Hi friends, family and followers!!! I’ve taken some time off, but here I am, back in the action. And what better way to start than one of the best restaurants I’ve been to in a while – Cala. Even Michael Bauer, Food Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle entitled his November 2015 article “Could Cala be the Best Mexican Restaurant in the United States?”.
Michael was right when he told his audience that virtually everything on Cala’s seafood-centric menu can’t be found on other menus. There are similarities, like trout tostadas with chipotle, avocado and fried leeks. The raw orange trout melts in your mouth. Then a combination, like mussels over toast with carnitas and shaved egg?? Wow! Who would have thought to combine pork and mussels. Absolutely delicious. Chef/Owner Gabriela Camara has two restaurants in Mexico City, but chose to relocate to San Francisco to oversee construction, two years in the making, and now makes SF her home.
The food at Cala is as beautiful as the taste. Take a look at the charred sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra. Small housemade tortillas are served with it. You smear the tortilla with the spicy salsa, add mashed sweet potato and cotija cheese. Amazingly good. The beautiful rockfish a la talla, the festured image, is boned and fileted with one side covered with a spicy chili verde and the other a mild pesto, also served with tortillas.
The bartenders are amazing and creative. Cala focuses on Mezcal cocktails. There’s a great wine list. We chose the txakolina, a slightly bubbly rose from Basque country.
You would never know that 70% of the staff at Cala are hired through Delancey Street and other rehabilitation centers. That means that many of the staff are working in a restaurant for the first time. As you can see below, I gave Cala a 10 for service. Service is impeccable with all of the staff helping each other. A 20% surcharge, which is becoming quite popular in San Francisco, helps the entire staff boost their pay. It’s nice not to have to think about it, and there isn’t even a tip line on the check when it’s delivered.
Desserts were also quite good. My friend, Scott, thinks that the chocolate ice cream, made at Cala, is the best he’s ever had. It had a delightful, sweet cracker on top, made with quinoa and other grains. You can’t go wrong at Cala. Extraordinary.