Indigo Restaurant: Reviews

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Pepi Ross
Name: Pepi
Occupation: Scientist
Location: Oakland
Favorite Restaurant: Indigo Restaurant
Reviewed Indigo Restaurant: Saturday, February 9, 2013


Indigo is a neighborhood gem, owned by its Chef, Michael Whang. Indigo offers consistently well-prepared food for a moderate budget in the Civic Center area. It is ideal before theater, opera or symphony, where you can rely on outstanding dishes and efficient gracious service that will get you out in time for your performance. The 3 course before-theater prix fixe menu is great deal. Alternatively, later dining is relaxed and homey and a wine-paired prix fixe offers a sumptuous evening of dining with Chef Whang occasionally serving and talking with customers.

The dishes created by Chef Whang are truly outstanding. For starters, the grilled day boat scallops are a don’t-miss dish and the plump flavorful mussels in a wine broth flavored with spring onions are the best I’ve ever had. The braised duck leg with mushroom risotto is rich and succulent and perfect with a Cotes du Rhone.

The pan seared pork tenderloin in a zinfandel reduction, with Swiss chard and an herbed polenta cake is spectacular. The meat is rich, the chard is nutty and provides great contrast, and the herbed polenta cake is to die for—rich, creamy, and light all at the same time. The blue nose bass is another excellent main course. The bass is seared to give a firm texture and preserve its delicate full flavor. It sits on nutty farro grain surrounded by the lightly browned butter sauce with flavors heightened by caramelized fennel and grilled green onions. Small pieces of still-crisp red pepper dotted the presentation, adding color, bright flavor, and an additional texture.

Two great desserts that will leave a smile on your face are a fantastic espresso panna-cotta with drizzled chocolate sauce and blueberries for freshness and the fruit crostada served with ice cream.

The dishes are ample. The quality of the food, preparation, ambiance, and service is considerably above the price point.

Pale columns and arches with an indigo deep-blue ceiling are enhanced by a classically-inspired plaster frieze above the long side wall and understated accent pieces on the arches. Delicate brass chandeliers and indirect light from a blue tile bar area make lighting soft but not dark. An open kitchen on the side opens the room up but does not dominate.

The noise level is quite manageable even when the restaurant is crowded (before theater). At 8pm, the restaurant was half-full and felt very cozy, with a very low noise level.


Karen Diggs
Name: Karen
Occupation: Nutritionist and Chef
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Angkor Borei
Reviewed Indigo Restaurant: Saturday, February 9, 2013


My dining experience at Indigo was not memorable. To start, the ambience is a non-descript combo of design elements that made me feel a little uncomfortable. My guest and I were greeted as soon as we were seated and service was fine overall. Although the appetizers were good and well-priced, the main courses definitely didn’t have the gustatory sophistication and depth of flavor to follow. And the dessert missed the mark too. In one word: ordinary.


Joel Riddell
Name: Joel
Occupation: Radio Host
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Farallon
Reviewed Indigo Restaurant: Saturday, February 2, 2013

Indigo, on the edge of Hayes Valley, is close to the action of the Civic Center yet I had only visited the restaurant for a party. When I called and asked for a reservation at 6pm – I assumed it would be no big deal, I mean who eats at 6pm on a Saturday night? I even made a slight joke, but the reservationist was serious, checked the book, and replied that she would be delighted to have us. We were four, stuck on the 101 in traffic we called the restaurant and asked to move the reservation to 6:30. When we arrived at 7 pm sheepish and apologetic, we were not prepared for a packed dining room. Indigo is a perfect destination for the Opera, the Symphony and the Ballet! Parking was a bit tight, but the bar was hopping with friendly patrons all off for 8 pm curtains. We decided to have a drink as the restaurant cleared out for the performance, leaving only a few tables of happy lazy diners enjoying a meal with no agenda. The wait staff, bartender and hostess were each more friendly than the other. I love the “frieze” on the south wall, reminiscent of some classical setting of drama. Our meal was mostly hits. Surprising wines, happy slightly oxidized Manifesto from Suisun Valley made in a “natural” way, made the perfect complement for Ahi and Tombo Tuna. Thinking I was ordering Clautiere from Paso Robles, I was thrilled to find the Cloudline Pinot Noir was from Véronique Drouhin of the famous Burgundy house. As we lazed and enjoyed, our next course arrived. My grilled salmon with ginger soy glaze was delicious and perfectly cooked. The pool of red pepper coulis under the buckwheat soba noodles was a bit slasher film for my liking. The flavor profile was good, but there was simply too much of it… which is, I know, an odd criticism.

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