It’s not every day that we come across a potato dish that brings literal tears to our eyes. Or one that makes us whisper mid-bite, “I’m falling deeply in love with an inanimate object.” This rare, starch-fueled euphoria is one we feel every time we eat the patatas bravas at Red Window, a Spanish restaurant in North Beach. And if you want to experience it too, book a table here, stat.
What makes these patatas bravas so special? Well-seasoned, paper-thin slices of potato are stacked together, a welcome departure from the typical chunks you might see at other tapas restaurants. Each cube is then placed on top of a swath of aioli and dollops of salsa brava that we need sold in bulk at Costco immediately. But this dish isn’t just wonderful to look at - it’s also delicious, and the crispy, golden-brown edges shatter like glass with every bite. Don’t be surprised if you lose a friendship over who gets the last piece.
But there’s more to Red Window than excellent potatoes - eating here just feels like a party. You might see people from different tables join together in an impromptu birthday toast on the brightly-colored parklet or in the dining room, which is decked out with enough neon floral decals and rainbow colors that you’d think it was designed by Jojo Siwa. The atmosphere all makes for a lively night, and one that fits right in with North Beach’s eclectic, energetic dining scene.
The drinks here are festive, too. Red Window focuses on low-proof cocktails, like refreshing spritzes or fruit-filled glasses of red, pink, or white sangria. Some drinks will even be mixed for you tableside from a roving bar cart. After you settle in, dive into the one-page menu. Start off with a few of the pintxos, which are divided up by croquetas, crostinis, and skewers, and served by the piece. Then, move on to the tapas section - the patatas are a must, followed by the garlicky gambas and soft, melty jamón Ibérico.
The food arrives quickly, and before you know it, you’ll be shuffling plates around the table to make more room for everything else. Despite the inevitable overflowing table, you’ll want to order more and stay awhile - the friendly service, lively music playing in the background, and block party energy guarantee it. Make sure to throw in another order of the patatas while you’re at it.
If it wasn’t clear by now, this is our favorite item on the menu. Red Window’s patatas bravas are the Simone Biles of patatas bravas, and are set apart by their thin layers and crackly edges. Throw in the creamy aioli and salsa brava, and these really can’t be beat.
You’ve got four options: veal and beef, bacalao, jamón, and chicken and chorizo paella. They’re all excellent, but the one with jamón and creamy bechamel gets first place.
Are you the type of person who writes love letters to pork products in your spare time? Regardless, you’ll probably be inspired to do just that after one bite of Red Window’s jamón Ibérico. Soft and marbled with melty fat, this is jamón done right.
Perfectly cooked and served swimming in a garlicky orange oil, the gambas are a must-order. The baguette toast this dish comes with is great for sopping up the extra oil.
A tortilla española isn’t designed to be packed with flavor, but this one felt especially bland compared to others we’ve had. You can skip it and save room for other things.
The mushroom skewers are fried in an airy batter and topped with a drizzle of cheese custard. They’re delicate, earthy, and delicious.
The oxtail is tender and slightly sweet, which we love.
They don’t shy away from the fryer at Red Window, which we’re not complaining about. But in case you’re in need of something that isn’t crispy and beige, the bright, fresh tomato and manchego salad is a great bet.