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Darwin Cafe -- SOMA - San Francisco

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Stopped by Darwin Cafe today -- it's on Ritch Street, a little alley between Bryant and Brannan and Zoe and Second. The woman who served me said they opened a week ago.

Had an Americano and a Ricotta and homemade apricot jam baguette sandwich. Both were great. The coffee was De La Paz and was done well -- wasn't bitter or too strong. I know coffee preferences can be hopelessly subjective, but this struck me as done well and on par with Four Barrel (the cafe) or Epicenter, which I like. (And yes, which others may not like...)

The apricot jam was yummy too -- more of a soft spread than sticky jam. I didn't ask where the ricotta or bread came from but everything tasted wonderful. They had a salad menu of around four items and a sandwich menu of around five items. Seating at the bar and possibly at tables (hazy memory at this point; I rushed in and out.) I'll definitely go back.

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Darwin Cafe
212 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107

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    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I've been a number of times and taken food groups there. I've had fantastic food and service there compared to say Blue Barn Gourmet where one of the employees chewed me out for bringing in a food tour.

      I've described Darwin as a neighborhood or hidden gem. Easy to get in during the late afternoon but busy at night. I'm a fan of the Louie salad w fresh Dungeness and the kale salad.

      It fits the bill when I want a big salad, good wine, and a cheese plate.

      Also read the owner is taking over a place in North Beach.

      1. re: Candice

        mmmm, sounds good, glad I asked. I was curious because it popped up in this query about where to eat near the ballpark.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/891215

        Given how many rules there are on its website due to the small capacity, I'm glad to hear that you had no problems bringing a group there.

        I love hearing about places besides the old-time seafood houses to get crab louie. Hope it reappears on the menu soon.

        Here's the info the the North beach spot, Doc Rickett's.
        http://www.sfgate.com/food/insidescoo...

      2. re: Melanie Wong

        Picked as one of the 21 best sandwich shops in USA by Thrillist.

      3. During the current heatwave, a salad for dinner is just what I wanted. I went there Tuesday and Wednesday and tried the Bay Shrimp, and Kale salads. Both were excellent.

        The Kale salad is described as: Kale, radicchio, lemon, garlic, parmesan, prosciutto, aged balsamic. The parmesan is grated like snow with a microplane, and the proscuitto is fried and crumbled. Yummy.

        The Bay Shrimp salad goes thusly: Bay Shrimp Louie: asparagus, hard boiled egg, avocado, radish, little gem lettuce. The dressing was creamy and light like a buttermilk ranch, which I am sure it was not. The ingredients are very fresh, and mesh well together into a wonderful light meal.

        I can't believe this place has been in the neighborhood for four years, and I didn't know about it until last week when Loretta Keller mentioned it in her Inside Scoop interview.

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