Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 25, 2021
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Where to eat when in San Francisco

Dr Peter Mucalov is still reeling from the potent appeal of a garlic restaurant

The humble garlic bulb is the star attraction on the menu at San Francisco’s famous Stinking Rose Restaurant. Located in the Italian quarter in the heart of North Beach, the Stinking Rose is unique in that almost everything on the menu is flavoured with fresh garlic. The owners boldly proclaim: “We season our garlic with food.”

The restaurant occupies three adjoining premises, each with its own decor. Although we liked the private cubicles, draped in velvet curtains and lit with Victorian chandeliers, we chose a seat in the crowded, livelier section. The bold blood-red walls, the ceiling hung with hundreds of Chianti bottles, the room dividers of braided bottle corks, the numerous weirdly-shaped Italian olive oil bottles perched on narrow shelves and the dimly lit candles all contributed to a mysterious and decadent atmosphere.

To start, we chose the bagna calda, a hot skillet of oven-roasted garlic floating in a bath of olive oil, butter and anchovy. We spread this potent treat on house-baked buns. We decided on the California Fetzer Cabernet Sauvignon, declining the Château de Garlic white wine (I kid you not).

My soup-loving dinner guest chose a delicious roasted garlic, potato and onion soup and I savoured the garlicky hummus cocktail with oven-roasted tomatoes and garlic crostini. For our main courses, we were tempted with Silence of the Lamb Shank and Forty Clove Garlic Chicken but instead ordered Italian Garlic Meatloaf and Garlic Encrusted Baby Back Ribs. These hearty choices could only be justified knowing that a 10-minute walk uphill to our hotel on Russian Hill lay ahead.

After so much garlicky food, we could not be tempted with the garlic ice-cream! In step with good old American marketing know how, the exit for The Stinking Rose is through the garlic gift shop. I passed on the jars of garlic delicacies but accepted a souvenir menu with an invitation to become a member of

The Stinking Rose
325 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA
Tel : (415) 781-7673

Dinner for two about $60 (breath mints not included)

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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