Nachos on a stick (credit: Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images)
Fried cheese can be as ordinary as a cheese stick to as exotic as fried pecorino, but no matter what culture, style or language, it can be a great dish, appetizer, or complement of a full meal. With so many different options for fried cheese, the San Francisco Bay Area couldn’t be a better place for options having a vast array of immigrants from all over the world who have settled throughout the area. Whether you are in the mood for Greek, Italian, high end or low end, we take a look at some of the best fried cheese dishes the Bay has to offer.
2430 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Located in the East Bay, Pathos Organic Greek offers the traditional Greek dish Saganaki, fried Kefalotyri cheese, along with oregano and tomato, topped with Retsina, a white Greek wine. Pathos also offers classes that include dinner from a variety of guest chefs throughout the year. The exclusive restaurant is only open for dinner Thursday through Sunday, in the fall and winter months, so make sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
55 5th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Hotel Zetta’s Salvage and Rescue Lounge, or S&R Lounge, brings the Manhattan bar scene to downtown San Francisco. The appetizer and entrée menu will help you keep you full throughout the night, and features one of the best fried cheese curd dishes the Bay has to offer. An order serves you a plate full of curds, whether you want to share with a friend or greedily have it for yourself, and comes with a generous helping of warm marinara sauce as an added kick.
1911 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
If you are looking for a more sophisticated atmosphere and menu, Italian restaurant SPQR, the brain child of Executive Chef Matthew Accarino and wine director and owner Shelley Lindgren, will have you salivating just looking at the menu. Pecorino, a staple Italian cheese next to parmesan, can be found on many of the dishes, from salad to their talked-about fried version as a side of an entrée, highlighting any food attached to it.
2338 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Though San Francisco’s Mission District is renowned for its Mexican restaurants, Las Tinajas serves up Nicaraguan food, featuring queso frito. A staple food for breakfast or lunch, queso frito is featured on many of the entrees including Nicaraguan steak, fried plantains and several of their specials. Not only is their queso frito a highlight of dishes, but it’s also one of the reasons Las Tinajas has a steady flow of regulars.
131 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Of course the most basic and common foods in America are fried cheese sticks, most commonly mozzarella sticks. With two locations, one just off of Van Ness and the other in the Financial District, Sauce takes fried cheese sticks to the next level. Paired specifically with their tomato bisque, the white truffle cheese stick with its enormous flavor and crunch could very well be the headliner dish.
Andrew Wilson started a music webzine to photograph and write about his favorite artists. He quickly notoriety as both a writer and photographer, and has since been published to a variety of national news sites. Andrew resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and is pursuing a degree in landscape photography.