There is a difference between “cozy” or “intimate” and “so freakishly small that I’m hitting everyone around me with my bag and coat.” Lolo clearly falls into the latter category. Within the first 20 seconds of walking in I had already already apologized 4 times for smacking someone in the face.
That said, its miniature size has a certain charm, like I was walking into a friend’s dinner party – it felt like you could say hello to everyone in the room and be welcomed. Groups of friends were gathered for small birthday celebrations, everyone clearly having great time, and the decor is made from spoons, or rice bags, or other household riffraff. They certainly know how to recycle.
Most of the tables were only for groups of 3-4 people (very little seating for groups of 2…very little seating in general), so we had to sit at the bar. Luckily we were here on a Tuesday night around 8, so it wasn’t too crazy. I’d imagine the wait would be impossibly long on a busier night in the Mission.
In terms of the service, it was…meh. It wasn’t too slow, or rude, or anything in particular that would make me look down on it, but it wasn’t exceptionally friendly. They didn’t go out of their way to make our experience any better.
And, although I can see the appeal in coming here with a close group of friends, the food is very hit and miss. While the octopus and zucchini cakes made my taste buds smile, the ceviche and wasabi crusted salmon left much to be desired – such as seasoning. Unfortunately, in terms of food, Lolo falls into the typical pitfall of many a tapas restaurant – because there is so much variety, there is also a lot of inconsistency – some plates are clearly done better than others.
That said, if you order the right things, come here with a group of close friends, are comfortable knowing that all of your wildly inappropriate conversations are sure to hit the listening ear of your neighbor, and are down with bumping into the people around you, I’m sure you can have an amazing meal.
3234 22nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94110