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Jul 26, 2007 09:59 AM

laiola report

Dropped into this new spot in the Marina last night with two friends. They do not take reservations, so we showed up early (5:30). There were definitely seats to be had throughout our stay there, but I don't know if this will remain the case, because this place is great!

They are still waiting on their beer & wine license, but you can go around the corner and get a bottle at Nectar for 10% off and they'll pour it for you at the table. Or, use it as an excuse to bring something special from your own wine rack at home. We did both.

All the tables are high tops which I don't mind, but it is a bit unusual. The only bathroom is practically in the kitchen itself which could be a problem as they get busier. The wait staff is casual, but very helpful and friendly. The menu is mostly tapas, I'd say about 15 choices, plus 4 types of charcuterie, 4 larger plates and three desserts.

On to the food---VERY delicious! Best was medjool dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon, served on a wooden skewer. The minute we finished them, and practically still chewing, ordered a second skewer. Also amazing, peaches "a la plancha". Perfectly ripe and flavorful wedges of peach wrapped in jamon and grilled served alongside a tasty, generous pile of tiny arugula. Ordered a second plate of that too. The wild boar salami on the charcuterie plate was awesome, but the other three meats were also delicious. The only misstep was too much dressing on the little gems salad. We had another four tapas plates and then my friends shared a goat's milk cheesecake surrounded by sliced nectarines and topped with crushed pistachios. They ate it in about two minutes.

We all left very happy. Laiola is on Chestnut & Fillmore. Go there soon--this place is going to get crazy busy for sure.

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  1. We ate there at 6:15 Monday and had no problem walking in, but the place was full by the time we left. It deserves to be, too: terrific food, great service, sleek atmosphere.

    They now have their wine/beer license, and the very knowledgeable waiter helped us choose among the Spanish wines, as we were unfamiliar with them. I second unspuncapricorn's views on the stuffed dates and the peaches/jamon. We also loved the garlic flan. My BF loved the sardines -- and I did as much as it is possible for me to love sardines, they are too baitlike for me. The roast pork belly with beans was good -- beans were terrific, pork only fine. Great service.

    1. Nice charcuterie platter but not a lot of meat for $24.

      Chickpeas with blood sausage were pretty good ... suffered by comparison with oven-baked chickpeas at Pizzaiolo earlier in the week.

      Grilled octopus were nice, salad they came with was just OK.

      Tortilla was overcooked, smallish portion.

      Lamb meatballs were good but $9 for four roughly 1-inch balls, ouch.

      Some interesting wines. "By the glass" prices are more reasonable than they look as you get 1/3 of a bottle in a carafe. Reds were way too warm.

      Overall, similar to Cesar but not as good and more expensive. Good enough that if I lived in the neighborhood I'd probably be a semi-regular.

      1. Other Laiola reports:

        2031 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123