Your expectations change when you need a last-minute place for dinner, sort of like how a good night’s sleep when you’re camping is mostly just about avoiding rocks. Or when you take a five-year-old to get ice cream, it’s a success when most of the ice cream is only on their face. That’s how we feel when we go to Abrazo, a Spanish restaurant in Russian Hill. As a first choice, it can be underwhelming, but when you need a date spot in a pinch, it has everything you need to save the evening.
The best thing here is the seafood paella with chorizo, clams, squid, mussels, and shrimp. It’s large enough where it’s the only thing you need to get as a main, but because it takes a half hour to make, you’ll want to order a few things to start, like the albondigas or some octopus.
There’s a backroom at Abrazo too, which makes it feel a little bigger than it looks, so getting a table is never really an issue. And between the blue tiles, big windows, and high ceilings, it’s just a nice place to sit across from someone you like and hear about every detail of their most recent vacation. It’s a little pricey for what you get, but if you need an option in Russian Hill, this place always comes through in a pinch. Maybe your next date will be shopping for camping beds together.