Izzy’s Steakhouse: A Women-Led Wine Program Worth Sipping On

Sommelier Debbie Zachareas in front of Izzy's Steakhouse in San Francisco

At Izzys Steakhouse, in the heart of San Francisco’s Marina district, renowned Sommelier Debbie Zachareas drives the wine program with considerable expertise. Crafting curated pairings and regularly rotating the wine menu to keep things interesting, it’s a deliciously divine locale to not only get a bite to eat, but also to learn something new about wine. 

Kistler Pinot Noir bottle
The Mascot Napa Wine Bottle
Zinfandel wine bottle

A few of the wines we sampled at Izzys Steakhouse

Izzy’s Steakhouse Sommelier: Debbie Zachareas

For the past year, Debbie has been at the helm of the wine program at Izzy’s Steakhouse. Beyond the steakhouse’s walls, she’s developed innovative wine programs all across San Francisco’s wine scene, worked as an international wine judge, a wine buyer, and is the only sommelier to have won San Francisco Magazine’s Wine Director of the Year TWICE. She’s impressive, to say the least. 

Despite her inspiring achievements, however, Debbie is down-to-earth, and focused on curating a wine list that has enough “comfort points” to make people feel safe while looking at her wine list, but with the ultimate goal of helping people discover something new. Through staff wine education, she hopes she can pass on her expertise, ultimately, to the diners at Izzys Steakhouse. 

Half traditional steakhouse, half something more evolved, Izzy’s Steakhouse is shaking up the wine and restaurant scene in San Francisco. On the menu, you’ll find intriguing wines not only by the bottle, but also by the glass. Even rare by-the-glass finds, utilizing the Coravin Pivot to keep prices low and wine fresh. 

Paige eating on the patio at Izzy's Steakhouse with red wine in hand
A flight of white wines at Izzys Steakhouse with cowboy hat glasses

About Izzy’s Steakhouse 

Best known for its epic steaks, Izzy’s is a second-generation family-owned and operated institution, with locations in San Francisco and San Carlos, California. If you’re familiar with the San Francisco dining scene at all, this place is a must-visit and should be on your radar. The food is deliciously craveable, with  hearty portions. 

Originally founded in 1987 by Sam Duvall, the concept was inspired by Izzy Gomez’s saloon, which “defied Prohibition and was known for its hearty steaks, colorful patrons, and bootlegging lore”, according to their menus. 

Today, the founder’s daughter, Samantha DuVall Bechtel is at the helm. In 2020, due to the pandemic, Samantha launched an enormous 40-seat patio, one of the largest outdoor seating areas in the city. Its chic design features lush hedges and a sleek transparent tent with twinkle lights and heat lamps to keep patrons warm. 

Skirt steak and red wine pairing at Izzys Steakhouse in San Francisco
Skirt steak & house potatoes
Drunken prawns in a red cajun spice sauce at Izzys steakhouse San Francisco
Drunken prawns in a red cajun spice sauce

So what to eat at Izzys Steakhouse? 

The drunken prawns are a must-try appetizer. I was absolutely obsessed with dipping the bread in the sauce, then pairing it back with a crisp white wine. So good!

But don’t fill up on appetizers – their steaks are beyond flavorful. 

I personally enjoyed their skirt steak dipped in Au Poivre sauce. Magic in my mouth. YUM! My dining friend had the Filet Mignon. Both were cooked to perfection, exactly to the finish we requested. And be sure to get the “Izzy’s Own Potatoes” as a side; it’s like scalloped potatoes, but way, way more delicious (if that’s even possible!)  

Have you visited Izzy’s Steakhouse before? I’d love to know your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

Cheers!

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3 Comments

  1. Philip McCarthy
    May 28, 2022 / 8:44 am

    If you have to make the main highlight of your business, and the main marketing point, the fact that’s it’s lead by a gender or a race, you’ve already failed.

    • winewithpaige
      Author
      June 1, 2022 / 12:08 pm

      I get that you, as a man, do not understand the significance of representation because you come from a place of privilege, but please do not take out your anger on other people. Highlighting women in wine is a choice *I* make to celebrate other women. Uplifting others is a core pillar of my own identity.
      The business itself has not necessarily made this a main highlight of their marketing. TBH, the main highlight of Izzy’s is their delicious food and incredible wine menu.

  2. Alex Simek
    June 3, 2022 / 4:45 pm

    People claiming to be against “identity politics” are the first ones to cry a river when no such thing occured. Grow up Michael! There are so many other things to fight about (sending Billions of dollars to Weapons manufacturers to a war in the Ukraine we started) while watching our infrastructure crumble and cutting programs for the neediest in America. The 1percent who control both parties just want us to fight over silly stuff so they can continue getting government welfare to increase there exorbitant wealth even more.

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