San Francisco, California

There’s an invisible but very real line that separates the good waterfront restaurants near the Ferry Building from the not-always-so-good ones, and it has just shifted a notch north. The reason: Coqueta, a high-ceilinged Spanish restaurant on Pier 5 that does a fine job of packaging the mainstream with the experimental. The mainstream? Its owner—TV chef, restaurateur, and winemaker Michael Chiarello, who surprised local food snobs four years ago with his well-reviewed Yountville restaurant, Bottega. The experimental? That would be bar man Joe Cleveland, whose cocktails range from classic (the gorgeous Barça Gin-tonic) to modern (flash-frozen sangria with raspberry fizzy, apple gelée, and blueberries) to just plain out-there (Death to the Summer of Love, which involves absinthe, dandelions, and housemade hemp milk). Though the tapas are less edgy, they serve their purpose—soaking up the alcohol—admirably, and a few really shine: shrimp and a fried egg under a cloud of frizzled potato, for instance, and the almost creamy chicken-and-pea croquettes.

Last Reviewed
October 2015


Pier 5, the Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA