Luella San Francisco Reviews
Jan 04, 2008
People visiting from out of town often ask me where to go for a typical San Francisco meal. When I send them to one of my favorite places, they often come back disappointed. They say things like "the food was great, but it wasn't in a Victorian home, or near the cable car, and I didn't see any fisherman slinging live seafood into the kitchen straight off the wharf". Well people, that's not really what a typical San Francisco restaurant is like. But, you can reach a happy medium at a place in Russian Hill called Luella.
First of all, you can take the cable car right to the front door from Fisherman's Wharf. And it's in a cute neighborhood full of Victorian homes. But you won't look like a tourist there and you'll get a taste of what a typical (if there is such a thing) San Francisco restaurant is like. It's a good place for a date, or for a small group of people. Officially the cuisine is "New American" but you might call it "Californian" or "Fusion" as well. The menu is a modern take on several different types of cuisines, Italian, French, and Chinese among them.
I only tasted the pork shoulder braised with coca-cola and the ravioli, but I imagine most of the other dishes are tasty as well. The pork fell straight off the bone. It was extremely tender and seemed like they had slow cooked it for hours. It was similar to a really good Southern BBQ rib. Except the sauce wasn't spicy, more on the sweet side like Chinese BBQ. The ravioli was fresh, made with an interesting combination of ricotta and mint. If you like fancy presentation, this place is top notch. If you don't appreciate blatant attempts to make food look more interesting, prepare to roll your eyes at Luella
The decor is modern, with an open kitchen layout. If you don't like seeing the kitchen staff doing their job (my mom hates this) then this isn't a good pick. It isn't the quietest restaurant in town either. So request a table near the window if you're looking for some more intimate conversation. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Our waitress was an encyclopedia of knowledge about their menu and wine list. She was also quick to refill the wine glasses when someone (in this case me) was running low.
So there you have it, an SF restaurant both locals and tourists could enjoy together. Bring your wallet and your appetite as Zagat would say.
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