In my quest for eating as much as possible during my last few weeks in San Francisco, I decided to venture outside my normal “comfort zone” all the way to Noe Valley. I can’t believe I’ve lived in this city for over two years and have never been to Noe Valley. My supervisor had high praise for the restaurant (she’s also a foodie), plus it was another chance to check something off the 7X7 100 Things to Eat Before You Die list.
My friends and I started to meal off with the little gem salad with roasted beets and garlic chips; goat cheese salad with arugula, apples and hazelnuts; and the jamon iberico de bellota. The salads didn’t really impress me much in terms of flavor combinations and they were also small. The jamon was delicious and had a little bit of a smoky flavor.
Hands down the best dish of the night was the coca (flatbread) topped with wild nettles, bacon, caramelized onions and manchego cheese. The flatbread was served PIPING hot. That manchego cheese was like burning hot lava and I totally burned my tongue while trying to eat a piece. It was worth the pain because it was absolutely divine. The caramelized onions were cooked to a pulp and were nice and sweet. Bacon always makes any dish better so I’m not going to comment on the bacon. I also liked how there was a little bit of kick with spicy pepper flakes on top. You have to order this dish if you go!
I was surprised that the calamars a la planxa was on the 7X7 list. The squid had a strange consistency and was softer than any squid I’ve eaten before. It was served on a bed of squid ink rice with chorizo and artichokes mixed in. The rice was really oily and heavy and the chorizo and artichokes didn’t add much. I was disappointed because I like squid ink and the rice really didn’t have much flavor. The albondigas were tasty and tender. I only wish that the portion was bigger!
For dessert, we split the churros with “hot chocolate.” The hot chocolate was more of a thick, chocolate sauce. It was rich, but not too sweet (though I don’t know how you could drink it plain). Is this how Barcelona-style hot chocolate really is? It makes me want to travel to Barcelona and try a fresh cup for myself. The churros were AMAZING. Crispy and fried to perfection and lightly coated in sugar. The combination of churros and hot chocolate pair together perfectly.
Overall, Contigo was an enjoyable meal, but I felt like the portions were a little small. A party of 2-3 people would be perfect. Anything larger and I feel like not everyone would get to have a taste of everything. It was cute to explore Noe Valley a little bit (it’s extremely family-oriented). I don’t think it’s a restaurant that you need to go out of your way to try, but if you’re in the area, Contigo is worth checking out.