I’m a happy vegetarian, because a Mediterranean restaurant has popped up in my neighborhood in San Francisco. Pera recently opened at the top of Potrero Hill in a space vacated by the beloved Chinese food restaurant Eliza’s. Pera had big shoes to fill, in a matter of speaking, with Eliza’s regular eaters in Potrero Hill and nearby Dogpatch. I’m happy to report that Pera is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.
My fiance David and I started with the warm, creamy hummus, a mix of garbanzo beans with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and topped off with pine nuts and served with warm pita bread. It was delicious. It is such a treat to get hummus in a restaurant. It is so much better than the stuff you get at the store.
At the waiter’s recommendation, David opted for one of the specials, delicately seared scallops in a creamy wine sauce served with crispy potato wedges and vegetables. The waiter didn’t steer David wrong. He loved his meal. I wanted to try a lot of different items on the menu, so the Pera Meze Platter was a perfect choice featuring tzatziki (a yogurt cucumber, garlic sauce), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts and herbs and seasonings), mucver (a kind of zucchini pancake), saksuka (a roasted eggplant dish) served with feta cheese and olives.
You would never know the space used to be a Chinese food restaurant. It has been completely redecorated inside, and the space feels warm and friendly. The diners are a mix: a big table with a chatty family is sitting next to a couple talking softly, possibly on a first or second date. If you go at 6, you can have your pick of tables, but come an hour later and you might have to wait.
1457 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107