Monday, September 04, 2006

Plouf, Belden Alley, San Francisco

Quite fantastic, isn't it? Even if the food were horrible, dining in this discreet San Francisco alley would be more than tolerable. Home to a handful of Europe-centric restaurants (Italian, French, Spanish), Belden Alley brings a smile to my face as soon as I turn into it from Bush Street.

The only restaurant here I can vouch for is Plouf, a mussels mecca. On a recent solo visit, I abandoned my usual commitment to moules mariniere (garlic, white wine, parsley) for the moules pastis (shallots, garlic, cream, Ricard, chili flakes, fine herbs). My infidelity was richly rewarded--the subtle licorice flavor from the pastis (Ricard) married well with the smooth cream and punchy garlic and shallots. No moules are complete without the frites of course, and Plouf serves a heaping dish (though I was disappointed that my pile o'fries had more than the average number of stumpy specimens).

A Kronenbourg on tap rounded out my meal, though the restaurant offers a decent list of seafood-friendly wines by the glass. The menu expands well beyond mussels to other fish and seafood dishes, as well as some landed entrees--lamb, chicken and beef. A lovely mixed green salad is available as well, if you feel the need to start with something healthy.

Though Belden Alley lends itself to celebration and larger groups, I can recommend eating alone as well. It offers a perfect locale for people-watching, from the table of two distinguished French couples grilling the waiter for over 15 minutes to the first date awkwardly chatting, to the coworkers out together, getting progressively drunker and more friendly with one another. Relax, sip your drink, and enjoy!

40 Belden Place
Belden Place lies between Bush and Pine and between Kearny and Montgomery
San Francisco, CA

Other Recent Reviews of Plouf:
Rose Cantine


Kalyn said...

Hi Erin,
I went there when I went to SF too. Small world!! I loved it.

Jill said...

That looks so pleasant.

Rachael said...



I miss Plouf.

Bastille Day there is the BEST...

KT said...

I LOVE Belden Alley. Whenever I had guests in SF and we couldn't decide where to eat, I would just take them there and it was always a success.

Cafe Bastille is also nice--I had many a glass of wine there. Both the basque place and Tiramisu were good the times I ate there.

Voda I find a little scary, but the infused vodkas are good. I prefer the bar at the end/beginning of the alley.

And yes, Bastille Day there is the best!

In addition to the mussels, Plouf also has a yummy mixed seafood plate.

Sean said...

Bad news for you Bastille-ards ... this year it was not at Belden Alley. The permits got too expensive. Ironically, it got picked up by The Irish Bank, on a different alley. I didn't go.

Plouf and Bastille are lovely, but my fave on Belden is B44, the Spanish place. Fabulous. Avoid Brindisi at all costs, however. Voda is chic but overpretentious for what it is, too.

Still, I love Belden Place for what it is -- a lovely conglomerate of stylish independent restaurants, albeit of varying quality, that conspire to form a gorgeous little enclave.

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Seems to be a great place, thanks for the review and the recommendations, they are always welcome.