Monday 23 May 2011

The Stinking Rose - San Francisco, CA

A candle inside The Stinking Rose

From the moment that I heard of the "We season our garlic with food" restaurant, The Stinking Rose, I knew it was somewhere that I had to go with my father.

My father is one of those people who could sit in baths of garlic and still not get enough of it. I commonly find myself pinching one of his crisps, only to find (to my horror) that it was covered with garlic granules!

Garlic and empty wine bottles hanging from the ceiling inside the restaurant

Due to my sensitive palate, I frequently suffer from garlic "hangovers". I believe them to be worse than those caused by alcohol. Sometimes, my mouth suffers for over twenty four hours, polluting everything that I eat in that time with garlic.

My father had flown over from England to visit me. Although I have this huge potential for garlic hangovers, I felt that I couldn't not visit The Stinking Rose during my Study Abroad Year (here in California), especially when my father (AKA Garlic Lover) was here.

The ceiling of empty wine bottles

The restaurant had rich red walls smothered with photos and candlesticks, a ceiling with hundreds upon hundreds of empty wine bottles and a warm and lively atmosphere.

Freshly baked fococcia

With family and close friends, it goes without saying that we share everything we order. We started with the "garlic soaking in a hot tub": garlic cloves, oven roasted with extra virgin olive oil and butter with a hint of anchovy, served on an iron skillet. This had a surprisingly low pungency, that I enjoyed. It was the perfect accompaniment for the freshly baked fococcia bread that arrived on our table within seconds of sitting down.

"Garlic in a hot tub"

For mains, my father ordered the Double Mussels and Crab Sizzling Iron Skillet and I ordered the The Silence of the Lamb Shank with Chianti Glaze, Fava Beans and Garlic Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes.

Double Mussels and Crab on a Sizzling Skillet

The seafood was covered in this suspicious-looking but rather delicious grey sauce. Even with the bulk of the dish being shells rather than edible food, we still didn't manage to finish it!

The lamb fell off of the bone and melted in the mouth. The Chianti glaze was divine with the succulent meat, and the garlic was not overpowering. I struggled to save enough of it to share with my father.

Silence of the Lamb Shank

We were very keen to try the garlic ice cream, however, to our dismay, there was no room left for a dessert (I'm sure that the two bottles of delectable Chianti contributed to making us both replete).

Our evening at The Stinking Rose was a fabulous experience and I would recommend that everyone go and enjoy it for themselves. I had feared a horrific garlic hangover (wouldn't even a non-sensitive palate predict a garlic hangover after dining at a restaurant where they "season their garlic with food"?!) I was, however, pleasantly surprised, the next morning, to experience only a very subtle garlic hangover.


  1. I've been to a similar restaurant called garlic and shots. That place also offers shots that has lots of garlic and chilli. Its nice, once in a while!

  2. Totally agree with you about garlic hangover - I swear I can feel it oozing through my pores!
    Looks a great place though

  3. I too would be pinching your Dad's crisp as too
    like the flavour of garlic. This place looks worth going to for a treat and the experience.
    I'm not too sure about garlic ice-cream. Should you go next time and try it, I'd be interested to know what you think of it.

  4. MMM, I can't wait for the garlic festival. Will you be going?

  5. Wow, I've never heard of garlic ice cream! Your blog is beautiful~I love the photos. I'm trying to feature more recipes on my blog and I've definitely found some inspiration in taking blog worthy photos of food!
    xo, Your Newest Follower,

  6. This looks like a wonderful restaurant. I can't believe they serve garlic ice cream though.

  7. I love the names that were given to your dishes. They look wonderful and I supect all but the ice cream were delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary


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