Paragon in SoMa
The Paragon is one of those popular pre-game spots before Giants Games in the South of Market area. It’s one or two blocks from the stadium, and coincidentally one or two blocks from my abode, so it was only a matter of time before I checked this out. The lackluster reviews on Yelp, however, prolonged my first visit. This seems to be another case of SF food snobs (love you all) on Yelp perhaps setting the bar a little too high.
First of all, regarding Paragon’s rep of terrible service, no matter what restaurant you head to on a game day that’s located right by the stadium- they’re going to be slammed, and I mean slammed right before and after a Giants game. For all my fellow Wahoos, think Biltmore right before and after game days. Yeesh. So, I’m not sure it’s fair to really expect a restaurant to maintain amazing service standards in these conditions. Also, Paragon is very much a step above say a Pedro’s or Pete’s- the other popular pre-Giants game bars. I’m not sure its management envisioned drunken Giants fans raiding the place (in fairness, they definitely should have), but it’s chic decor and elevated menu kind of speak above that sort of behavior.
We entered the restaurant right after the pregame madness and our waiter looked traumatized. He said he had never seen it like that before! The couple next to us voiced a complaint about how long they’d been waiting for drinks and to place their order and they were immediately comped their drinks and served two appetizer selections on the house.
Paragon has a strong beer and wine selection, and a brasserie-type menu. Small plates abound, but the main courses also catch your eye. And it all comes down to one amazing signature dish: The Mac ‘n Cheese. It’s good enough to make you come back just for another taste of that deliciousness! White cheddar, rosemary and a Parmesan crust. I’m a sucker for mac ‘n cheese so of course I selected the chicken entree which comes with a side of M&C. Even if you go to Paragon just for a beer and a taste of the mac ‘n cheese, you won’t be disappointed.
Our waiter was attentive throughout the rest of the night and we had no issues! I will definitely be heading back here- their lunch menu is pretty appealing too. Great casual spot in the neighborhood!
Recommended for: After work drinks, casual meal, big groups, happy hour
Pros: Casual bar atmosphere with tasty food (nothing too fancy), Mac ‘n Cheese!!, beer list, drinks, lively atmosphere, great decor
Cons: Giants game crowds, lack of parking, service is so-so when super busy, food is tasty and well-prepared, but nothing unique