Inspired by the regional cuisines and traditions of Spain, Bellota’s Executive Chef Ryan McIlwraith crafts an eclectic menu of meats grilled on a wood-fired hearth, inventive paellas, Old World stews, fresh seafood, medium-sized tapas, imported charcuterie and cheeses, as well as slow-roasted vegetable dishes.
The Spanish-focused cocktail menu from Jonny Raglin, Director of Bars at The Absinthe Group and co-creator of Comstock Saloon, features Spain’s cocktail of choice, gin tonic. The all-Spanish wine list emphasizes small producers and growers, and features sherry on tap.
Located in a landmark building on the National Register of Historic Places, Bellota is part of The Absinthe Group, a collection of San Francisco restaurants and drinking establishments created by proprietor Bill Russell-Shapiro, led by operations director Eric Vreede.
With a mix of both industrial and hand-crafted design elements, the 140-seat dining room captures the surrounding urban cityscape and channels an airy, Mediterranean setting. The space invites you to relax with live music at the 30-seat full bar and lounge, host events in the private dining area, or enjoy front-row seating around the open kitchen with a custom hearth, the heart and soul of Bellota.
RYAN MCILWRAITH, EXECUTIVE CHEF
Ryan McIlwraith is known for robust Spanish dishes cooked with finesse.
Raised along the coastal waters of Vancouver, British Columbia, Ryan got his start in the restaurant industry at 19 and, shortly after, went to culinary school on Vancouver Island. He gained an understanding of French cooking technique and sushi at Vancouver’s well-known Blue Water Café. By age 25 he moved to New York as the opening sous chef at Gordon Ramsey’s namesake restaurant at The London NYC. To deepen his understanding of the art and discipline of cooking, the young chef staged at cosmopolitan restaurants such as Jean-Georges (Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship in New York) and Eleven Madison Park (under Daniel Humm). Ryan made globally inspired small plates at Fleur by Hubert Keller in Las Vegas, before moving on to Bottega Napa Valley to cook alongside famed chef and restaurateur Michael Chiarello. Ryan rose through Bottega’s ranks to lead the Italian ristorante as chef de cuisine, then culinary director. In 2013 he relocated to San Francisco to open Coqueta, Chiarello’s Spanish tapas bar and restaurant.
As chef de cuisine at Coqueta, Ryan guided the restaurant to a Bib Gourmand in the San Francisco edition of the Michelin Guide, 3.5 stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, and a James Beard Foundation Award nomination for Best New Restaurant.
Ryan has always been drawn to the style of eating in Spain – its shared plates, bold flavors and variety of cuisines. Stateside, he’s inspired by Jose Andres (with whom Ryan staged at his Washington, DC-based restaurants) and Seamus Mullen (of Tertulia in New York City, where Ryan also staged). Calling also upon his R&D trips to Spain, Ryan has created a menu at Bellota that shows a deep appreciation for Spanish culinary traditions and also reimagines recipes.
TRACY SMYTH, GENERAL MANAGER
As General Manager at Bellota, Tracy Smyth brings with her more than 25 years of experience in hospitality. Formerly of Foreign Cinema, Tracy combines her talent for taking care of people with a tireless dedication to great service.
COLLIN NICHOLAS, BAR MANAGER
Bar Manager Collin Nicholas curates the beverage menu at Bellota. Together with his seasoned bar team, Collin guides guests on a journey through the drinking traditions of Spain as well as new ingredient-focused cocktail experiences that change with the seasons. With a bar leadership career spanning San Francisco to NYC, Collin is well-versed in modern cocktail development. He’s also inspired by the time-honored social atmosphere associated with Spanish “hospitality.”
STEPHANIE KIMURA, EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF
As Executive Pastry Chef for The Absinthe Group, Stephanie Kimura oversees all aspects of the pastry departments for the group’s San Francisco dining establishments: Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Boxing Room, Comstock Saloon, Arlequin Cafe and Bellota. Stephanie first joined the organization in 2013 as pastry sous chef at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, where she quickly became known for her hard work, beautiful plating and rich flavorful desserts.
JONNY RAGLIN, DIRECTOR OF BARS, THE ABSINTHE GROUP
As Director of Bars for The Absinthe Group, Jonny Raglin oversees bar operations at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Comstock Saloon, Boxing Room, and Bellota. A native Oklahoman, Jonny’s favorite place in the world is Spain, where you take your time to eat tapas, stroll leisurely, and drink dry ciders, vermouths, sherries and “gin tonics” copiously.
BILL RUSSELL-SHAPIRO, PROPRIETOR, THE ABSINTHE GROUP
Bill Russell-Shapiro, proprietor of The Absinthe Group, is recognized as one of San Francisco’s top restaurateurs. He dedicates himself to the well-being of his staff, and to providing guests with memorable food and drink experiences at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Arlequin Cafe, Arlequin Wine Merchant, Boxing Room, Comstock Saloon, and the vibrant Spanish restaurant, Bellota.
ERIC VREEDE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, THE ABSINTHE GROUP
Director of Operations and Vice President of The Absinthe Group, he was the original General Manager of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, and previously managed Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn, where he oversaw what was then the largest wine list in California.
The Absinthe Group
THE ABSINTHE GROUP TEAM
Bill Russell-Shapiro – Proprietor
Eric Vreede – VP of Operations
Stephanie Kimura – Executive Pastry Chef
Jonny Raglin – Director of Bars
The Absinthe Group (TAG), founded and managed by food-industry veteran Bill Russell-Shapiro, creates and operates unique, high-quality food and wine enterprises. TAG includes a carefully built collection of seven businesses, five of which are located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. They are overseen by TAG Vice President Eric Vreede, Executive Pastry Chef Stephanie Kimura, and Bar Director Jonny Raglin. These include Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, Absinthe Private Dining, Arlequin Café and Food-To-Go, Arlequin Wine Merchant, Bellota, Boxing Room, and Comstock Saloon in North Beach.