When warm weather hits, or if you’ve been eating too many hamburgers, it’s time for a kick-ass salad. Here are some favorites in the city.
Duck Confit Salad at Frances
It’s not a staple, but you’ll want to obsessively check the website and see when it’s back on the menu. This appetizer salad is a brilliant mix of baby kale, bites of duck confit, fried shallots, fennel, and the kicker: Medjool dates, all in an agrodolce (sweet and sour) dressing.
Fattoush Salad at Blue Barn Gourmet
Here you’ll have a bunch of options for a make-your-own salad, but the Fattoush is a great one to get to know. You get romaine, chicory, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, scallions, chickpeas, Niçoise olives, feta, and crispy pita, with a Champagne vinegar and sumac vinaigrette. Are you on a cleanse? There’s even a cleanse-friendly salad, the Detox.
You know who makes great salads? Sharon Ardiana of Ragazza (and Gialina, too). They’re balanced, full of seasonal ingredients, fresh, and come in big Heath bowls. I always choose whatever has the Green Goddess dressing on it, which right now is an avocado and beet salad with kumquats and radicchio.
Heartland Taco Salad at Green Chile Kitchen
They make all kinds of tasty main-dish salads here, but the Heartland Taco Salad is one that reminds me of childhood: you get a mountain (seriously, good luck finishing this thing) of pinto beans, ground beef, grated cheese, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and tortilla chips to add some crunch. It’s all dressed in their green chile buttermilk dressing, an outstanding dressing I wish they’d sell by the Mason jar.
Tea Leaf Salad at Burma Superstar
There’s a reason this salad is as famous as it is—it rocks. You get a pile of ingredients that your server will mix together, including split yellow peas, tomatoes, dried shrimp, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fried garlic, fish sauce (don’t leave this out!), lemon, and fermented tea leaves from Burma. Pure alchemy.
Marcia Gagliardi is the contributing food editor for 7x7 and author of the weekly Tablehopper e-column and book The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and read more at tablehopper.com.