Back in October, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary by taking a trip to San Francisco. In addition to getting treated like royalty at the Palace Hotel, we also enjoyed a lot of great food and wine. One particularly memorable meal was at Press Club, a wine bar with ridiculously good food.
We chose Press Club based on a recommendation from friends who live in the area. We were expecting to have a few drinks, maybe grab a little bite, and then head elsewhere for dinner. But… it didn’t really work out that way – we ordered a few snacks, but just kind of kept going from there!
We didn’t have a reservation, but were able to quickly score a couple of seats at the bar. That ended up being fortunate for us, because our bartender was fantastic – friendly, helpful, and just a pleasure to be around. We asked for a few suggestions, and the ones he offered were perfect.
We started with a mushroom pizzetta (aka “mini pizza”), and some marinated olives.
The mushroom pizza was really tasty (I’m a sucker for anything with chanterelles) – it was crispy yet chewy, cheesy, and distinctly earthy. The olives were possibly the most impressive order of olives I’ve ever had. Having not looked closely at the menu, I was expecting a small bowl of mixed olives. What they brought out was a big step up from that!
Not only was it a generous portion, but the addition of pickled vegetables made for quite a robust, flavorful, and eye-catching dish!
Next, we went with the chicken meatball stew. I’m generally not a big fan of poultry in my meatballs, but these were juicy and well-seasoned. Combined with all the other elements of the stew, it made for a really hearty, warm-your-insides kind of dish.
At that point, we faced a decision: pack it up and head somewhere else, or go all-in at Press Club and get some more food. Given how good the food had been up to that point, the decision was pretty easy
We opted to get a plate of meats and a plate of cheeses. Again deferring to our bartender’s expertise, we got an assortment of delicious cheeses – they were all good on their own (especially the stinkier, gooier ones), but the fun pairings made it that much better. My favorites pairings were the “Celery and its Root, Parsley, White Wine Vinaigrette” (which was paired with a pasteurized goat cheese from New York state), and the “Hazelnut Soda, Chocolate Bon Bon” (which was paired with a raw water buffalo cheese from California).
The meats were equally enjoyable – a selection of cured meats, each one better than the last. Surprisingly, my favorite was actually the Mortadella. Bad Mortadella can taste a lot like a cheap bologna – but this was nothing like that. It was deliciously delicate, and I just loved the texture.
Overall, this meal at Press Club was one of our favorites for the whole trip. The atmosphere was hip yet inviting, and the wine was also quite good (as you’d expect of a nice wine bar). The food is what really surprised us though – and I’ll definitely be heading back to Press Club next time I’m in San Francisco!
What’s your favorite wine bar in San Francisco?
Link: Press Club San Francisco
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