{Sweet San Francisco}: Dinner at Dirty Habit

Dirty Habit blueberry tart

Becoming a parent means nights out become fewer and further between, especially fancy dinners at a San Francisco restaurant. It also means that when we do get date night, we pick our dining spot with over-meticulous care; after all, there’s fewer worse disappointments than drawing a dud out of the city’s current crop of hot spots.

Thanks to an invitation from Nommery we got our latest evening out and a chance to cross another restaurant off our list: Dirty Habit. Although the name is eyebrow-raising, I’m happy to say the food elicited only sighs on contentment from us.

Dirty Habit is located in the space formerly occupied by Fifth Floor restaurant, a longtime landmark of the San Francisco dining scene. It’s been renovated to a modern bar and lounge space, perfect for the young-and-hip San Francisco set, but we felt comfortable even if we aren’t so hip anymore. The interior is eclectically stylish, but I prefer the heated outdoor patio complete with fire pits and lounge chairs – a luxurious oasis in oft-foggy San Francisco. The space outside is more relaxed and conducive to conversation, and I had better lighting for the food (until the sun set, anyway).

Some of the highlights of our dinner:

Dirty Habit figs with feta

figs a la plancha/lime vinaigrette/feta

Beautiful way to start off the evening. Dirty Habit’s plating is on point.

Dirty Habit halibut ceviche

halibut ceviche/pluot/white soy/sesame

Loved this. Fresh and clean and just a bit of spice.

Dirty Habit beef tartare

wagyu beef tartare/red curry/fried shallots

Another favorite of the evening. So tender and flavorful and I loved the addition of the curry.

Dirty Habit octopus confit

octopus confit/yukon/pole beans/yemen spice

Beautiful plating. Dirty Habit’s cuisine is classified as New American, which is a bit of a nebulous description by now as chefs are showcasing increasingly unique and personal viewpoints. The dishes at Dirty Habit had a slight Asian influence, from the use of curry and coconut in an avocado salad to mixing yakitori-style chicken into a tagliatelle dish.

Dirty Habit sisig rice

sisig fried rice/pork belly/calamansi

Can’t say no to pork belly, and it was fun to see modern take on pork sisig.

Dirty Habit soft shell crab

soft shell crab/banana ketchup/thai sausage

A beautifully arranged ikebana-like spiral of crab legs. I really enjoyed the aesthetics of the plated dishes here.

Dirty Habit chawanmushi

Finally, dessert time. (Oh, and in case you were wondering, I never skip dessert, even when we’re on the clock to get home to the babysitter. You always have to make time for the important things in life!) The most original item we got was a sweet chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard)with barley, strawberry, and black garlic. It was like a cross between creme brûlée and rice pudding. The other desserts were a lemon and blueberry tart (top photo) and a chocolate mousse cake with hazelnuts and cherry –  delicious, if not as creatively original as the rest of the menu. Next time I’d like to try the biko topped with passion fruit/mango/coconut – it sounds like the sort of Asian-inspired dish at which Dirty Habit excels.

Thanks for Nommery for the dinner invitation and giving us a fun night out!

I haven’t attempted making the chawanmushi at home yet, but here are some of my takes on the lemon tart:

Meyer lemon and chocolate tart

Valrhona white chocolate and lemon tart

Blueberry and lemon curd tart


  1. 1


    Everything looks delicious. I just got back from San Francisco and could have use a great restaurant recommendation. Next time for sure… going on my list:) Your photos are beautiful to boot

  2. 7


    i love tapas places like this- trying a little bit of everything is so much more fun that eating a massive amount of one thing, in my opinion. and the asian fusion (for lack of a better term, even though it seems to have a negative connotation these days) elements sound so tasty!

  3. 9


    Oh My it all looks so delicious! Your pictures are supberb! SFO is one of my favorite places on earth! I went to college in Stockton, so made many day trips there on weekends! Lovely blog!

    Fashion And Travel

  4. 13


    Sounds fantastic! Don’t you love those nights you get out, especially when they are so special so far apart!

  5. 15


    With four boys, I can completely relate to not wanting to waste an evening out on a sub-par dining experience. Every single plate was gorgeous. Sounds like a fantastic date night.

  6. 16


    I’ve been waiting to dine here! Gosh, that ceviche and soft shell crab look and sound amazing. Making a reservation, stat!

  7. 19


    I’ve never been to San Francisco but I’m putting this place on the list for when I do!! I love that the patio has fire pits! I would love that soft shell crab and the dessert looks like it was worth the wait!

  8. 20


    That meal has me drooling over here and wishing I could jump through the screen. With 5 munchkins at home date night are VERY far and few between. I haven’t had a meal like that in FOREVER! But, I pinned it so I can try it the next time we are in San Fran- looks like it would be worth the sitter cost 😉

  9. 21


    Your photos look incredible! Who wouldn’t want to dive into this meal and that soft shell crab? I need that now!

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