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4 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111 | Map
(415) 362-0645

We’re at the San Francisco Hyatt bar at the Embarcadero, draining our cocktails. It’s 7:30 on a Friday night. We’re ready for dinner but not ready for the hour-long wait we would expect at any nearby restaurant.

So we venture out the hotel’s back door, walk a few steps, and find ourselves facing Sens’ front door.

I stay at the Hyatt on occasion. But I’d never heard of Sens before that night. Never knew it was there. But there, it is. With no wait. And an intriguing menu.

In fact my Cyprus branzino, also called European sea bass, was the best fish dish I’ve had in a long time.

Turns out that restaurateur Pat Kuleto reclaimed a space that sat empty for four years and turned it into Sens, a southern Mediterranean-inspired hideaway. The entrance is a brick dome giving out onto several dining areas separated by rock walls, with a wood-beamed ceiling, open kitchen and views of the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge.

They have an active bar crowd off to the right and apart from the dining area. We didn’t even notice them until we were leaving after dinner.

And dinner? The menu features flavors of North Africa, Greece and Turkey, using local sustainable products. My branzino was marinated in lemon, oregano and Greek olive oil, roasted in a wood oven and served whole with lentil-stuffed onions. If it’s not their signature dish, it ought to be.

Sens serves manti – a Turkish style ravioli filled with manouri cheese, pine nuts, raisins and baby greens. You also can get lamb meatballs, a Greek fisherman’s stew, flat breads, chicken kebabs, steaks and other fish dishes. The menu calls out ingredients like tamarind sauce, citrus honey reduction, harissa aioli, sumac onions, Spanish chorizo rice, pine nut couscous and potato and feta fritters.



Related: Mediterranean | San Francisco | Larry Sheingold

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Larry Sheingold