Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zuni Cafe


Zuni Cafe is located at the corner of Market Street and Rose Alley in San Francisco, and at the top of my list when visiting the Bay Area.

This Parisian-style cafe has been around since 1979, and offers a menu of French and Italian recipes that changes daily. Sustainability is a priority at the James Beard Award winning restaurant, but perhaps my favorite thing about Zuni is the way its European-inspired environment makes me feel as though its perfectly acceptable to consume several glasses of bubbly before noon.

Oysters: Drake's Bay, Pearl Point and Skookum - $2.50 each

Representing California, Oregon and Washington respectively. Appropriate since our party traces roots back to all three.

Roasted Chicken for two with Tuscan-Style Bread Salad - $48

Moist, juicy, and so fresh, this dish has been on the menu since Zuni's inception 30 years ago! It takes an hour to prepare, which made plenty of time for prosecco.

Devil's Gulch Rabbit Salad with Frisée, Treviso Chicory & Poached Egg - $15.50

Our friend Ryan found this to be a perfect size portion given the eggs benedict he'd already devoured at Cafe de la Press. But somehow he managed to also "help" me with my polenta...

Bowl of Polenta with Marscapone - $6

I love polenta, but with my poor kitchen skills, I don't get many opportunities to eat it. In fact, an attempt to once make it for an ex-boyfriend crashed and burned so badly that I wasn't very surprised when he sent me packing soon after. Fortunately the folks at Zuni know what they are doing, serving their polenta up creamy and smooth, with your choice of marscapone or fresh parmesan on top.

Pizza with Asiago, Rosemary, Portobello Mushrooms and Pine Nuts - $12.50

Good pizza, but nothing special. I found myself missing the cassoulet I'd enjoyed during our previous visit. That said, when split between two people it could make for a very budget-friendly visit to this San Francisco institution.

From our table on the restaurant's loft level I had a birds-eye view of a couple sipping mimosas at a sunny outdoor table. Having just escaped snow in Salt Lake City mere hours earlier, I found the moment quintessential California, and raised my glass in their direction.

- K

While Zuni does seat in their bar on a first-come, first-served basis, reservations are highly recommend, especially when visiting on the weekend.

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

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