We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Review of Pena Pachamama

Pena Pachamama
Ranked #1,299 of 5,866 Restaurants in San Francisco
Price range: $14 - $30
Cuisines: South American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: North Beach / Telegraph Hill
Cross street: Green and Union
Transit: Muni 12,30,45,20,41. Mason/Powell Cable Car.
Description: Organic food, gluten-free, live music 'One of those magical places, a little island of the future where those who enter her doors are forever transformed by the spirit of the music and dance that takes them in. You’ll find it on a little side street in San Francisco’s old Latin Quarter somewhere between Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and endless Italian late night cafes. ' A Landmark Location In 1918 it housed one of San Francisco’s most important speakeasies and became one of the most famous restaurants in the city. Peña Pachamama was formerly Amelio’s, a famous fine dining establishment where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe had their wedding dinner. The Kennedys were frequent guests. In the upstairs dining room Clark Gable and Carole Lombard rendezvoused.
Reviewed May 16, 2014

Great fun! What a wonderful evening. Can't really compare it to other Bolivian restaurants, as this was our first, but we liked it! Interesting and very tasty food. Service was excellent. The entertainment was outstanding. Flamenco dancers, classical guitar, and lots of personality. Reasonably priced.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank CamNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (57)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

37 - 41 of 57 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2014

This small ex-speakeasy packs a lot of flavor in their dishes even if the emphasis is on the music.

Want to say we had a craving for Bolivian food, but the real reason we stopped here as they are organic, gluten free and vegetarian (any more San Francisco buzzwords I can add?). It is right around the corner from the Beach Blanket Babylon show where we were going afterward. The staff opened up 15 minutes early with a friendly greeting to let warm up inside.

The owner invited us to listen in with a tour group as she told how this place was a speak easy and all the famous people that got their demon rum here. It grew into a place where they learned how to create a restaurant while having a place to play South American Music.

The drinks were spectacular. The Margarita was the best we’ve ever had. I had the common drink, Sangria, and was surprised as I thought you could not do anything that special to it besides throw in fruit. It was full of flavor.

The food dishes are all small. I think they were made to share. Never has a menu more fit the description of eclectic. A little expensive, but the ingredients made up for that

We had their home made Raw Kale chips as appetizers as well as a plat of Plantains that came with a black bean sauce. All with just the right touch of spice. We bought a bag of the chips to go as they were the best we’ve had.

The vegan BLT had coconut, avocado on Pumpernickel. The Bolivian style Portapancho is a portabella mushroom in tempura with a great spicy Pico de Gallo.

I have to say that the dessert menu features a choice of gluten free options. You rarely get choices and these all looked great. We decided on splitting the coconut cream pie and it did not disappoint.

The emphasis is on the music, which started later in the evening. We tried to make reservations to come back, but they were booked for the holiday weekend.

The small staff is very friendly and explain all the unusual dishes. You get the feeling that everything is geared toward the nightly performance. We were glad they also take care in the dishes they serve.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Nomad_LA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014

This restaurant is such a gem. Every vegan/vegetarian in the Bay Area needs to be eating here regularly. From my experience at other veg establishments in the area, I assume it is not pretentious enough for many in the city, but that is their lost. The service is top notch, the food is superb, the entertainment is fabulous and the owner, Quentin Narvia is marvelous and sweet.

I'm visiting from New Hampshire for 10 days, (moving to the area in a couple of months) and feel so at home here. I've already eaten here twice since Friday and plan on eating here every night for the rest of the week. It's that good.

During my first visit, Quentin came and introduced herself to me, made recommendations, told me her story, and talked to me for several minutes about being a vegan and a musician and why they finally went all vegan (though they still have one Salmon dish on the menu, which I hope disappears soon). I loved how she explained the reason they went vegan, despite the warnings of others it would doom her. She said she would rather go out of business than to serve animals. They are people of principle and any true vegan need to support that.

She went upstairs and got a copy of the "musical vegan cookbook" she wrote and signed it for me. She and her husband, a Latin Grammy Nominated musician, then performed with their band for a little over an hour, with one of the customers coming on stage to perform. To top it off, our very polite and wonderful waiter Cole, ended the show with a very positive rap. You won't get this kind of experience anywhere.

After the show Quentin came and sat at my table to talk some more, even grabbing a raw brownie from the kitchen to share with us. It's rare to be made to feel so at home.

She also invited us to return on Sunday to hear Dr. Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, speak. Of course I came, and was greeted with a warm hug and thanks for coming again. What an amazing evening it was. We got there at 5:30 to hear Dr. Tuttle, and had dinner over the span of 5 1/2 hours as they had Middle Eastern Musicians and Belly Dancers later in the evening.

Why are you still reading this...book your reservation now.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Justin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2013 via mobile

We were introduced to this interesting venue by Avital food tours. We did not stay for the show but certainly enjoyed the introduction and Quentin's warm, passion for her restaurant, her life, her husband and fellow musician. It would be wonderful to have the time to stay for the show. The history of the place is part of its attraction; Marilyn Munroe and Joe Di Maggio had their wedding dinner here etc.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Travel_addict13_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2013

Out of town friends booked a table for a large party of local sf friends who had never heard of nor been to Pachamama. What a find. In the heart of North Beach this quirky, charming place was humming with spirit and music. Like a trip to foreign shores we were transported to another place & time. The entertainment this night was a famous Cuban jazz musician with a band and singers who were terrific. The fresh, tasty food satisfied all whether vegan or carnivores. Wine & song,dancing, friendly efficient service and good food made for a really fun one stop evening. I'd definitely return with a group

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank richartboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pena Pachamama also viewed

San Francisco, CA

Been to Pena Pachamama? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing