Chef Melissa Perello opened her second restaurant in San Francisco and it’s just as successful as her beloved restaurant Frances.
Since I finally tried Frances, one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco for years, I was excited to hear that the chef was planning on opening a second restaurant. Octavia, a California cuisine restaurant, just opened a few months ago in the old Baker & Banker spot near Pacific Heights. The menu at Octavia is similar to Frances in the sense that it’s divided into small bites, appetizers, and main courses. Majority of the dishes consists of beautiful summer produce from local farms that reflects the abundance of incredible California summer produce including eggplant, sungold tomatoes, wax beans, squash, corn, peppers, cucumber, avocado, watermelon, and figs.
The meal started off with delicious warm bread from the famous bakery, The Mill. Next, all of our small bites arrived.
The crispy eggplant was perfectly fried and served with a savory miso sauce and blistered sweet sungold tomatoes.
The halibut crudo was light and refreshing with pickled yet sweet watermelon, crunchy almonds, and grilled cucumber.
The chilled squid ink noodles were tossed in a creamy sauce with bottarga, chili, and lemon oil.
The only appetizer we ordered was the saffron tonnarelli, my favorite dish of the night. The pasta dish was so simple but executed perfectly. Beautiful yellow saffron flavored al dente noodles tossed in a sweet tomato sauce with stewed fennel and garlic chips. Comfort in a bowl.
Now the main dishes were a lot bigger than I had expected. The beef rib eye was cooked to medium rare with a nice char on the outside served with nardello peppers and eggplant caponata, a traditional Sicilian dish of stewed fried eggplant with tomatoes. Really tasty. The other main course unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations. The pork itself was cooked well but lacked in flavor and seasoning. The only part of the dish I really enjoyed was the sweet creamed corn.
No good meal would be complete without dessert of course. Octavia’s dessert menu offered a wide range of desserts and to be honest all of them sounded amazing. The poppyseed profiteroles were outstanding, a lighter dough and texture than traditional profiteroles. These profiteroles were stuffed with roasted strawberry ice cream and served with sweet yet tangy meyer lemon cream and barely cooked fresh strawberries. The chocolate soufflé tart was oozing with warm chocolate served with salted caramel ice cream (one of my favorite ice creams ever) and chunks of cocoa nib brittle.
Overall, Octavia served really comforting Californian inspired food with a refined touch so my rating is a 8/10.