Note: Up to this point all of my reviews have focused on places where you can dine with your little ones with relative ease. But the reality is parents need date nights, girls nights, guys nights and me time. No matter how much time we spent with our littles we all need to remind ourselves that we had a life before kids, and enjoying a bit of that former life is not a luxury but a necessity. So I'm adding a new type of review to the mix, of places that are worth the expense of getting a sitter to watch your babe so you can enjoy polysyllabic conversations with people your own age. Enjoy!
Hubby and I have settled into a nice routine of planning a date night about once a month. Its often enough to keep us connected but rare enough to feel special and not break the bank with childcare costs on top of whatever activity we're doing (if you haven't heard babysitting in the Bay Area is expensive).
For December we joined up with a group of friends we haven't seen since before M. was born and a few folks we hadn't met before for dinner at Lolinda. Knowing nothing about it, for a second I considered bringing her but I had a feeling the night would make more sense as a grownups-only event. My hunch was right on-Lolinda isn't for kids, but it's perfect for adults. It fits the concept of what a date night should be to a tee: the lighting is low, the music is loud, the seating is close, the conversation is a high hum-the ambiance envelopes you, and the food and drink are phenomenal.
I arrived early, separate from Hubby, and settled in at the bar for a cocktail. If you're a rum fan order the daiquiri and be prepared to lose your drink if you offer a sip to anyone else, because it's wonderful-when my husband arrive he had one sip, finished mine and immediately ordered his own! I heard high marks for other cocktails as well.
Once our party arrived we packed into a booth with a couple of chairs tacked on-it was a tight fit, but once we started eating we hardly noticed the squeeze, and it made catching up with old friends and making new ones easier.
Lolinda's menu is comprised of small plates served family style. They describe the cuisine as a take on the Argentinian steakhouse, so I anticipated a meat-heavy meal, leaving me pleasantly surprised that the vegetable options and sides were probably my favorite parts of dinner. The meats were great too of course, but my favorites by far were the sea bass skewer and the spinach empanadas. I could have been fine with those two things and wine, but we rounded out our meal with the grilled green onions, two large plates of varied beef cuts, chicken skewers, pork belly, and artichokes.
My recommendation for a successful meal at Lolinda is to order as you go--since the plates are small its easy to order a ton and then have more than you can handle, as we experienced even with eight people. This wasn't a leftovers kind of place and we probably had $100 in food that went uneaten or barely nibbled at. Besides, you need room for dessert, so don't fill up on everything else. My votes are the tres leches and the flourless chocolate cakes, but the churros at a nearby table also looked amazing.
Lolinda occupies the space formerly held by Medjool on Mission, so if you're feeling saucy head up to the roof for a cocktail on one of the city's few rooftop bars to finish out your night.
I was so swept up by the experience--the food, the conversation, the cocktails--I forgot to take photos until dessert, and even then our plates were almost empty, thus the lack of photos with this post. It was that good, but I'll be going back and will most certainly take more pictures than I need to next time.
If you're looking for NYE plans Lolinda has two seatings available. Details are available on their website.