Great experience overall. The food, sevice, and ambiance was excellent! A little on the pricey side but definitely worth trying.
Everything we ate was fantastic. Very creative food. Here's the rundown of what we ate:
Hamachi tostadas with salsa macha, trout roe and cured yolk - what a great way to start. The tostadas were about the size of a large cracker and there were four of them per order. The fish was delicate and the roe provided a nice brininess to each bite. It came with some habanero pickled onions that we just kept getting more of throughout the meal!
Squid, new potatoes, roasted bell pepper and herbs - grilled squid with potatoes is a taste that I love, This version didn't disappoint. It came with a habanero emulsion that sneaks up on you.
Quesadillas with mushrooms, nettles and requesón - Requesón is a type of cheese. These looked more like empanadas than what many people familiarly know as quesadillas but they were insanely good.
Black cod en pipián with grilled onion - Served with tortillas so you can create your own fish tacos. We brought the pickled onions back out for this course!
Sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra - eating this dish reminds me of the first time I saw The Matrix. I was like "wha? how? did they?" This dish will blow your mind. Order it.
Great. Always amazing service and food. Lovely front of house staff.
The food is so unique, days later I am still dreaming about the Cauliflower and the squid with sweet potato!
This was a wonderful destination for a small group (5) on a special occasion. The servers were very helpful in navigating the menu and accommodating our mixed dietary preferences, which included some vegetarianism. Would love to return for another special occasion!
Food was good but no reAl stand outs. We had crab tostados, trout tostados, ling cod sopes and “rock cod for two.” The last fish had very little flavor and arrived with four tiny corn tortillas for two people, no toppings. Very very plain tasting. Even with the two preparations. Too many other great restaurants in this city. I probably won’t return. Very good service though.
Dining at Cala was a food adventure. The dishes were beautiful, gracefully served, and delicious.
I went with a 6 people for my birthday, and we all shared dishes from the four sections of the menu. It was a great way to try as much as we could. Everything was DELICIOUS. Highlights include the sopes, the quesadillas which are more of an empanada, the sweet potato, and the opah salpicon. The flan was equisite. The cocktails were great especially the mezcal and sotol drinks. Having been to Contramar, the sister restaurant in Mexico City we enjoyed it even more because we could compare the two. Cala is more casual overall than Contramar, and the service at Contramar cannot be beaten. I recommend watching the documentary A Tale of Two Kitchens about both restaurants to build excitement for your visit to either restaurant.
Wonderful insightful food. Great industrial space. The service was amazing! The price point is high but a treat a once in awhile...
Delitfood in a lovely setting with exemplary service.
Ambiance was great. Food felt very overpriced for the portion size. Limited menu items if you do not eat seafood so hard to go out with a group unless everyone enjoys seafood
Great ambience. Food service and tempo
Creative take on Mexican in a cool setting. All of our dishes were standouts - the sweet potato, opah, brassicas and coconut flan. The hamachi tostados were good, but the other dishes were excellent. Re: the brassicas, I think creative and new presentations of veg always impress me.
Quality has gone way down. Very overpriced. The push for mezcal is unfortunate and I really didn't like it.
Excellent food for San Francisco, though not as great as Contramar (chef's other restaurant in Mexico City). Could be an awesome pre-Davies-Symphony-Hall spot if it was easy to get reservations. Superb Hamachi tostadas, Kampachi ceviche - fresh with interesting flavor/texture combo. That reminds me of Contramar a little. Loved the mushroom empanada, though the very yummy sauce is also very spicy. Be warned. Good Camaronillas (shrimps with carnitas filling) but it's just like empanadas (we didn't know that.) Whole rock fish is fun and maybe a tab overly done but still very good. The accompanying tortillas were tender, HOT (temperature), and deeply corny. You rarely get quality like here. The prices include tax and services so they may "appear" pricey, but it's actually not.
Excellent food, ambiance, and service as always!
The food was technically well thought out, proteins cooked well, just missing a punch of flavor across the board. The aioli's were fatty in flavor, with no acid to help the dishes that it was served with. The Dungeness crab was meaty but the habanero pickles did not the lack of zest. Overall, the boys in the group joked that for $300 they needed to get burritos after. It was 3 adults - 3 drinks - 6 dishes . Overall some might question value for money, but, if money is no big deal a good place to check out.
Spectacular food! Excellent service and they went out of their way to make our experience great! Will definitely come back for a special occasion.
Incredible, the food, the drinks, and the service were impeccable. Also love that they hire many ex-cons and pay an actual living wage for SF. Does make for a pricey meal though. We’ll definitely be back.
We had a wonderful birthday dinner at Cala. Food and service were great! Love the feel of the place! Highly recommended!
Great experience from start to finish. Amazing service, menu was explained in great detail, food quality is just out of this world. Great place for conversation, ambience is great.
Really I’m out of words to explain the great time we had
Three of us went to Cala on Friday night. The wait staff were very personable and helpful and the food was very good. But the price of the food was outrageously expensive for what it was. We shared four appetizers and a $24 tamal and each had one alcoholic drink. The bill was $227.85!. The restaurant included a 20% gratuity in the bill and didn't tell us in advance. The waiter twice delivered food to our table that wasn't what we ordered. the place is very, very loud. If money is not an issue, give it a chance.
A disappointing visit overall. Our server had been there a little more than one month yet did not know the menu; he was not able to answer basic questions (including asked about a type of fish and describe a dish’s preparation) and did not offer or bother to ask another staff member or have someone else answer our questions. Of four dishes we shared, two were did not seem well balanced in terms of acid and textures. The other two were just okay. Maybe the B team was in the kitchen?
Great food although choices a bit limited. Portions good for the quality. A little bit loud for conversation around the table. Definitely worth going to again for the very interesting combinations and flavors.
It was my first time at a Mexical restaurant & we all really enjoyed the atmosphere & food. The drinks are spectacular & it’s an ideal place for a night out with friends.
Had a wonderful experience celebrating a birthday here. The service was outstanding & food + drinks were perfect. It’s pricey but worth going for the experience and ambiance.
Afraid to recommend too highly for fear of not getting in next time. We sat at the bar--not a bad idea--and received smooth but not unctuous service including a valuable lesson in tequila. Food was outstanding--the fredo seco was a revelation (toasty pasta served with aioli and clams, you mix it all together); frito misto was the best I've ever had (light, perfectly fried); coconut flan was otherwordly if a bit sweeter than most flans. Only complaint (which turned out not to be an issue) is that despite a reservation we were not offered a table.
I love the bartenders and wait staff!
Everything about Cala shines! Great, contemporary Mexican food. Warm, friendly staff. Pleasant, laid-back ambiance, even though it is a busy restaurant. The crab tostadas and the ling cod with pickled shallots were my favorites, but each dish was delicious, unique, appealingly presented, with a bit of a twist. We ate mostly small plates. Our waitperson was soooo helpful. Pricey but absolutely worth it!
Love this place!! Service is always incredibly amazing. Wish I could be best friends with every single person on their staff.
I made reservation 2 weeks ahead. Then 2 days before Open Table cancelled my reservation ( which I was very annoying! I called the restaurant 3 tines to find someone. I made another reservation for 7:45. We got there at 7:35 and we did not get seated until 8:20!! Our waitress was VERY inattentive! The time between our appetizers and entres was about 30minutes! Unacceptable! The price tag was way too high and gratuity was automatically added at 20% which added to my annoyance since we could not do anything about the subpar service. They started to breakdown the tables as we were eating!! Overall? I would not go back there and I had couple food critics from NYC with me!
Great wait staff, creative menu, tasty meals, and inviting ambiance!
Really lovely, high end Mexican food. The seafood really shines here. Drinks, wine, dessert were all excellent, too. Very good service, lovely atmosphere, not too loud. I look forward to returning.
We live on the SF Peninsula and this is our go to spot in SF. We bring guests from around the world to this wonderful little restaurant. The food is always delicious, the staff is attentive and the mood is always high. Our last experience was on my wife's birthday in mid-January. We came with our family of 7 and two relatives from outside the US. We sat at the community table and, perhaps to the chagrin of the restaurant, spent a long time there. Never once did we feel rushed and they got us everything we needed quickly. The drinks are unusual in their composition but everyone I drank was something I had not had before and good.
Go here. You won't regret it.
Second time we’ve dined in the last 6 months and the menu and food is disappointing.
Nothing we choose has great taste- very bland.
We use to love dining at Cala with the early menus.
Will give this time to sort out and return if the menu changes because everything else about the restaurant is great!
Every bite is amazing. You must have the trout tostadas and the sweet potato!
Great service. We were a part of 9 which would require a semi private room reservation, a prix-fixe menu and $1000 minimum. However, they accommodated us, last minute, in the regular dining area to allow us to order a-la carte. The food was great especially grilled oysters, rockfish, and the bay shrimp. It's pricey but it's worth your experience.
The best part of this experience was the ambiance. We had heard great things about the food - however we were quite disappointed. I don’t know if we ordered the wrong dishes or what but the sparse presentation with simple seasoning surely didn’t stand out. It was a high ticket dinner with minimum satisfaction. We did enjoy the mezcal margaritas. Better luck next tine if we decide to return - no decision yet.
I was there to celebrate my birthday. I was fairly excited, as I love Contramar in Mexico City. However, it was a subpar in comparison to the mother restaurant and even past visits to Cala. As soon as we entered, the host greeted us and promptly took our party of two to a table set for four that was right next to a server station. After asking for a different table as it was a celebratory evening, we were told that we couldn’t sit anywhere else because he was saving the other tables for a party of four and a “VIP to the restaurant.” After pointing out that our table could actually accommodate four and seat them there instead, he said, “they wouldn’t be as comfortable there.” I stood there absolutely astounded. As if growing older isn’t uncomfortable enough, nothing sets the tone worse for your own birthday celebration than being told that you are not important enough to be comfortable.
Management tried to salvage the night , but the ugly taste was in our mouths. That being said, the food had highs and lows. All three tostadas are still incredible, with the trout tostadas being a stellar knock out. They are on par with the standards of Contramar and true to the spirit of chef Cámara. Some of the other dishes didn’t shine as bright. We got 2 of the 3 sopes and the masa (or dough) had a great consistency and texture, but the fillings were a touch uninspired. The veggie ones were just over powered with too much black bean purée and the pork ones were just... too easy. A giant chunk of de facto carnitas is just trite and nothing you can’t get in the mission for 20 bucks cheaper. I would have liked to see a mole dry rub or sous vide with a cochinita pibil brine, an element of creativity. We ordered the mushroom quesadillas and were given what are clearly empanadas. But the worst dish was the tamale. The masa’s fat ratio is too high for the banana leaves they wrap them in, which tend to keep in moisture (compared to corn husks which can absorb it) and it was just mushy.