The Stinking Rose, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 32 Reviews

325 Columbus Avenue (415) 781-7673

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    The Stinking Rose: Garlic Heaven

    by Court94403 Updated Nov 6, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    If you are a fan of garlic this is the place for you. Everything on the menu at The Stinking Rose is loaded with Garlic. This a tourist restuauant but the food is pretty good which makes it a place that locals frequent too!

    The Stinking Rose looks quite small from the outside, but once inside it you will realize it has plenty of room. The Stinking Rose has different dining areas. One area has private eating booths with curtains. Garlic hangs from the walls, old wine casks with half melted candles sit on tables and shelves, reminiscent of an Italian kitchen. This restaurant can fill up fast, and there is usually a line, so make reservations.

    The Stinking Rose can be a little pricey, but hey you're in San Francisco! Live A Little!

    Favorite Dish: Try the Bagna Calda roasted garlic soaked in Olive oil to spread on their house baked focaccia bread. TASTY!
    We order different entrees/ appetizers and sampled a little from each others plates
    Lasagne and Mussels
    Fresh Tomato Pasta
    Arugula Pesto Pasta
    40 Clove Garlic Chicken with Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    Neon Ravioli (filled with potato, cheese and a garlic basil sauce)
    Spicy Prawns (with Italian bacon, fettuccine in a red pepper garlic oil)
    for desert try the Gilroy Garlic Ice Cream (Vanilla Ice Cream with a HINT of Garlic)

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  • jumpingwithnorman's Profile Photo

    The Stinking Rose: Garlicky Kitsch at its best

    by jumpingwithnorman Written Apr 15, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I think the restaurant name says it all! If you are any tiny bit of the vampire persuasion, stay away from this place! The whole restaurant is one big cluttered garlic explosion divvied up into several different dining areas. There are a couple of floors to this restaurant. It does get pretty loud but all in good fun. Servers are sassy, fun & attentive. Be adventurous when ordering and forget the breathmints for now. Parking is a challenge in this area so be patient when looking for street parking.

    Favorite Dish: The Bagna Calda is their spreadable garlic that is out of this world. They take garlic cloves and roast them till they are spreadable. It is addictive! The pork chops are juicy & flavorful along with the chicken. Meat loaf was pretty good too.

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  • taylo365's Profile Photo

    The Stinking Rose: Stinky Deliciousness

    by taylo365 Written May 20, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Stinking Rose is a restaurant completely dedicated to all things garlic. There is a garlic gift ship at the front of the small restaurant for tourists to pick up random trinkets and from the walls hang many different types of garlic focused material. The setting is very nice with curtain enclosed candlelit booths but the restaurant overall is more of an attraction than a fine dining experience. Few locals (if any) would stop to brave the long lines and cheesy decor simply to have a dish smothered, dipped, stewed, and roasted in garlic.

    Favorite Dish: The food was actually very good and reasonably priced. I would recommend the stewed garlic appetizer which is bread with stewed garlic cloves on the side. I have never eaten anything like it before and it was extremely good.

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    The Stinking Rose: Garlic goodness!

    by joits Written Feb 28, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    18oz garlic roasted prime rib
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    Don't be thrown off by the unusual name... its called The Stinking Rose because this restuarant is all about garlic! I'm not a garlic freak by any means but I really really liked this place. I was here celebrating with some buddies and so I went all out and bought the most expensive thing on the menu, 18oz garlic roasted prime rib. man oh man was this delicious! it was a huge meal and i was stuffed afterwards!

    This restaurant has a very casual atmosphere, something that i hear is different with it's beverly hills counterpart which is supposedly more formal. The restaurant has a very vibrant and jolly decor... it's covered wall to wall, ceiling to floor with garlic... vampires beware! Service is also excellent with well informed and attentive waiters.

    Favorite Dish: Two things... the Bagna Calda which is garlic cloves, oven-roasted in extra virgin olive oil and butter with a hint of anchovy. It's making my mouth water just thinking about it.

    And of course... the 18oz garlic roasted prime rib... cooked medium rare. Juicy, succulent, tasty, tender... wow... I want to go back!

    Didn't try it but I just had to mention it... they have garlic ice cream! Holy...

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    The Stinking Rose: This place stinks

    by heryanta Written Dec 18, 2007

    Well, it literally stinks from the garlic that they serve, but overall it is an average experience.

    Food - bad
    Had their panzanella salad, which consisted of tomato, onion, rostini, pine nut and garlic balsamic vinaigrette. It was too sour for me to enjoy it and also too wet. The other people in the group had their pizza and their ink linguine with clams and none of them had anything good to say about their food either.

    Ambiance - good
    Tables are separated by draperies that makes an intimate, cozy dining area.

    Service - average
    Nothing to complain but nothing to rave about either

    Price - average
    At about $25 - $30 per person it is pretty much the 'market' rate for restaurants along the Columbus Avenue.

    Overall - average
    There's nothing wrong with this restaurant but its problems lie with the fact that there's so much hype around it that when I got there I couldn't help feel 'well, this is it??'

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    The Stinking Rose: If you like garlic...

    by yoyosh Written Oct 11, 2007

    We had read and heard a lot about The Stinking Rose, and were very excited to try it. We even stopped in Gilroy during our vacation, so you know garlic is a big deal to us! It's low key, expensive, and everything we ate was pretty good. We shared the sauteed garlic appetizer (one order is enough for 5-6 people), which was fantastic, as was the home made "garlic pesto" that was on every table. I had the ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, she had a pasta dish and both were solid if not fantastic. I would reccomend the place to anyone who loves garlic purely based on "kitsch value". Not that the food isn't good, it is, but this place is really a mecca for garlic lovers.

    Favorite Dish: I had the garlic encrusted ribs, which were good but didn't knock me out as being very garlicky. The meat fell off the bone and I definately didnt need to chew the bones at all.

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  • pawlu87's Profile Photo

    The Stinking Rose: The Garlic Haven

    by pawlu87 Written Aug 4, 2007

    The ambience is relaxed and is probably inspired by an Italian theme. Service is very proficient, the tables are slightly small though! There is a really cool quote on the menu that states :"We season our garlic with food"

    Favorite Dish: Silence of the Lamb Shank (20 dollars) is an amazing example of the restaurant's cuisine. The taste is intense and the garlic really complements the meat. When I visited it was cooked just perfectly.

    Also if you would like to try something different, try the garlic ice-cream... its very nice.

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    The Stinking Rose: A fun spot for dinner

    by RickinDutch Written May 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Don't let the name put you off. This place was recommended by the concierge at the Marriott. Located just north of China Town The Stinking Rose serves everything made with garlic. A funky atmosphere with curtained off booths and casual, spunky servers I enjoyed the place a lot.

    Be sure to get the Bagna Calda, which is oven roasted cloves of garlic in hot live oil and butter. Great for spreading on the focaccia bread.

    Lots of salads, pasta, seafood, ribs, steaks all served with garlic mashed potates.

    A small but decent wine list and beer on tap.

    Favorite Dish: I had the Bagna Calda and Focaccia Bread, Garlic Encrusted Baby Back Ribs with Garlic mashed potates and loved it. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale took the heat off just fine.

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    The Stinking Rose: North Beach Restaurant

    by newsphotogirl Updated Feb 26, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A great North Beach restaurant. As you can tell by the name, they specialize in garlic. But you can request dishes "vampire style" or without garlic. The restaurants slogan is "we season our garlic with food". My favorite is a side dish of Bagna Calda which is roasted garlic in a small skillet. Perfect for spreading on bread or focaccia. And if your up for it maybe some garlic ice cream for dessert! My only warning is if you don't like garlic then this place is not for you. It smells like garlic and so will you after your meal.

    There's little parking in North Beach. Best bet is to find a garage or try to find parking on Sansome Street and walk up the hill.

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  • The Stinking Rose: garlic wine sounds good, tastes bad!

    by myproshop Written Oct 24, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the stinkin rose was the best place we ate at in all of san francisco. the whole "garlic theme" of this restaurant might scare off the timid, but its worth the 48 hrs of bad breath afterwards.

    Favorite Dish: the garlic clove appettizer is a MUST, its a wonder that no one else has copied this wonderful idea. at first i was hesitant to putting an entire garlic clove in my mouth, but when the 1st i put on my roll practically melted, i tossed caution to the wind and gobbled up as much as i could before i ran out of bread. i had the 40 clove garlic chicken which came with a side of the garlic mashed potatos, it was great. she had the garlic and chicken pizza which was on an oblong shaped dough, also highly recommended. and to top it all off, the garlic ice cream was not anywhere near as bad as i thought it would be.. another highly recommended item on the menu... hopefully this restaurant will make it all the way out to the east coast, im gonna try to make the sauteed garlic for dinner, wish me luck

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    The Stinking Rose: Eat plenty of parsley after your meal

    by emilesc Updated Oct 11, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Order a bowl of this after you finish your meal!

    I live in Los Angeles, and The Stinking Rose is one of my favorite restaurants. I have never had any desire to go to the one in San Francisco because the line is usually out the door. And frankly, with the same restaurant available in my hometown, I felt like I'd be traveling overseas and eating at McDonald's; why bother?

    But my hostess, who is also from LA, was all hyped up to try the SF version. And she was paying, so who was I to argue? Hmmm... I kind of like the LA one better for atmosphere. The LA one is bigger, and the entrance is kind of tucked away so you don't feel like the bustling streets are right there in your face while you're eating, so I think it lends itself to a more romantic atmosphere. And I don't even want to think of what parking's like at the SF one, but the parking lot in LA is huge.

    Nevertheless, I had a fun time. If you love garlic, you can't go wrong with either restaurant. Here's a tip, though: we had dinner at 6pm on a weekday, so we beat the rush.

    Favorite Dish: I had the popular 40-garlic chicken, which was pretty good, not fantastic. A bit on the dry side and other than the garlic, I can't say it was as flavorful as I would have liked. It needed some other kind of spice to cut through the blandness. I did, however, enjoy the chardonnay the waiter recommended.

    Normally, I get the gnocchi in LA, which is probably a safe bet in SF as well. And you should try the garlic ice cream, really. The garlic adds a bit of tang, but it's doesn't overwhelm the sweetness. And of course, don't even think of starting your meal without the an order of oven-roasted spreadable garlic cloves for your bread.

    So here's the main tip: after the meal, ask your waiter for a small bowl of chopped parsley and a spoon (pictured). You'll get it free of charge (or you should anyway). In LA, they never bat an eye - in fact they were the ones who suggested I get the chopped bowl when I once requested a few sprigs years ago. In SF, the waiter seemed a bit taken aback, but the chef knew what I wanted, because out came the parsley with two spoons for my friend and me.

    It's rough going at first - chopping the parsley really brings out the flavor, and it is STRONG. But it's so worth it - it cuts through the bad breath and it keeps the garlic from reeking from your pores. And it's also been known to reduce any issues one might have with, um, gaseousness, shall we say?

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    The Stinking Rose: Love the garlic!

    by apbeaches Written Aug 7, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Friends recommended the Stinking Rose & we were not disappointed. We sat in a colorful tent & enjoyed the roasted garlic, osco bucco & garlicy deserts tremendously.

    Favorite Dish: Roasted garlic with bread for dipping.

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  • The Stinking Rose: Whew! Break out the breath mints baby!

    by RblWthACoz Updated Aug 4, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    An okay restaurant in my opinion. More of a novelty and a tourist trap than a serious dining experience. Service was nothing special and our waiter was barely ever at our table. The food was not overly spectacular. You won't miss anything if you don't go here in my opinion.

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    The Stinking Rose: Stinking Rose is fabulous

    by JeanniesWorld Written Jul 13, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The atmosphere in this restaurant is what gives it its charm. Everything tastes and smells wonderful! It is also one of the only places that you can order rabbit if you're into something different. On the right side of the restaurant are these sort of tent things that can seat up to four people but it is really intimate for couples.

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    The Stinking Rose: The Stinking Rose

    by Fun4you Written Mar 29, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A friend recommended this restaurant to me and I would highly pass on the recommendation. My sister and I went to this eclectic and unique Italian restaurant. We split a great bottle of reasonably priced wine and ate a wonderful dinner. There is a wide variety of food all infused with garlic. There is garlic, garlic and more garlic. A little tipsy at the end of the night we caught a taxi back to our hotel. We hoped in the back the the driver said, let me guess you all just ate at The Stinking Rose!

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