Sep 7 2011

Six great Bay Area sardine dishes

 

Local marinated sardines with salsa verde and cherry tomato at Coco500 on Brannan Street in San Francisco (Credit: Brant Ward / The Chronicle)

Michael Bauer

A few years ago diners rarely saw sardines on a restaurant menu because of their assertive flavor and downscale reputation. However, with the increasing awareness of seafood seasonality and sustainability, this once-overlooked fish has moved into the spotlight.

It’s also been given a boost by the increasing popularity and diversity of cocktails. Sardines make a great snack with a stiff drink, which is why you’ll often find them on bar menus at upscale restaurants.

Many Bay Area chefs have found clever ways not only to showcase the fish but also to enhance its natural flavor. Here are six of the best.

Coco500

Long before it was fashionable, Loretta Keller served sardines at her Bizou restaurant, which she subsequently turned into Coco500. Now she offers local marinated sardines accompanied by salsa verde.

500 Brannan St. (at Fourth Street), San Francisco; or coco500.com. Lunch Monday-Friday; dinner Monday-Saturday. Full bar. Reservations and credit cards accepted.

Contigo

The tapas portion of the menu at this popular Castro Street Spanish restaurant includes wood-oven-roasted sardines on avocado toast with pickled onions and smoked salt. A perfect bite for a glass of wine, sherry or beer.

1320 Castro St. (at 24th Street), San Francisco; (415) 285-0250 or contigosf.com. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Beer and wine. Reservations and credit cards accepted.

Read the rest of the story on the San Francisco Chronicle’s site.

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