Relaxed Restaurants on Polk Street or Filmore?
Looking for a tasty/interesting spot for dinner with a buddy. I live in Cole Valley, he wants to escape Cow Hollow so we've decided on the Nob Hill-ish area.
Ideally somewhere with minimal drama, mid-range prices and, most importantly, great grub.
My default neighborhood joint is the Nob Hill Cafe (Taylor and Clay). Authentic raw-egg-anchovy caesar and killer lasagna. Bonus: Friday nights the famous twins eat in the window. Down-side of that: no reservations and longer wait. Bonus: other nights have minimal waits, and you get to have a glass of wine at a sidewalk table and eavesdrop on the crazy vampire tour while waiting.
Another neighborhood default: Hyde Street Bistro (Hyde and Jackson). Typical French stuff. Good onion tart, coq au vin, rabbit. Bonus: if there is a birthday, the lights go down and all the waitstaff comes out clapping to a French song. Patrons join the clapping. A fun time is had by all.
And seconding luella. We go there pretty often. HOWEVER, there is often something irritating that happens regarding being seated. Our table isn't ready (for 20+ minutes), we're seated next to the windy door which people seem to want to hold open, three people seated at a table for two, etc. But the waitstaff is good and so is the food. Many good iterations of typical items: salt cod brandade, chicken-under-a-brick, mushroom pizzetta, etc.
And in the same strip is Sushi Groove, which is okay. I have had the same 3 people at a table for 2 business happen there, and found a bone in my white tuna once, but generally the fish is good and the options are interesting.
There's also always Za, the pizza joint with east-coast crust and high-quality toppings. But it's a real joint so if you want something fancier, go back for a slice at a later date.
Usually when we go down to Polk it's for Indian, Thai, etc. Tablespoon is good and so is Antica Trattoria and Le Petit Robert but I haven't been more than once to any of them. Avoid Yabbie's Coastal Kitchen. It is a train-wreck and not good.
Third on Pesce. The same owner's Antica Trattoria is also great, but more expensive, might or might not qualify as midrange.
The food at Amelie is really good.
2227 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
La Cave D'Amelie
1754 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
2400 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Tajine is definitely high on the list (though they did implement a pretty decent price hike from their last location)--but another really great and laid back place is Cordon Bleu, which is a tiny Vietnamese counter joint--simple but awesome menu with big portions and great imperial rolls.
Cordon Bleu Vietnamese
1574 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109
re: Chris Rising
I second Pesce. I was there a couple of weeks ago, and had some excellent reasonably priced italian seafood dishes. Dont miss the black olive gnocchi, and definitely get a couple oyster shooters. They are so fresh and delicious. The place is on the smaller side, great staff, lively, but not too loud, and a mellow crowd.
There are a couple more restaurants on that street that also look really good...I think already mentioned above.
I also really enjoy the Elite Cafe on fillmore st. It is a cajun inspired menu, and very goog. They have amazing "home made" sodas and cocktails (actually so does Pesce now that I think about it) and the best deviled eggs I have ever had. I've been there for dinner and brunch, and go back regularly for the special treats on their menu.