Cala

4.7
334 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
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.

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 every day from 11 am - 2 pm. Unwind in the evening with Cala's sangria, mezcal margarita or other cocktails. Vegetarians will love the sopes playeros with the restaurant's "midnight" black beans. Past 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.
icon/ic_private_diningCreated with Sketch.
Private dining
Dining Style
Elegant Dining
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Cuisines
Mexican, Contemporary Mexican, Seafood
icon/ic_clockCreated with Sketch.
Hours of operation
Dinner:
Monday–Wednesday, Sunday 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Thursday–Saturday, 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
icon/ic_phoneCreated with Sketch.
Phone number
(415) 660-7701
icon/ic_new_windowCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_paymentCreated with Sketch.
Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
icon/ic_dress_codeCreated with Sketch.
Dress code
Smart Casual
icon/ic_chefCreated with Sketch.
Executive chef
Gabriela Cámara
icon/ic_cateringCreated with Sketch.
Catering
Cala & Tacos Cala offer catering on a limited basis. Please inquire through events@calarestaurant.com.
Open Google Maps
icon/ic_locationCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_neighborhoodCreated with Sketch.
icon/ic_cross_streetCreated with Sketch.
Cross street
Street Parking
icon/ic_public_transitCreated with Sketch.
Public transit
3 blocks from Civic Center BART
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Private Dining

We have two large group dining options: a communal table for 13-20 guests in the bar area of the dining room or a smaller communal table for 9-12 guests in our private dining room. These seated dinners are served family style and consist of a set four-course meal with an individually plated dessert.

View Private Dining Details

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 334 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
Sort by
Newest
Filters
AR
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

Disappointing on every level. Out of four dishes ordered between two people one (trout tostadas) was good, except there was no indication on the menu or from the waiter that the trout was raw - which meant my girlfriend wouldn’t eat them. Another (saloicon) was ok, though nothing special, but two empanada dishes were so tastelessly and ungenerously filled, that it was virtually impossible to tell the shrimp from the vegetable filling. Cocktails were style over substance with 3 out of 4 pretty hard work to get down. If I’d paid half what I did, I’d have still felt ripped off.

Report
Helpful
BT
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Interesting combination of ingredients but not quite sure if they work together.

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

The noise level was disturbing for having a meaningful conversation

Report
Helpful
NN
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

I love Cala and think their service is great. But, I do not like the 20% mandatory tip. It leaves no room for improvement with their staff (which there could have been with our waiter). He was very knowledgeable and a qualified waiter, but we had to wait on our check for several minutes which impacted our other plans. had I been able to only leave 16-18%, he would have got a better picture of where to improve for future customers.

Report
Helpful
M
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Lovely dining room and quieter than most. Extremely convenient to Symphony and Opera. Light, tasty version of Mexican food. Serving sizes are all small, which can make dinner quite expensive. Service wasn't quick. So choose an early reservation time if you're planning to dine before a performance.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Get the trout tostada!

Report
Helpful
DV
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Enjoyed trying 3 small plates and 2 entrees with my three friends. The Halibut Ceviche was outstanding.
It was exciting tasting the different flavors of each ingredient and savoring them. The coconut flan for dessert was very tasty. This restaurant showcases some of the varied cuisines from Mexico and makes them shine. So nice to have a restaurant that is not the typical "Mexican" food we are already used to.
Can't wait to return!

Report
Helpful
DF
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Cala never fails to amaze with its inventive and incredibly delicious food. The charred sweet potato with bone marrow salsa is not to be missed. But you could say that about all their dishes. Can't wait until my next visit.

Report
Helpful
UM
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

It was our first visit, a group of 6. We walked in to a nearly empty restaurant at 5:00 and they would not seat us until the entire party arrived despite ample space and knowing a couple people were running a few minutes late (not sure what the point was).

Service was better than average, the space is interesting. The food... not so much. We shared a number of plates and there truly was nothing that stood out (or I have not had far better elsewhere). In a few cases just flat out disappointing. I do appreciate their including the tip in the prices. Thank you. It’s a great trend. That said, even taking that into account it was really pricey, and I think all of us walked away hungry as the portions were super small.

Likely won’t be returning.

Report
Helpful
b
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 2

Horrible slow service. Seriously overpriced. Very tasty food

Report
Helpful
M
London
4 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved every second of it.
The food was great, lots of corn flour but all the flavours were well paired.

Report
Helpful
O
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great, the service was quick and friendly. We will be back to try more dishes!

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely fantastic as always. Food and service are always top notch.

Report
Helpful
JL
Dallas
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Recommended by a friend. A must if you’re in San Francisco. Adrian was great!

Report
Helpful
BT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meal at Cala is one of the best I have ever had. The food is creative and delicious, with unusual ingredients and combinations. Don't miss the sweet potato and bone marrow. It sounds strange but it is fabulous. The service is amazing and the staff is friendly and available. You look around and someone is right there. I will definitely be returning to this restaurant.

Report
Helpful
v
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Best high end mexican cuisines I have eaten. Pricey...but well worth it.

Report
Helpful
OT
Houston
36 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

The trout tostadas were fantastic! Eye-pleasing and fresh tasting. Camarones were ok; the shrimp flavor was overwhelmed by the carnitas and sauce inside. Fideo had clams only and no mussels, but that was ok; filling dish, but I would try something else next time

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Love this place but in past visits the rockfish has been much better. This time: a little dry and kinda tasteless. All else was wonderful.

Report
Helpful
LP
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

The food and service were outstanding. Unfortunately, when we arrived at home, our clothes reeked of oil.
Even though we aired them overnight, they had to be taken to the cleaners. It was as if we had dined at Benihana.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Line ran into a bit of a snag on final course but the staff was very accommodating and we took in stride.

Report
Helpful
K
Oxford
16 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

It was ok. The restaurant it was nice.
The tip is included and in my opinion is very high: 20%

Report
Helpful
RK
Los Angeles
96 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding meal. One of the best we had on our latest trip to San Francisco.

Report
Helpful
A
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Went to Cala for the first time months ago, and made a point to go again next time I was in town as we had wonderful food and impeccable service! I’m sorry to say that this time round, though the food was great (the trout tostadas are to die for!) as I expected it would be - the service was poor - our server did not provide any menu recommendations or information though we asked her for some, she was absent for most of our dinner and rarely checked to see how our meal was. Another runner who brought us a dish was far more engaging and pleasant than she was. At point she pushed her arm between us as we were holding hands and talking closely, to place 2 spoons on the table. Not sure why she didn’t just placed them on the other side of the table where it was open - it was uncomfortable and felt intrusive. Lastly, my partner had ordered a cocktail and was keen to order another one but she took so long in getting back (the ice was melted in the glass) that we forgoed a second drink as by that time we were disappointed and ready to call it a night. Hope to have a better experience next time as we do love Cala and were surprised by this less than enjoyable dining experience.

Report
Helpful
W
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We loved the range of preparation and flavors. So wonderfully different from the northern Mexican cooking that I grew up eating.

Report
Helpful
OT
1 review
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome awesome awesome

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional vibrant fresh exiting food. Charming attentive staff. Worth every penny. We had a lovely evening. Will be back.

Report
Helpful
M
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Sat at the bar with a friend bartender acknowledged us immediately witha gracious smile. However, she failed to return our drink order for about 10 minutes. All we got were two beers on tap so at least it was quick to make. The food was delicious though portions were tiny. I understand he small portions though, as the quality is very good and I'm sure labor costs are skyrocketing for restaurants all over the city.

Once we got the food we were never checked in with. We had wanted to order some more food but decided to head over to Mourad instead. I do like that the gratuity is built in just wish we had received some more service.

Report
Helpful
J
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

The ceviche and abalone tostadas were exceptional. The fried mixed seafood was good. Neither of us enjoyed the Black Cod en Pipian, the sauce had an off flavor and the grilled green onion was so fibrous that it couldn't be cut with a knife or eaten.
With so many fantastic restaurants in San Francisco to try and new arrivals all the time, a return visit to Cala is unlikely.

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a pleasure at Cala. This is my favorite SF restaurant, hands down. Delicious, welcoming, and authentic. Cala supports their workers with better wages and their customers with transparent pricing. I'm in love with this place and if the sopes playeros ever go off the menu I will cry.

Report
Helpful
KH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

The food was bland, very small portions and expensive. For example a main calamari dish had tiny pieces of calamari and was filled with mostly potatoes. The dish was recommended by our server. The quesadilla was tasteless. This is our second try in an effort to support Cala. I will not be back.

Report
Helpful
DB
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Place is great. Jeff and Oceano were excellent waiters. 10/10

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

They need ventilation - the food was good but my clothes smell like a Chimichanga burrito post-dinner.

Report
Helpful
r
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

Found it overpriced and underwhelming. We were both disappointed

Report
Helpful
CB
Denver
5 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing! My Mother and I were on a road trip and only had one night in San Francisco and chose to eat here and it was the best decision! The ambiance was warm and cozy, the service friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was orgasmic. I would highly recommend Cala to anyone looking for good food with good company.

Report
Helpful
P
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was surpisingly good. Very fresh, amazing tostada’s with fresh trout and healthy entree with different taste then usual

Report
Helpful
OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was great!

Report
Helpful
F
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Every dish we tasted was exceptional! The kind of place where, when you see a server go by, you wish you had ordered that! Very original and creative. Very friendly and efficient service

Report
Helpful
h
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

nice ambiance and professional service but at the end of the day $200. is just too much to pay for a dinner that leaves you still feeling hungry. Most dishes we had were overly salted too (maybe to encourage more drinks?)

Report
Helpful
LM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A really cool venue, delicious drinks & food, fantastic service AND it's a social enterprise!

Report
Helpful
E
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 1

Lack of value and uninspired presentation and bland flavours.

Report
Helpful
1
2
3
9