Round or square table for a group in or near downtown SF?
Other than Piperade, is there anywhere with a table like this for a group of 8-12? Long tables just don't allow you to talk to more than the 3 people sitting around you. The group will be coming from the Hyatt Embarcadero, so walking or short cab distance is preferable.
Alternatively, we could take the risk of showing up somewhere with a first-come-first-served lounge area that serves appetizers, so long as the place is conductive to keeping the group together and not splitting us up. Perbacco and Slanted Door tell me this can be done. Any experience with this?
re: Frosty Melon
They do indeed have a communal table, but it's not so long and narrow like at Zuppa where it makes conversation difficult. We were seated just across from it last week. I think it's smaller, like the one at Maverick, so anyone seated at it can talk to anyone else. Also, like Maverick, it sort of has its own section, close to the kitchen, so your group is separated a bit from the main dining room noise. As for Slanted Door, the tables are not that conducive unless you're in the semi-private room in the back. I was at a large dinner there about a month ago, and the dining room noise made it impossible to understand anyone but my two seat-mates. Even conversation directly across the table was difficult.
For another option, you can try the private room at El Raigon. Their steaks are among the best in the city, and they may let you have the room if you book for a regular party of 8-10 (no contracts or special menus required).