The Bottom Line
- Unsurpassed, sophisticated Vietnamese food
- Exceptional wine list
- Stunning bay views
- Reservations for weekend dinner can be hard to snag
- Dining room can be noisy
- 1 Ferry Building #3; 415-861-8032 at the Embarcadero
- 2232 Bush St.; 415-923-9575 in Pacific Heights
- Website: The Slanted Door
- Reservations recommended for dinner
Guide Review - Slanted Door
A long cocktail bar with plush benches makes a comfortable perch for pre-dinner drinks. The large bustling dining room has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the bay; at night diners are treated to a stunning view of the lighted Bay Bridge. It is a fitting backdrop for the sparkling Vietnamese cooking some critics have dubbed “sophisticated street food.”
The owner and chef, Charles Phan, was born in Vietnam and raised in San Francisco. He draws on family recipes and seasonal ingredients to create such rustic, bright dishes as shaking beef (cubed tenderloin served with red onion and lime dipping sauce), clay pot chicken with caramel sauce and chili, and fresh spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.
Dishes are prepared family style, so it’s best to go with a group and share. You can choose from a variety of salads, meat dishes, whole roasted fish, and freshly prepared vegetables. The grapefruit and jicama salad and spicy stir-fried green beans are two favorites. The food arrives as it is ready, so there is no need to stick to traditional courses.
The wine list, famous for its unusual selection of hard-to-find Rieslings, is as revered as the food—the slanted door has received numerous accolades from Wine Spectator magazine and noted wine critics. Wines and beers are chosen to match the food; the sommelier will gladly help you choose a bottle to go with your food.