The Stinking Rose, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 32 Reviews

325 Columbus Avenue (415) 781-7673

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  • Spicy Prawns
    Spicy Prawns
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  • 40 Clove Garlic Chicken w/ Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    40 Clove Garlic Chicken w/ Garlic Mashed...
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  • The Stinking Rose
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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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  • The Stinking Rose: The Stinking Rose is a tourist trap

    by dave_san_diego Written Nov 24, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Stinking Rose in LA offers some wonderful garlic dishes, a helpful and friendly staff and a dimly lit ambiance that transports us to times past. The Stinking Rose in San Francisco, however, is a vast tourist trap. The bas relief of the outhouse above the bar should have been our first clue. The service was atrocious -- our orders were wrong more than once, the garlic topping was delivered five minutes before the bread arrived, the staff seemed to avoid eye contact less they have to do extra work. I had to get up and walk around to find a waiter each time we had a problem with our orders.
    The chicken in the pasta dish was overcooked and chewy, while the pasta itself had clearly dried out from too much time under a warming lamp. The rabbit didn't taste like garlic at all.
    This place is purely for tourists. They know you'll never be back again and their service reflects that attitude

    Favorite Dish: The 40 clove chicken is delicious, though the presentation on the plate will not win any awards.

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    The Stinking Rose: That night we were kicked out of our motorhome....

    by Alice-Kees Updated Jul 15, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Stinking Rose is a garlic restaurant. It's garlic that you will find in every menu item. Garlic is very healthy so you should eat plenty of it.

    Garlic also makes you very thirsty, so with your meal (and later that night) you will need plenty of drinks.

    And last but not least: garlic makes a smelly person of you. Someone non-garlic eaters will keep a distance from. Alice and I made the mistake having a 3 course garlic meal after we split up from our party of 6. After returning to our motorhome that evening, we were soon kicked out of the vehicle by our own family... We had never thought of inviting them to our dinner that night!

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    The Stinking Rose: Garlic, Anyone?

    by Rixie Written May 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “The stinking rose” is the ancient name for garlic. Everything on the menu at this popular North Beach restaurant has garlic in it. Cuisine is California-Italian.

    It’s best to reserve a table. If you like to people-watch, request a window seat. Open 7 days a week, 11 am-11 pm.

    Parking is tough in North Beach, so take a cab or public transit if you can; Muni runs right by the door. The nearest garage is on Vallejo Street, next to the police station.

    Favorite Dish: The garlic mashed potatoes are wonderful. I also like the soft, roasted cloves of garlic that you spread on your bread instead of butter.

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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: 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: 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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    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: Don't bother!

    by karin1972 Written Jun 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I think this place is tourist trap. Every time I have eaten at this restaurant (even at the Los Angeles location--hoping it would be different) the food had been mediocre, at best. The food is often undercooked and just plain-- bad!

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    The Stinking Rose: If Garlic is your name, Stinking Rose is your Game

    by Slonyara Written Aug 18, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Neither Olya nor I have been to SF before, so we had no idea where is there good food to be found. Luckily our hotel room had a city guide where The Stinking Rose advertized. Stinking Rose is a restaurant dedicated to GARLIC. If you are as big of a garlic as we are, you will love this place. While waiting for your table you will be able to enjoy a drink at the bar which is decorated with... yes you guessed it, GARLIC. You can even order a shot ($1) with pickled garlic to go with your drink. If you preffer an intimate setting ask to be seated in the back where they have booths, and get ready to consume some "stinky" food.

    Favorite Dish: We ordered an appetizer of roasted garlic, which was served with rolls. I must say it was a great start for what was about to come. For an Entree we ordered one order of crad legs which serves 2 people (about 2-3lbs) in garlic sauce. The crab was outstanding. The dinner took about 2 hours and by the time we finished the crab the was no room for desert. But in case you were wondering, they do have garlic icecream. I am not sure I can handle that much garlic. Maybe next time.

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    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
    1 more image

    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: 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: 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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