3910 30th Street (at University),
1830 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard,
4705 Point Loma Avenue, Ocean Beach
The restaurant's underlying ethos involves cooking with olive or vegetable oil (no lard), organic milk, organic vegetables and fruit (when available), and daily fresh fish. Vegetarian and vegan choices are vast -- but the menu also includes meats and poultry, with no stern or snooty judgments attached. The menu offers countless inventive riffs on the overall theme of antojitos, a.k.a. wraps, plus a group of "Rancho Substantials," serious entrée platters with fish, chicken, seafood, steak -- and, of course, veggies. A large, flavorful whole-wheat quesadilla filled with the "meat" of a smoked shiitake patty is among the highlights, as is a tostada of luscious little langostinos (slipper lobsters) and a sandwich of a big, tender, lightly fried calamari steak. The decor mirrors the freshness of the ingredients; all the Ranchos boast riotously colorful container gardens, including a lush, jungle-like covered courtyard at the Sunset Cliffs location and an ever-growing sidewalk patio in North Park.