San Francisco’s new fine dining restaurant for dogs made international headlines when it opened in October 2022 with a $75 tasting menu and dainty French-inspired dog food pastries. Dogue, helmed by Chef Rahmi Massarweh, is a quaint cafe in the Mission District for SF dog owners who want to treat their pooch to carefully constructed, high-quality, nutritionally-balanced meals with some flair. The cafe has caused its decent share of debate online, so we decided to look a bit closer at the concept behind the price tag.
Massarweh trained in Classical French Cuisine in San Francisco and brings his expert technique, creativity, and passion to every single menu item. Dog owners can choose from a display case of elegant hand-crafted pastries, indulge in a gourmet Chef’s Tasting Menu, or pick up some grab-and-go items to serve at home. He also offers bespoke meal plans to help pet owners maintain a fresh food diet at home.
Massarweh explained that his elaborate dog food creations are more about his artistic expression as a chef and promotion of a fresh pet food diet rather than luxury and indulgence. “Dogue is my mission to change the way the world feeds our animal family,” he said. “It is about respect and stewardship over the animals in our lives.” And in a city with more dogs than children, San Francisco is certainly the place to share this concept.
Whether you’re interested in treating your dog to a fancy meal, or simply curious about the benefits of a fresh food diet, read on to learn more about Dogue.
What is Dogue all about?
Dogue has a variety of options available ranging from high-quality treats to full doggy tasting menus.
Guests can stop by the Pawtisserie from 1:30-7pm on weekdays to choose from a selection of housemade pastries for $15 each. They resemble the delicate confections that you could find at a typical human patisserie with ingredients including wild antelope heart, Japanese bonito flakes, Moroccan sardines, and wild elk. The pastries pair nicely with a “doggucino” for $4.95.
If you really want to experience the pinnacle of canine fine dining, you’ll need to pull up a chair at the Bone Appétit Cafe on Sundays between 11am-5pm. This is where dogs can indulge in the famous $75 3-course tasting menu which is often inspired by human foods like udon and steak tartare. Massarweh composes the menu based on recommendations from local suppliers and farmers with an emphasis on freshness and seasonality. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time through the contact page on Dogue’s website.
To be clear, the menu items are not meant for human diners, although pet owners can sip on complimentary mimosas at at the Bone Appétit Cafe.
“The building blocks, nutrition and palatability from dish to dish is what needs to evolve and sometimes a dish can take weeks from idea to service,” Massarweh told us. “The hardest part is taking a dish meant for humans and adapting it for a different species and their nutritional requirements while still having the essence of the original human dish.”
In addition to the pastries and tasting menu, Dogue also stocks a selection of dry single-ingredient treats, frozen ready-made meals to take home, and some handmade dog collars and dog bowls from international artisans.
Beyond the Dogue storefront, Massarweh offers bespoke meal plans to help pet owners create the ideal diet for their canine companion. You can schedule a consultation to go over your dog’s specific needs and introduce fresh food into their bowl every single day. See below for more information about the fresh food concept.
What’s this about a fresh food diet?
Gourmet dog pastries aside, Dogue’s fundamental mission is to encourage respect and companionship with our pets by taking a closer look at the meals we serve them. And you don’t need to meet a luxury price point to improve their diet.
“My suggestion to any guest with animals is to start small by adding fresh food into your animal’s bowl a few times a week,” Massarweh told us. “Sometimes the smallest additions can have a huge impact. Crack a fresh egg into their meal. Steam some fresh green vegetables for yourself and add a few into the dish of your companion… Some fresh real food is better than none at all.”
And of course, if you want to take it further and treat your pooch to a fancy meal, Dogue is open at 988 Valencia St. in SF’s Mission District.