252 California, San Francisco
Chef Michael Mina's seafood-oriented menu features
intricate preparations such as potato-wrapped Idaho trout with
foie gras and spiced apple stuffing. Specialty seafood with a
French and Mediterranean influence including medallion of ahi
tuna served rare with domestic foie gras in Pinot Noir reduction
sauce and Hawaiian swordfish au poivre with pancetta-wrapped shrimp
dumplings and Port wine sauce. The high-ceilinged dining room
(a former bank) is decorated in restful tones of bone and bisque
punctuated with mirrors and massive bouquets in giant urns. L
Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat.
56 Gold St, San Francisco
Bask in the Art Deco glamour of Bix, a downtown supper
club serving updated American fare-chicken hash, potato-leek pancakes,
steak tartare-as well as one of the best martinis in town. Classic
American with a California influence. Highlights include steak
tartare, foie gras, softshell crab, rack of lamb, chicken hash,
and oven-roasted sea bass. Live jazz nightly. Full bar.L Mon-Fri,
555 California, San Francisco
D every day, Br Sun. California Continental menu,
featuring Dungeness crab cakes, live Maine lobster, rack of lamb,
Grand Marnier soufflé. The 40,000 bottle wine cellar earned
Wine Spectator's Grand Award. City and bay views. Eleven private
dining suites available. Full bar
1722 Market St, San Francisco
The folks running this global outpost are scholars
as well as chefs, serving a different cuisine every month at their
casual yet stylish little restaurant. Check with the restaurant
to find out about their current menu. For December, the menu will
feature Russian cuisine and in January, Carta will serve a "best
of" menu, featuring the most requested dishes from every
month last year.
777 Sutter, San Francisco
For decades, our vote for romantic atmosphere has
gone to this intimate, paisley-tented dining spot, where the brilliant
contemporary French cooking of chef-partner Hubert Keller puts
Fleur de Lys at the very pinnacle of San Francisco's haute dining.
Contemporary cuisine featuring roasted lamb chop, seafood, and
boneless squab. Five-course vegetarian menu is $50 per person.
Valet parking. Banquet facilities. D Mon-Sat.
606 Folsom St, San Francisco
Classic San Francisco-style Italian/French cuisine
featuring cassoulet, Irish lamb stew, cioppino (seafood stew),
osso buco, chicken Jerusalem (chicken breast in a white cream
sauce with artichoke hearts and mushrooms), and white salad (Belgian
endive, water chestnuts, hearts of palm, goat cheese, and mushrooms).
L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat.
The Clift Hotel, 495 Geary, San Francisco
Menu includes veal T-bone steak marinated in Guinness
and honey with smoked ham and sweet potatoes; cedar plank salmon
broiled on seasoned wood plank with sautéed spinach and
wine bean cassoulet. B Mon-Sat, D Tues-Sun, Br Sun.
Fort Mason Bldg. A, San Francisco
This is undoubtedly America's best-known vegetarian
restaurant, and for good reason. The setting, overlooking San
Francisco Bay, is unparalleled, and the kitchen serves meatless
dishes that are guaranteed to satisfy even hard-core carnivores.
Freshest local ingredients are used. Highlights include linguine
with artichokes; Sri Lankan curry; spring vegetable risotto. Beer
and wine. L Tues-Sat, café dinners Mon-Fri, prix fixe dinner
($38 per person) Sat, Br Sun.
22 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco
Chefs Anne and David Gingrass, who put Postrio in
the national culinary news, have done the same with their own
stunning restaurant, which inventively brings Mediterranean and
Asian influences to the same table. Highlights include an exquisite
sautéed fois gras and a top-notch bar menu. L Mon-Fri,
D every day.
430 Broadway, San Francisco
Mahmood and Wazhma Karzai have introduced San Franciscans
to Afghan food, a complex cuisine that incorporates culinary traditions
from Central Asia, India, and the Middle East. The elegant dining
room is a pleasant setting for gastronomic experimentation. Specialties
include Afghan raviolis stuffed with leek and topped with ground
beef, yogurt, and mint sauce; pan-fried baby pumpkin sweetened
with sugar and topped with yogurt, garlic, and ground beef. Two
hours free parking. D every day.
1230 Grant St., San Francisco
The House is the kind of place that makes San Francisco
one of the world's great restaurant towns. It is tiny, unassuming,
thoroughly unpretentious and very, very good. Chef/proprietor
Larry Tse melds Asian and California cuisines with a particularly
artful touch; no matter how inventive his cooking, Tse's food
always makes good culinary sense--and tastes great. Steamed clams
in Thai-style red curry sauce is merely superb, a deeply flavorful,
complexly seasoned dish that make other steamed clams and red
curries taste like dishwater by comparison. There's also a hearty
rack of lamb in pungent Korean kimchi marinade and seafood dishes
like a mild, flaky fillet of sea bass with soy-ginger dipping
sauce. L/D Tues-Sat.
Pier 33, San Francisco
California cuisine served on nightly dinner dance
cruises, weekend brunch cruises, and private charters. Reservations
essential. D every night, Sat and Sun Br.
Hotel Vintage Court, 648 Bush St, San Francisco
No local list of restaurants would be complete without
Masa's, which San Francisco Focus readers have rated best in the
Bay Area since it opened. Chef Julian Serrano prepares French
cuisine with stylized refinement. Appearance is paramount here,
as are the service and the meticulous wine list. Prix fixe menus
only, featuring game birds and shellfish. Jackets and ties preferred.
Valet parking. D Tues-Sat.
558 Sacramento St, San Francisco
Traci Des Jardins, San Francisco Focus' Rising Star
in 1994, presides over the kitchen at this clubby restaurant where
the food takes center stage. The small, appealing menu incorporates
fresh ideas, with impeccable fish, lamb, and house-cured salmon
among the winners. Save room for delicious desserts like creme
brulee and house-made ice creams. L/D Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat
584 Valencia St, San Francisco
This good-looking two-level restaurant serves what
chef/owner Charles Phan calls "Vietnamese home cooking."
The menu changes weekly, and might include delicious imperial
rolls, classic fresh spring rolls, "shaking beef" or
caramelized shrimp. Beer and wine. L/D Tues-Sun.
5800 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
American Provençal cuisine featuring octopus
salad with potatoes, arugula, roast peppers, and fennel; fritto
misto of calamari, prawns, cod, haricot vert, and eggplant; roast
leg of lamb with an eggplant, zucchini, and mozzarella tower and
basil oil; provençal seafood soup with yellowtail, mussels,
rock shrimp, and fennel tomato broth. Valet parking. D Tues-Sun.
2814 Nineteenth St, San Francisco
This airy, inviting café, is situated on an
unlikely semi-industrial Mission District street. Breakfasts include
roasted-on-the-premises coffee and housemade granola, and lunches
and dinner feature lightly dressed salads, terrific pizzas, and
sandwiches made with focaccia, as well as heartier fare. Menu
changes daily. Beer and wine. B/L/D Tues-Sun, Br Sat-Sun.
600 Montgomery St, San Francisco
Chef Jeff Inahara's architectural East-West creations
are perfectly suited to the setting: San Francisco's much-loved
Transamerica Pyramid. Among the offerings: seared day boat scallops
with lime risotto, or a grilled pork chop with red curry baked
beans, coconut black Thai rice and mango relish. Valet parking
nightly.L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat.
1700 Mission St, San Francisco
Working in an open kitchen the size of a walk-in
closet, chef/owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino turn out
homey, Mediterranean-influenced dishes for appreciative patrons
at the restaurant's eleven tables. The interior is comfortable
and quirky. Menu changes weekly. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Beer and wine. D Wed-Sun.
1658 Market St, San Francisco
Chef Judy Rodgers presides over one of California's
most distinguished restaurants. Her kitchen produces great Italian
and southern French menus and a superb list of fresh seafood including
a fresh oyster bar. Valet parking for dinner. B/L/D Tues-Sun.