mission mainstay Velvet Cantina, where great care is taken to evenly drizzle the toppings over their house-made chips. For $2.50 more, you can add chicken or their chorizo, the latter of which is highly recommended. Oh, and while we're talking nachos, for dessert they offer s'mores nachos: fried tortilla chips, graham crackers, Mexican chocolate, and "flaming marshmallows." Amazing. -- Eve Batey
3349 23rd Street between Bartlett and Mission Streets

El Farolito's carnitas nachos: Caleb Pershan