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A crowd pleaser in the heart of the Castro
Starbelly serves California comfort food and attracts an eclectic mix of gay and straight patrons. The open design encourages socializing with those seated around you, and after tasting dishes like the house-roasted porchetta, there is plenty to chat about.

Tags: Mixed Gay/Straight, $$ - Standard, California, Pizza, Sunday Brunch

Added by: KevinGoebel KevinGoebel

3583 16th St. (Market)
San Francisco, CA 94114
The Castro

(415) 252-7500

  • Mon-Thu 11:30am-11:00pm
  • Fri 11:30am-Midnight
  • Sat 10:30am-Midnight
  • Sun 10:30am-11:00pm


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  • byTSB was here

    Saturday via facebook

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  •   Unfortunate.
    texbearjoe ·

    June 2

    It takes an exceptional situation for me to walk out of a restaurant, but Starbelly achieved exceptional status. I want to like it, and I certainly know friends that have enjoyed it, and I've had some decent meals there, but on two occasions I've ordered pizza, and the whole system in the restaurant seems to reveal a chasm of profound unknowingness. The first time, I had some sort of cheese pizza (cave aged gruyere, thyme, mushrooms, roasted onions: why can this restaurant across the menu identify beef as "Prather Ranch" and hazlenuts as "Oregon" and Gruyere as "cave aged", but they can't actually tell you what type of mushrooms are on the pizza, well, that's just me), which, after finally getting it, was nauseating. Gruyere is an oily cheese - wonderful in fondue, but on this pizza, perhaps along with the 'roasted' onions (isn't that practically the definition of onions on a pizza), created a slimy mess which literally dripped with oil. The pizza itself was basking in a pool of its own oil. The slimy gruyere and onions happily slid off the slice into the oil pool on the pizza pan when you picked up a slice, meaning you had to kind of re-assemble the pizza with cutlery to actually eat it - don't think of touching the slice. Unfortunately I did so which immediately coated my fingers with unpleasantly fragrant unctuous oil like melted vaseline, I'm sure somehow managing to coat my body like a special effect from "The Matrix". Nauseating. Well, I decided to give the restaurant a second chance, and in another visit tried a different pizza - pizza margherita, with fresh mozzarella and basil. So simple, what could go wrong with tomato and cheese coated bread for $15? I threw caution to the wind, and even asked for chorizo also on the pizza. After waiting too long (should we say something?), out came the pizza. I picked up a slice, and what normally I'd expect to find - a crisp crust with a thin tasty layer of tomato, warm-brown bubbly cheese, some fresh basil and chorizo - was actually apparently a can of tomato soup served on a flat wet bread round with a cheese crust - sort of a tomato version of onion soup gratinee, with the croutons around the soup instead of in it. This was revealed to me when I picked up a slice, and naturally the entire tomato/cheese/chorizo/basil complex slid off with a plop into the pool of tomato soup. I know it's asking a lot, but when you offer pizza on a menu, it would really help to actually be able to serve, you know, edible pizza. My guest and I got up, laughing, and took the pizza to the main cash register, with the poor waiter, and said we had to leave, here was $10 for the ice teas, the pizza was inedble for a second time. They were of course mystified why I didn't find the pizza staggeringly delicious until I pointed out it was actually tomato soup on a flat metal plate disguised as food. When they saw the soup-like pool on the pizza plan, the sad pizza slice echorche (that should have been the menu description), with doe-eyed sadness they bid me adieu with apologies for their inability to serve, well, food. The mystery lies unsolved in my mind. How could the cook get something as elementary as pizza wrong, over and over again in different variations? Did the waiter servicing the pizza not notice the pool of oil/tomato juice on the pizza slopping in the pan? Did patrons not think pizza slice echorche was unacceptable? Had nobody every complained? Did the front-of-house people think that they should not call a manager about pizza soup? Alas.

  • June 2

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