Photo by Tamara Palmer
photo by val m. cantu
These San Francisco restaurants have some of the most unusual, interesting, and fun tasting menus across the city
Article continues below advertisement
Tasting menus are a wonderful way to discover the breadth and depth of a chef, an indulgent overview that’s a noticeable level up from a typical fine-dining experience. They don't have to break the bank, either. Here are five restaurants whose tasting menus provide extreme value for money while offering something unique in the always-competitive San Francisco dining scene.
Californios is Val M. Cantu’s unmatchably elegant Mexican restaurant, with dark colors, expensive art books, and an overall noirish cinema feel. You won't know exactly what’s ahead of you, since the ingredients highlighted on the abstract, ever-changing menu you’re presented with read in only the vaguest of terms, like arroz (rice) and frijoles (beans). This poetic approach makes for an evening of surprises. The number of courses varies but is typically around seven to nine.
—From $75 | 3115 22nd St. | (415) 757-0994
2. Coco Frio
3. Michael Mina
5. The ProgressState Bird Provisions next door, preside over a changing list of options for what they describe as a “choose your own adventure tasting menu.” Diners select a minimum of six courses to design their personal tasting menu, but can add as many extra ones as they want. International flavors are frequently combined in a way that could only happen in Northern California. Italian corno di toro pepper stuffed with sea urchin and anchovy, for example, or Spanish lamb merguez sausage with yellow-eye beans, octopus, and crispy squid. Reservations can be tough to get, but it's worth the effort. Alternatively, if you don’t mind the possibility of eating while standing, you can walk in without a reservation and dine at the bar, space permitting.
Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.
If you want to stay current on what's happening in the San Francisco dining and entertainment scenes, check out Tamara's weekly AFAR Local column
more from afar