Plush and festive, Andalu is one of the best tapas bars in San Francisco, even if it is does not technically serve tapas. In the still-gritty Mission, Andalu serves up an international take on the small plates craze. Call it tapas if you like, but Spain is only one of the cuisines influencing the kitchen here.
The room is stylish, from the blue ceiling layered with clouds to the huge glassy bar around the back to the avant-dressed clientele. Order the delicious but agonizingly tiny ahi tartar tacos with chili and lime (better make that two). The polenta fries are sure to vanish in seconds, and the mini paellas are always a hit. The wine list includes sangria, 60 wines by the glass, and tempting flights. An early trendsetter in the tapas scene, Andalu can be said to have perfected the art of small plates with major flavour, including polenta fries, Coca-Cola-braised short ribs, and teensy little ahi tuna tacos with salsa. Expect your typical well-dressed, slightly subdued urbanite crowd roughly between the ages of thirty and fifty at this richly hued oasis. Have the white sangria. To make a night of it, take in the latest art-house flick, a brainy documentary, or a cinematic classic across the street at the Roxie Cinema, a San Francisco icon of independent film.