Fresca Noe Valley has its act together
I've been to Fresca in my neighborhood four times since they opened back in May. The first time was pretty much a disaster for food and service (e.g., ceviches arriving after we're halfway done with entrees). But things have steadily improved and the last two times have been great. I've posted before that Fresca Fillmore was my favorite Nuevo Peruano restaurant in SF, and I think Noe is now its equal.
Unfortunately the website is down so I can't provide exact dish names. But here's my best shot at my favorites: the ceviches (especially the halibut "5 Elementos"), causa cangrejo (a composed stack of crab, potato, and avocado), coconut fried shrimp, mahi mahi entree, halibut entree, and chupe de mariscos are all excellent. The only dishes I can recall not liking was the black ceviche (the texture of the squid was perfect, but there was almost no ink) and the wonton-like appetizer. I didn't care for the lomo saltado on my first visit, but since everything else has improved I think it's worth revisiting. I think the Soutomaior Albariño is a great match with the ceviche and other seafood dishes.
The place is packed every night, so I recommend making a reservation. It's also very noisy--easily the most boisterous restaurant in Noe. The occasional wailing baby (this is Noe after all) is usually drowned out by the rest of the noise. Some of the tables are arranged rather awkwardly in the middle of the room, so I suggest asking for a table along the wall, at the ceviche bar, or for maximum privacy one of the alcove banquets.
I am going to respectfully disagree with the quality of food at this restaurant. While the atmosphere is really cool, bar scene is happening, and the drinks are very good. I had a pisco sour which is excellent. The food itself was very average to almost inedible. I thought it would have been better based on the popularity of the place. My ceviche was rubbery and difficult to swallow. The other appetizers were also bland. My husband made me promise never to drag him there again.
Its a shame because it is so popular, Im wondering if we just ordered the wrong things. There are too many great restaurants to try in SF to give places where the food was bad a 2nd chance, although this place is really close to my house. We'll see.
Went last night and I would like to enthusiatically endorse Fresca. Great service, breezy mojitos, lively decor and atmosphere. The crab cake appetizer was small but punchy, with a lovely blue corn filler and lots of soft crabmeat. The loma soltado and paella mariscos were plentiful in their constituent ingredients which were well perpared and possesed a bounty of flavor. $75 for two w/ drinks.