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Dinner walking distance fm 1 Market/Ferry Plaza?

My husband and I get to get away [from mom/dad duty] for the first time in two years for an SF overnight. Going to be staying downtown Saturday night, close to Ferry Plaza / 1 Market Plaza.

It's been a long, long time since we've had the chance to eat in the city. Any good [romantic/yummy] places to eat in walking distance there?

Thanks in advance,

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  1. You can never go wrong with One Market..a Bradley Ogden place, its great. Also Boulevard and Bar Americano are all right in the same area...Embarcadero and Market.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SFguy

      Re: One Market
      Also on Saturday nights there is a musician, Billy Philadelphia, that plays piano at dinnertime. There is also a prix fixe menu on Friday and Saturday nights. Three courses under $30.

    2. so why not take mass transit from 1 market up to zuni? pretty simple. if i can figure it out so can anyone. probably take you ten minutes or so.

        1. re: JasmineG

          Go anywhere but Zuni and you will have hit the mark. Its not where us locals frequent.

          1. re: SFguy

            What? Lots of locals on this board frequent and love Zuni, that's a totally untrue statement.

            1. re: SFguy

              I agree with you. I just wasn't that impressed with it.

              1. re: adefiori

                Zuni was dull the first time I went and their screw-ups were major the second time I went. I would say Boulevard or Perbacco.

              2. re: SFguy

                I am a local and go to Zuni at least once a month. I see tons of people there who are clearly not tourists.

                1. re: farmersdaughter

                  I've been eating at Zuni several times a year for over 20 years and it's one of my top five restaurants in the area. The chef's Zuni Cafe Cookbook gives a good idea of what's to like about the place.

                  Here are some actual detailed reports on meals there:


            2. Boulevard.Definetly. I thought it would be such a tourist trap but I was SO impressed! Zuni cafe wasn't my favorite, but it was okay. And people in SF really like it. Boulevard is walking distance, which might be nice. There is also AME, which is only a quick cab ride away. And Perbacco, isn't that far either.

              1 Reply
              1. There are probably 20 good places within easy walking distance without having to use a cab or Muni. But there is no need to go far, Boulevard is a great space with excellent food. See if you can get a table in the back with a view of the Bay Bridge to up the romantic factor.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Paul H

                  I think The Slanted Door is awesome, that is where I would go.

                  1. re: bubbles4me

                    I agree on the Slanted Door. I had lunch there last year and could only imagine how romantic it would be right there on the waterfront at night.

                    1. re: Cheflambo

                      I love Slanted Door, but I don't think that the atmosphere is particularly romantic.

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Except for the view, which is more romantic sitting on a bench on the other side of the window, and the glow that may come if you order well from the menu and wine list, Slanted Door's as romantic as the 1960s-era airport departure lounges it resembles.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Roberto, per favore! Non tutto deve essere rustico.

                          1. re: Husky

                            No general prejudice--Perbacco, District, Sebo, Mochica, Dopo, and Bar Bambino, to name a few, all manage to be simultaneously modern and romantic (to my taste).

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              We did end up having a quick lunch before catching the train back home in the Lounge at Slanted Door in Ferry Plaza. Years ago, after hearing so many rave about Slanted Door in its original location on Valencia St, we went there and I was completely underwhelmed and didn't get all the hype.

                              Alas, we had a train to catch, and since Hog Island was packed [as usual?], an Imperial roll on the fly sounded immensely more tasty than a burger so... we fell into the trap once again. Had the Shrimp / Imperial Roll Noodle combo and the Daikon Rice Cakes [supposedly with shitake mushrooms and shallots, but none to be seen].

                              The Shrimp/roll/noodle dish tasted fine, though small portions for what we paid. Alas, I will never admit to anyone in my Chinese family that I essentially paid 10 bucks for mediocre law bahk go [pan fried turnip cake], which none of them would pay over 3 bucks for in any decent dim sum place. [don't know how Hounds weigh in on Tin's Tea House, but that's where we go b/c we live on this side of the Caldecott]. What bugs me is how so many places are taking very down home ethnic offerings - like dim sum - and calling them something else, with some fancy garnish, and then charging literally 3-4x as much. Crazy. Maybe I'm just terminally unhip.

                2. Boulevard is your best choice in that area and would be great. Kokkari is pretty good too. I would consider Americano and One Market to be two steps below Boulevard in terms of food and overall experience. If you want Italian you should consider Perbacco, but I don't necessarily think of it as romantic. Slightly farther away (maybe a 10 or 15 minute walk) is Piperade, which specializes in Basque food.

                  1. I wish I could figure out why there is such a Boulevard love-fest -- I find their tuna tartare horrifically over-dressed, their cocktails limp, and everything else just mediocre.

                    On the other hand, you do have options like Perbacco and Piperade which clearly expand their horizons on a daily basis.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Carrie 218

                      I feel the same way about Zuni. The gaffes last time I was there were many and major. Since you mention cocktails, the cocktails at Zuni are tiny and not mixed skillfully at all. Very watery and overall mediocre.

                      1. re: Carrie 218

                        Mediocre? Wow!

                        I think of it as a fun, splash, "big city" restauraunt that serves delicious food. Is it my favorite restaurant? No, but everytime I go I have a great time.

                        1. re: scenicrec

                          I am a major cocktail hound and amateur mixologist--have done a hell of a lot of it--and yes, I thought they were bad cocktails (at Zuni).

                          1. re: Atomica

                            My reply was to Carrie 218 regarding Boulevard.

                        2. re: Carrie 218

                          Boulevard does a unique blend of French and Midwestern styles and the kitchen's standards are as high as any in town. I don't think raw fish is a great choice to judge a place with a charcoal grill, wood oven, and saucier station.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                I subscribe that more to Nancy Oakes' New England upbringng than to anything else- epecially when I occasionally see items on her menu like succotash, blueberry buckle, and red flannel hash.

                        3. I like Frisson, although extremely loud, and Scott Howard, which is a little less loud.

                          1. Aqua should be on your list of options, but Boulevard is your best bet at the price point (high).

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Chris Rising

                              Thanks so much for the excellent input, everyone.

                              Boulevard sounds good -- I did call to make reservations but they're booked until 9:45 p.m. They said they welcome walk-ins, so my plan is to get there at 5 p.m. before they even start seating to be in line. Anyone tried to walk-in on a Saturday, early and had seating problems?

                              If we can't get in, sounds like 1 Market is also a good option. UNLESS folks here strongly recommend a different plan B. I like the idea of just walking somewhere from the hotel b/c we've got to leave for the Orpheum no later than 7:30, and it just simplifies things to not have to travel around so much in a short period of time when I'm not familiar with street directions, etc.

                              And, some humble input on the Zuni topic -- years ago, I had been there once for brunch and was underwhelmed by what both my father and I had - he had something on the tradiitional side, and I think I had something like french toast [which as I recall, was overcooked]. We had heard so much buzz about the place, that I frankly, didn't get what all the fervor was about. But I'm willing to try it again someday, just not for this special occasion. I also had a similar experience years ago with Greens -- had heard lots of good things about it, but the food was not as yummy as I wanted it to be, and I actually did go there twice.

                              Thanks again. Will report back on where we end up eating and how the food was...


                              1. re: tmsmama

                                If you walk into Boulevard at 5:00, tell them about the Orpheum and promise to leave by 7:00, I predict you'll have no problems.

                                1. re: tmsmama

                                  The Orpheum is not close to the Embarcadero where you're staying or Boulevard. I would consider finding dinner closer to the theatre. In that case, Zuni may actually be a good choice. Another option would be Cav Wine Bar.

                                  hey, are you going to see Ave. Q? You'll LUV it! I saw it in New York and laughed like crazy and will see it again in San Francisco.

                                  1. re: singleguychef

                                    The Orpheum's close to Boulevard by subway. That time of day, 15 minutes tops, including walking to and from the nearby stations.

                                  2. re: tmsmama

                                    I agree with Boulevard, one of my favorites in the area.. I think the food is great and service is spot on. Trivia: Nancy Oaks is married to Bruce Adelle sausage god, we've had the pleasure of dining with them and they are hilarious together.

                                    1. re: ricand

                                      Scomas on a hidden pier at fishermans warlf.take a cab it is worth the drive

                                      1. re: big john

                                        there use to be a little dive restaurant in the city called The Squid.is it still there???????

                                        1. re: big john

                                          If you mean Squid's on McAllister near Leavenworth, it's long-gone.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            thanks robert
                                            that just goes to show you how long its been since i was there.they sure had good fried calamari

                                    2. re: tmsmama

                                      Boulevard has dining at a bar overlooking the kitchen. Its a great informal experience, fun to watch the action.

                                  3. MANY THANKS, Chowhounds, for a fabulous rec.

                                    Our dinner at Boulevard was very good. I'd never been before, and I was not disappointed. I loved the inside of the restaurant - a lot of attention to detail, with the dark wood/tile floor, beautiful mosaic tile on the floor and supporting beams, without feeling overly pretentious or snobby.

                                    We started the experience with two yummy drinks - A Bombay Gin Cucumber infused Martini, and the "Elderflower Tart", which was a concoction of Gin, St. Germain Liqueur, Lemon Juice and Cassis.

                                    Once seated, we had:
                                    Dayboat Sea Scallops in a Corn Bisque,
                                    Ahi Tuna Tartare in Soy, Chile & Pickled Ginger,
                                    and Dungeness Crab Salad w. Persian Lime, cucumber, Green raisin & Watermelon Coriander Aioli.

                                    We split the California White Seabass entree [served w. Fresh Shelling Beans w. Dungeness Crab & Jalapeno corn Cream].

                                    Our favorites were the Ahi Tuna and the Crabmeat salad -- both were so amazingly perfect -- delicious, beautiful, mouth watering.

                                    The scallops were okay - a bit on the small side, a tad overdone [for $17.75, any bit overdone feels substandard, but we were off to a show so didn't want to ask for a redo], and sort of swimming in the corn bisque.

                                    The White Seabass was my least favorite - again, a bit overdone, and a bit lackluster, really. It did nothing for me, and I wouldn't order it again.

                                    THEN, we had the Roasted O'Henry Peach Dessert with Brown Sugar Ice Cream Sandwich and Peach sorbet -- really good. The Sorbet and Ice Cream offset the tartness of the peach perfectly, and it was a perfect end to the meal.

                                    Beyond the couple of "miss" dishes we had, the only complaint I took away was with the service -- the waiter and hostesses were a bit snobby, almost curt.

                                    At the beginning of the evening, tne waiter at the bar popped open a bottle of champagne incorrectly [the cork flew!] - apparently, it was his first day - and they all turned to look at him with distain and ridicule, as if he had spit on a customer or something. Each time we needed water, or something else from our waiter, it felt like we were inconveniencing him. This same aloof, "above it all" attitude came through when we asked if it'd be possible to take home a copy of tonight's menu, as it was a special celebratory dinner for us. He/the hostesses did put menus in an envelope, but with some attitude - it wasn't even clear whether he was to bring them to us, or whether we should get them as we left, so we finally asked the hostesses, and they had to check with him to find that they did have an envelope there -- how difficult would it have been for him to hand the envelope to us? After paying $180 cash for dinner, my husband's thought was maybe they were accustomed to folks spending more. My attitude is that our business is as good as anyone's and a truly classy staff would treat all customers cordially and kindly. perhaps it was an offnight, but it's our only experience from which to draw.

                                    This said, I would not want to discourage others from going for the first time - I'd just forewarn them that the service would be satisfactory, but might not be warm/friendly. I've had good luck at Chez Panisse upstairs in this regard, and at most restaurants I hold in highest regard.

                                    I will return to Boulevard for the amazing food, just with lower expectations about the service.

                                    ps: speaking of excellent service: we actually spent the night in the city at Hotel Vitale, barting in and to the Orpheum [civic ctr exit feeds right out into the theater front door!]. Service at Hotel Vitale was like none other we'd experienced EVER. Every person who worked there was efficient, friendly, and clearly made effort to make guests feel welcome and taken care of. I had mentioned we were there to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and when we arrived, there was a bottle of Chandon waiting. Bed turn-down also included a surprise of rose petals on the bed when we returned from the theatre. Such a rare experience in a hotel for us, I had to mention all of this! We did order room service breakfast, which came from the Americano, and aside from some overdone toast, the wild mushroom/truffle scramble and rock shrimp/tomato/kalamata/caper omelette were delicious.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: tmsmama

                                      I think you've put the finger on much of what about Boulevard doesn't thrill me - mediocre service brings the quality of food way down for me. You were staying at Vitale? I think you would have been happier eating at the Americano. I know I would have...

                                      1. re: Carrie 218

                                        It's just another data point, and not definitive, but I've eaten at Boulevard somewhere north of 20 times and have never been annoyed by the service. Perhaps I'm less demanding. In any event, I think Boulevard is one of the best restaurants in the city, and this is based both on quality of the food and consistency.

                                        1. re: Paul H

                                          Then let's just chalk it up to the fact that I have been incredibly unlucky at Boulevard and *generally* unimpressed.

                                          1. re: Paul H

                                            I've only eaten there perhaps four times, but I've never had service problems. The one time there was a delay between courses (apparently because they forgot to put in our main order in a timely fashion), we were brought an extra appetizer course on the house, with an apology, at almost the exact moment that I first looked at my watched and started to wonder why it was taking so long....I have certainly never felt any attitude there, unless you count the time that the valet went to get Willie Brown's car before he got ours, even though I think we handed them our ticket first... :-)