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SF-expat, one dinner in Financial District

  • e

Will be in town visiting for a week from Boston catching up on some old favorites and new gems. Will have one dinner with friends in Financial District near 555 California.

Any great spots to recommend? Suggested guidelines:

- Food quality and overall experience is primary
- Good ambience for conversation and catch-up with friends, but not too sedate
- Very or somewhat unique to SF
- Not sushi
- New or innovative a bonus
- Mid-range prices


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  1. If it were me I'd head to the Tadich, get one of those private booths and enjoy. Food is very good, especially SF seafood, petrale sole, sand dabs, cioppino. It's very unique to SF and pretty much in the mid-range price area. I wouldn't however consider it new or innovative.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Monty

      Tadich is always a good scene, but as Monty says, it is (almost proudly) the antithesis of "new and innovative."

    2. c
      Cheesy Oysters

      I'd go to Myth if I was in the financial district. Just don't overdue it like I did by having the sweetbreads, foie gras pasta, and seared scallops all in one sitting--well the martini might have had something to do with it. I went with two friends and we all loved it like many other chowhounds. It isn't a pricey as some of the other upscale spots.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cheesy Oysters

        I'll second Myth. It's new, edgy but not weird, elegant yet casual, and the service has been terrific.

        Link: http://www.opentable.com/rest_profile...

      2. f

        I'd go to Piperade, a Basque restaurant on Battery between Union and Green. It's a little bit of a walk, but worth it! Very low key, mid-priced, great flavors and great service. The wine list is interesting. You can do an entire selection of small plates, and they have larger entree-sized dishes as well. If you go, make sure you get the terrine with sheep milk cheese and ham.

        Link: http://www.piperade.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          The sheeps milk cheese and ham terrine is a must. Here's a link to a recent thread on Piperade.

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        2. r
          Robert Lauriston

          Can you put a number on "mid-range prices"?

          Except for the location, Winterland would be perfect.

          Tadich is great for the overall experience, but you can get better food elsewhere.

          1. Thanks for the tips. Reservation at Myth made. Love Tadich but not this trip.

            Any thoughts on Bocadillos as a more casual alternative to Piperade?

            2 Replies
            1. re: edgrimley

              Bocadillos is highly regarded by the Hounds. Certainly more casual and a smaller menu.

              1. re: Paul H

                I like Bocadillos but it can be noisy when it's full. Also, I think it's all two- and three-tops except for the long communal table in the middle, so except during off hours it's not great for a larger group that wants to have a conversation.

            2. I'd go to Aqua, it's super close to the address you mention. Not exactly mid-price, rather higher end, but fits the other points rather well.

              1. not necessarily new or innovative... but it was definitely trend setting and innovative when it opened. I would go to Zuni. Definitely unique to SF as its an institution. Judy Rogers started the Cal Cuisine Movement along with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Great food, nothing ever misses. very comfortable setting.

                1. Zuni would require a BART or Cab ride from the Financial District.

                  1. The vintage streetcars on Market Street are a fun way to get to Zuni. Ask for a quiet table when reserving, there are quiet tables upstairs but much of the restaurant is noisy. Whether it's mid-priced depends on your definition.

                    Like many great local chefs Judy Rodgers got her start at Chez Panisse, but she was in junior high school when the California cuisine movement started.

                    1. Even though you've made your reservation, and I love Myth, I have to speak up on behalf of Silks in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It is highly underrated and underrecognized in this city, but chef Joel Huff does amazing Asian-inflected things with food, e.g. the lobster tom yum noodles which come wrapped in a parchment paper bag and unwrapped tableside. It might be a smidge lacking in the kind of atmosphere you want, but put it on your list for the next trip.

                      1. Town Hall. It has a great vibe and great food.

                        1. Read the recent posts on Town Hall before going there.