Cavallo Point, the former army base turned resort just below the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, is debuting three new restaurants on October 13. Nestled within the expansive Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the resort and conference center, which were originally constructed in 1866, had just one restaurant and a bar for years. Now executive chef Michael Garcia, who was born in San Francisco before moving to Daly City, is at the helm of three new projects on the grounds. Garcia grew up cooking and skateboarding in the Bay Area before working through restaurants including Stars and Farallon in the Palace Hotel; he says each of the three menus is an ode to his career in and love of the region. “They’re homages to my roots,” Garcia says. “While reinterpreting inspirational dishes from history, too.”
Farley is the more fun and approachable of the three, with a menu of comfort food classics like fried chicken and beer. That makes sense since the restaurant is a remodeled and redesigned version of the former bar. At Sula, formerly Murray Circle, the approach is more refined, focusing on small plates and dishes that complement Champagne. That goes for Sula Lounge, too, which is the sleek late-night accompaniment to Sula (it’s tucked in the back of the Sula space and serves a different menu).
At all three, Garcia brings menus that speak to his life as a San Francisco-born-and-raised chef. At Sula, for example, Fort Bragg-sourced petrale sole, topped with mussels and roe, riffs on classic San Francisco cioppino. As a kid, Garcia would sell cioppino as part of school fundraisers — so it’s one of those little nods to his youth. “You’re getting the smoky tomato broth with the sole, a little influence of the old school,” Garcia says. North Beach and Chinatown are culinary influences, too, and Garcia says both neighborhoods show up in dishes like the lobster veloute.
The drinks menus, for a boozy brunch or for a classy bubble-filled affair, have something for everyone, too. For brunch cocktails, guests can belly up for a $15 bloody mary or the Fernet-infused Babs Bunny for $18. Cocktails at Sula go for about $20 and include drinks like the Walnut Street, a rye and Nocino drink with chocolate bitters. On the less luxurious side, Russian Imperial Stout and other local beers are on draft for about $11 a pop. (There are 142 rooms at Cavallo Point for guests if things get a little too blurry to head home.)
Design for the new restaurants comes from Bay Area-based firm Wilson Ishihara Design, the team behind Hahn in Carmel and the Hotel Emblem in San Francisco. Whether it be the more laid-back Farley or the ritzier Sula or Sula Lounge, Garcia says these restaurants are blends of the past 35 years he’s spent cooking in San Francisco. When he was a kid, he’d run around the then-defunct base with his brother — now he’s leading the charge of Cavallo Point’s new restaurants. He says he’s still letting it sink in that he’s in the position he’s in at all. “We’re just having fun, enjoying the ingredients,” Garcia says. “Reimagining dishes from the past with a little more culture to it. And, really, the view from here is iconic.”
Cavallo Point’s Sula is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., Sula Lounge is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m., and Farley is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on weekends with hours to come. Reservations for Farley and Sula and Sula Lounge can be made through OpenTable.