The first restaurant I ever dined at when I first arrived in San Francisco was Universal Café, and it has never left my top ten list. It is fresh organic California fusion, casually presented, and paired with typically local, but always great, carefully chosen wines.
I appreciate that the food is local, organic and sustainable where possible, but it is the taste, freshness and, in a word, comfort the food imparts that stays with me. Enjoying the roasted chicken and frites with herbs on a Sunday night is like dining at a friend’s place – the friend that really knows how to cook, and visits the farmer’s market often.
The other great way to enjoy Universal is on that rare warm day, outside at one of the few tables out front. My strategy is to go towards the end of the almost equally rare lunch service, especially on a Friday. Universal’s weekend brunch service is probably its most widely known asset – the soft scrambled eggs, house-made sourdough English muffin and wine poached pear beignets are well worth the wait.