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San Francisco Restaurants & Dining

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Swine and Dine - new

Old Standbys

The Crab House at Pier 39
Despite being in one of the most touristy areas of town, the Crab House is a favorite of local seafood lovers.  Whole Dungeness Crab is served here and is probably the most popular item on the menu when available. Crab finds its way in to many dishes including crab pizza and crab enchiladas.  Other seafood is also available.
Pier 39 Tel 415.434.CRAB http://www.crabhouse39.com

Red's Java House
If you're looking for strong coffee, a big hot dog, or a fine domestic beer then Red's is your place. Despite it's short menu, or perhaps because of it, Red's is one of the most popular lunch spots in San Francisco. The noontime crowd almost always spills out onto Pier 30 where everybody from construction workers to dotcom digeratis can be seen munching donuts and swilling coffee. Even in hip, expensive San Francisco cheap and tasty eats draw a crowd.
Bryant Street and the Embarcadero

House
With a location in North Beach and one in the Inner Sunset, The House consistently provides some of the best prepared and presented Fusion fare in the city.  Both locations have their charm, though the Sunset restaurant is larger with more distinctive decor.  With entree prices ranging between $14 and $24 and consistent service despite very busy rooms, The House gives a lot of bang for the buck.  Reservations are recommended all nights of the week.
1269 9th Avenue Tel 415.682.3898
1230 Grant Avenue Tel 415.986.861

La Taqueria
Sometimes the simplest dish prepared with fresh ingredients and basic know-how, makes for a great meal.  The burritos and tacos are consistently tasty, filling, and cheap. $4.00 gets you a burrito that is surprisingly heavy. Whether you choose chicken, pork, beef or sausage you're going to get a good, quick meal.  Even at their busiest the staff can churn out a large order in under 5 minutes.  It's fast food, but it sure doesn't taste like it.
2889 Mission Street Tel 415.285.7117
 

Tourist Favorites

Fog City Diner
Located just off the Embarcadero is the Fog City Diner.  The Fog City Diner is just like a diner augmented with the casual class that is a signature of San Francisco restaurants. The food is good for the price and certainly above what one would expect for a tourist frequented eatery.  Despite the "Diner" in the name, reservations are recommended.
1300 Battery Street Tel 415.982.2000

The Stinking Rose
The question at the Stinking Rose is not so much if you would like some garlic on your steak, but rather would you like some steak on your garlic? The Stinking Rose's motto is "We Season Our Garlic with Food!".  This is a popular restaurant in a very touristy area of Columbus Avenue. Reservations are recommended.
325 Columbus Avenue Tel 415.781.7673 http://thestinkingrose.com

A. Sabella's Restaurant
Specializing in seafood of many varieties, A. Sabella's provides good, straight-forward seafood fare. Despite the tourist reputation, A. Sabella's has a more than competent staff and a fairly impressive wine list. Surf and turf, or rather filet mignon and steamed lobster, costs around $45, but most meals can be had for $20 less. Wine and appetizers can add significantly to the bill. Reservations are recommended and can be made by phone or online.
2766 Taylor Street Tel 415.771.6775 http://www.asabella.com

XYZ
Located in the W hotel (hence the name), XYZ provides Fusion cuisine to a great number of hotel patrons and folks off of the street. It's a good introduction to French/Asian cuisine for those unfamiliar with this San Francisco trend. It's also convenient to the nearby Metreon complex and the Moscone Convention Center. Reservations are recommended especially on the weekend.
181 3rd Street Tel 415.817.7836
 

Hip & Trendy

Neo
Neo's cuisine is somewhat difficult to categorize, though it could probably be best described as Eclectic Continental.  Neo's decor can be categorized quite succinctly as white. The walls, floor, ceiling, fixtures, furniture are all white.  Even the staff are completely white-clad.  All of this serves to place focus on the food and the clientele.  Reservations are hard to come by so call as early as possible.
1007 Guerrero Street Tel 415.643.3119

Johnfrank
Johnfrank offers a modern take on old European cafe favorites. The entrees here are known for being simple and straight-forward, yet prepared with an attention to detail and fresh ingredients. With solid fare priced between $15 to $20 for most entrees, Johnfrank has established a loyal clientele in the Castro/Upper Market area.
2100 Market Street Tel 415.503.0333

Indigo
The Civic Center is known more for the opera, the symphony, and city hall than for fine dining.  The presence of Indigo, a restaurant that manages to offer New American cuisine in elegant surroundings at reasonable prices, may go far to change that image.  Most of the entrees are inventive takes on old standards that would cost twice as much at other restaurants.  Many of the entrees go for less than $20.  With the symphony and theater crowd often filling the room, reservations are recommended.
687 McAllister Street Tel 415-673-9353 http://www.indigorestaurant.com

Farallon
If you weren't sure what kind of food was being served at Farallon, the decor would be a dead giveaway.  Farallon is festooned with colorful decor of an undersea theme.  The large room and bar are decorated with coral designs and lit by giant sea urchin lamp fixtures. Farallon offers a variety of seafood dishes in both the appetizers and entrees. Some non-fish selections are also available. Typical entrees can be had for between $25 and $35 with wine or drinks from the impressive bar adding substantially to the final amount.
450 Post Street Tel 415.956.6969

3Ring
Located on the hip and funky stretch of Valencia Street, 3Ring may be decorated like a circus but the food is the real show. The food isn't wild, nor are the dishes named anything like "The Lion Tamer Special; the food is interesting because it draws from a number of influences including Mediterranean, Asian, and New American.  The price of admission to this culinary circus isn't too steep with most entrees costing $15 or less. Reservations are recommended and can be made by phone or by email.
995 Valencia Street Tel 415.821.3210 http://www.ringx3.com
 

Posh & Pricey

Aqua
Considered by many to be the finest seafood restaurant in San Francisco, Aqua applies the fusion of French and Asian influences to fish.  Located in the Financial District, Aqua's usual clientele consists of the well-to-do suit and tie set. Aqua is definitely expensive, with a five course meal costing around $70 without wine.  Most consider the experience well worth the price.
252 California Street Tel 415.956.9662

Masa's
If you're trying to impress a client, a friend, or a date Masa's is a fine choice. Masa's is considered by many to serve the finest Continental cuisine in San Francisco. It's also considered to be the most expensive restaurant in San Francisco. Unless you carry a few hundred in cash around in your wallet it's a good idea to have your favorite credit card with you.  Those who can afford it are not disappointed by the excellent service, tasteful decor, and splendid culinary creations.  Advanced reservations are recommended as well as business attire for gentlemen.
648 Bush Street Tel 415.989.7154

Fifth Floor
Located in the Palomar Hotel, Fifth Floor impresses with the decor and amazes with the food.  Fifth Floor serves eclectic Continental cuisine and is known for inventive takes on popular dishes from the appetizers to the desserts.  The wait service acts with precision and grace without being curt or intimidating.  Most entrees will cost between $30 and $40 with soup, appetizers, wine, and dessert doubling or tripling the bill. Despite the expense, reservations aren't easy to come by.
12 Fourth Street Tel 415.348.1555

Gary Danko
Named for it's founder, Chef Gary Danko, this restaurant serves fine cuisine that is a fusion between classic French dishes and modern California sensibilities. Like so many of San Francisco's finest restaurants, inventive fare is combined with poised, efficient service and elegant, relaxing decor. Meals are served in a variety of prix fixe menus with different numbers of courses. The menu is fairly flexible and the wait service is adept at suggesting the best combinations.  Various meals cost between $50 and $80 before wine. Reservations are definitely recommended.
800 North Point Street Tel 415.749.2060

Fleur de Lys
Fleur de Lys is a classic French restaurant that has incorporated some of the trends of California cuisine into its menu.  While this sounds somewhat stereotypical of many San Francisco French restaurants, the quality and complexity of Fleur de Lys' fare sets it apart.  Fleur de Lys offers a variety of multi-course prix fixe menus.  A typical meal should cost around $75 before wine.
777 Sutter Street Tel 415.673.7779