There is a sister restaurant called Sotto Mare Oysteria and Seafood that I have done reviews two consecutive Christmas’s. When my friend who lives in San Francisco told me that there is a spin off type place, I jumped at the opportunity to come taste the bounty. And what great bounty it was, all politics aside the food here is as good as Sotto Mare. There was some type of disagreement between both owners that happened which I do not know much about, so I am just going to leave it at that.
It’s located in the heart of North Beach, charming and cozy, the night I was there the line to get in was down the street.
Here’s What I tried:
Oysters and Clams, West Coast Oyster, and East Coast Oyster, pretty much the best oysters, fresh and smooth, you can taste the fresh seawater in both.
Appetizers, Boston Clam Chowder, you always have to try clam chowder when in San Francisco, and this one does not disappoint, rich and creamy, just the perfect soup.
Calamari Misto, a perfect blend of crunchy and mild seasonings went into the batter, but the calamari itself is soft and very tender, just the right amount of time cooked.
Pasta, Lobster Ravioli, these are big round pastas with succulent lobster and a super rich creamy light red sauce, another outstanding dish.
Classic Cioppino, with ½ cracked crab, clams, mussels, prawns, sea scallops, bay shrimp, and calamari. I was so in the mood for fresh crab, this crab is stewed in this delectable sauce, which adds to the overall experience, just a to-die-for Cioppino.
Combo Scallop and Prawns sauté, served with a potato soufflé and garlic buttered spinach, this is another fantastic dish. The scallops were tender and the prawns were huge and fantastic, a truly remarkable dish.
Wine, their House White – Sola – 2016 – Paso Robles – went well with all of my seafood choices.
Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill opened at the highly desirable intersection of Columbus and Grant Avenues in a prime space formerly occupied by Viva Pizza. Sisters Betty and Louise are third-generation Portuguese from Hawaii, and Hector is from Temascalcingo, Mexico. Hector was executive chef at Sotto Mare since it was opened in 2007 by master restaurateur Gigi Fiorucci and became an instant classic. Betty was the longtime principal server there, and Louise was the manager. Gigi Fiorucci is their brother-in-law. It’s bringing some much-needed revitalization and excitement to Broadway — that southern boundary of North Beach, now known more for its nightlife than for its fine dining.
The space is small but mighty, with nice cozy seating that will keep you close to all of the action. You can look into the kitchen and watch Hector create his awesome dishes.
Usually I get to try many more items. I told my server what I was interested in, and between 3 people, this food was enough with also being able to take a doggie bag with the left over Cioppino. They serve very large portions; I would venture to say that everything on their menu is great. It is a seafood lover’s paradise. So make some time and try Betty Lou’s.
Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill: 318 Columbus Avenue, daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m., 415-757-0569, bettylousf.com.
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