Kokkari Estiatorio in San Francisco, CA.

Kokkari Estiatorio has rave reviews for a damn good reason: from the extensive wine menu to the various meats slow-roasting on the open-spit, this Bib Gourmand listed restaurant is top notch in so many ways. The wait to eat at the bar was over an hour, and unless you’re a hawk waiting around and being polite won’t get you a seat. We got ours and dove in — it was worth every penny.

1+2 Our walk through the Embarcadero Center to the restaurant.
3 Outside of the restaurant.
4 We selected an Old World white wine: Stilos de Bodego, Con Class, Rueda ’10 ($32).
5 The menu.
6 If I had to have only one item to eat for the rest of my life, it would be dolmathes. These grape leaves stuffed with rice, dill and mint, and finished with lemon with a few Kalamata olives are the ultimate aliment ($7).
7 Spanakotiropita: traditional filo pies of spinach, feta, leeks + dill ($8.50).
8 Saghanaki is pan fried Kefalograviera with lemon + oregano ($9).
9 Avgolemono is a traditional egg-lemon soup with chicken + rice ($8).
10
Grilled lamb meatballs with spiced tomato sauce + Greek yogurt ($8.50).
11
Gigantes: oven-baked giant beans with tomato sauce, olive oil + herbed feta ($8.50).
12 Fried smelts
with garlic potato skordalia + lemon ($8.50).
13 Grilled octopus
with lemon, oregano + olive oil ($13.75).
14 Lyle, the sommelier, picked Pago de Los Capellanes, Joven, Ribera del Duero ’10 ($36) from the Old World red wine list for us.
15 Galaktoboureko is semolina custard in filo with quince spoon sweet (Kydoni Glyko in Greek) + pistachio ice cream ($8).
16 Stuffed, we return to the hotel.

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