Beit Rima is a restaurant that applies to any situation. Birthday dinner with friends? Check. Date night on a random Wednesday? Yup. Need a place to take someone who’s visiting the city for the first time and insists on making every meal count? Beit Rima fits the bill. And lucky for the people of San Francisco, there are two locations of the Arab restaurant: the original in the Castro, and a second outpost in Cole Valley.
The Cole Valley location has an identical menu to the original spot, and a similar ambiance with a homey feel, checkered tables, and a fez hanging on the wall. It’s also smaller, and a lot less loud - a plus if you actually want to hear what your dinner mate is saying. Fill up your table with more plates than can fit, including a massive mezze spread, a whole-fried branzino with perfectly-crispy skin, or the zingy baked halloumi that arrives sizzling in a hot skillet.
There are a couple of inconsistencies compared to the Castro spot: the hand-kneaded bread is smaller and there are less herbs and onion salad on top of the fish. But it doesn’t really bother us, because the food here is still phenomenal. And if you don’t end up ordering everything you want in one visit, don’t worry. You now have a very good reason to come back.
Beit Rima and this gorgeous mezze sampler are practically synonymous. And we never leave here without ordering it. It comes with lebna, baba ganoush, hummus, and the best muhammara in the city. You also get two crispy falafel that are excellent vehicles for all of the dips.
Thick pieces of halloumi are baked alongside jalapeño, garlic, and pretty much an entire lemon squeezed on top. It’s refreshing, bright, and absolutely delicious.
Chicken Shish Tawook Plate
Tender chicken kabobs, hummus, and rice so comforting it tastes like it was made by someone’s mom. This is the most comforting dish on the menu, and one we always come back to.
Grilled Hanger Steak
The grilled steak rests on smoked freekeh and a swath of green zhug, and is a great option for all the red meat lovers out there. There are more exciting things on the menu, though.
Samir’s Hand-Kneaded Bread
Puffy and dusted with za’atar, this hand-kneaded bread steals the show at every meal we’ve had here. They’re smaller than the ones at the Castro location, but fantastic nonetheless. Use this to sop up every last bit of sauce from your plates.
Whole Fried Branzino
After a long week, sometimes the only thing we want to do is dig into this crispy-skinned, whole-fried fish. It’s always cooked perfectly and comes topped with a pile of herbs and onion, plus lemons to brighten it all up.