Garlic Galore

Is there any restaurants that you have wanted to try for a long time but never got around to it?

The Stinking Rose is that restaurant for me, it’s a garlic themed restaurant in North Beach that has a serious tourist vibe. Being a huge garlic fan, I felt I had a obligation to try it out. My friend Abby and I made plans for a celebratory dinner and since our original restaurant choice didn’t have reservations, we headed to The Stinking Rose.

North Beach, also known as Little Italy, is a fun district to walk around. All the trees are decorated with lights, it’s close to Financial District so there are a lot of happy hour events and it feels like a small city enclosed within itself. (Look at the Transamerica Building in the background!)

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I found parking a few blocks away, but I was so confused with the parking sign! SF has seriously gotten out of control with the situation. There was four different exemptions and all worded backwards, but it was after 6 so I took a chance and hoped that my car would still be there when I got back.

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The entrance to the restaurant is a garlic themed souvenir shop, selling mugs, t-shirts and all the above; it’s so tacky that it works for them. Of course, the garlic is abundant in the air.

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We were seated in a booth and there was a serious case of mood lighting going on. I was seeing everything through rose colored glasses (and I’m not talking about the idiom).

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All the lights in the booth area had red bulbs in them, it made our evening more romantic than we imagined. The culprit?

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Abs and I did a family styled dinner since we both had similar ideas of what to order. The first thing to come to our table was the Bagna Calda, which was garlic cloves oven roasted in olive oil and butter. They also served focaccia bread with it to dip. (It was literally a tub of olive oil and garlic!)

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We made little bread sandwiches by cutting a hole in the bread and filling it all up with garlic.

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Our appetizer was mussels (for her) and shrimp (for me) roasted on a iron cast skillet. Yep, you guessed right, there was a lot of garlic involved.

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Finally, the entree we shared was the (should of been) impressive 40 clove roasted chicken served with mash potatoes. I have to say I was a little disappointed; maybe the kitchen was having a bad day, but it tasted like an overpriced Cheesecake Factory.

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I am happy that we went to this restaurant so I can get it off my list. However, I will probably not come back, just because there are so many other other options in this delightful city that I haven’t given a shot yet.

I felt like I had garlic oozing out of my pores and wanted to cleanse my palate and I knew the perfect solution. There are cafes on almost every block and who doesn’t get gelato or pastries when they are in Little Italy?

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I picked the dark chocolate gelato, it really hit the spot with it’s richness.

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Buon appetito!

What restaurants have you been wanting to try? Are you a gelato or sorbet fan?

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