For most in San Francisco, Pagolac isn’t a new find by any means. We’d love to keep it a little secret to ourselves (as it feeds the TenderStomachs often) but really, the secret has long been known. If you haven’t tried it, then take an enjoyable human safari on the 19 or stroll up from Civic Center Station to 655 Larkin Street. Driving and parking there will make for a grumpy camper.

In general, you really can’t strike out on the menu and that’s one of the real beauties of Pagolac in that they have a nice, large menu which isn’t all just variations on pho, but still nicely priced for the budget conscious. The beef with basil is one of our favorites and the 7 Flavors of Beef is always fun to share with out-of-towners, although a meat loving Bosnian friend grumbled that, “It’s too much work for a good meal.” but he did admit to liking it in the end.

From folks who go there often, there are a couple of tips to keep in mind. For one, the main cook (the very affable guy with the mustache and the white chef’s hat) has Wednesday and Sunday as his days off. We’ve had many a fine meal on these two nights, but it is a limited menu. Speaking of limited menus, if they get swamped on a given night, they’ll switch to this menu as it’s hard for the kitchen to keep up. They close at 10, so this can easily happen early on Fridays and Saturdays. Pretty much now until the end of August is the best time to go if you haven’t as the AoA students are blissfully gone and the crowds are generally lighter.

Then there’s the green tea ice cream with fried bananas. Seriously, if you haven’t finished out most of your meals with this, then you’re missing out. While they don’t make the ice cream, the way that they serve it up is damned scrumptious. Even if we’re low on cash, we’ll begrudgingly split a serving between us.

Photo by Tenderblog