Al’s Place Restaurant San Francisco’s Newest Gem & Bon Appetit Restaurant Of The Year
For those of you that follow food you have definately heard of Al’s Place. Probably since most recently it was awarded Bon Appetit’s Restaurant of the Year. Thank goodness I visited before that esteemed award was given out as I imagine it’s even more impossible to get a reservation now for very good reason.
What is Al’s Place & who is Al: Al’s Place is a fairly new restaurant which opened in February of 2015 within San Francisco’s Mission District. It is led by Chef & Owner Aaron London (A.L.).
What is Chef Aaron’s background: Prior to opening Al’s Place Chef Aaron was cooking at Napa’s Ubuntu. At Ubuntu he worked his way up starting as a line cook excelling to executive chef during his four-year tenure. Aaron cooking started at a young age, approximately 14 and has since ventured out of California’s Sonoma area to cook in New York, Paris, Montreal amongst other cities.
What is the scene and feel like: As evident from the pictures shown, and if you visit yourself you’ll see, Al’s Place is very clean and simple, yet refined. Nothing is over done, and each detail whether the plates, the simple modern chairs, the light fixtures, or the bright blue door with the orange Al’s Place logo fits in perfectly. It really feels like an artist created the restaurant. This is probably the case, suspecting that Chef Al had a huge impact on the look and feel of his new restaurant. You can tell I’m a big fan of this style, Chef Al and his amazing team and the food coming out of Al’s Place.
What is the menu like: Part of what differentiates Al’s Place from a typical restaurant is that the menu isn’t about meats or fishes as the mains, it’s the opposite. The meats are positioned as Hot Sides complimenting the other delicious Snackles (bite size starters), Cold/Cool & Warm/Hot Dishes. So really, think of what would traditionally be a Main as a Side at Al’s and the traditional sides as mains.
How was the food: The food was amazing. The portions are perfect. Not too large and not too small. I have to admit I was wondering if I’d be hungry after the meal since the majority of the Mains are not heavier meats, however, that was not the case. We tried a few Snackles, a few Cold/Cool & Warm/Hot Dishes and still had room for dessert. Read more below to hear my thoughts on the amazing meal, the team and the experience at Al’s Place.
Cheers I was so excited to be visiting Al’s Place after hearing about it for months… Read below to see what I thought of the meal!
Starting off dinner with some bubbles. My dining pal and dear friend Sarah of The Aussie Who Ate The Big Apple and I ran into an old friend Timmy who was amazing and took fabulous care of us….
Chef Aaron London (aka Chef Aaron) swinging by the table with our first course of Snackles including Beets & Chilled Corn Husk with Cherry Tomatoes. If you go early in the night before they’re swamped most likely Chef Aaron will run the dishes to your table. As the night progressed it looked like he was mostly in the kitchen with the servers assisting with delivering dishes to the tables.
The gorgeous radishes with tasty salted butter. I loved the simplicity of this dish. The radish greens were perfectly ripe so we ended up eating the entire radish.
The chilled corn husk chawanmushi, cherry tomato snackles.
One of our Cold/Cool dishes, the Squash, Crushed Rasberry, Fig Leaf Oil, Burrata & Almonds. The sweet Rasberrys paired lovely with the mild tasting Squash and Burrata really letting the fruit and the fig tastes stand out.
Another Cold/Cool dishes, Baby Lettuces with Avocado. A salad that Chef Aaron suggests you eat using your hands. Ok, I’ll give it a try you’re the boss Chef Aaron!
Going for it and eating the salads with my hands. I have to agree with Chef Aaron, it was so light and delicate, no need for a fork!
Salmon, Heirloom Tomato Cioppino Sauce.
Moving onto the Warm/Hot dishes starting with the Peach Stone Fruit Curry
This dish was wonderful. The Curry had a comfort food feel to it mixed with black lime-cod, green bean, and blueberrys. Quite an unexpected pairing but it was divine!
Another warm/hot dish the Campanelle, Heirloom Tomato, Goat’s Gouda & Basil. For a girl who loves pasta this may have been one of my favorite dishes. It was quite simple, the pasta, tomato basil and cheese yet all the flavors were so vivid and tasty.
Chef Aaron swung by to say good night with our dessert and I suggested he take a seat for once and see what it’s like dining at his fabulous restaurant. He’s adorable and was getting a kick out of my photo shoot!
A huge thank you to Chef Aaron, Timmy and the rest of the team at Al’s Place. You really made my first (of many) visits into Al’s Place phenomenal. I understand why Bon Appetit awarded you Best Restaurant of The Year. Kudos on a job well done and I can’t wait to see you grow and settle in more as you almost celebrate your first anniversary.