SF Dinner suggestion (based on atmosphere)
We're having a hard time thinking of a place to eat that fits the mood we're in. I'll try to be specific, but what we're looking for has more to do with the atmosphere than a specific cuisine.
What's a good place in the city that fits the following, on a typical weekend night?
--not loud. It doesn't have to be silent; a little energy or personality is fine. But not a hopping bar or place pumping loud music.
--cozy/intimate. it doesn't have to be dripping with romance, or overdecorated. Just more on the quaint or homey or rustic side than on the modern or dramatic side.
--we want to dawdle over dinner. This means being able to converse, but also means that the cuisine itself and/or the nature of the seating allows one to take ones time. This could mean small plates or mutli-course meal or even a tea service, but doesn't have to--it could just be that the seating is comfortable and the vibe mellow.
--affordable. The median entree in the high teens? Maybe a little more, if necessary.
--cuisine could be most anything, but not: Italian or Asian, which we've had a lot recently. By not Asian, I mean not a straight-up Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. Fusing elements of any of those with anything else is fine. I guess the vibe I'm describing screams "bistro" or "brasserie," but it doesn't have to be French, necessarily. Could be, or could be Moroccan, Indian, Spanish, American, Swedish....whatever
--most neighborhoods are fine. If this place were sort of a "neighborhood gem," that'd be great.
Aziza fits the bill for everything you have described and then some.
You can have cozy and intimate with stunning cocktails, great food, affordable considering the 5-course meal is $50 a person (for food), and I have stayed there for hours without feeling rushed.
A few ideas:
Woodward's Garden (front room is much nicer but in higher demand than the back)
You might also spend a little more in a bar of a high-end restaurant--Campton Place will let you linger in the bar, as will Coi.
The other issue is timing; often on a weekend, it pays to go early or late to avoid being rushed. Or go on Sunday. One of the best (and most relaxed) meals I've had at Delfina was at 9:30 on a Sunday.
Jeanty at Jack's may be the kind of place you're looking for, though the entrees come in in the mid-twenties rather than the high teens. Otherwise, it seems to fit your description.
Despite a recent blah Chronicle review, I really like this place. The roasted marrow bones with bordelaise first course I tried last time was amazing.
Metro Kathmandu- I was just there and like this place not only for the food Napalese style but the atmosphere is cozy with nice service. The decor is contemporary but very warm and cozy.
I like Firefly in Noe Valley too.