Step Inside Xica, a Colorful New Haven for Gluten-Free Mexican Food on the Waterfront

Eater San Francisco logo

It's a full-circle moment for owner Maria Elena Esquivel, as the restaurant returns to Levi's Plaza after six years

— Paolo Bicchieri

This Mexican American brunch spot was always packed, so it took over a huge S.F. location

San Francisco Chronicle logo

On any given weekend in Oakland, chef Maria Elena Esquivel's Mexican American brunch spot Chica was packed. The tables inside the small, 6-year-old business were covered with plates full of huevos rancheros and Esquivel's popular chilaquiles - making Chica's closure in September a surprise for many a regular.

— Mario Cortez

Brunch-centric Mexican restaurant Xica opens at Levi's Plaza in San Francisco

Hoodline logo

Xica owner and chef Maria Elena Esquivel and her husband first opened Chica as a takeout window at Levi's Plaza a year before moving to Oakland. Esquivel is now hoping she can build up a following near the Embarcadero with her brunch-centric menu that features favorites like saucy chilaquiles, pozole, huevos rancheros, eggs Benedict, and chicken and waffles, which were all big hits at CHICA.

— Wesley Severson

"Back to Back" and "Xica": Two new restaurants you don't know, but should

Medium magazine logo

One restaurant, a buzzy pizza-meets-global-plates and natural wine spot on Nob Hill; the other, a sunny Mexican newcomer on peaceful Levi's Plaza.

— The Bold Italic

The 11 Most Exciting Restaurant Openings In San Francisco

San Francisco Magazine logo

From the satisfying chilaquiles to the melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised pork carnitas, there is much to love about Xica, Levi Plaza's new Mexican eatery.

— Katie Sweeney

15 Mighty Mexican Restaurants in San Francisco

Eater San Francisco logo

San Francisco's waterfront got a big helping of gluten-free Mexican fare when Maria Elena Esquivel opened her restaurant Xica in March 2023. The entrepreneur returned to Levi's Plaza where she first launched the business as a take-out window years ago; the crispy flautas and carne asada fries are smart choices here.

— Paolo Bicchieri and Eater Staff

Popular Oakland brunch spot brings old favorites to new S.F location

Pressreader logo logo

Xica's chef-owner Maria Elena Esquivel serves counter-service lunch, brunch menus

— Mario Cortez


Find me gluten free logo

Reported to be dedicated gluten-free