Canela Bistro And Bar Turns Two

Chef Mat Schuster and Director of Wine Paco Cifuentes

Chef Mat Schuster and Director of Wine Paco Cifuentes

By Liz Garbes Bernardo
Photography by Nash Bernardo

Canela Bistro and Bar celebrated their 2nd anniversary recently (Nov. 4) in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco. Opening Canela was a dream for both Chef Mat Schuster and Director of Wine Paco Cifuentes, who are partners in real life as well. Originally from Texas, Chef Mat says he fell in love with the Spanish food and culture of his partners’ family and thus Canela was born. The newly renovated restaurant designed by the Adeeni Design Group has a very warm and inviting feel featuring a lot of Moorish patterns from the Arabic-influenced Southern part of Spain.

Some of their best-selling dishes on the menu are the Garlicky Shrimp Gambas with smoked paprika and garlic sauce, the Croquetas with Jamon, which is a special recipe of Paco’s mother, as well as the Churros con Chocolate for dessert. One of Chef Mat’s favorite dishes is the Roasted Cordero Lamb on Potato with lemony tomato and onion. When it comes to developing Canela’s menu, Chef Mat combines seasonal local ingredients with their gastronomic experiences from their numerous trips to Paco’s home country as his inspiration.

The anniversary was celebrated with a showcase of their much loved wines and tapas. Some of these items were the Cranberry Gazpacho Shots with blue cheese and croutons, Bunuelo of Salt Cod and aioli, and the Braised Short Rib on toasted chocolate bread with padron pepper. Arroz con Leche shots and Chocolate Natillas Tarts are some of the sweet endings. Numerous photos of Paco and Chef Mat’s travels to Spain and live Flamenco that featured singing, guitar playing, dancing, and hand clapping entertained their excited guests all night long.

Check out more photos here