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Anyone tried Loló? SF

I walked by Loló tonight w/ some friends, one of whom ate there earlier this week. He said it was fantastic - mentioned some type of fried shrimp/jicama dish and a duck dish I think.....we peaked in, the place looks really great. As we were looking in, one of the staff opened the door to speak to us. Very friendly, he said the first week had gone pretty well...they'll be closed tomorrow (Tueday) but open after that. Food is Mexican fusion I guess, the owners own (or previously owned?) restaurants in Guadalajara? I don't have all the facts straight I don't think, someone can fill in the blanks....

I can't find any website for them, their address is 3230 22nd St. (between Mission and Valencia.

I'm hoping to try it soon, wanted to see if anyone has any reports so far.

Dave MP

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  1. Is this the place right next to Vogalonga? I could not figure out WHAT the cuisine was going to be by the decor...

    1. Hmmm ... I read it was Turkish though some of the dishes mentioned seemed pure fusion ... arugula with dried cherries, goat and feta cheese ... also they are going for local and organic.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        I just read the two yelp reviews from this weekend....very good reports. Sounds like you are right - turkish influence, but fusion of lots of cuisines using local ingredients. I think I am correct that the owners are from Mexico and owned (own?) restaurants there, though the food is not necessarily Mexican influenced.

        Dave MP

        1. re: Dave MP

          PS Dave, 24th Street BART tamale lady is out and about...

      2. I just read about this place and the owners own trendy restaurants in Guadalajara, MX. I know that their restaurant iLatina has been open in Guadalajara for a few years now. It sounds interesting so I'll try to check it out soon.

        1. Tried Lolo last night -- it's really impressive.

          The cuisine is a fusion of Latin American with Turkish/Mediterranean. All the ingredients are local and organic. Incredibly fresh.

          Panko-encrusted fried Shrimp wrapped in jicama -- Exceptional. Never had anything like it. The thinly sliced jicama serves as the tortilla, and the shrimp was perfectly cooked.

          Scallops -- Again, perfectly cooked. The scallops melt in your mouth, and the sauce is incredibly flavorful yet subtle.

          Calamari -- Wonderfully fried, yet light and not greasy at all. Once again, the sauce paired perfectly with the squid.

          Flank Steak -- Tender and cooked to perfection. So flavorful.

          The space is completely redesigned from the days of Vogalonga -- the room on the right now includes a bar with about 10 seats, a great addition to the restaurant.

          When we dined at Lolo, it was 3/4 full, but I don't expect that to last much longer. It's going to be packed soon, especially on the warm nights you can sit outside and enjoy the food. The unique decor and friendly service just added to the experience.

          Glad I live a block away.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dobalina

            Can you give an idea of prices and portions? How many people were in your party, how much did you eat/drink and what was the total cost?

            Thanks a lot for your report, I'm glad to hear this place is good!

            Dave MP

            1. re: Dave MP

              I think the most expensive thing on the menu was the flank steak priced at $18. The other plates (starters) -- scallops, calamari, and shrimp -- were priced around $9 - $12, I believe. So, those four dishes and a bottle of wine cost approximately $80 (wine was $30). Very fair pricing and the proportions were good size. Actually, we probably ordered a bit too much food, but it was good we finished every last bite.

          2. Last night:

            Octopus carpaccio with cumin and smoked paprika appetizer was delicious. Lots of lemon to balance the strong seasoning and the octopus was tender.

            Fried shrimp in jicama tacos was really interesting. The jicama was sliced really thin and provided a nice refreshing crunch instead of the usual corn tortilla.

            Duck confit was in a build-your-own taco format. A little boring but tasty.

            Had a really nice, bright Austrian white (not reisling) on the rec of the waiter.

            The staff were really friendly and attentive. The decor is really fun. You can tell someone had a great time putting it together. Prices are reasonable.

            Nice to see something cute and a bit edgy like this on 22nd Street!

            1. We went last night and had a fabulous time. This is the best new restaurant I've tried in a while.

              We started with the shrimp and jicama appetizer, which was stunning, and arugula salad with goat cheese and cherries, which was quite good, but couldn't match the shrimp. I wish we had ordered two servings of it.

              For mains, we split venison carpaccio and a flank steak served with a fruity dipping sauce. Both meats were moist, flavorful and perfectly cooked--we ordered the steak medium rare and it was spot-on. There was only one dessert: a coffee-flavored confection that was like tiramisu, but not--a bit more similar to a pudding, with chocolate coated beans in the bottom.

              Overall, service was friendly, prices were reasonable (about $100 with tip and a bottle of ~$30 wine) and I will definitely return.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pane

                Thanks for the report back. What was the atmosphere like? Is it very noisy? (when I hear 'edgy' I get a little nervous....)

                Sounds like it has potential to be one answer to Oakjoan's question from a few days ago:


                1. re: susancinsf

                  I would describe the decor as "funky," by which I mean mismatched fabrics, seagull-shaped mirrors on the wall, interesting colors. When we were there (pretty early--6:30?) there was no one else in the main dining room, which only had 2-3 tables, but people were sitting in the tables out front, and it seemed like there might be patio seating out back.

                  A woman, I think the wife of the/a chef, was there with a well-mannered baby, who made a few baby peeps. Not that this question was asked, but I think this might be a good place to bring a baby for an early dinner in the main dining room, because you're two steps from the exit if you need to take a short walk to calm him or her down.

                  Lolo seemed to me a "neighborhoody" restaurant, in the best sense of that not-quite-a-word. Reasonable prices, great food, friendly service, and everything from the decor to the menu options seemed to match with the eclectic vibe of the Mission.

              2. Last night I went back with a different set of friends who wanted to try lolo. We ordered the huitlacoche gyoza, shrimp in jicama, heirloom tomatoes with oil atop a soft cheese, flank steak with peach sauce, and the shrimp entree. To drink, we had a bottle of sparkling shiraz.

                Again, the shrimp and jicama appetizer and flank steak were out of the park.

                I wasn't familiar with huitlacoche, which the server explained as a type of fungus that grows on corn. It was mixed with cheese and served in gyoza. I liked the earthy flavor, but this wasn't as much of a sensation to me as the shrimp and jicama, which I intend to order every time I'm here. The gyoza wrapper was a little to thick for my taste; I think I would have enjoyed the subtly smoky flavor of the fungus more in a different preparation.

                The shrimp entree was grilled, I think, and served alongside a pile of sliced raw vegetables. The shrimp were fresh and flavorful, but as a matter of taste I prefer steak to shrimp any day.

                Again, there was only one dessert, and it was a coffee tiramisu thing, which we skipped. I wish they would offer 2-3 dessert options or a sweet option plus a cheese plate. This is the only downfall for me.

                I love the warm service, smart menu, and (as described on Yelp) Almodovar-like decor.

                3 Replies
                1. re: pane


                  3234 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I went a day or two ago and also thought the food was impressive. Solid well executed cooking that matches the creativity of the flavor matching/fusion. I had the tacos on sliced jicama, the octopus carpaccio and the gyoza and would probably say the latter two were solid and the first was very good. We had the fried duck confit tacos, duck tacos seem to be very en vogue right now, but these were very good to excellent and I would order again with no hesitation. We also had the flank steak that was good meat, nicely cooked with apettizing sauce. I give the cooking staff a lot of credit for being innovative and different while also executing at a high level, which is often times rare, especially in a new restaurant.

                  2. re: pane

                    I was there last night and they offered two desserts, both of which we tried and both of which were fantastic. The tiramisu-thing was a three-layered concoction: espresso beans at the bottom, tiramisu in the middle and a chocolate layer on top. The second dessert was a layered mascarpone/quince which was both fruity and delicious.

                    I loved this place. Its the first new restaurant I've been excited about in a while. The salmon was the standout appetizer for me, cooked very rare and tender with a light breading and sauces.

                    I also talked to the staff a bit. For what its worth, they are all from Guadalajara - cooks and waitresses.

                  3. Hi, I tried Lolo a few days ago. Just had a few appetizers. My favorite was the octopus (served flat) - nicely flavored although I wish that we had been given more of it. The calamari was very fried, nicely spiced, but I wish it hadn't been so crispy which by the way was accompanied by a fabulous tasting dipping sauce. I also ordered scallops - they only give you two for $9.50. I think for the price - it would have made more sense to give 3.

                    I definitely look forward to returning to this restaurant to try the other food items.

                    I too haven't been able to locate a website for this restaurant.

                    There are two sections. I sat in the quieter one that has the open kitchen. It was great not dining in a noisy restaurant where there was no struggle hearing my dining partner or the servers.

                    The menu is kind of limited but maybe in the future they will include more food selections.

                    1. I think it's an odd place, especially the menu. Found the atmosphere noisy rather than intimate, and the service not entirely professional. That said, they definitely know how to cook.

                      I had the shrimp jicama appetizer and the venison carpaccio, which was delicious but served with mismatched, overly sweet portobello chips. I also tried dessert, which was a creamy thing with chocolate-covered espresso beans (didn't see a menu) that I didn't love and was pricey considering the other selections.

                      Wine selections were interesting. I drank a glass of a very tasty Shiraz-Viognier from Australia. Overall, I wasn't sure what to make of Lolo. I spent nearly $60, liked the food if not the menu descriptions, but felt it didn't quite come together.

                      I'd definitely cut them slack for being new and return with a few people, to try more of the selections.

                      1. For those of you who are fans of Lolo's decor, you can buy the furniture....


                        Reupholstered and restored pieces from the ’30s through the ’70s fill Lorena Zertuche’s Dogpatch showroom (as well as her Turk-Mex restaurant in the Mission). Loco details include worker’s galoshes for table legs, mirrors adorned with Cloralex bleach bottles, and dresser pulls made from eagle knobs found on Mack truck gear shifts.

                        (info from Daily Candy email)

                        1. One of the owners has had restaurants in Guadalajara and the other has a Turkish background. The server explained that most of the items come from favorites at the Guadalajara restaurants. I agree the menu is a little all over the board, there's mole, poblano curry and then panko/pistachio encrusted salmon with a sauce of wasabi and soy.

                          I second the recs for the octopus tiradito and huitlacoche dumplings. I had never had huitlacoche before, it was described as a Mexican corn truffle or mushroom/fungus that grows in the corn, I loved the subtle smokey flavor. Another standout was the peach and strawberry mole which came with the steak, it was flavorful and not sweet as we had suspected. We enjoyed everything and will return. Below is the menu and some photos.



                          1 Reply
                          1. re: wanderlust21

                            Wow. I missed this thread -- I definitely want to check this place out!

                            As for huitlacoche, the English word for "huitlacoche" is actually "corn smut" -- it's considered a blight, although now that it's become a trendy gourmet item and some farmers have started deliberately infecting portions of their crops. Of course, it's been traditionally eaten in Mexico -- I suspect it was the time-honored custom of peasants making a delicacy out of necessity when their precious corn crop was infected. If you've ever seen a picture you know it's not appetizing at first glance!