Lazy Bear Dinner

Over the Christmas holiday, I managed to score reservations for Kevin and I to attend San Francisco’s popular underground dinner, Lazy Bear. Have you ever heard about (or attended) these dinners? I actually heard about it for the first time earlier last year, and I think I was maybe the last foodie in town to hear about it (#fail!). They have this really mysterious lottery reservation system, which they explain better than I can. Some people try many, many times to get in so I was pleasantly surprised when my reso request was accepted on the second attempt. (I think the holiday lull in the city played in my favor on that one).
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After making a deposit online to reserve our spot, we were emailed the “secret” location in the Mission the day before the dinner. When we arrived, there were about 40 seats spread across two long tables in an open event space, and a nice hostess greeted us and showed us to our seats. One of the nice things is that the dinner is BYOB, so we promptly popped open our wine to await the feast, while mingling with all the friendly neighbors seated next to us.
Chef Barzelay runs these dinners and is quite possibly the nicest chef I’ve ever encountered. When he emerges from the kitchen to explain each course, you can just see the passion oozing out of him. It’s a total labor of love.
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One of the coolest parts of the dinner is that Chef Barzelay welcomes, in fact encourages, you to walk right into the kitchen to check out all of the action. You’re welcome to snoop around and ask questions, but strictly forbidden to touch anything. Since I would be starting culinary school just a couple weeks after, I was particularly curious to scope it out, and it was a very impressive, organized, and calm operation.
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Here’s a peek at all of the beautiful dishes we had (I think I captured them all!). Along with the traditional menu courses, there are also “snacks” to start and “treats” to finish so it ends up being a ton of courses and 3ish hours of dining. I had a couple favorites of the night…the fifth course, which was pillowy whole wheat brioche with housemade salty butter (heavenly!)…as well as the first of the desserts, which was a play on lemon meringue (genius).
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I would definitely recommend Lazy Bear for a unique dining experience. And, hey, I’m not the only one…they’re rockin’ a solid 5 stars on Yelp, which is an absolute rarity.


  1. hey you managed! i really wanted to attempt while we were in SF but they did a veggie week that week and husband would not have eaten much.. maybe next time it looks fantastic!

    • Melissa says:

      Yes! I was in shock when my reso request was accepted! Defintely a fun experience and something to keep on your SF bucket list for next time.

  2. Nice! I’m on their mailing list, but I’ve never tried for reservations for some reason… I’ll have to now – looks delicious!!

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