A green restaurant that delivers a great experience.
If Annabelle's had management issues 3 1/2 years ago (late 2006 by others' reviews), those issues have been resolved completely. I made a reservation for one on a Saturday night at 7 pm, edging into prime time. The restaurant was busy (good) without being crowded (not as good). The executive chef was patrolling and observing at an appropriate frequency (he served me my main course, and I chatted with him afterward). Service was efficient without being rushed, too slow, or too obtrusive. Everyone, from host, to server, to chef was attentive, efficient, and conversational without being overly familiar.
I grew up in New Orleans, home of the Sazerac cocktail. I make it regularly myself. This is the first establishment I've encountered in a while that offers a Sazerac as a featured cocktail. My estimate is that at best 1 in 500 establishments outside of New Orleans will offer the Sazerac - most seem unwilling to track down the requisite Peychaud's bitters, or keep rye (strange) or absinthe or absinthe substitute (maybe not so strange) on hand. The cocktail was correctly made up to the point of the absinthe. Instead of swirling Absinthe in the glass as a scent/flavor garnish to the drink, Annabelle's bartender chooses to serve the Absinthe on the side (properly diluted with icewater) with the drink, giving you effectively two drinks for one.
Annabelle's identifies itself as a certified (San Francisco) Green restaurant, with most ingredients sourced locally/regionally and/or organic. Meats and seafood are sourced from local and sustainable operations. Well, yes, this would not necessarily apply to most of the spirits at the bar. But, the wine list is extensive, with nearly all wines being regional (not difficult at all given the proximity to Napa and Sonoma), even if the styles are European in character.
Decor is classic urban chic, with black and white hexagonal tiles, dark brown, glossy wood, and warm sage/olive tones on the wall with white trim/accents. The building/original establishment dates from 1913, and the preservation of many aspects, including a large stained glass panel, shows. The place melds Belle Epoque style edging through Craftsman (a few Tiffany lamps and stylized fixtures) through to Art Deco-esque overhead lights and fans.
My meal was simply delicious. I ordered the grilled asparagus salad, with parmesan slivers and green olives, over butter lettuce with a dill/yogurt dressing. Very California, but very tasty. The briny olives and the cheese complemented the grilled flavor of the asparagus and the sweet vegetal flavor of the lettuce very well.
My main course was skirt steak with frites, blue cheese butter, spinach and jus. I ordered the steak medium rare and they delivered a great tasting, tender piece of meat that was perfectly grilled to the desired temperature. The frites were delicious, and classically French, with the right hints of garlic and parsley. I forgot to ask the executive chef if he cooks them in duck fat, but for all intents and purposes, they tasted that way. The spinach was properly cooked, tender but still retaining that very slight spinach bite. The blue cheese butter offered an unctuous, pungent note for the steak. The jus, which had a wine reduction in it, offered a nice back note.
I would definitely recommend Annabelle's to anyone. Locals may have varying opinions of the SOMA neighborhood, but for an out of towner, this was definitely a worthwhile visit. The Marriott is right across the street, with a cab stand, so getting back to where one is staying is a breeze.
An underrated spot. I hadn't been to Annabelle's in years and was really impressed by a recent visit. They've overhauled the interior and have achieved a nice balance of classic SF decor with a comfortable vibe. I really enjoyed the bruschetta and rib-eye steak. My date had crispy duck (incredible, I ate almost half of it,) and a nice salad with organic veggies. The staff was very welcoming and unobtrusive. I can understand why locals don't want to come down to this neighborhood, but if you do, Annabelle's is not to be missed!
I have often passed Annabelle's on my travels downtown but have never dropped in. I decided to give it a try this time. I was a little nervous that they wouldn't be able to serve me as I only had an hour before my movie started at the Metreon. I asked the hostess if they could accomadate my time restraints and was assured that I would get to my movie on time.
Sure enough, the waitress was able to get me a wonderful fresh salad of blood-oranges followed by the best whole sole that I have had in a long time. Glancing at the big clock on the wall, it looked like I might not make it to the show, but I was reasured that the clock was on "bar time" and thus set 10 minutes fast. "Heck" I thought. I even have enough time for a cup of coffee.
Next time, I'm giving my self enough time to really relax and enjoy the great service and out-of-this world food that Annabelle's has to offer.
Terrific food and service. I have not had the pleasure of dining at Annabelle's until last night. I was immediately stricken by the warm atmosphere. Belle Epoque posters adorned the walls of the bustling bar. The hostess greeted us immediatly with a warm smile. Our table was ready for us and we were sat and promptly greeted by our waitress. The service was friendly and professional, quick but not hurried. The food was terrific - a blend of California Cuisine with Mediteranean accents. Fresh, local produce from organic farms was the highlight.
Disgusting Hole!!. This place was gross and nasty. When we sat the sticky cr=p on the table stuck to my shirt. The staff seemed like they were on pills. I waited 20 muniutes before they took my order. The food tasted like dirt. I think they dropped my burger and put it back on the grill becuase after I finished it I saw a mat of hair!!!! Like the kind you sweep up into a dustpan. I almost threw up! I think this place should be shut down.
Worth a visit. I've been to Annabelle's twice in recent months, and noticed the food and service improving. It was a solid experience the first time I went, but the service was exceptional on my second trip. The dining room is very elegant, but busy & un-stuffy. Clearly, there are some haters writing reviews here (some are suspiciously similar), but this is a very nice restaurant. Even in a city full of amazing restaurants, this one is definitely worth enjoying!
DONT GO THERE!!!!.
What an terrible expereince. It was my husbands 50th birthday, and almost everything went wrong. I made reservations for te back room, and they ended up booting us for a private party. This was very dissapointing, and i wish they had let me know before hand. the actually acted as if a had done something wrong---so rude.
That was how we stared, then the food came pit 1 dish at a time?!?!?!?
Everyone was running around like carzy people, not to mebntion rude. And the food was blah.
and the list goes on and on.....
Pass on this place!!!
I love Annabelle's!. I live in LA, and know a great restaurant when I find one! Annabelle's is a place I simply MUST GO every time I visit San Francisco. It is such a charming spot and now, after the renovation, it really is a classy place. I've only ever had delicious food, fast and friendly service and tons of food! I only wish I could go up to SF more often!!
Unimpressed. All they've got right is the music. The lighting was okay, but every so often someone kept adjusting it, which is annoying while your dining. The server was snooty and rude. The food was bland, bland, bland and boring as hell. What a waste of time and money. Don't get sucked into this one. The bar side on the other hand looked reasonably cool. I guess it's a good spot for a quick drink, but that's it!
WISH IT WAS BETTER!. I'm, from the south I know y'all Yankees tend to be straight forward, but having dined there last night at Annabelle's, I was so in shock! I couldn't believe how mean spirited people are there. JUST DON'T DINE HERE.! Have a quick drink and run! Hopefully you will get as nice of a bartender as we did. ETHAN,
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