I went to Novela on Mission in SOMA this week and it was so cute and fun! A good-sized bar with book-themed decor and killer cocktails? Yes, I will be back. Cue the photos!
Hawker Fare opened its first location in Oakland and, after great success, has opened a second location in the Mission district of SF. Their website has nearly no info, and their Yelp page has reviews that are all over the place. Here’s what I thought.
- The atmosphere was great — a large open area with light strands strung about mid-height in the tall-ceilinged room, kitchy plastic multicolored table cloths, brightly colored rug mosaics covering the walls, and fun music. It was just what I needed on a Friday night.
- The cocktails are tiki-bar themed and are fun and yummy. You can even get a little paper umbrella for yours if you pester the waiter to bring you one.
- The service was kind, attentive, and helpful with suggestions.
So, you’ll notice that I didn’t mention the food. That’s because it was really the only con. Which is why, even though I liked the place and had a pretty fun time, I wouldn’t go back. Let’s discuss….
While San Francisco Restaurant Week may seem like an eternity ago now, only a few weeks has passed and I’m definitely overdue for some commentary. First up is our first SFRW visit for a $40 per person prix fixe dinner at The Burritt Room + Tavern.
I’ve been to the Burritt Room before, once for a media event and another time just for drinks. It’s a super cute bar and restaurant in the Mystic Hotel on Stockton just south of the tunnel, and the food I’ve had before was GOOD. But, since it’s always hard to judge a restaurant’s food from a media event, I wanted to return before commenting. It’s settled: The Burritt Room serves delicious food….
Sens! There are a lot of really nice (and not cheap) restaurants downtown for all the fancy business peoples, and Sens is one of my faves. I’ve been many times over the years, and while I recall a dip in the quality of food and service for some time (or maybe it was just an off day? I’m not sure), my last visit for lunch was really, really good.
I would like to hereby welcome one of North Beach’s most recent additions to the restaurant scene: The Square Bar & Kitchen. Just across the street from Washington Square Park (see what they did there?), and taking the place of the former Bottle Cap (and even more former Washington Square Bar & Grill), The Square opened in March of this year serving upscale, creative takes on classic American dishes.
Let me tell you why I love Pier 23. The food is decent, the cocktails are mediocre, and the service can be sporadic. Ok, those are not reasons I love Pier 23, but I keep going because it’s such a cool place despite all these things.
Pier 23 is one of those places in a big city that feels like is has history. It’s got an old-fashioned, super casual vibe to it, but it’s popping with patrons young and old, so it still feels alive and fun. It’s small and oddly-placed along the vast waterfront full of cavernous, mysterious pier buildings — a welcoming oasis along this often inaccessible-seeming stretch….
I had dinner at Padrecito last weekend — a newer, stylish Mexican restaurant in Cole Valley. My experience was so-so. While the decor, atmosphere, and menu are well done, I simply wasn’t terribly impressed with what I ordered, nor with the service. As this was my first time in the restaurant, I’ll give the latter the benefit of the doubt, but my lack of enthusiasm probably won’t have me returning terribly soon.
Avital Tours is a name I had heard before — but not until she contacted me about a media tour of The Haight had I considered actually joining a tour. But, since I know surprisingly little about the food scene in The Haight, and I wanted to experience one of these famed food tours, I happily accepted.
The tour took place on a bright, sunny day with eight or so other bloggers. Avital herself was there, but another local foodie and food writer, Virginia Miller, was the guide. The tour was three hours long and took us walking in a relatively small area while providing information about a variety of non-food-related historical facts as we made our way to five food and drink establishments.
A fun little map of the Haight provided by Avital is shown above (click to enlarge); the five stops we experienced are described below.
Comstock Saloon is a nice bar and restaurant on Columbus that’s kinda got a classy, old-timey feel to it. As in, it’s gussied up like an old fashioned saloon but with new, nice, and artistic fixtures. Dark wood bar, tables, and booths; dim chandeliers and lamps; bartenders who wear vests… you get the idea. Fine, I guess it’s kinda a hipster thing, but it’s cool and classy and fun and I like it. (Per their website, the historic space was a saloon dating back to 1907 — points for authenticity!)