Gitane: artsy glamorous Mediterranean restaurant in San Francisco

gitane restaurant san francisco

I managed finally to pay a visit to Gitane, a recently opened Mediterranean restaurant in the financial district of San Francisco. It is located on the tiny alley called Claude Lane between Sutter and Bush streets.

I’ve seen photos of the wild, 1970s glam decor but when you get there, it’s even more overwhelming (in a positive way). You realize just how conservative and boring most SF restaurants are in their interiors and lighting. The bar is stunning and the service is exceptional. I arrived and when I told the staff I was waiting for my dining companion, I was immediately escorted to the bar. The bartender arrived instantly and suggested a cocktail that was not at all sweet (the King Cole, which is strong and excellent). When my dining companion arrived, the restaurant staff took us to our table. It’s this level of attention and courtesy that you appreciate when you go to Gitane, precisely because it’s so terribly missing in other recently opened (overrated) restaurants in SF.

The food is a mix of Basque, Spanish, Portuguese and North African. I love the chipirones (calamari stuffed with chorizo), the bisteeya (rarely served in SF restaurants), and the thin-crust pizza with serrano ham. Note: the bisteeya was not made with pigeon as it’s often done in North Africa, but it was still good. They have an excellent wine list which is not overpriced and it lists a lot of wines from Spain (they have cava and dry sherry (fino) — not easy to find in most SF restaurants that purport to serve Spanish cuisine).

  • Vibe: swanky, fabulous interiors, lots of color and bold lighting; young fashionable crowd, bar scene is not a meat market which is a plus.
  • Pros: Very delicious Basque and Spanish tapas; North African favorites such as chicken and vegetable tagines and bisteeya; scrumptious desserts; excellent cocktails, good bartenders, professional service.
  • Cons: Difficult to get a reservation.

6 Claude Lane
San Francisco, CA 94108
Reserve via OpenTable

Gitane on Urbanspoon

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About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.