If you’re ever craving a garlic fix, there’s only one unparalleled place to fulfill that in San Francisco. Named after the ancient Romans’ endearing name for the fragrant bulb, The Stinking Rose is a San Francisco icon in Little Italy, historically known for serving up dishes, and even dessert, which all accentuate garlic as the main star.
Beginning in 1991 in the heart of San Francisco’s culinary capital of North Beach, This family business run by co-owners Jerry Dal Bozzo and Dante Serafini, became an instant hit due to their creativity, even branching out into Beverly Hills soon after in 1995.
After being shuttered by the pandemic, the popularly odiferous eatery has fully bounced back and recently blossomed into a new location also in Little Italy.
The Stinking Rose's previous location.
Their reopening early 2022 came in conjunction with the revitalizing of San Francisco’s indoor seating scene, and now The Stinking Rose is anchored just a block away from its previous site, at the former Calzone’s Restaurant which was also run by the ownership group of The Stinking Rose.
“We season our garlic with food”® is The Rose’s notable catchphrase, which is definitely held up by all their signature dishes. It is said that the restaurant uses more than a ton of garlic every month, equating to over 3,000 pounds.
Each and every clove is used precisely and delicately, though, utilizing their complex flavors to their best advantage in decadently balanced must-tries like their Garlic Roasted Prime Rib, Forty Clove Garlic Chicken, and Garlic Steamed Mussels.
Each meal is kicked off with garlic bread and garlic pesto, and The Rose also hospitably offers a range of distinctly paired wines and cocktails such as their “Gartini.”
There is even dessert, such as their ice cream ingeniously flavored with, you guessed it, subtly pungent yet refreshing Gilroy garlic!
Their adoration for this savory crop also extends up their walls, as they hang one of the world’s longest braided chains of garlic with over 2,000 bulbs. There are also eccentric and eclectic collections of grand artworks displayed, as well as portraits of famous people who also feasted on their large portions before.
No other restaurant in San Francisco offers a menu with this inventively delectable assortment of garlic, making it the must-visit when around the splendid Little Italy district.
Photography by: Surya Prakash/Unsplash