Another day, another new restaurant opening to report on in San Francisco. Except this time, it’s different. Noosh has been lighting up the dining scene radar for a while now and is finally, officially open. Snagging spots on just about every new opening list the internet has to offer, we’re happy (and still full) to be reporting on Pacific Height’s newest, hottest restaurant. It’s an “Eastern Mediterranean Inspired, California Made” casual concept that leans heavy on technology to speed up and smooth out the dining experience (think: checking in via a tablet). The restaurant is a follow-up of sorts to Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz’s sought after pop-up, Istanbul Modern. The founding team is rounded out with John Litz, who is known for Michelin-starred restaurant, Lazy Bear in the Mission. The elevated menu has all of the Mediterranean goodies you’re hoping for such as pita, falafel and skewers – many of which went through months of recipe testing. The interiors are breezy and bright, just like your favorite restaurant in Greece without feeling too themed. While Noosh falls under the casual category, it feels like anything but: the service is attentive and the food is comforting yet unique.
Our editor, Heather Ash, recently had a chance to visit the anticipated restaurant first hand and is reporting back on everything she ordered, all about the dining experience, and that signature blue-and-white Mediterranean design.
Photography by Audrey Ma and The Venue Report
First impressions of Noosh?
First of all, this place is adorable. It’s crisp and clean inside and the whole place is buzzing with excited diners. The menu is simple enough but will still leave you indecisive about what to order – it all looks that good. The staff is so knowledgeable and friendly, no question goes unanswered or order left hanging.
Give us a rundown of the menu? Any standouts?
If you’re not sharing at Noosh, you’re doing it wrong. Everything, and I mean everything, is meant to be shared and enjoyed by the table. The menu is, of course, Eastern Mediterranean and features an array of kebabs, flatbreads, spreads, breads and more. The concept is unique because there isn’t a dedicated server per table so you can order from anyone, meaning there’s no wait time for your next drink. On the drink front, the Noosh Mule, Paloma (I ordered this), Old Cuban and Kookoo Gimlet came highly recommended.
On the food front, we ordered the falafel, spread trio with pita (hummus, smoked yogurt and kale-tahini phkali), chicken and Noosh halloumi kebabs, and chocolate muhallebi for dessert. Where to begin? So, the falafel was amazing, if you think you’ve had good falafel, just wait until you try Noosh’s – it was dense yet light all at the same time and the lemon tahini sauce was amazing. Onto the spreads, hands down, my favorite was the smoked yogurt – it was so unique with the smoky flavor combined with the creamy texture. I’m plotting my return just for this spread. The skewers were divine – the chicken was fabulous as was the Noosh halloumi which is a type of cheese with a similar texture to tofu served with a Szechuan rose honey drizzled on top. So. Good. The chocolate muhallebi is a jarred pudding with a walnut tahini – its like no chocolate pudding you’ve tried before.
We shared everything and for two people, this was more than enough food.
Time to dive into design - give us the inside scoop.
Clad in blue and white, it feels like a vacation inside – a welcome reprieve from the dreary SF day we came in on. The blue and white theme is expertly carried throughout from the tie-dye tin cups to the long center bar. There is essentially a wall of windows that floods the space with natural light, even on a rainy day. The bright interior lends itself to the buzzing atmosphere of the restaurant – it’s really a fun and lively place to enjoy excellent food. There’s also an upstairs loft with casual seating perfect for after work drinks or a weekend meet up with friends.
Profile the perfect guest.
As mentioned, the menu is designed for sharing so round up your crew for a family-style feast and order one of everything or stop in with a smaller group to order just your favorites. You can rent out Noosh for private events for up to 140 people – how cool would it be to have the entire space to yourself with a custom designed menu? Someone please do this and invite me. Thanks.
Final thoughts on this new restaurant?
Noosh was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of this year so it’s busy with a capital B. There's no reservations, so get here early or brace yourself for a wait. They also offer delivery which is either a very good thing or very bad thing, depending on your ordering habits. Overall, this is exactly the spot Pac Heights needed and it’s officially on my short list of favorite places in the city.
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