When it comes to dining, San Francisco is pretty much a melting pot: We’ve got all the Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Indian, Peruvian, Thai, Japanese (and so on) flavors you could want. But come to think of it, there aren’t a whole lot of Scandinavian eats around.
Happily, new Duboce Triangle cafe and bakery Kantine is here to change that, one smørrebrød at a time.
If it all sounds familiar, it’s because chef Nichole Accettola and her husband, Joachim Majholm, have been serving up Denmark’s famous open-faced sandwiches at a weekly kiosk at the Ferry Building Farmers Market. Their trademark sandos took a bit of time to catch on, but soon customers were clamoring for their main ingredient: loaves of Accettola’s sprouted rye bread—dense and chewy, and stuffed with nuts, seeds, and grains. Local grocers including Rainbow Grocery began selling the stuff, and soon there was enough demand to warrant a full-fledged cafe.
Swinging into the sunny, contemporary space, you’d never know Kantine has taken the place of the old Little Hollywood Launderette. Kitted out by ATM Design, a firm responsible for several stylish restaurants in Copenhagen, Kantine has all the clean lines and blonde wood furnishings you’d want from a Scandinavian spot. It’s a mellow place to nourish the soul on hearty brunch boards, pastries, three-grain porridges and, of course, smørrebrød topped with smoked trout, bay shrimp and hard boiled eggs, or peppered pork.
Best of all, thanks to the couple’s decade living in Copenhagen, you can count on the total experience being authentic.
A welcoming storefront beckons you into Kantine, in the former home of a retro launderette.
In Scandinavian fashion, the pared down and modern design is almost meditative, allowing you to focus on nourishing your body and mind.
Shaved raw and roasted carrots, cilantro, and sesame seeds blanket a bed of millet and quinoa.
Kantine lets you get creative with daily brunch boards—customizable spreads of five or seven items. Options include Oregon pink shrimp, trout rillettes, smoked bacon, sprouted rye bread, avocado, creamer potato salad, a poached egg cup with herbs, or overnight muesli with huckleberries.
Sandwiches called smørrebrød are served open-faced: We like this supple pink shrimp version with slices of boiled egg, mayonnaise, and dill.
One of our favorites is the smoked trout rillette sandwich with chunks of fish, capers, and cubes of beets heaped over a slice of Kantine’s signature rye bread— the perfect blend of sour and salt.
Three types of lentils are blended for the chunky hummus, which is served with rye crackers textured from a patterned rolling pin.
Pastries include an almond bun (left) and a to-die-for karelian patty—a mixture of savory rice stuffed in a crust of thin rye and paired with “egg butter,” aka chopped buttery boiled eggs perfect for spreading on top.