Eating in a mall is a very suspect choice, to be sure. But the Westfield in San Francisco has done something brilliant with their “Restaurant collection Under the Dome.” Truly.
Of the five restaurants in the group, three are excellent choices for any locale or occasion. Not only is it a wonderful stop for a drink and a snack during holiday shopping madness, but it’s incredibly convenient for anyone meeting friends coming from elsewhere in the Bay Area (or the city, for that matter). There is a Bart station literally in the basement. I can meet friends there for dinner (and a movie, at the theater in the mall) and they don’t have mess around with city parking, or even venture outside if they don’t want to.
Cupola Pizzeria is one of my favorites
The large, open front certainly makes it appealing, inviting, and easy to just accidentally fall into. The space is roomy and accessible, with the beautiful, imported, hand crafted pizza oven dominating the view of the back. A nice long bar resides on the left side of the room, with one small TV (important…Giants!). The only bummer is that they are beer/wine only. Sometimes, when I’m meeting my friends there for dinner, we stop in to Lark Creek Steak (same owners) next door for a pre-dinner cocktail.
I love their menu. It’s so…shareable. When we go out to eat, we order family style, so we can taste as many dishes as possible. Cupola’s menu is made for people like us and I adore that. They offer eight or nine antipasti selections, organized into sections; from the garden, from the earth, from the sea. All of the dishes are under $8 (with some at $4.75) and they are delicate little dishes of delicious. They also change all the time, which is awesome for the obvious reason of seasonality, but also, it means we get new choices.
On the latest visit, we started with the zucchini, almond, basil, mint and lemon antipasti
Our only complaint about this was that there was a pool of oil in the bottom of the dish. Other than that, we loved it. The zucchini retained some nice firmness, the flavor was really herby, it was seasoned really well, and the almonds gave it a fantastic texture. At $4.75 this was a fabulous choice.
We also ordered the charred calamari with butter beans, lemon, and chili oil
This was really phenomenal. The calamari was incredibly tender and the char was perfectly done so that the dish had a wonderful grill flavor, that balanced so nicely with the rich, soft butter beans and the crunchy bread crumbs. We both really adored this dish.
The rest of the menu is salads, pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. I’ve never had a sandwich there, but the other items are all solid. We realized when we were selecting a pizza that we had never ordered straight up pepperoni at Cupola; we decided now was the time to go a little traditional.
We were not sorry. Honestly, all of the pizzas at Cupola are great. They make a nice light crust, they blister it, they don’t get too aggressive with their sauce and cheese. The pepperoni was totally delightful.
Ready for the best part? Every July, both Cupola and Lark Creek Steak run a half off wine special, throughout the entire month. Half off ANY wine. That is not a deal to be ignored. No sir. Our first bottle was meh, but our second was divine. And it was $20.
There is really no excuse not to eat at Cupola when half off wine is an option (unless you don’t drink).They even have gluten-free options for all you pretend celiacs out there.
Cupola Pizzeria http://www.cupolasf.com/
Westfield® San Francisco Centre
845 Market Street, 4th Floor, Ste 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 896-5601 fax
HOURS: 11:30am – 9:30pm daily