YOU GUYS—!!! We gotta talk about Aatxe!
Now first…, if you’re a foodie like me, then you know San Francisco doesn’t have many Basque Bistros. <—- aka regional Spanish cuisine.
So it was about time that Aatxe (said like “Ahh-CHAY”) opened it’s doors last year in April because Spanish food is BOMB.
Let me tell you about Aatxe though. This Basque Bistro is an AWESOME spot. Seriously fellas. This is a place for date night when you want to impress yo’ laadayyyyy. Really, just make your rezzies and thank me later. 😉 (PS- it’s in the Swedish American Hall on upper Market.)
The ambiance is on point: innovative drinks, classy vibes, laid-back music… but most importantly- the food was fantastic.
Aatxe showcases Basque-style tapas and draws influences from Northern California. The chef is Ryan Pollnow, who is killing it with his bold menu of pintxos and tapas. There were so many things that I absolutely LOVED… we practically ordered the whole damn menu. And…. ate every damn thing. Lol.
The entire night we were drinking, laughing, and enjoying these tapas… and it’s cool because you look around and see that everyone else at Aatxe is on the same level you are– it’s just a super lively place. (I was the only one embarrassingly taking tons of food pics though. 😛 )
Side: Aatxe is opened by the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group- which also owns Flour + Water, Salumeria and Central Kitchen.
Here are the 7 tapas that really blew me away:
The octopus salad ($12)… I’m just going to say it: it’s prettttty much an orgasm in your mouth. The salad is SO fresh- with very thin slices of octopus and tiny cubes of kohlrabi, avocado and greens.
Best start to our meal.
The pickled beets & kumquats ($10) is another fantastic starter for those of you who aren’t a fan of octopus. I was super impressed at how all these ingredients complimented each other in every bite.
Now this is a pintxo flight ($13). Each one of them was different and delicious: pintxo gilda, fava and lardo toast, smoked salmon, and a fabulous deviled egg. Omg.. YUMMMMMM. #TakeMeBack
I was blown away by the mussels, which arrived marinading in pool of immense flavors. (Can’t remember exactly what they were but SO GOOD.) The sauce was super flavorful and bold, without taking away from the natural flavors of the mussels.
The crispy pork trotter ($11) is a must get!! Think: warm, crispy outside layer with tons of melty flavors on the inside.
And OKAAYYYYYY. These ^^^. These are freaking phenom. They’re Patatas Bravas ($8.5) and they’re like french fries on crack– WAY better and way crunchier. It’s cooked with a light tomato sauce.
The Spanish fried rice ($14) was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It was soft yet crunchy at the same time. And that I love that kind of texture.
These next few dishes are good, but just aren’t as memorable as the ones above:
Green olive flatbread ($6) with garlic herb butter. Loved all the flavors, but I’m usually not a huge fan of flatbread (I’d rather save my calories for other things).
Gambas al Ajilo ($13): While the shrimp itself was super fresh, I thought the sauce could have used a little more flavor.
The pork belly ($15) was just… alright. Perhaps I have very high expectations for pork belly, but I just wasn’t impressed. While it was flavored nicely, it didn’t have that melt-in-your-mouth type of consistency. (It’s actually the ONLY thing on the menu I’d skip).
So to sum it all up:
Aatxe is located in the historic Swedish American Hall and is divided into two rooms- a bar area and a dining room. This is a great place to come for date night or with group of people. Definitely make your rezzies! And don’t forget, the crispy patatas bravas are a must get!!
PS: If you’re coming here on a date, don’t forget to bring gum. Your breath WILL be kickin’.
2174 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94114