Recommendations for dining alone
I will be in San Francisco for a conference this weekend, staying at the Hyatt Rgency at Embarcadero Center. I was wondering if anyone knew of a good place to grab dinner - maybe a good place to eat at the bar or a sushi bar with friendly sushi chefs. Thanks.
As a longtime counter sitter, I'm sorry that the number of places in having them is drying up. But there are a few good places all within a couple of blocks.
South- For a really nice and more expensive meal, Boulevard has a food bar where you can watch part of the kitchen while you eat. The bartenders at One Market Restaurant, across the street will set you up nicely and comfortably. Slightly less expensive and very good is Cosmopolitan Cafe, a couple blocks away, next to Rincon Center. The upper bar can get very busy, but the lower bar is mostly for eating. They have a good lamb shank on grains, and fun 'trios' for appetizers like a crab trio (crabcake, crab bisque, crab tempura).
Sushi in the area: Embarcadero Center #1 (you are in #4) has an obscure but large restaruant called Fujiya, that has a sushi bar, teppan tables for steaks, and noodle bar. I had the teppan meal there once and it was very good. Across the street from Embarc #2 on Sacramento is a Japanese place, starts with a K (Kanzai?) that has been there a long time, and the sushi was always very good, but I have not been in years. These are traditional Japanese places.
North: A couple blocks up California is Tadish Grill, the very old SF seafood house. Lots of counter eating. I like the Sand Dabs, have them boned. At the posher and more expensive Aqua next door, it is well worth ordering the Tuna tartar at the bar. It is finely diced tuna, mixed with finely diced pears, habanero chiles, pine nuts, tossed with sesame oil and served with fresh toast points. This would be a great appetizer before going elsewhere.
for a truly unique experience i'd like to recommend original joe's in the terderloin, on taylor st just a couple blocks up from market...the food is only part of the draw as it seems joe's is populated with customers who seem to have forgotten to eat for a few days then seem like they are eating the place out of house and home, and a staff to match...not many tourists will brave this ungentrified stretch of taylor st in the tenderloin(and tho safe, it can be dicey), but if you arrive late, they're open late, and the food, i almost forgot, is basic grill(great burgers),good fries(fresh) and inexpensive quite drinkable wines(like BV cab)..
anything with ground beef is worth eating, and your wallet will thank you as well...the salad,basic, is fresh...and tho this will win no cukinary awards, it is truly a san francisco experience....
Postrio, Aqua, and Moose's all have atmosphere's conducive to dining solo at the bar. And the food's great at all three.
Along the Embarcadero further south, more casual are Gordon Biersch Brewery and Palomino.
Blowfish Sushi To Die For in SOMA is lively and has good sushi. But I've never sat at the bar and don't know the chefs there.
re: Kara Elise
"Blowfish Sushi To Die For in SOMA is lively and has good sushi. But I've never sat at the bar and don't know the chefs there."
Perhaps it would be a better experience at the sushi bar, but I've found that sitting at the tables there is an exercise in frustration. When I've gone the music was so loud that we had to yell, the servers (non-Japanese) weren't very familiar with the different kinds of sushi, the menu stresses 'inventive' rolls over traditional Japanese sushi, and they wouldn't make the traditional closing 'ume shiso maki' (plum & shiso leaf roll) for me when I requested it (said they didn't have that on the menu). Fun for fusion, maybe, but sitting at the tables isn't to be confused with a traditional sushi experience. Maybe the sushi chefs behind the counter would have been more accommodating & knowledgeable. Anyone?
I like Sushi on North Beach (745 Columbus Ave.) for an authentic Japanese sushi experience.