Vegetables are the star of the menu at this bright-blue oasis on busy Valencia Street, which adheres to a mostly pescatarian philosophy, with carnivorous options available on the side. If that sounds like a dealbreaker, it shouldn’t be—Chef/owner Aaron London (a.k.a. AL) is wildly adept with the seasons’ bounty, making a dish of blistered squash with pickled kohlrabi, hummus, and creamy burrata feel as lush and luxurious as the offerings at a steakhouse. London’s menu is chockablock with such creativity, from the brine-pickled French fries and flavorful ras el hanout olives that kick off each meal, to the silky grits topped with tangy goat’s milk curds, Brussels sprouts, chanterelle, and yuzu. At times, the combinations can read like a five-car pile-up—cured trout, mashed turnips, and bagna cauda? But the crew always manages to smoothly navigate the layers of flavor, blazing new roads in diners’ imaginations. Like the menu, Al's space is bright, open, and cheerful, with plenty of natural light, bold colors, and a casual but engaging staff. Embrace the energy, perhaps with a glass of French wine or a craft beer, and let the boisterous, creative spirit of the restaurant win you over.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors