Not even the brightest, greenest, limiest colored exterior paint can deprive foodies from enjoying the authentic Puerto Rican cuisine at Sol Food in downtown San Rafael, about 15 miles north of San Francisco. l’ve squeezed into their first locale two blocks north that features a bustle of activity amid a few indoor and outdoor tables, but now, I prefer the spacious corner restaurant adorned with the aforementioned green exterior and charming multi-colored interior, featuring a variety of colorfully painted doors, conga drums and other Caribbean flair.
The food is outstanding, outrageously delicious and outlandishly unusual for vegans and carnivores — freshly prepared, huge portions, and way different than the many nearby Mexican restaurants. Start with any of the Ensaladas, such as the Criolla (iceberg lettuce with thick slices of tomato, served with garlicky O&V dressing), the Organica (organic greens with ripe tomoato and lemon-garlic dressing), the Con Pollo (organic greens, tomoato, avocado, baked free-range chicken thighs), the Con Bistec (steak and sauteed onions with organic greens, tomato and avocado) or the Con Camarones (5 large pan-fried garlic prawns with organic greens, tomato and avocado). Each is delicious and the first two are Vegan.
Sol Food specializes in food that has African, Spanish and Taino roots. Try the Combinaciones — huge platters of Pollo Al Horno (free-range chicken), Bistec Encelbollado (thinly sliced steak with sauteed onions) , Vegetariano, or Camarones Criollos (prawns with onions and garlic), as well as Sandwiches of all types, from Roasted Pork, Chicken and Steak, to Veggie Deluxe, Chorizo, even Jamon, Queso & Huevo (ham, eggs and cheese).
Most platters are served with your choice of Platonos — green plaintains — sweet, fried crispy, mashed with garlic, smashed and fried again, or served with melted cheese, fresh tomato or avocado.
We were too full for dessert, but you should save room for the Flan De Queso(classic vanilla flan) or the Tembleque (Creamy Coconut Pudding with Mango Sauce or Cinnamon).
Can’t decide between these and the daily specials? Go ahead and drool over the entire menu. Wash it all down with your choice of Fizzy Lizzy sodas (no sugar added), traditional US sodas, Coco Rico (Tasty Coconut Soda), Malta (Sweet Molasses Soda), Te or Cafe Con Leche.