3 Restaurants That Transport You To A Far Away Place

Looking to escape San Francisco? Travel to a whole new world at one of the following restaurants.

August 1 Five

August 1 Five's dining room
August 1 Five’s dining room

Photo Credit: Patricia Chang

At August 1 Five, chef Manish Tyagi, transports diners to India. The large Civic Center eatery has a bright and eclectic decor, innovative cocktail menu, and lively environment. The food is classic, but reimagined. Fried spinach palak chaat is crunchy and addictive. Bison keema pao is a rich and almost chili-like prepartion that’s delicious and transporting. The entire meal is a cornucopia of loud flavors that come together in a harmonious symphony.


Bellota's Spanish tortilla
Bellota’s Spanish tortilla

Photo Credit: Kelly Puleio

With flamenco guitar music, a Moroccan-tiled bar, and extensive list of sherry, Belotta brings diners to Spain. The Spanish eatery is the Absinthe Group’s newest restaurant and it is arguably their most fabulous. A bustling open kitchen anchors the space and it’s fun to sit at the bar and watch the paella chef work his magic in the signature cast-iron cazuela. The menu features everything from manchego, chorizo, and jamon to traditional tapas with a twist. The light and fluffy Spanish tortilla is coated in an addictive crispy chorizo alioi. Albondigas are made with chicken and served in a yogurt sauce with pomegranate seeds. The rice dishes are a must-order and if you can’t decide which paella to choose from, opt for the dividida, two types cooked in one divided pan.


An assortment of dipping sauces at Tawla
An assortment of dipping sauces at Tawla

Photo Credit: Chloe List

When you step into the Mission District’s Tawla restaurant, you’ll feel as if you’ve walked into a taverna somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean. Think Turkey, Greece, or Israel.  Although there is an a la carte menu, we recommend the chef’s feast. You’ll get a basket of house-baked pita bread with thick, fragrant dipping sauces, cold and warm mezes, and larger platters to share. The fattoush salad with arugula, pita rusks, sumac onions, and date vinaigrette is excellent, but really you can’t go wrong with any of the dishes. There is burnt octopus, smoked trout, charred cauliflower, fresh anchovies, and an excellent leg of lamb.