In the buzzy Mission neighborhood, Al's Place is the creation of former Ubuntu chef Aaron London and does genius things with seafood and vegetables, especially vegetables – vegetarians love this spot. One of the hottest restaurants in the city right now, the menu is inventive, and the dishes come out tasting as rich in flavor as their menu descriptions. Take the french fries for instance. Rather than just being cut, fried, and seasoned, these are made from new potatoes that are grown on site and brined for four days in 68-degree water with cabbage leaves and salt before being fried in rice bran order. Served with smoked apple barbecue sauce, the result is explosive taste that is crunchy on the outside, creamy in the center and slightly pickled. And this is just a traditional side dish, so imagine the depth of the mains, which include an excellent green pea curry with black-lime cod and pickled strawberry.
The interior décor is unassuming and doesn't detract from the food – it is modern, hip cafeteria style with tile floors, white walls hung with well-placed paintings, and wooden tables and chairs. The dining experience is complemented by an excellent cocktail and wine list.