Cala

4.5
666 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Mexican
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 Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.6

The seafood and vegetable-focused Mexican food at Cala is some of the best in San Francisco.

Ratings 8.5-9.0:Now we’re in the range of absolutely excellent restaurants that you might go to more than once a year/lifetime. These restaurants tend to define a city, and make up the places that you absolutely cannot miss if you want to have any credibility as a restaurant-informed person in a major metropolis.
What 666 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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JG
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Simply AMAZING! A must try ! Loved the Tostada, Mussel Tamales and Squid!

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RR
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Overall good but ends up being expensive

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JD
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional food in a beautiful setting with fabulous service. Highly recommend the quesadillas with mushrooms, the trout tortas, and the tres leches cake. Tasty cocktails as well!

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RB
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Having just visited Mexico City in May, I was excited to get a taste of it in SF! It definitely didn't disappoint. From the service to the dishes and cocktails, I felt transported! It was the perfect way to celebrate my 1 year anniversary with my boyfriend. I hope to be back soon

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J
New England
16 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious well thought out food. Loved experiencing Mexican sea food

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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 3

In short... pricy for the quality of food you are getting flavor wise.

I learn about this restaurant through a Netflix documentary.


Disappointing.... coming all the from OC for food with no flavor.

Although the highlight for me was the Cucumber Mezcal drink.

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p
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always impeccable. Highly recommend!

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LR
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is a beautiful place and the food is so good, it's really amazing.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service. Friendly atmosphere.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I think this is going to be my new favorite restaurant. Food was incredible and the staff was amazing.

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s
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

lively and attractive room with great energy. food is creative, beautifully presented and portions are not overwhelmingly large....a good thing, really. service is friendly and attentive, knowledgable and extremely professional.

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J
New York Area
44 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Unfortunately we waited quite some time before the maitre d noticed us waiting. He did apologize and told us although we had a reservation we had to wait another 5 to 15 minutes. 30 minutes later I asked him what was happening with the reservation and at this point I really didn’t feel like having dinner. The menu was ok but for a vegetarian it didn’t seem to offer too many options, so I needed up having an appetizer and drink and leaving.

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JC
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

We read about chef in the nyt and wanted to try it

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 4ambience 4

After spending the previous two weeks in San Miguel d'Allende, perhaps I should have lowered my expectations a bit. While the food quality is good and prepared well, I found it to be exorbitantly overpriced for what it was. Where was the plethora of flavor? Where was the heat? Mexican food can be elevated without having a sacrifice flavor for kitchen tricks. This was not worth the $200 for my wife's birthday - we've had a better Mexican experience under $20 a many taquerias.

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TD
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wonderful food and excellent service at Cala.

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g
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cala is a wonderful place! The food is courageous and delicious, like nothing I've ever tasted before. The service is impeccable. everyone makes you feel like you are part of a big family. Th ambiance is fabulous, the decorating of the restaurant is very open and airy. I highly recommend this restaurant and will keep going back many times!!

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e
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything war excellent. The food delicious, the service very friendly, and fun ambience. The noise was a bit too much, but I guess the framed canvases around the concrete walls serve as buffers, however the four of us in our table we were able to hear each other's conversation. We will be back. By the way we are checking Contramar in Mexico City this week. Thank you.

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Visiting from So Cal.

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RR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Nice dinner spot. Be aware that the menu is almost entirely seafood focused.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Beautiful setting and good food. I recommend the Sopes. Expected the food to wow a little more than it did, but overall the experience was enjoyable. I appreciate that the restaurant provides health benefits to its employees.

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MW
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food with excellent service.

The sangria and flan were especially good.

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JP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food, fantastic cocktails, fantastic service and a great way to start the evening before going to see a play.

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r
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious and the service was even better!

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SP
1 review
Dined on July 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved Cala and will be talking about the food and dining experience for years!

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AV
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was amazing!! I saw the chef on a Netflix special and I immediately booked a table. We are from Dallas, Texas and when we come back to San Francisco(and we will), we will definitely come back to Cala! Staff, service and food were OUTSTANDING!!! Thank you Cala!!

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RW
San Diego
1 review
Dined on July 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Excellent wines and dirty martini. Dungeonesse crab tostada flavor lost in the white sauce. Quesadilla, black beans, cod and fish tacos amazing as well as the fig and chocolate mousse. Will recommend and come again when back in SF!

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JE
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My new favorite fancy Mexican restaurant. Cala brought the upscale Mexico city flavor to San Francisco, no doubt.

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D
London
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Not worth the hype. The space is great. But the food was average at best, and the servers, although nice, were not great, spilling water and wine a bit with each pour. Astronomical price for meh food. Not recommended.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Food is great but overpriced

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 5

The maim dishes are always a miss. Love the slopes and the sauces but that pretty much it. Been there twice now and exactly the same experience.

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D
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 3

Have eaten there 6 times and somehow the food just didn't have the same taste as prior times. Sad.

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s
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

lovely room, lively, bright, and comfortable. food was terrific- not oversized portions, which we prefer- emphasis is on taste and presentation....wow! helpful and not too pushy servers, everyone pitches in, so you are never left lingering or wanting anything...we've made plans to return with a large group.

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L
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The food and drinks were quite inventive. However, it is far too overpriced to justify going back again, or recommending it to a friend......unfortunately, the Cala experience just isn't special enough to warrant spending that kind of money.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The service was exceptional. The food was very good - the flavors were not as inventive as the menu sounded.

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OT
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Servers were nice but didn’t give explanation on how much food to order, size portions or popular dishes since it was our first time. Had similarities to Contamar but the flavors do not compare. It was a bit watered down for American taste. Drinks were excellent. Glad we tried but will not be returning because nothing was memorable. We are still dreaming of our meal at Contramar and will be traveling to eat there.

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OT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 3

We paid $175 and left hungry 🤷🏻‍♀️ portions could be a bit bigger. Even the entree for 2 was barely enough for 1. They brought only 4 tortillas with it, so 2 tortillas pp. I understand they’re trying to have a minimalist restaurant, but it was a bit extreme.

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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best hands down.

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OT
3 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fulfilled expectations -- excellent food and service. There was a mandated 20% service fee that was irritating -- my only criticism.

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SD
1 review
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 3

We will not be going back to Cala.

The food was good but some dishes were definitely under salted and under-seasoned. The portions were very small and not great for sharing, as was recommended. The service is truly the worst part about Cala. Even after asking us if we needed to leave early to catch a show, the waitstaff hounded us and tried to push us out the door. They were rude and pushy, but since there is a mandatory 20% tip on every table no matter the size, I suppose they have no incentive to be gracious hosts.

It’s a nice, expensive place, but since you’re in San Francisco you have tons of other great options. Do not spend your evening here.

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KP
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I went to Cala with a group of friends and we loved the ambiance and service. The food was great but I wish the portions were a bit larger for a "family style" menu since you are paying a premium price.

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