New Inner Richmond claims to be the first Mexican wine bar

While there are some of the world’s best wines within 50 miles of Napa and Sonoma, a new upscale restaurant coming to San Francisco’s Inner Richmond is focusing on hard-to-find wines from Mexico. In fact, the Cantina Los Mayas website, which opens July 14, claims to be “the first Mexican wine bar to open in the United States.” The restaurant takes over the space at 431 Balboa Street, the site of a former Sushi Bistro, which has moved operations across the street.

The team that runs Cantina Los Mayas is the same team that runs Taqueria Los Mayas on Clement Street, which means the food will have similarities. But Cantina Los Mayas plans to add some touches that will make the traditional Mayan and Yucatecan items more upscale compared to Taqueria. “There will be a lot of smoky, spicy and sweet flavors to Mayan cooking,” Geoff Carrillo, the restaurant’s business partner, told the SF Chronicle. Expect to see more than a dozen small plates on the menu with about half a dozen entree options.

Image source: Cantina Los Mayas

However, the real focus will be on wines from some of Mexico’s most famous wine-growing regions in Baja California, such as Valle de Guadalupe, Valle de Parras and Valle de San Vicente. Valle de Guadalupe seems to produce white wines with more salinity than those made in Napa or Sonoma. “Whites have very little sea area. It’s not something you’ll find in Continental wines,” Joe Bonadio, director of wine at Cantina Los Mayas told the Chronicle. “We want to teach San Francisco about Mexican wine.”

Image source: Cantina Los Mayas

Expect to see about 45 bottles of Mexican wine available daily, with up to 30 bottles available for $10 to $20. They also plan to offer regular dinner events every two weeks that will provide some education about Mexican wine pairings. “The hope is just to encourage people to try new things. Mexican wine is still very new to many people here. We are excited to see how people like it,” business partner Morgan Anderson told the Chronicle. You can try Mexican versions of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc, and many others in Cantina Los Mayas Thursday through Sunday 5pm to 10pm Reservations are available, but you can also enter.

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