(Photography by Sarah Chorey)

First Taste: With Violet's Tavern, the Fiorella team wades into the sea


There's something briny afoot in the Outer Richmond, where a pair of beloved pizzerias are stepping outside their wood-burning ovens and into the sea.

That's right: On the heels of Pizzetta 211's recent opening of the seafood restaurant Pearl, the team behind Fiorella is also diving into uncharted waters with Violet's Tavern, where raw bar offerings and pretty plates of fresh chilled lobster are dressing up an otherwise casual neighborhood eatery.

At the corner of Clement Street and 24th Avenue, the tavern delivers a moody take on the aquatic theme thanks to M-T Space designer Melinda Turner (the same interiors savant responsible for that Instagramable wallpaper at Fiorella), who installed deep aqua leather booths and a faux-malachite ceiling accent for subtle oceanic effect. Black and gold fixtures keep the look modern, and the walnut wraparound bar is plenty warm for an intimate catch-up sesh over heaping platters of fruits de mer.

Chef Dante Cecchini has made the transition from pizza to pan-roasted scallops swimmingly, leading the kitchen in a successful attempt at surf and turf—in addition to halibut crudo, anchovy toast, and a shrimp louie roll, you can anchor your feet on dry land with options ranging from devils on horseback and steak tartare to the same juicy burger that's become an off-menu favorite at Fiorella on Tuesday nights.

You're at a tavern, so drinks are in order—especially since Patrick Poelvoorde (Park Tavern, Benjamin Cooper) has pitched in as consultant to offer original, seasonal, and well-balanced concoctions. Try something new, or throw back a classic: You can't go wrong with the Negroni Mi Amore or a Crossover Old Fashioned.

Not a night owl? Violet's will also be serving up brunch on the weekends.

(Grace Sager)

The Fiorella team hired designer Melinda Turner to also design their sophomore restaurant. The space feels modern nautical without any kitsch.

// Violet's Tavern, 2301 Clement St. (Outer Richmond), violets-sf.com

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