Walking into a restaurant, one would typically see waiters, a hostess or two and chefs working in the back. Eatsa, located at 121 Spear Street in San Francisco, along with other locations around the country, is
almost completely void of human interaction. The only staff member in sight is one person at the front door explaining how things work to first-time customers. Though the lack of human interaction is alarming at first, it makes for an experience that is simpler, quicker and more enjoyable than a traditional chain.
The red bubble letter sign out front is delightfully inviting. Stepping into the restaurant, one sees two walls lined with iPads that only accept credit cards. Each iPad automatically opens to an organized menu with tabs for the different categories of food: breakfast bowls, lunch bowls, bites and beverages.
Once the order is placed, you walk over to an area with a wall of animated windows. Each otherwise transparent window displays a different animation: some say “Welcome to Eatsa” or show a cartoon bowl of food rolling across the screen. The inside of the restaurant felt as though it were from several years into the future. In about three minutes, when your order is ready, a personally-assigned window will black out, and after about ten seconds turns transparent, displaying your food behind the glass and your name on the front. Tapping twice on the glass opens the container. All food and beverages come in a to-go
fashion. You can either eat at one of their tables or take it to-go.
The establishment provides both indoor and outdoor seating. Both maintain the color scheme of chrome and a red-orange, which keeps the overall atmosphere consistent and gives it a futuristic feel.
When I visited the restaurant, I ordered the “No Worry Curry” quinoa bowl, the “California Poke Bowl” rice bowl, dark chocolate cake bite, berry chia parfait, a sparkling mango guava drink and a sparkling cucumber melon drink. This was more than enough food for two people and came out to only about $20.
Both food bowls tasted as though the ingredients had been picked that morning. The avocado in the rice bowl was beautifully green, without a bruise or brown spot in sight. The greens were fresh, unlike what one would find at other fast food establishments. The crunchy wonton strips stayed crispy after being mixed in and added a texture to the meal that made eating that much more enjoyable. This fast food chain seems to come without any of the unhealthy connotations associated with other large chains.
The food, atmosphere and experience alone is worth the trip to San Francisco; however, if you are in the mood for a dessert, you are better off staying home. Though I cannot attest to the other desserts offered by Eatsa, if the dark chocolate cake bite and berry chia parfait are any indicator, Eatsa is not the place to satisfy a sweet tooth.
At first glance, the dark chocolate cake bite looked delectable, a perfect square of chocolate. However, it tasted like a dense square of fake sugar and artificial chocolate and was not worth finishing.
The berry chia parfait had the texture of cottage cheese and, again, tasted like artificial sugar. Though some people enjoy the texture of chia seeds, I am not a fan. Additionally, the added berry flavoring tasted far too sweet and artificial.
Despite the unsatisfactory desserts, Eatsa is the perfect place for lunch with friends, a quick grab on the way to work or a date. With rising automation in the country, it is fascinating to see the potential future for many resturants.