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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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CultureFood & DrinkGood Taste: Dining with SF's 'Top Chef' hopeful

Good Taste: Dining with SF’s ‘Top Chef’ hopeful

As a James Beard semi-finalist and TV competitor, Dalida chef-owner Laura Ozyilmaz is climbing the food world pinnacle.

This is Good Taste, your menu for eating well in the Bay Area. It’s a big week for Chef Laura Ozyilmaz, who co-owns the young Presidio eastern Mediterranean restaurant Dalida (101 Montgomery, SF) with her husband Sayat Ozyilmaz. Keep reading to find out why!

The dining room at Dalida. Photo by Maren Caruso

Laura and Sayat Ozyilmaz of Dalida were named joint semi-finalists for the James Beard Awards in January, and viewers will find out April 3 if Laura, who’s originally from Acapulco, is still in the running to be America’s next Top Chef when the third episode of Season 21, which is set in Wisconsin, airs on Bravo. She didn’t get a lot of screen time in the first episode, but she outright won the Quickfire Challenge in the second episode. Hopefully, she’ll still have a chance to win the $250,000 grand prize.

Laura revealed in the first episode that she went to Wisconsin to compete just five weeks after she and Sayat opened Dalida last June, which she likened to leaving a baby as soon as it’s born. Both Eater SF and Esquire named it a best new restaurant of 2023.

Oysters Suleyman at Dalida. Photo by Tamara Palmer

Her resume is truly international and includes a culinary education at Culinary Institute of America in New York, Centro Culinario Ambrosía in Mexico City, and Basque Culinary Center in Spain’s Donostia-San Sebastian. When the Top Chef judges asked the contestants who has worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant, Laura raised her hand, having worked at NYC’s Café Boulud and Eleven Madison Park as well as SF’s Saison.

Good Taste was kindly invited to check out the recently launched brunch last week. With this new service, Dalida is making weekend afternoons at the Presidio a lot more delicious and desirable. The restaurant is located at the Presidio’s Main Post, just a few doors up from the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Chicken fried eggs at Dalida. Photo by Tamara Palmer

It’s very calming to sit down, sip on tiny cups of sweet and fragrant wild pistachio coffee, and gaze out at that huge, chill lawn. We grazed on chubby pitas, chicken fried eggs, a huge breakfast spread of pita with sweet and savory toppings, and was beguiled to learn about the tender deliciousness of the Antioch-style trayed beef tepsi kebab. I haven’t had a chance to try dinner there, but their seafood tahdig, an opulent version of Persian crispy rice, is now high on the bucket list and living rent-free in my head.

Tepsi kebabi at Dalida. Photo by Tamara Palmer

Whatever happens on Bravo, it’s exciting to have such a stellar restaurant in San Francisco.

Tamara is the publisher of California Eating and the founder of the new online Music Book Club (check out our video archives on 48 Hills).

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