San Francisco restaurant makes top 10 fine dining in U.S. list

Bay Area

(Courtesy: Kokkari Estiatorio via Paul Kirby)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Making it through this past year and a half is enough reason to treat yourself to some good eats, and according to Tripadvisor, San Francisco is home to one of the best restaurants in fine dining.

Kokkari Estiatorio, just a few blocks from the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero, is not just the best in high-end in all of the city, but ranks in the top 10 in the entire United States, according to Tripadvisor.

The restaurant at 200 Jackson Street is a modern take on classic Greek cuisine.

“While Greece is a country with dramatically varied landscapes and widely dispersed archipelagos, there is a singularly Greek flavor palette, a collection of ingredients and preparation, that define what we do at the Kokkari,” the restaurant’s website says.

Among them include generous olive oil in all Kokkari’s savory dishes; tomatoes, lemons, feta cheese and aromatic spices.

(Courtesy: Kokkari Estiatorio via Paul Kirby)

This listing was a pleasant surprise to longtime Managing Partner Paul Kirby – mostly because he didn’t realize there were enough people dining out and about in the last year to leave reviews.

But he could pinpoint a specific problem that every other restaurant has been facing that Kokkari has been doing fine with: staffing shortages.

“We made a real conscious effort,” Kirby said, to keep enough staff on hand so that Kokkari guests aren’t waiting 30 minutes for their order, or other issues that come with less help.

In fact, aside from COVID-19 safety rules enforced by the state and federal government, the dining experience at Kokkari has been mostly the same, Kirby said.

He mentioned that the people coming out for a meal during the pandemic wanted to experience more than what they were feeling while stuck inside. “We didn’t want people to come out for a sterile, overly sensitive dining experience,” he said.

(Courtesy: Kokkari Estiatorio via Paul Kirby)

Kirby has been managing the restaurant for two decades now, which has a sister location in Palo Alto called Evvia Estiatorio.

People closer to that location can get a similar tasting and dining experience — Kirby said both locations are equally busy — but they differ in their daily specials and influence from each executive chef.

Among the draws is Kirby’s personal favorite dish, the grilled octopus. It contains the essential Greek ingredients that Kokkari chefs dash into most menu items; lemon juice, oregano and olive oil. He said they keep it simple and make sure it’s tender.

Tripadvisor said they make the list partly based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings on their website collected from January 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021, plus “an additional editorial process” that the company did not reveal further.

No other restaurants in California made the fine dining top 10.

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