To find this restaurant, just follow your nose.
What’s it like inside?
The atmosphere is funky, definitely spells bizarre San Francisco! As you weave through the restaurant, you will find garlands of garlic hanging from blood-red walls. The lighting is dim, the tables are cramped.
If you like, ask to be seated at the innermost part of the restaurant, where you will find secretive dining booths draped with carnival canvas, resembling, in some ways, a tarot chamber.
How does it taste?
You will likely start your garlic experience with a jar of garlic-scallion pesto on your table.
Slightly warmed dinner rolls are brought to you shortly after you are seated. Tear off some roll, reach for the jar, and glaze a bite of the roll with some pesto. Pop it in your mouth, and let your senses wake up to the garlic rush.
Here is my featured dish
On a previous visit, I had seen the Forty Garlic Chicken and just could not resist the urge to try it. The waitress explained that it is basically grilled quarter chicken, and forty cloves of baked garlic, plus garlic mashed potatoes on the side. The ingredients are simple, but I was curious as to how it tastes. I ordered the chicken and anxiously waited. As I inhale the surrounding air infused with garlic, I couldn’t help but find my mouth moist with anticipation.
The dish finally arrived. Indeed there was a mountain of garlic next to the chicken. For this dish, the garlic is your vegetable.
I couldn’t tell whether the chicken or the garlic should be the focus. The chicken was moist, and infused with rosemary. It was also expertly grilled, right down to the slight crunch on the wing tip. The garlic was sauteed with butter, then roasted on a sheet pan, just long enough to soften the spiciness, resulting in a creamy texture that simply melts in your mouth like caramel. As I continued my dish, the note was clear, the garlic certainly comes first. You can cut a slice of chicken or lift a portion of potato just to complement a bite of garlic, and that garlic is amazing.
Final thoughts and dining tips
- It is a bit pricey, the average tap (without drinks) is about $30 per person, but my Forty Garlic Chicken tastes awesome. My buddy’s garlic meatball and pasta tastes average. I believe choosing a milder meat like the chicken helps bring out the garlic.
- Costco members should look for discounted gift cards at Costco’s San Francisco branch.
- If you come here on a date or anniversary, you may wish to reserve an inner dining booth but make sure both of you are aware ahead of time that this IS a garlic restaurant and bring lots of after-dinner mints.