Scala's Bistro - Near Union Square - San Francisco
432 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA, 94102 415-395-8555
Whenever a potential visitor to San Francisco asks the "Where can I eat near Union Square" question on Chowhound , the answers invariably suggest Scala's as an option. The first time we tried it, about a year ago, we loved it and consequently raved about it. Approximately 6 months later we revisited and I had an awful time. Inconsiderate staff, an inedible salad (oversalted with floury-textured peaches) and a tough chewy pizza. Being the forgiving person that I am, sometimes I am want to give a place another chance which is why we visited Scala's for a third time recently.
Nestled in the base of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, this is a large bustling bistro style restaurant that is serving a varied menu all day long which makes it a great pit-stop whilst shopping in the area. For ultimate privacy, try and get one of the dark, cozy booth seats. If people watching is more your scene you might prefer to sit, sidewalk level, at a cafe style table near the window where you can gaze at shoppers, weighed down by their assortment of shopping bags, trudging by.
Grilled Octopus, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Haricots Verts, Salsa Verde 9.50
You might wonder what language this menu is trying to speak. English, French, Italian or Spanish. I pondered for a while, but was too confused and settled for the fact I can speak the universal language of food. This salad was served warm with plentiful, chargrilled pieces of octopus and tender lemony-dressed potatoes. In a nod to the Haricot there were just five of the long green beans. More of them and less tentacle might have balanced the dish a little better. It was tasty and enjoyable enough, but without reaching the dizzy heights of rave-worthy.
Dungeness Crab Bisque, Champagne Crema, Chive Oil $7.50
Sloppy presentation of the soup. No visual or other evidence of any champagne crema. No compelling complaints about the taste.
Pizza Margherita Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella $11.95
Despite the fact the pizza on our last visit had been mediocre, Fred was still in the mood for one. Just like before, the crust was a bit chewy when it would be better crispy. Definitely not the best pizza in the world.
Not the best restaurant in the world, either, but acceptable enough for a pit-stop. Easy to get a table, wide range of Californian/European style choices on the menu. Medium prices. All in all, an average, adequate place for some chow, but these days not quite deserving the raves it still gets from some quarters.