Rajat Parr

Sommelier

San Francisco

Armed with a bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Rajat Parr began his career as an apprentice to Master Sommelier Larry Stone at Rubicon in San Francisco. In 1999, the Calcutta native moved to Fifth Floor, where he received the Grand Award from Wine Spectator after two years. Then in 2003, the Mina Group named Parr as its wine director; he oversees the cellars for the collection of restaurants run by star chef Michael Mina. After the opening of his own restaurant, RN74, in Seattle and San Francisco in 2009, Parr created boutique winery Sandhi Wines, which focuses on select Santa Barbara vineyards.

  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr’s favorite San Francisco bars?

    There’s a great bar called Bar Agricole. It’s really a great place. There’s another small bar called Cantina. There’s Beretta, and then there’s another one called 15 Romolo. They’ve been doing handcrafted cocktails there years before the whole rage started. It’s in a little alley. If you don’t know where it is, you cannot find it. It’s a small little place, and it’s always packed.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr’s favorite San Francisco hotels?

    There’s this place called Cavallo Point, which is right across from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not over the top. It’s fancy, but it’s not like the Four Seasons. It’s very old school, but it’s very tastefully done. It’s more about the energy and calmness than it is about the show.
     
    Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco is always awesome; the service there is great. It’s right downtown. Four Seasons Hotel is right downtown, so is The Ritz-Carlton. They all are pretty centrally located.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr’s favorite things to do in San Francisco?

    I go to the farmers market in the Ferry Building every Saturday. It’s really amazing. We love farmers at our restaurant, and I cook a lot so I always go there. They have this one guy who sells wild greens he forges. He has his own farm. Then there’s the Dirty Girl Farms — they have tomatoes in season, and they are amazing. They have great beans and just amazing strawberries during the season. Inside the Ferry Building, there is a shop that only has mushrooms. There are great meat products, and there’s an amazing cheese store. And that’s there every day, so it’s pretty amazing. I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve never seen a better market than that market.
     
    Walking or running on the Golden Gate Bridge is just so soothing. It’s always nice and cool, and after a run you’re just ready to walk the bridge. On Ocean Avenue, there’s a little restaurant called Cliff House. Behind the Cliff House, there’s an area that used to be called the Sutro Baths, which was a pool back in the last century. It’s where you can stand against the open ocean. I love photography, so I take my camera there, sit and take some shots of the sunset.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What does Rajat Parr wear when he travels?

    I’m always in Laker gear — I’m a big Lakers fan. While traveling, I’m very casual. Over the years, I’ve become more casual than I was. I always had a suit and tie ready to go, and now I’m just in jeans and a jacket or nice pants, but I’m not formal anymore. Because I’m always dirty, I stopped wearing suits a long time ago — everything changes when you’re working in restaurants, the vineyards and wineries.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What does Rajat Parr bring home from his travels?

    I try to bring back something that takes me to the place. When I was in D.C., I brought back some art from there, or if I go to Asia, I try to bring back a statue of Buddha. I have a collection of Buddha statues. I bring back something that reminds me of where I was — it could be a small mixing bowl, a small cup or just a jug.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr’s favorite hotels?

    Usually in Paris, I don’t really stay in the fancy hotels. I stay in the small hotels. I love staying in the Marais because I’m usually there on the weekend, and on Sunday it’s the only place where things are open. Sometimes I stay in a hotel called Hôtel Bourg Tibourg.
     
    Another great hotel, which is on the Champs-Élysées, is the Hotel Hospes Lancaster. It’s just very modern and chic, but it’s still very colorful. It’s very homey. It’s a really classy hotel but kind of small and intimate. Of course, we all know the big fancy hotels are great, but I just prefer staying in the small places.
     
    In Charleston, Charleston Place is the most historic hotel. That’s a super-nice hotel; it has a nice restaurant there. It’s very Southern, and it’s right in the center of town.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr’s favorite restaurants?

    I love Septime in Paris. Then there’s one called Jadis in Paris, too. There are many to name, but those are the two I like to go to. There’s a new genre of restaurants that has opened in Paris in the last five years or so, and it’s basically moving away from the fancy traditional and going more into great high-quality food but in a casual setting. It’s a new thing in Paris — taking ideas from what we do in the U.S.
     
    One of the great restaurants in America is called FIG, and that’s in Charleston. Also, McCrady’s and Husk. The concentration of food and wine lovers in that little town is amazing.
  • On January 7, 2013
    Rajat Parr answered the question: Rajat Parr

    What are Rajat Parr's favorite San Francisco restaurants?

    Quince is amazing. SPQR, which is Roman-style Italian, is great. This one place called La Ciccia has Sardinian food, and it’s unbelievable. And, of course, Acquerello, which has been around for many years. It’s traditional Northern Italian and has a great wine list.
     
    Another favorite is The Slanted Door, which is a modern Vietnamese place. And Coi is haute cuisine at its best. I mean, this guy forges his own stuff. He’s unbelievable. It’s some of the best food in the world. And of course, I like Nopa. I go to Nopa a lot. That’s an awesome late-night place. It’s the best late-night spot in San Francisco. I also eat a lot, of course, at my restaurant RN74.