Red Window, San Francisco

Let’s get this out of the way: the windows are not red at this hopping tapas joint. Instead, the plate-glass expanse that surrounds the dining area is muralled with Art Nouveau-esque figures in surreal poses and flower garden-bright hues—purple, pink, bright orange.

And the tapas served would never be called tapas in Spain—few are small bites. Most of the listed items are actually sized like main courses. So truth in advertising is, yes, out the window here, but we’ll forgive this striver of a restaurant, which was founded by two of the city’s most admired young restauranteurs (chef Adam Rosenblum of Causwells and Elmer Mijicanos, the mixologist of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana) during the pandemic of 2020–2021. They’ve created such a groovy scene—with boppy music, superb cocktails, and sangria, and tasty fare—that they were able to make a go of it just as many of the city’s other restaurants had to close. Among the menu's hits are such classics as crisp-and-creamy potatos bravas, garlicky shrimp (shown above), Basque cheesecake, and creative dishes like the cold octopus pate (pictured above) and delectable cauliflower sandwiches. The two big misses? The leaden paella poppers, a baseball-sized take on croquetas, and the bland egg tortillas. When you make your reservation, ask for the triangular, view-rich booth at the front.