A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at Wildseed, Marina’s new fully plant-based restaurant on Union Street. As you know we are seeing more and more vegan/plant-based restaurants and dishes pop up, so I was very curious to check this one out. The restaurant is Back of the House’s newest concept, which replaced the old Belga restaurant. While it is plant-based, they do still offer cheese on some of their dishes — though you can of course get it without. Something cute to note is that they offer “Belga Fries” on their menu as an ode to what used to be in the space. My group didn’t order these, but I still thought it was nice.
I was there on a double date when my boyfriend and I were doing Whole30, and they had quite a few Whole30-friendly options on their menu (even dessert!). Sadly, given that we were on this diet, we couldn’t try any of the beautiful cocktails. One in our group got the Pistachio Blossom (bourbon, pear, clover blossom honey, hibiscus, grapefruit, pistachio rim), which looked incredible! My boyfriend and I stuck with a large bottle of sparkling water, which I’m pretty sure was around $10 or something crazy.
For the food, we ordered the following dishes to share:
Ceviche of King Trumpet Mushrooms (leche de tigre, avocado, mango and seeded chips) — Definitely had a very typical ceviche kind of taste to it, loved the combination of avocado and mango.
Beet Poke (macadamia, baby cucumbers, ponzu, sesame & seaweed crackers) — I always enjoy any dish with beets, though I was hoping that this would taste a bit more like poke and a bit less vegetable forward.
Wood Grilled Artichokes with Fine Herb Aioli — Super tasty, can’t go wrong with grilled artichokes.
Wood Grilled Heirloom Carrots (harissa, lemon crema, mint, almonds) — This was on the “sides” section of the menu, but was my favorite of our starters.
Ensalada Andalusia (butter lettuce, red chicories, Marcona almonds, coconut “bacon”, black ash cheese, smoked paprika, honey sherry vinaigrette) — This was easily my favorite dish of the evening! Loved it so much that I wanted to order a second. The “bacon” made from coconut was a standout for me.
For our main, my boyfriend and I split the Impossible Burger protein style on lettuce instead of a bun. It had grilled onions, chipotle aioli and tomatoes. This was good but nothing outstanding — in hindsight I wish we would’ve tried their house Wildseed Burger (mushroom and spinach patty, oven roasted tomatoes, chipotle aioli). Next time! Our friends ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese (Impossible ground, spinach, parmesan; can substitute with gluten-free penne), which they loved.
Last but not least, dessert! To our pleasant surprise, they had an option without added sugar, the “Banana Whip” complete with concord grapes, red wine almond tahini cinnamon sauce, toasted coconut, hemp seeds. This is definitely something I would make at home (over and over again!) using frozen bananas. Loved it.
The restaurant was packed on a Friday at 7:45pm. They don’t take reservations (at least not yet, maybe they will at some point — this is kind of a miss in my opinion), so I would recommend joining the Yelp waitlist as soon as it opens. When we joined we had to wait about 90 minutes for a table, which ended up being perfect with our timing. By the time we were done with our meal the place had cleared out quite a bit. And yes, we saw all the “typical Marina people” you’d expect to see at this kind of establishment — plus the large majority of the diners were women.
Overall, we had a great experience and would certainly go back. We loved the trendy nautical decor and the service was great, plus I’m excited to try out other items (and drinks!) on their menu. They just launched happy hour too, if any of us can ever make it to the Marina by 6pm…
The af&co. team sure was hungry this month! From a new Italian restaurant in the Mission, to reviews of some of SF’s staples, we tasted our way through some of the best that the area (and NYC!) have to offer. Click the links below to read our full reviews of brunch at Foreign Cinema, Mister Jui’s, Matador, Dumpling Time, Great Gold, and Maialino.
We loved everything about our experience. The ambiance to die for. The service prompt, friendly, professional, and kind. The cocktails perfectly balanced. The food as delicious as ever.
I really enjoyed the experience and definitely noticed the staff’s creative efforts in action. Would I go here on a regular basis? No. Instead, I think it is a valuable restaurant to keep on one’s radar when a moment of curiosity and exploration arises.
I have had many different styles of queso in my lifetime, but I can confidently say this was the most interesting queso I’ve ever had.
This was not the kind my mother would quickly whip up on a weeknight, but it tasted just as good and comforting. It was like the carbonara I know got all dressed up and moved to the city.
I’ve found that many dumpling places make their buns incredibly thick, but the bun to pork ratio at Dumpling Time was perfect. The dough was fluffy and sweet with tangy pork inside. I could eat these every single day.
It exuded a welcoming café-like energy in an up-scale environment. The staff were all attentive and knowledgeable and the food spoke for itself with bold Italian flavors leaving a lasting impression.
Last month, I had the pleasure of enjoying brunch at Foreign Cinema for the first time. It was my best friend’s birthday visiting from Washington D.C., and of course I took it upon myself to brainstorm a couple of great places for a girl’s brunch. We landed on Foreign Cinema, which ended up being the perfect spot to celebrate with eight hungry girls.
We made a 1:30pm reservation far in advance and requested to dine on their outdoor patio — truly the ideal location for a birthday celebration. The perfect SF weather with sun beating down — while still covered just enough beneath the patio awning — reminded me (again!) why I love this city so much. In a way, the patio at Foreign Cinema felt like its own oasis away from the craziness of the location. Because I mean let’s face it, that part of the Mission District can be a bit… Much.
We loved everything about our experience. The ambiance to die for. The service prompt, friendly, professional, and kind. The cocktails perfectly balanced. The food as delicious as ever. I started with their Wild at Heart cocktail (loved this name too!) with the intention to order something else later on, but ended up drinking another few of those throughout my meal. It was my ideal cocktail — complete with aperol, dolin blanc, angostura bitters, fresh lemon, bitter lemon tonic and a slice of orange. For our food, we ordered a variety of dishes for the table including the following. Unfortunately, their house Organic Pop Tarts were not part of our order, but I know I’ll be back to get those.
Straus Yogurt with melon, figs, muscat grapes, yogurt, honey, toasted pistachios, mint. I’m personally a big fan of yogurt and fruit bowls, and this one truly tasted like heaven. Loved the addition of mint to top it off.
Lavender Baked Goat Cheese with poached tart cherries, tapenade, radishes, endive and baguette toasts. This one was a fan favorite across the table. I would eat it before all of my meals if I could.
Garden Tomatoes with baby beets, cucumbers, green beans, feta, peppercress, basil, red wine vinaigrette. Tasted like summer on a bowl — can never go wrong with fresh tomatoes and basil.
Plancha of Monterey Calamari with oaxacan mole rojo, chickpeas, lime, aioli, tortilla chips. This one reminded me of something I ordered in Mexico City. The chips were thick cut and divine, with the perfect amount of lime across the full dish.
For our mains, almost everyone ordered something different. I’m a big fan of splitting two larger dishes with someone in my group, and thankfully the birthday girl was too. We ended up sharing the Brunch Bowl with smoked salmon, roasted salmon rillette, farm egg salad, caviar, spelt toast, hummus, arugula, dill, and crema, as well as the Tunisian Shakshuka with baked eggs in slow cooked heirloom tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cumin, chilies, and feta cheese. I don’t think I could pick a favorite out of the two — they were both very different and made for a great pair together.
We were all so stuffed by the end that we didn’t end up saving room for dessert, but the Foreign Cinema team had a special birthday treat in store. They brought out a shaved ice of some sort, which came in a tall cocktail glass with a candle on top and eight small spoons for sharing. Given our collective feelings of fullness, this was a lovely dessert as it was light, refreshing, and easy to eat. We never figured out exactly what it was, as it wasn’t on their regular dessert menu, but concluded that the dessert was something along the lines of melon (honeydew?) shaved ice. What was so unique about it, was how the flavors came through each bite we took. I’ve found that shaved ice often tastes more like ice than the actual flavor it’s supposed to be — or at least towards the end when the flavor runs out — but this one was bursting with real melon and other fruity flavors throughout the entire enjoyment of it. What an incredible end to an incredible birthday experience!
Overall, I would recommend Foreign Cinema for anyone and everyone — especially when there’s a special occasion to celebrate. It’s excellent for groups of all sizes and for all ages. I’m sure a date would be lovely there too.
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