Haute (dog) cuisine: San Francisco restaurant offers $75 tasting menu for canines

The exterior of Dogue in San Francisco's Mission District
Dogue, at 988 Valencia St. in San Francisco’s Mission District, offers French-inspired pastries and haute cuisine crafted just for dogs.
(David Trapani)

A new fine-dining restaurant in the Bay Area has gone to the dogs.

While some eateries may welcome customers’ furry companions during a sit-down meal, Dogue — which opened Sept. 25 in San Francisco’s Mission District — serves only canines.

Owner and head chef Rahmi Massarweh said Dogue may be the first restaurant in the country to serve a tasting menu exclusively for dogs. It offers meticulously crafted pastries from its in-house “pawtisserie” and French-inspired courses made with locally sourced, organic ingredients.

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“What we do doesn’t generally exist,” Massarweh told The Times. “My approach is as if it were a human restaurant. It’s as if you have come into my restaurant, and the star guest is your dog.”

During the week, Dogue serves Parisian pastries and “dogguccinos” that start at $4.95. A $75 three-course meal — which is seasonal and rotates frequently — is served only for Sunday walk-ins. Massarweh said pet owners can choose from a variety of dishes to serve their faithful companions, such as organic beef chuck steak with fermented carrots and beets or green-lipped mussels with fermented carrots and wheatgrass.

Massarweh prepares and presents every dish — even the ones he cooks nightly for his dogs: Grizzly, Luna, Achilles and Sir Wellington.

Burned out from working in the restaurant industry for nearly a dozen years, Massarweh stepped out of the kitchen in 2015 to open a doggy daycare center with his wife. He continued preparing fresh-cooked food for his dogs daily and eventually began prepping the same portions into weekly doggy bags for his private daycare clients.

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He said he asked his veterinarian for help in refining the dishes to ensure they’re complete, balanced and contain dog-safe ingredients.

Jason Villacampa said he learned about Dogue after seeing a photo of one of the elaborate pastries on his Instagram feed. He brought his corgis, Captain and Tony, to the restaurant’s grand opening, he said, where the pups dined on chicken and chaga mushroom soup, a chicken-skin waffle with charcoal flan and grass-fed steak tartare with microgreens.

“Food is a love language, and I think it’s another way to kind of express and share love with your dog,” Villacampa said. “It’s a way to take care of them and share healthy but fun food as well.”