Cala

4.6
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932 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Mexican

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About

CALA is an upscale Mexican eatery with a delightfully inventive menu that leans heavily towards seafood. Recent standout dishes at CALA include Dungeness crab tostadas and local bay shrimp tacos. The plating is always exquisite and the atmosphere is energetic. Unwind in the evening with sangria, mezcal margarita or other cocktails. Vegetarians will love the sopes playeros with the midnight black beans. Desserts like coconut flan or chocolate ice cream with palanqueta have finished meals off on just the right note. Reservations are recommended, though walk-ins are quite welcome.

If you are looking for a quick bite during lunch, Tacos CALA uses the restaurant's Hickory Street back alley entrance to serve affordable Mexico City-style tacos with rice and beans Monday - Friday, 11am - 2pm.
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What 932 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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stephanier
Orange County
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing and delicious! I recommend to everyone! I will return!

GK
GKnox
1 review
Dined on March 13, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cala has an amazing food and atmosphere. I would definitely recommend coming here!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Truly one of the best meals we’ve had in San Francisco - everything we tried was amazing! Our favorite food was the lingcod sopas, and drink was the Mandarina Mezcal. Service was outstanding- so helpful with recommendations and always attentive despite being busy. Couldn’t recommend more highly!

T
vipTodd
Jacksonville
15 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Lovely, interesting food. nice staff. I will go back but must warn that it is expensive- We were just two of us in our party. We ordered 1 1st course, 2 mains. and total of 3 drinks. The portions are quite small. No dessert, The bill came to $174. We left hungry and had to go elsewhere to find desserts.

A
vipAndi
San Francisco
31 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cala was fabulous! The recommendations from other Yelp reviews were very helpful on what to order. We had the sweet potato (to die for), the Pork Tamal (also fabulous!) and the trout and hamachi tostadas (another winner). Our server was fantastic and really helpful in my decision to try Mezcal for the first time. Overall it was a great experience and I will definitely go again.

BD
vipBrianD
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had an amazing dinner! The food was delicious and approachable. Most of the offerings were new and fresh takes on old favorites - sopes, tacos, ceviche and more. Certainly not an inexpensive meal but a great value for the overall experience.

L
Lena
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love this place. The food is exceptional and the service is really lovely. It’s expensive but worth it!

N
vipN1diner
London
12 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Excellent food and service. A little quiet but it was a Sunday night. I would return.

RS
RaulS
New England
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely an amazing dining experience! The service, food (what a variety!) and all aspects of Cala are superb. We would definitely go there again and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a special dining experience.

RE
RachelE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolute favorite restaurant in SF! Wonderful, friendly service and the food is incredible - so authentic.

FD
FannyD
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience5

I don't speak a word of Spanish and know nothing of Spanish cuisine but staff was really patient and helpful; they answered all our questions and recommended us plates and cocktails.

The food was amazing - I highly recommend the ceviche. We were a party of two and had each a main plate and shared two appetizers; it was enough. 👌🏻

My only critic goes to the cocktails:I found them a bit bland and not worthy of the food.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2020
Overall4food2service5ambience5

I had high expectations in terms of flavor but was only half satisfied with the flavors. The roasted yam and bone marrow was excellent. Rest all were okay. Not sure how I feel about it. I had very high expectations that were only half met. I might give it one more try in the future.

OT
OpenTable Diner
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall1food1service3ambience4

Shocked by how bad this “fancy food” was. The environment is obviously very chic, but the food was the most disappointing food I’ve ever had in San Francisco. Maybe this was just me but I found the food bland and trying to be fancy too hard when sometimes basic, classic flavors are the way to go. Really wanted to like this place so super bummed. I would not go back.

m
vipmopehead
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was exceptional and although we had to sit at the bar the service was A+++. I highly recommend Cala!

AC
AntoineC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was dope. Keep making America great

SF
vipchriSF
San Francisco
58 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Superb dinner fare, helpful and professional staff. Returning. Again.

C
Calivisitor
Orange County
33 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful experience at Cala! Our server was amazing, he suggested several food and drink options, and all of them were delicious!

S
vipSarah
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great bartender

f
vipfoodluv
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Food was amazing. Service was amazing. It is expensive, not sure would go back because of the high prices (even for SF).

C
vipCeres
Cumbria
13 reviews
Dined on February 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious and the service was attentive without being overbearing. We got excellent recommendations and had a lovely dinner. I am not sure I am fan of the kitchen policy of ordering everything at once, though. It would have been better to be able to play it by ear and order more of those delicious tostadas, understanding that they might have come at the same time as the entree.

CG
vipCooksieG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 25, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Food and Drinks were excellent and love the atmosphere!!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

From the manager Jeff, to the trout tostadas — this place is worth every penny. Since I tried it the first time, I’ve eaten there three times in two weeks. Sit at the bar, or grab a reservation and enjoy some of the best food in the city. Also a goldmine for gluten free humans!

R
vipRarely
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is insane in the membrane

A close friend (whose opinion I trust regarding food) recommended Cala to me… i ordered the first couple of items he recommended, and then went absolutely nuts. we ordered at least 10 appetizers )

All I can say is I will be back, and I’ve already recommended this restaurant to at least 10 people in the last 24 hours.

Cala, keep doing what you’re doing

PW
PW2001
1 review
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place is a favorite...and once again it not only "did not disappoint"—it was "beyond expectations."

h
hellokittyinsf
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

came on a monday night with friend from out of town. the place buzzed all night. service was super friendly, helpful and on the mark. i’ll be back!

GP
vipGordonP
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

How is it that I have worked no more than two blocks from Cala for over two years and I had never dined here before?! Better late than never! I grabbed an early (5:30) "high-top" reservation on Monday. My dinner companion and I opted to sit at the bar for drinks and dinner -- what a delight! We were very happy with our menu selections -- the food was refined, tasty, and artistically presented. The bartender was our waitress and despite being kept busy with lots of drink orders from the restaurant, she still found time to converse with us and make us feel special. The crowd was interesting and diverse -- a beautiful cross-section of the city.

TD
vipTravelingDiner
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Very imaginative take on Mexican food with a focus on seafood. I've never seen mussels in a tamale before, shells and all, but they were great!

s
syd1919
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Food was excellent. A little difficult to figure out the menu, translation not withstanding. Wine list was way to pricey so settled on beer instead. The coconut flan was outstanding!

AB
AndrewB
Dallas
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall2food3service1ambience3

Worst service I have had in San Francisco in a long time

KT
KatherineT
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience5

I love the food and the cocktails at Cala, they are really outstanding. This is my third visit and the first time I encountered what I would call aggressive service! 1) we were told up front that we had to order everything at one time - Chef's new rule! This is a little challenging when you have a larger group and the are so many delicious bites on the menu - we always order seconds of the trout tostadas. Bottom line: why is it necessary? We had given ourselves 2+ hours for dinner before a show at SFJazz and were not in a real rush deliberately! 2) plates and glasses were being collected while people were still eating food and consuming the beverages. This is a pet peeve of mine but this was excessive and several of my guests commented on it! We felt rushed from the moment we sat down, which is not OK! I expect better Cala, particularly because your food and drinks are so delicious!

j
vipjdmjdm
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

My boyfriend and I took a friend to dinner as a treat since she had never been to Cala. Drinks were ordered first, and as I arrived a little late I ordered my drink after the others had theirs. Then we ordered food. The food arrived before my drink. We started with the trout tostadas, which are incredible. If you go these are a must. We also had ceviche, which was a little disappointing as the serving was very small and not much fish. Ceviche should be mostly fish, and this was not. (Our guest for dinner was Peruvian, and commented to that effect). We also had black cod which was just ok. Another delight is the sweet potato with bone marrow. It was spectacular, and is also a must have if you go. The outside was charred and carmelized to perfection.

s
vips1moore
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cala is a treasure. We have so many great restaurants in this City but few where you think "Wow, that meal was original...and amazing." Guided by our outstanding server JD (S/o Juan Diaz!) we could do no wrong. Grilled oysters like you've never tasted. A flan on JD's recommendation that I am still dreaming about. Service that was friendly and warm yet still exceedingly professional. A vibrant scene where you can still hear everyone at your table thanks to some great restaurant design that considered acoustics. This spot deserves every accolade it gets. This is likely my 7th visit here and I come away delighted every time. Thank you Team Cala!

p
vippacificagirl
San Francisco
7 reviews