Another exciting addition to our Mediterranean scene in SF is TAWLA, newly open in the Mission from first-time restaurateur Azhar Hashem, working closely with chef Joseph Magidow (formerly of Delfina). Hashem is Jordanian, and the menu meshes Eastern Med dishes (think Greece, Turkey, Iran, and the Levant—Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) with some seasonal and Northern Californian influences.
The duo has purposefully left kebabs, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh off the menu, however; they are focusing on dishes that are more like upscale home cooking. Take a look at the menu here. There are also made-to-order breads, and they even collaborated with Belfiore Cheese Company on a Lebanese-style cheese. Quality wines and beers were assembled by sommelier Garret Nakamura (previously Jean-Georges and Saison), and low-ABV cocktails are from the Bon Vivants.
As for the restaurant’s name, it’s Arabic for backgammon; you can play outside on the back patio while waiting for a table (there are 66 seats total) and enjoying a cocktail. Open 5:30pm-10pm daily. 206 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-814-2704.
Fans of the Greek pita wraps and salads with rotisserie roasted meats at ~SOUVLA~ will be happy to know they have opened their second location on Divis in the former Herbivore, “bringing the opa to Nopa!” All of your favorites on the menu are there, plus the all-Greek wine and beer list, and there’s some alfresco atmosphere with a back patio! Same hours too: daily 11am-10pm. 531 Divisadero St. at Fell.
Huge congrats to Isabel Caudillo, a La Cocina entrepreneur, who just opened her first brick-and-mortar location, in Bernal Heights, of her EL BUEN COMER. The menu is all about her soulful Mexican home cooking (she is a native of Mexico City), with antojitos like mini huaraches, gorditas, and fish tacos, with heartier guisados (stewed dishes) available in three sizes, like her puerco en mole verde, beef albondigas, and chiles rellenos. She is serving lunch (comidas corridas) for now, and July will bring expanded dinner hours (we’ll send you a reminder!). Hours for now are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3435 Mission St. at Livingston, 415-817-1542.
And really quick, for the next time you’re picking up your bulk spices at Rainbow Grocery: CHICKS AND LOVE PIZZA is now open on the patio. Hoodline reports hours are 9am-3pm weekdays (serving breakfast and lunch).
Some of the many dishes at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.