Who Makes the Bay Area's Best Salsa?
Everyone knows San Franciscans love their burritos. But in a city full of foodies, brand loyalty extends well beyond the main dish. With this in mind, The Bold Italic threw some love toward the burrito’s occasionally overlooked cousin in our latest taste test. We set out on a mission to find the best local store-bought salsa, and discovered that just like the burrito, salsa inspires fierce loyalty and harsh opinions.
We invited 10 readers to our office for a blind taste test, and asked them to grade the salsas in three different categories on a scale of one to five, with five being the best.
All of the salsas in our taste test are locally made, except for one, which we’re sure you’ll recognize. You can find them at Bi-Rite, Andronico’s, Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods, and other Bay Area stores.
First, let's meet the salsas:
Pace: The wildcard, eaten by many, loved by few.
Papalote: The king of 24th Street salsas. A clear San Francisco favorite, it was the first mentioned no matter who we asked when looking for local brands.
Sabor Mexicano: The dark horse candidate. Made in Berkeley, Sabor Mexicano has an earthy flavor that is strangely addictive.
Casa Sanchez: We were pretty bummed when SF’s Casa Sanchez Taqueria on 24th Street closed its doors, but its ultra-cute logo of the man on the corncob still adorns the salsa and chips you can buy in markets all over California.
Casa Chicas: Casa Chicas is a little harder to find, but it’s
just as fresh as Casa Sanchez. This tomato-heavy brand is
Now let's meet the tasters:
And the results are in!
2nd Place: Papalote with an average score of 3.56.
3rd Place: Casa Chicas with an average score of 2.96.
4th Place: Pace with an average score of 2.83.
5th Place: Sabor Mexicano with an average score of 2.
But here is something interesting: After tasting and scoring each salsa, we asked each taster to tell us which one they liked the most. These results were different. By the number of favorite votes, Papalote was the winner, with four picks. Casa Chicas, Casa Sanchez, and Sabor Mexicano all received two. No one chose Pace.
Did we miss your favorite brand of salsa? Tell us in the comments