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El Capitan

4.1
239 reviews
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$30 and under
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Tapas / Small Plates
Top Tags:
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for Groups

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About

El Capitan serves up Caribbean-inspired dishes and small plates favorites in San Francisco. Stop in for lunch and dinner or check out the extensive drinks menu that includes cocktails, craft beers, wine and sangria, along with signature El Capitan.

Visitors can start off with snacks like plantain chips or chicharrons or sample fresh oysters, poke or the house ceviche from the raw menu. The small plates offerings are perfect as a meal or for sharing and include short ribs, poutine, elote, Brussels sprouts with salsa macha and many others. Leave a little room so you can experience the El Capitan churros or tres leches cake for dessert.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Tapas / Small Plates, Latin American, Caribbean
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Hours of operation
Tues-Thu 5:00-10:00pm
Fri-Sat 5:00-11:00pm

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Phone number
(415) 525-3676
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Pay with OpenTable, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Mark Furr
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Private party facilities
We invite you to come and enjoy your next special event at El Capitan. The rustic elegance of our restaurant, coupled with our highly personalized service will have your guests raving about their experience.
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Private party contact
Private Dining Coordinator: (888) 440-0354
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Neighborhood
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Parking details
Easy Meterless Street Parking on Folsom Street
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Public transit
Walking distance from Civic Center BART/Muni
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 239 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1based on all time ratings
4.1
food
4.0
service
3.8
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on March 26, 2016

With a reservation i would have preferred a seat with a back over a stool. Our small plates were great.

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5.0Dined on March 12, 2016

Really nice meal... Interesting menu with great variety and the flavors were fabulous. We were a group of 5 so the good news was we ordered a lot. Everyone loved everything. My favorites were the tacos and the tres leches cake.

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3.0Dined on March 10, 2016

We were a little off put to arrive right before 7 and be told we could no longer order happy hour dollar oysters. Wasn't a great start to our meal.

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4.0Dined on March 5, 2016

We enjoyed the tuna poke, brussel sprouts, corn on the cob and arugula salad. My husband also liked his cocktail - port of call. The ceviche was the only disappointment - not very flavorful at all. The restaurant is strangely difficult to find as the addresses are inconsistent on the block. Just go to the place on the corner with the Julie's Supper Club sign outside.

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2.0Dined on March 4, 2016

We were looking for an easy, quick bite in the hood and stopped into El Capitan. Wish we hadn't. We thought it might be the same great experience we had when it was Radius but alas, it seems as if the new place is still looking for its identity. Menu not cohesive at all and as a result nothing was tasty or memorable.
that night the person who seated us was also our server and just not attentive at all; She was too busy doing too many things. I think the entire scene would benefit by focusing instead of trying to be too many things and, in our experience, not doing any very well. sorry.

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5.0Dined on February 14, 2016

The food was great and the drinks were very well done.

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5.0Dined on February 13, 2016

Awesome place!

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5.0Dined on February 3, 2016

What a great time! Three of us gals met for happy hour oysters and drinks. The oysters were a generous size and the drinks delicious. We followed that with octopus and ceviche with plantain chips. Super tasty. The wait staff was so entertaining. A thoroughly enjoyable evening for sure.

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5.0Dined on February 3, 2016

One of my favorite spots in SF. to get a table. Amazing tapas and lovely staff . And the food is amazing - try the steak and octopus!

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4.0Dined on January 23, 2016

The ambience was nice. It felt like a local Spanish tapa place. Oysters were awesome!

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5.0Dined on January 14, 2016

We ended up at El Capitan because we had a gift card, but we pleasantly surprised by how great the experience was! Food came out fast, drinks were good, and Happy Hour prices were nice as well. Only suggestion would be that when the place is quiet, try not to seat so many people near each other. We were sandwiched between two large parties and couldn't hear each other that well, which seemed silly since the right side of the restaurant was empty.

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3.0Dined on January 11, 2016

I had read good reviews (on Yelp! fwiw) and took a group of people here for a business lunch. Our server was delightful. However, my entree came out cold despite its $25 price tag. Everyone else responded with an "eh" when I asked later what they thought of it. So there you have it.

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4.0Dined on January 9, 2016

I found El Capitan on OpenTable while searching for a friendly SoMa restaurant to celebrate my sister's birthday. She is a long time San Franciscan so we like places she hasn't been to and are not touristy. Decor is a litte rustic and the tables are close together, but it wasn't so jammed that we could hear the people next to us. Our waiter was very attentive, and made nice 'small plate' recommendations (flank steak, ceviche, queso plate, brussell sprouts). When the place started filling up and a large party sat down I figured he would disappear. But he checked with us, got us more wine and brought the check when asked. This is a great place for a casual dinner, drinks and a staff who makes you feel comfortable.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2015

Fabulous experience overall at El Capitan. Very helpful servers. And the flavors of each dish was uniquely savory. Tapas style food is great for sharing. Must try everything and take advantage of their great wine selection. Our server was great at suggesting wine pairings. Also the overall ambiance was comfy and trendy. I would definitely come back and bring more friends / family.

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2.0Dined on December 23, 2015

It was almost empty but it was taking a lot of time for waiter to see us. the food was not great.

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4.0Dined on December 17, 2015

I randomly found this location through looking for a good (and new) spot to take a client to for lunch. I made reservations through OpenTable for 12pm. I was promptly greeted by the waiter (and owner) who provided us with a bar high table spot. We ordered an Ahi Tuna poke bowl and it was a perfect started for lunch as the Tuna was moist & well seasoned. We then had multiple tapas (small plates) to share family style. All the food was good (not great) but what stood out was the great service and very nice & artsy decor and ambiance of the restaurant.

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5.0Dined on November 7, 2015

El Capitan was an amazing date night experience. Dinner was fantastic and their newly opened bar serving spirits had added some really delicious and interesting cocktails to their menu.

The service was as usual exceptional.

Check them out!

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3.0Dined on October 17, 2015

Food was good, but far less than average service; our waiter, who seemed managing tables, just brought dishes and drinks. Hard to place additional orders, drinks and desserts. Just watching computer, and no attention to customers. No need to explore further.

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5.0Dined on October 16, 2015

I thought, hmmm the menu sounds good, but there are many small plates venues, so...
And WOW my friend and I were blown away completely by the quality and friendly service. they oysters of the day were Belon oysters from Maine which is a rare treat indeed and they did not disappoint. The Chef even gave us a few extras on top of our very affordable dozen.
The house ceviche was out of this world, the grilled octopus was cooked perfectly; it was tender and sweet. The pork cheek taco was SO tasty, the Poke was good and the Queso Fundido with mushrooms was rich and delicious. All of that food and honestly, it was very affordable. The wait staff definitely knew his cuisine and suggested favorites. I look forward to my next repaste there with gusto.

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3.0Dined on October 14, 2015

Ordered the coconut ceviche and they skimped on the fish but it was still tasty.

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3.0Dined on September 26, 2015

Made a reservation due to the previous ratings but was very disappointed. The service, while very friendly, was very slow or absent. The food, unfortunately lacked flavor across the board, and with a party of six, we ordered a variety of dishes. The restaurant was also only half full on a Saturday night and was being serviced by one bartender, one server, and one food runner.

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3.0Dined on August 26, 2015

Food is tasty but very small portions and high prices for what you're getting. I can think of many other places with equally good food at 75% of the price.
Ambience is nice.
Service is awful. I have taken large parties here twice. Same waiter both times. Reasonably polite but after he took our order we literally didn't see him again the entire meal. Water glasses never refilled. No one checking if we needed more wine or food. Took ridiculously long to receive the food and had to beg a busboy for the check since our waiter was MIA. And both times the place was not busy at all and the waiter did not appear overworked.
Honestly I will probably go again just because I live and work nearby and it's easy to get a table (no mystery why) but I wouldn't go out of my way. This is a city full of great restaurants, you can do better.

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3.0Dined on August 15, 2015

Great ambience. Food is hit or miss. Some items are excellent, others are very disappointing. The service was terrible. Inattentive, slow and many missed orders. Will not be back.

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2015

Had a wonderful time. The small plates were absolutely delicious and the wine was perfectly paired. Definitely worth a visit when in San Francisco!

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2015

Just loved the food, ambiance, and service here, this is a must try!

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5.0Dined on July 30, 2015

We always try to hit the happy hour for $1 oysters, delicious wine and beer and a great vibe mid-week. So happy you are in our 'hood :)

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5.0Dined on July 25, 2015

Great food, excellent service. Got there just in time to order a few things off the Happy Hour menu, a really great birthday dinner!

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2.0Dined on July 17, 2015

The overall experience was meh. The food was ok nothing memorable. The staff was frantically rushing around and kept on making mistakes (bringing the wrong food and had to take it back). The Sangria was "meh" as well, switched to beer. THE BEER WAS AMAZING, it was from Magnolia :)

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4.0Dined on July 10, 2015

Made a reservation with three other friends for 6:45 pm. Arrived at around 6:55, and sat down. Asked about the Happy Hour $1 oysters and our server said without missing a beat, sorry, we cut it off. One of my guests took out his cell phone and showed the server that it shows 7 on the dot. The server said sorry, can't do it. .
What was really annoying is that we were already seated at the table. Yes, it was right a 7 when we were asking, but give me a break. They could have just said sure... The problem is that it set the whole dinning experience into a bad feeling.
The food was tasty and the rest of the service was good.

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2015

What a gem! I booked this for a work-related dinner after a day of meetings. I'd never eaten here before so I was little nervous. El Capitan did not disappoint! Fantastic food, yummy sangria, and the service was outstanding. I think we ordered one of everything on the menu. Highlights of the meal were the scallop seviche, the grilled octopus, and the goat cheese appetizer. Cooked to perfection. Our waiter was attentive but not too pushy. (Love the french accent btw). I wasn't crazy about the coconut seviche, but my co-workers liked it. Do NOT visit this restaurant without trying the desserts! Order the churros, that come with a gooey chocolate dipping sauce. The tres leche cake was amazing too. I will be back to this restaurant again for sure.

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3.0Dined on June 24, 2015

Food was delicious and unique, service has opportunities for improvement.

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4.0Dined on June 12, 2015

I never herd of this place before but saw it has good reviews and decided to try it for my friends birthday dinner.
I was very happy with the food. It hit the spot! I thought maybe the dessert menus could be a bit more fun.

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4.0Dined on May 26, 2015

Nice spot to grab a drink and appetizer or small plates for dinner. Happy hour prices were a great value.

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4.0Dined on May 16, 2015

Very nice SOMA tapas restaurant. Tasty Caribbean flavors, variety of raw fish items. Our short ribs with mole sauce and broccoli I were to die for, just melted in your mouth. We paired it with roasted asparagus and papas bra as (small roasted potatoes. Very satisfying. Definitely would go back.

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2.0Dined on May 14, 2015

We arrived at 5:30 for our reservation, and the restaurant was virtually empty. An hour later, it was packed and the noise level really bad. High ceilings, hard tables, concrete bench seating, all make for hopeless conversation. Food varied---some dishes way too spicy, although perhaps that is to be expected in this cuisine.

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5.0Dined on May 8, 2015

I was looking for a place close to the Warfield so we could eat before the show. El Capitan was a great find and reasonably priced considering it's SF. The tacos were spectacular. We tried all 4 varieties and agreed our favorites were oxtail and pork cheek. Ceviche and Sangria were Ok but we had a dynamite octopus dish. The star however had to be the skirt steak dish. While desert was alright, we plan on having another small plate or two instead of desert next time. All in all, a perfect start to a Friday night that capped a real bear of a week at work... thanks

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4.0Dined on May 8, 2015

A co-worker and I reserved through open table for happy hour. The main thing we were looking forward to were the oysters! The presentation was great, chilled oysters w/ all the fixings, lemon, salt Tabasco and an additional vinegar sauce, which was ok in the world of sauces, but we stuck w/ the basics. The oysters were fresh and delicious, yet disappointingly smaller than what we were used to. I suppose the service made up for the size of the oysters because we definitely stuck around to be catered to, sipped on wine and enjoyed the ambiance.

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4.0Dined on May 1, 2015

Tapas with a Latin American flair instead of Spanish. Excellent ceviches. Best accompanied by the amazing light and crispy plantain chips.

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5.0Dined on April 22, 2015

great food and new vibe. More casual than radius was. We are coming back for happy hour oysters and more house ceviche!

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1.0Dined on March 28, 2015

food was very subpar. short rib in particular was like meatloaf - with a hunk of solid fat in the middle. could not be called short rib by any stretch of the imagination.

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