La Urbana is the newest schmancy Mexican joint to open up in SF — it’s on Divis and Grove, right next to Bar Crudo and a skip away from Nopa. A friend of mine heard the buzz and made a reservation, and I was happy to check it out.
The space is really cool. It’s open and bright and sufficiently posh for upscale SF dining. It’s pretty loud, however, and toward the end of our meal, we were struggling to hear each other. Now, regarding everything else, apparently Eater SF has already got it covered. Though their article really does just quote Yelp reviews… so I’m going to one-up them and do my own drawn-out Yelp review on something called a blog. Read on!
The bottom line: the food was very good, but the portions were hopelessly tiny. If the price of each dish were half of what it was, then it might be ok (you would just order a bajillion items, which would be weird, but at least you’d be full). But, the prices were normal for far larger quantities of food at comparable restaurants. If they sort this out, which I hope they will since it seems to be a mantra on Yelp right now, then they’ll be GtG*. Until then, look at my pictures and eat a quesadilla or two beforehand if you go.
For starters, their margaritas were good. The La Urbana Margarita comes in a silly glass, but it packs a punch and is very tasty.
The rest of the food comes in tiny, beautiful portions. I could have eaten all of these dishes myself and been content. We were sharing between four people. We were all hungry when we left. And the bill was not under $200 (with tax and tip).
This brings up another point — there were MANY things on this menu that none of us could decipher. The titles of each dish are in Spanish. This is fine for your standard pollo, ceviche, chorizo, and I even know what cebolla means. But we literally had to have the waiter stand there and translate a good handful of dishes so that we even knew what they were. Not a great choice, in my opinion. Continuing:
The mains were particularly overpriced for the quantity; they were more like appetizers.
We tried a dessert, though we had no idea that this description meant “chocolate pudding”. It was very good. The worm-looking things were crunchy and surprisingly delicious. I could have eaten seven of these tiny bowls.
*GtG = good to go.