One place that had been on our list to try for a while now is Bellota, a restaurant focused on Spanish cuisine (Paella, Tapas and more). Thanks to @ipsedixit @BradFord @PorkyBelly for the recommendation.
The restaurant is clean, elegant and modern, with a beautiful view of the kitchen as soon as you walk in.
A nice Jamon Iberico ready for carving.
Gambas (Olive Oil Poached Gulf Prawn, Garlic, Chili, Grilled Bread):
WOW! Beautifully poached, delicate, plump, tender Gulf Prawns, these were incredible!
The hot Olive Oil, intensely fragrant Garlic and Chili with a kiss of Sherry Wine just made each bite even better. And using some of their toasty, crunchy Grilled Bread to soak up some of that seasoned Olive Oil and the Gulf Prawns just put it over the top.
Best dish of the meal!
Bravas (Crisped Kennebec Potatoes, Chipotle Bravas Salsa, Smoky Alioli):
Then their Bravas arrived. Bellota prepares their Potatoes for this dish in an arduous process of brining them, then steaming, then freezing them, before finally frying them up. The result?
Paella (2 Ways):
Arroz Negro (Creamy Black Rice, Gulf Shrimp, Scallop, Green Beans, Roasted Pepper, Squid & Ink):
Our waiter informs us that for their Paella, we can choose 2 different flavors if we wanted to, and they’d split the pan and prepare both(!).
The Arroz Negro sounded wonderful, and there was ample amount of vibrant seafood, but it might’ve been a touch too overpowering with the oceanic brininess. The Shrimp were fresh, the Scallops tender, but something about all of the seafood piled on (with Squid, Clams and Squid Ink) overpowered the rest of the Paella itself.
Also there was no Socarrat (crisped Rice crust on the bottom of the Paella pan) that @J_L waxes poetic about for a true Paella from Spain.
Stewed Lamb Paella (Fennel, Candied Kumquat, Fava Beans):
The other Paella flavor we chose turned out much better: Their Stewed Lamb Paella was tender, moist, long-cooked, and delicious!
The Fennel and Fava Beans were fine, and the Candied Kumquat was there to help cut through the fattiness a bit, but they were a bit too potent. They could’ve used half the amount of Candied Kumquats and the Paella would’ve been perfect. We just picked around the extra Kumquats and it was much better.
And for this side there was some Socarrat, with some crisped Rice on the bottom of the pan, but it didn’t look as consistently layered and golden brown as some pics we’ve seen online.
Based on Bellota’s Gambas (Olive Oil Poached Gulf Prawns) and Bravas (Crisped Kennebec Potatoes) alone, we’d gladly return, as they were some of the best dishes we had on this trip! The Arroz Negro Paella was a bit too briny, but their Stewed Lamb Paella was quite tasty. In the end, Bellota was a great place to stop in for lunch or dinner, and we can’t wait to try more of their Tapas next time.
888 Brannan Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 430-6580