A Kimpton Restaurant



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Scala's Bistro awarded the Best Restaurant with Private Dining by the Northern California Meetings & Events in their 2010 Best Industry Awards. "With two private dining rooms, and a Union Square location, Scala's Bistro is the super classy, go-to spot for groups of 100 or fewer."

"Scala's Bistro is wonderful," Says Jim Wood of the San Francisco Examiner, "the food is super, the ambience is just about perfect..." The Chronicle's Michael Bauer agrees. "The way the service, food and ambience come together makes it obvious why the restaurant is capturing crowds..."

John Mariani of Esquire Magazine called it "an enveloping space done up in deep hues of gold and brown, with culinary murals, gilt mirrors, pretty Mediterranean tiles, and a fiery open kitchen that gave off the restorative aromas of roast chicken, lamb and pork."

San Francisco CitySearch recommends the atmosphere, too. "Soaring ceilings with elaborate pewter-painted plasterwork, mahogany wainscoting and butter-colored beaded lampshades make for a very convincing reproduction of a Parisian bistro, while hordes of high-end diners make for a near-roaring, feel-good atmosphere. As for the food, CitySearch tells its users, "The expansive menu offers enormous portions of traditional French and Italian fare, expertly prepared with fresh ingredients, entrees shine..."

Fodors.com calls Scala's Bistro "one of downtown's most attractive destinations, while Frommer's declares: "With just the right balance of elegance and informality, it's a perfect place to have some fun (and apparently most people do)."

In memoriam: Bay Area food personalities who died in 2014
December 27th, 2014 | San Francisco Chronicle

The Bay Area food community lost a number of well-loved members in 2014. We’ll remember: Donna Scala

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Tea Under the Tree
December 23rd, 2014 | Tablehopper

How’s your last-minute holiday shopping going? Is your eggnog consumption where it should be? Has peppermint been making appearances in your snacks?

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Bay Area Holiday Dining Survival Guide
December 8th, 2014 | Zagat

Sir Francis Drake Hotel and Scala’s Bistro’s Tea Under the Tree
Scala’s Bistro in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel brings back their “Tea Under the Tree”, serving tea sandwiches, tea breads (like cranberry walnut scones with lemon curd), petit fours, carrot cake Madeleines, raspberry linzer bars, candy cane meringues and more, all enjoyed by the fireplace around their 27-foot Christmas tree. It runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 14, then daily from December 19-23 (1-4 PM). The tea is $75 per adult, including a glass of champagne, $45 for children, including a gingerbread cookie for decorating. Reservations can be made by calling 415-395-8555.

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The Best Private Dining Rooms In San Francisco
December 8th, 2014 | 7x7

Want something a bit more special this holiday season for you and your friends? Nab a reservation at one of these choice private dining rooms in San Francisco. Clink, clink.

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Learn About Science and Great Drinks at CUESA's Chemistry of the Cocktail
December 8th, 2014 | SF Weekly

Do you ever gaze at your local bartender as he peels some lemon zest on your cocktail and sigh as you think: I wish I knew your secrets? Luckily for San Francisco cocktail lovers, CUESA will host an event that brings will showcase great flavors and the science behind them.


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Best places to dine around Union Square & Westfield Centre
December 2nd, 2014 | SF Gate

Every year around this time, e-mails start to come in, asking for places to take family for lunch and dinner around major shopping areas, particularly Union Square.

Scala's Bistro: A needed reprieve for fritto misto, carpaccio, pasta and Cobb salad (at lunch).

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Tea Under the Tree
December 1st, 2014 | Gentry

Be a Kid Again

Through its “Be a Kid Again” meeting program, Sir Francis Drake has discovered just how much we all need to recall a less “connected” era filled with laughter, energy, and creativity. It is in this spirit that the hotel is remodeling it’s Holiday Tea. In place of the traditional tea sandwiches, treats include PG&J, banana sammies, and cheese Panini. Sweets include cupcakes, Rice Krispies treats, and a candy bar. Hot chocoate topped with marshmallows will be on hand, should you choose to forego your tea. 415.395.8554.


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Christmas Tea: the 2014 round-up (Pinkies up!)
December 1st, 2014 | 510 Families

When my son and I experienced our first Christmas Tea last year, we had so much fun that we vowed to make it a yearly event. This year’s 510Families Christmas Tea edition takes you to some new San Francisco Bay Area locations — from a small-town eatery with homemade scones and Astroturf carpeting, to an elegant Union Square hotel...

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Foodie Agenda: Tea Under the Tree
November 26th, 2014 | 7x7

Tea Under the Tree 

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel and Scala’s Bistro are bringing back perfect holiday treat “Tea Under the Tree." Offered on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (from November 28 - December 14, and daily from December 19 - 23 from 1 - 4pm), stop by for breads, sandwiches, and desserts such as vanilla marshmallows and candy cane meringues (plus a glass of champagne to ward off that holiday fatigue). Reservations are encouraged: 415-395-8555. 450 Powell, SF

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Where to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner
November 24th, 2014 | The Daily Meal

Here are our picks for where to eat Thanksgiving dinner in and around San Francisco.

At Scala’s Bistro, chef Larry Finn will be offering a three-course prix-fixe menu for Thanksgiving, featuring traditional holiday dishes such as Diestel Farms roasted turkey breast with thigh roulade, cranberry sauce, sourdough stuffing, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and turkey gravy. Other seasonal choices include butternut squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds and crème fraîche, Ōra King salmon with four beans, roasted eggplant, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and a spicy tomato broth, and the choice of pumpkin pie, caramel apple tart, or spiced chocolate torte. The meal is priced at $65 for adults and $35 for children; additionally, à la carte sides will be offered, including herb roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed Brentwood corn with crème fraîche and ricotta salata, and marinated olives.

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Holiday Caffeine Scene: Tea, BLTs, and Ginger Cookies
November 20th, 2014 | SF Weekly

Scala's Holiday Tea Under the Tree 
When: Fridays through Sundays, Nov. 28 to Dec. 14; every day Dec. 19 to 23; tea runs from 1-4 p.m.
Where: Sir Francis Drake Hotel / Scala's Bistro Tea Under the Tree, (450 Powell, 395-8518)
Cost: $45 per child, $75 per adult (includes one glass of champagne)

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SF restaurants open on Thanksgiving
November 12th, 2014 | Timeout.com

’Tis the season to be thankful that someone else is cooking. Take your pick from these top restaurants open on Thanksgiving.

Scala's Bistro

If Italian comfort foods like Caesar salad and ricotta ravioli sound like an ideal way to round out your holiday spread of turkey and pie, head to this Union Square restaurant at the Sir Francis Drake hotel. You can kick off the three-course extravaganza with a Manhattan and indulge in add-ons like chef’s favorite herb-roasted sweet potatoes ($8). And the pro move? Hit the iconic Starlight Room on the 21st floor for a post-feast digestif.


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New Scala's Bistro chef Larry Finn is now serving this open-faced heirloom tomato BLT at the Union Square restaurant
June 21st, 2013 | SF Eater

Tomato season is just beginning around Northern California, and while our compatriots to the south are seeing a bevy tomato dishes popping onto menus, around S.F. they're still a little hard to find. Here it's mostly about cherry tomatoes these days as chefs are still wary of the quality of early-ripening heirlooms — though the hot spring means there are already some beautiful ones out there. From SPQR's beer-washed cheese course with quick-fried cherry tomatoes, to Flour + Water's tortellini in tomato-water "brodo," the essential flavor of summer is upon us.

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Scala’s Bistro hires a new chef: Larry Finn
June 7th, 2013 | Inside Scoop SF

The first time that Larry Finn, the new chef at Scala’s Bistro in Union Square, had a taste revelation was in the early 90s, at New York’s legendary and now-closed Lespinasse.

At the time, Finn was working as a sous chef at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe. One day, the chef at Union Square Cafe, Michael Romano, was soliciting lunch suggestions from his cooks. Finn half-jokingly suggested Lespinasse, the four-star destination where Gray Kunz was creating a “beguiling” and brilliant cuisine of his own. Romano obliged.

“I never thought he’d say yes, but he did — and took the the whole AM staff to lunch at Lespinasse,” says Finn.

For Finn, it was a meal that would never leave him.

“The flavors, the sweet, the crunch, the texture. When you ate the food, there was a party in your mouth. I hadn’t tasted that anywhere,” remembers Finn. “[Kunz] used a lot of acid. When you taste it alone, it’s not right. But when it’s combined with the other components, then you understand. It comes together.”

“That’s where my palate grew. When I ate that food, I said I want to learn how to cook like that.”

Indeed, Finn tried to get a job at Lespinasse for years, but could only manage a stage. Kunz had no room for him in the kitchen, but instead, set up Finn with job in San Francisco at Campton Place, where Todd Humphries was running the kitchen. Finn, a native East Coaster, spent the next five years (1994-1999) at Campton Place.


Finn eventually returned to New York, again lured by Kunz, who had left Lespinasse and was working on a new restaurant. However, the restaurant (Cafe Gray) wouldn’t open for years. In the interim, Finn was tasked to work on Kunz’s 2001 cookbook, The Elements of Taste.

“Working with him one-on-one was great, and that period also took me on the interesting journey of looking for a restaurant in Manhattan,” says Finn, who was Cafe Gray’s opening executive chef.

“Next thing you know it’s five years later and finally it did open … Unfortunately it was the only restaurant I’ve ever closed.”

Kunz — and Cafe Gray — are in Hong Kong nowadays. After the restaurant closed in 2008, Finn held other New York executive chef positions at the Four Seasons and Morimoto.


Now, he’s back in San Francisco, only a few steps away from Campton Place. Finn has started his new gig as the chef at Scala’s Bistro. He’s currently getting up to speed at the busy Union Square restaurant.

“Nothing is broke here, which is great. It’s a busy place,” Finn says.

“To me Italian food is taking the best quality ingredients and showing them respect with the proper technique and handling,” he says. “Sometimes it’s easier said than done though.”

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Chef Larry Finns Reinvention of Scala's Bistro
August 23rd, 2013 | Gastronomique en Vouge

There’s a new chef in town and he’s certainly making waves in terms of his innovative approach to an old favorite in San Francisco dining. Meet the gentle and charming Executive chef Larry Finn, who’s taken over the kitchen of Scala’s Bistro

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