Written byTaylor Abrams
Imagine the coolest restaurant in the suburbs. It’s where all the moms who have Snapchat go to drink non-oaky chardonnay, eat something kind of adventurous, and discuss important matters like why Cindy and Dave think it’s okay to have their in-ground sprinkler running in the middle of the day. The food is better than anywhere else in town and the Mediterranean-inspired interiors and fancy tiles silently convey that this place is like Olive Garden, only fancy. Uma Casa is this restaurant, only in Noe Valley.
Uma Casa is a kind-of-casual, kind-of-fancy Portuguese spot that’s bright and modern, and feels like the neighborhood spot your friends found on their vacation in Lisbon and now won’t stop talking about. The crowd is parents of all ages, plus couples on date night (who are probably discussing if they should become parents). But you don’t need to be child-adjacent to enter Uma Casa. It’s just a cool (but not too cool) spot that would be perfect for just about anyone - it’s breezy and welcoming, with a bar that works for a drinks and snacks situation, and a general vibe that makes you want to linger over dinner.
The Portuguese food here is generally heavy on seafood and tomato bases, and light on things that are vegetarian. Everything on the menu is well-executed and tasty, but the octopus, gambas, and pork and clam stew are standouts. Other things, like the grilled chicken and seafood salad, are very good, but are best suited for those who have Rachael Ray at the top of their TiVo record list. The staff are quick with solid recommendations, and the wine list is reasonably priced and goes beyond your usual California sauvignon blancs.
Uma Casa is a great addition to a neighborhood that could use more excitement and diversity in their restaurants. While it’s not the trendiest place in the city, it’s definitely cool enough to tell the rest of your carpool about.
These will come to your table for free, but we would pay for them. They’re thicker than regular potato chips, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and are served with a spicy tomato sauce to dip. They’re insanely good.
Salada de Terra
A salad of beets and grapefruit and roasted carrots, with more of that tomato sauce. Our only complaint is we want more.
We feel bad about eating octopus due to their alleged brainpower, but have a hard time stopping ourselves when they taste as good as this.
Salada de Mariscos
A big bowl of poached seafood with a garlicky sauce, this is a good move to share with the table.
A bunch of shrimp in a rich and spicy tomato sauce, with a few slices of bread for sopping. This is one of our favorite things on the menu - if there are many of you, get more than one order.
This is an excellent short rib, with some greens and mashed sweet potatoes. It’s hearty without being too big and a good way to break out of the seafood category.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana
Back again with the tomato-y sauce, this time applied to a delicious stew. The clams and pork work well together and the rich sauce is fantastic for bread dipping.
The grilled chicken can be a bit of a pain to eat off the bone, but the bites are worth it, and the baby kale salad and fries that comes with are good too. This is great for the non-seafood eaters in the group.