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Good Gastropub Recs

jlrobe Nov 29, 2009 08:49 PM

I want the brilliant food and beer list of Nopa, but the atmosphere and pub feel of magnolia bar and monks kettle.

I really did not care for the quality of the food at magnolia bar, but the atmosphere, menu, concept, and drinks were perfect.

I love the atmosphere, drinks at monk's kettle, and the menu is pretty good, but like magnolia, the food was just not up to snuff.

I here La Trappe is cool, but it is very belgain focused (obviously).

Are there any other good recs for gastropubs with the atmosphere of alembic, magnolia, and monk's kettle, but with far better food?


  1. Robert Lauriston Nov 30, 2009 08:16 AM

    Luka's in Oakland. Belgian-centric.

    Henry's in Berkeley.

    I haven't been to Meridian in Berkeley except to walk in and be put off by the loud music and numerous televisions, but the menu looked interesting.

    I haven't been to Tipsy Pig or Bistro Gambrinus.

    I'm not sure if Suppenküche or Schmidt's count. Not as pub-like as Magnolia, anyway.

    I wouldn't call Alembic or Urban Tavern gastropubs as to me the first requirement is a great selection of beer on tap.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      DavidT Nov 30, 2009 08:38 AM

      Does the Wood Tavern in Oakland qualify as a gastro-pub?

      1. re: DavidT
        Robert Lauriston Nov 30, 2009 08:46 AM

        Dubious. They have maybe half a dozen great beers on tap, but also a great wine list and full bar. It definitely feels like a restaurant rather than a pub, especially when it's full.

        Same goes for A Cote, which has an excellent Belgian bottle list.

        http://acoterestaurant.com/menus/spir... (scroll down to the bottom for beers)

    2. Shane Greenwood Nov 30, 2009 11:12 AM

      Refuge in San Carlos certainly qualifies for the food and good beer list.

      1. Robert Lauriston Nov 30, 2009 11:29 AM

        Yesterday's Chron review is of a gastropub called Ironside by the same people who own District.


        1. Melanie Wong Nov 30, 2009 04:33 PM

          I liked the food at Martins West in Redwood City, but haven't been back after it finally got its liquor license. Anyone care to update?

          Martins West
          831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA 94063

          3 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong
            bbulkow Dec 1, 2009 03:55 PM

            I think Martin's West is good but not great. Inventive, interesting, tasty, but I think it's somewhere between Magnolia and Nopa in quality, probably closer to Magnolia. From what I've heard.

            (They should patent Haggis-on-a-stick though)

            The Refuge in San Carlos might be the one example of great food. I just don't know if the non-pastrami items reach the dizzying heights of the pastrami. Nor, frankly, do I care. (Pastrami. Cheeseburger. Do I have to draw you a freaking map!?!?!)

            1. re: bbulkow
              bbulkow Dec 13, 2009 02:12 AM

              I will now say "hush my mouth" to myself. Had a great meal at Martin's West. Scottish Eggs were brilliant. Quail eggs encrusted with smoked ham deep fried. I could eat these by the bucket. Crab fennel pasta was quiet good - the pasta had a nice spring, and I'd have wanted more crab but they used it to create a glorious richness and there were some serious chunks. Chicken pot pie was hilarious. A massive chicken breast between two small bits of light filo dough. I rarely order chicken because it's often dull but this was perfect - a great chicken taste - and all the other bits brought the dish together. Desert had little to do with the description, ended up being a massively rich brownie that was apparently made with guiness, or maybe it was the dab of guiness ice cream, and something like a home made graham cracker that was 95% butter. Awesome. Also about only half full on a friday night, so plenty relaxing. One cocktail was great (involved pear and violet), the classic Manhattan was out of balance. We were out the door for $65 with tax and tip, which I thought a bargain given the quality.

              1. re: bbulkow
                Melanie Wong Dec 15, 2009 11:17 PM

                Thanks for the update on Martins West. I loved those Scotch eggs though they were wrapped with sausage the time I had them.

                I've been meaning to get back to The Refuge to try the housemade charcuterie.

                The Refuge
                963 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA 94070

                Martins West
                831 Main Street, Redwood City, CA 94063

          2. v
            vulber Nov 30, 2009 05:25 PM

            La Trappe's menu is fairly Americanized. Sure, they do the Belgian classics like frites and mussels, and they do a damn good job. But they still have burgers, salads, and the like.

            Also, I've found the various sandwiches/burgers at Monk's Kettle to be delicious, it's the higher-end stuff that's a little weaker.

            I'm actually craving a lamb burger right now....

            Alembic also has delicious food IMO.

            Tipsy Pig has good reports food-wise, but negative reports in regards to the obnoxious drunk Marina crowd

            1. c
              chuckl Nov 30, 2009 06:36 PM

              I just had lunch today at the Pig and Whistle on Geary, and it was quite good. Pub food, for sure, but a very high level of quality. My fish and chips were crispy, not greasy and fresh, and my wife's shepherd pie was delicious. They also get props for serving a cask conditioned IPA from Drakes. And the prices were not outrageous. A very good neighborhood pub.

              1. ssfire Dec 13, 2009 10:18 AM

                The fish and chips at Irish Bank are excellent. I've had them on 3 different occasions, and they are consistently awesome. They have Smithwick's on Tap.

                The Irish Bank
                San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA

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