4 Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9411137.795936 -122.400003
Neighborhoods: Financial District, Northeast
Sweeping, whimsical and modern, this southern Mediterranean outpost features breathtaking views of the Ferry Building and Bay. – The Scene
Located in one of the high-rise quadruplets that make up Embarcadero Center, this expansive restaurant's upper-level entrace can be a bit tricky to find. Once inside, the rustic-modern space is surprisingly sizable. Two large, romantic dining rooms arched with wood, brick and stone are joined by a long, curvacious, coppery exhibition kitchen. A 25-seat bar area, wide outdoor patio, and equally spacious private dining room and contemporary lounge could all be separate venues. Decor ranges from masculine (leather armchairs) to whimsical (wall-sconce lights shaped like hands), but the crowning detail is the view: The Ferry Building, Bay Bridge and Bay itself twinkle like a special effect.
The team here is influenced by the tangy cuisine of Turkey, Greece and all over the map of the south Mediterranean, where lamb fish and seafood (and flat parsley) play prominent roles. Starters include giant, crisp-fried olives stuffed with almonds and veal, and lamb merguez sausage with a mound of thick quince-mustard sauce. An herbed, braised lamb shank of medieval proportions looks and tastes impressive, if a bit dry; beneath it, pearl couscous overflows with salty jus. Dessert fans might want to head straight for the aromatic, fruit-inspired creations from pastry chef Shuna Lydon (Aziza, French Laundry).
Hits: The view is fantastic, and the atmosphere is rarefied despite the restaurant's size.
Misses: The ambling layout means greater opportunity for service missteps, and the wide regional swath of cuisines means the same for the food.
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