November 08, 2004


I'm behind on my posting again... It's been 2 weeks since we had an early birthday celebration dinner for my good friend Brian at Limon. It was the day of the Clarion Alley Block Party, so Nora and I were already in the Valencia St. corridor, dropping by the alley early to look at the awesome murals and take pictures, and scouring the plethora of bookstores in the area for one -- just one -- copy of Jon Stewart's book as a present for B. No luck. The bookstores that did carry A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction were all sold out. I guess that's San Francisco for you... But I digress...

Limon has shiny new digs on the very popular, very busy strip of Valencia St. between 16th & 17th, having moved out of their teeny tiny hole-in-the wall on 17th some months ago, thanks to early rave reviews. Their new place is easily 3 times as large, with room even for a teeny slip of a mezzanine, and a second, much smaller level which looks out on the main floor of the restaurant. I love the earthy colours inside -- olive greens and rich terra cotta tones make for a sleekly modern, but invitingly warm place. We were seated on the 2nd level, where I took some surprisingly good shots of the kitchen below.

Everything was simply delicious. There were 4 of us, not overly hungry, and we ordered 2 appetizers to share: their signature Ceviche Limon (the first picture above): "Fresh Halibut with mixed seafood marinated in lime juice, served with yams, Peruvian corn and mussels in a salsa criolla" and the Empanada Don Walter: "Pastry filled with sauteed beef, onion, olives, raisins and eggs served with rocoto cream sauce."

The Peruvian corn in the ceviche tastes like less crispy, giant corn nuts -- they have a slightly chewy rather than crunchy texture, but they added a nice enahncement to the dish. Everything in the ceviche (fish, shrimp, scallops, mussels) was lovely-fresh. The empanadas -- rich and to die for.

Brian chose the Cordero ala Parilla, "Grilled filet of free-range Lamb, served with lentil tacu-tacu (rice and lentil cake), lamb jus and crisp plantains." It was enormous, and I especially liked the bunny ears of plantains emerging from the tacu-tacu.

Nora opted for something light -- the Arroz Primavera: "Saffron rice with zucchini, mushrooms, yellow squash, bell pepper and English peas." The purple bits in the picture are soft red onion, I believe.

Joel ordered the Churrasco ala Parilla, a hefty grilled "12 oz. Ribeye steak served with roasted Peruvian purple potatoes and grilled aspargus with chimichurri and mustard sauce."

And I wanted more seafood, choosing their Picante de Mariscos: Sauteed seafood and diced potatoes in a Peruvian adresso cream sauce, served with and a side of rice -- the latter helpful in enabling me to gleefully consume all that lovely rich sauce.

Our server was so charming, so agreeable ... we had brought a bottle of wine (on Alder's cue) and cake; both of whch he obligingly served.

He took the birthday cake Nora brought from Tartine discreetly to the kitchen and served it up on individual little plates, topped with long sparkly candles... Limon is bound to be another favourite; I can't wait to go back...

524 Valencia Street (btw. 16th & 17th)
San Francisco, California
415.252.0918 tel
415.252.0000 fax
Reservations recommended
Posted by claudine at November 8, 2004 09:17 PM


Hi Claudine,

Looks absolutely wonderful! The food must have been delicious...and again, your photos are amazing!

Posted by: Reid at November 8, 2004 11:36 PM

Hi Reid,
Thanks so much for your nice comments. The food was definitely fabulous, and the staff could not have been more pleasant. I highly recommend Limon in the event you come through SF...

Posted by: claudine at November 8, 2004 11:48 PM

again - too many restaurants and not enought time.
thanks for sharing claudine!

Posted by: Sam at November 10, 2004 09:07 PM

indeed, sam. i hear you... i read somewhere that sf has the highest per capita # of restaurants in the US? (even over NYC...?) also - though the #s of establishments today may have declined vis-a-vis the dot-com boom excesses of the early 90s, there are *still* too many to try...

Posted by: claudine at November 11, 2004 03:59 PM

Hey Claudine,

I also had the pleasure of having dinner with few friends (including Pinky at JinkyTheCat) at Limon two weeks or so ago and had a very pleasant evening of wonderful food, great service and an overall great food experience. We were celebrating the recent wedding of close friends so I was part of a big group of seven. We also ordered a couple of appetizers - the ceviche, the empanadas (both which you mentioned), the calamari & the chicharron de pollo which everyone was raving about. Everyone pretty much ordered something different and we were all in foodie heaven. I had the pan seared halibut which I highly recommend. The Chocolate Bandido dessert was divine and the mojitos were way too easy to drink :)

Next time I go there, I'm itching to try the prix fix menu.

Posted by: John at November 12, 2004 10:15 PM

mmm..., john, i'll have to try the chicharron de pollo next time! :)

Posted by: claudine at November 13, 2004 06:02 PM

i enjoyed limon as well. i had the same entree that you had, claudine. that rice on the side was so addictive. did you have any leftovers? the only reason i ask is because i did, and it was even better the next day. the only thing i didn't care for was desserts, but it's mainly because we only had a choice of rice pudding and bread pudding because of our large party. they were both gross.

Posted by: dexygus at November 13, 2004 11:14 PM

Hi dexygus, I managed to finish all of my Picante de Mariscos, but i didn't finish the rice. I have heard similar things about Limon's desserts, unfortunately...

Posted by: claudine at November 14, 2004 10:14 AM

As the executive chef's fiancee, I want to thank you for the beautiful shots of the food as well as the restaurant. I due suggest trying the new dessert menu. Since moving to the larger location we hired a pastry chef and he has added a great list of desserts to the menu (for example a quince tart, lucuma creme brulee, maracuya panacotta, coconut pineapple tres leches). The dessert menu changes often. Again, thank you for the write up...we appreciate you all very much.

Posted by: Limon-sf at January 4, 2005 04:45 PM
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