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First Taste: With Violet's Tavern, the Fiorella team wades into the sea

There’s something briny afoot in the Outer Richmond, where a pair of beloved pizzerias are stepping outside their wood-burning ovens and into the sea.

That’s right: On the heels of Pizzetta 211’s recent opening of the seafood restaurant Pearl, the team behind Fiorella is also diving into uncharted waters with Violet’s Tavern, where raw bar offerings and pretty plates of fresh chilled lobster are dressing up an otherwise casual neighborhood eatery.


At the corner of Clement Street and 24th Avenue, the tavern delivers a moody take on the aquatic theme thanks to M-T Space designer Melinda Turner (the same interiors savant responsible for that Instagramable wallpaper at Fiorella), who installed deep aqua leather booths and a faux-malachite ceiling accent for subtle oceanic effect. Black and gold fixtures keep the look modern, and the walnut wraparound bar is plenty warm for an intimate catch-up sesh over heaping platters of fruits de mer.

Chef Dante Cecchini has made the transition from pizza to pan-roasted scallops swimmingly, leading the kitchen in a successful attempt at surf and turf—in addition to halibut crudo, anchovy toast, and a shrimp louie roll, you can anchor your feet on dry land with options ranging from devils on horseback and steak tartare to the same juicy burger that’s become an off-menu favorite at Fiorella on Tuesday nights.

You’re at a tavern, so drinks are in order—especially since Patrick Poelvoorde (Park Tavern, Benjamin Cooper) has pitched in as consultant to offer original, seasonal, and well-balanced concoctions. Try something new, or throw back a classic: You can’t go wrong with the Negroni Mi Amore or a Crossover Old Fashioned.

Not a night owl? Violet’s will also be serving up brunch on the weekends.

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Find Violet’s at the corner of Clement Street and 24th Avenue; a neon red cocktail sign signals good times ahead.

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The Fiorella team hired designer Melinda Turner to also design their sophomore restaurant. The space feels modern nautical without any kitsch.

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Lively, under-the-sea vibes at the wraparound bar.

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At Violet’s, any occasion is a cocktail occasion. Try the Stolen Tart (gin, calvados, rosemary, housemade raspberry cordial, lemon, bitters, and club soda) or the Boris & Natasha (vodka, Singani 63, Leopold’s Sour Apple, dry curacao, lemon and tonic). Each is expertly balanced and worth discovering.

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We love a round of oysters to start things off, and Violet’s offers them both raw and grilled.

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Sure, you could always order the shrimp cocktail. But the meaty half lobster, served with Meyer lemon and herbed mayo, packs a little something extra.

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Can’t decide? Opt for a little of everything with a grand seafood platter.

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Maybe you had a late lunch, or maybe you’re bar hopping and just need a quick snack. Violet’s offers a range of bar including devils on horseback stuffed with sharp blue cheese.

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Raise your hand if you can’t resist a good biscuit! A small selection of sides includes fries, creamed kale, romano beans and chili, and these warm buttermilk bad boys served with house-cultured butter and sweet, thick honey.

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Caesar salads can be hit or miss. Violet’s gets the traditional preparation right with fine shavings of parmesan fresh whole anchovies.

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Burgers are a dime a dozen in SF, but this one already has a following. Originally concocted in the Fiorella kitchen, it packs two double patties, grilled to medium, stacked with cheddar cheese, slice onions, shaved lettuce, pickles, bacon, and a house chipotle aioli on a poppy seed bun.

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You’ll never have to twist our arm to order a slice of Key lime pie. Layers of citrus, whipped cream, and crumbly graham cracker crust result in a refreshing summer dessert that’s so light, we wolfed it down with no regrets.

// Violet’s Tavern, 2301 Clement St. (Outer Richmond), violets-sf.com


Source: 7×7 sf First Taste: With Violet’s Tavern, the Fiorella team wades into the sea

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