The temptation to stay in the USF bubble can be overwhelming for the typical broke student. I know that when I lived on campus the thought of bussing to another part of the city seemed like an unnecessary hassle. I have come to realize that our fair city is arguably one of the best cities in the world with one of the most incredible food scenes out there. Four years are all that some of us get here, so it is important to make the most of them and eat our way through the city.
This Valentine’s Day you may be looking for that special spot where you won’t run into the rest of the couples at USF. I am here to help! Bodega Bistro is a beautiful and delicious French Vietnamese restaurant.
The restaurant is located in Little Saigon, off the 31 bus line at 607 Larkin St. (at O’Farrell). The ambience is very cool, with a moped in the front window and beautiful, brightly colored walls. It gives off an air of casual romance, but there’s no need to dress up for Bodega. An absolute favorite dish of mine is Bun Cha Hanoi ($13.60), marinated broiled pork served with vermicelli (rice noodles), a fragrant pile of herbs, a delicious sauce and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. The combination is breathtaking. Chef Jimmie Kwok has created a dish with flavors that go together in a perfectly exotic way. There’s something incredibly sexy about eating with your hands! My date ordered Chim Quay, a glazed roasted squab (toothsome little game bird) served with caramelized onions and raisins ($16). This French inspired dish was juicy, tender and full of flavor.
The waiters are very sweet and helpful, but at times I felt a little bit rushed. Overall I felt well taken care of and relaxed. Bodega Bistro offers cuisine showcasing the colonial hangovers left on Vietnam from the French Colonization. It is a cuisine which is completely contradictory: light Vietnamese food alongside heavy French offerings. The contradiction makes the food memorable and delicious. Bodega Bistro is full of romance and excitement, a perfect affordable Valentine’s date for the adventurous USF couple!