Friday night K and I finally checked out Flora. It's only taken us 3 years or so to get around to it. We walked in a little after 6pm on a Friday, and got two of the last seats at the bar.
We started with a yummy appetizer (shaved 8 ball squash, arugula, fried squash blossom, ricotta salata, toasted almonds) and some beers. Flora is known for its cocktails, but neither K nor I are big fans, so we simply admired the lengthy and complex cocktail menu and the bartenders' ability to make them. We'd probably have ordered something from their impressive wine list, but we had after dinner plans and weren't planning to linger.
For dinner, I had the mixed spring vegetables, chickpea panella, fresh garbanzo beans, romesco, oregano. It was very tasty, but lacked a little in presentation compared with some of the other food we saw going past. K had a burger which arrived a little too rare, but after a couple more minutes on the grill came back perfect. Flora is "committed to using local, seasonal, and organic ingredients." So the burger was made with grass-fed beef from near San Jose; bread is from Acme Bread Co. in Berkeley, etc.
All in all, we both really liked it. With entrees in the $20+ range, it's on the pricier side. There aren't many vegetarian options for me, so we probably won't frequent Flora, but we'd definitely go again. (The two fish options were swordfish, which may or may not be a good choice environmentally, and rainbow trout, which also depends on sourcing, but more to the immediate point, was served over sausage.)
Flora is also notable for the building it's in. It shares the Art Deco style Floral Market Building with the Uptown Club, and was prominently featured on the walking tour of Uptown. It's a beautiful building, and they've used Art Deco style in the decor. I'll post more on the building itself in a future post.
One final note: Flora's website is terrible for a restaurant website. It's all in Flash, so if you're on a mobile phone, you may not be able to navigate it very well, or even see it at all depending on your phone. All the requisite data is there, but it's not easy to access. The Flash menus don't seem to work, so you have to choose one, then choose to get a printable version (a PDF file) which you may or may not be able to view. Fortunately I'd scoped it out (as well as some other options if we weren't able to get in) ahead of time, but they really need to fix it.
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