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help w/ tiny, rad restaurants in sf proper?

i am a short girl. i love tiny restaurants. i am visiting san francisco next week, so nowhere too difficult to get into. i am staying in the mission.

something like the little owl in new york city. i would like for them to be cozy, delicious, and somewhat unique. with some..... je ne sais quoi.

to indicate my likes, my favourite san francisco eats have been: country station (aweee...), quince (circa 2005?), and all mission mexican eats esp el tonayense and el metate.

anyways, this is probably my last visit to SF indefinitely, so i would love something special? any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Definitely Canteen. Call asap to see if you can get dinner reservations for that week, but their weekend brunches are first come first serve and are also great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JasmineG

      canteen! how could i have forgotten it? what a great suggestion, thanks.

    2. Cafe Jacqueline, in North Beach. It's tiny, and all they serve are souffle's (you can get salad as well). It's a tiny jewel, delicious.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fogcityite

        ive always wanted to try cafe jacqueline. unfortunately, my dining partner has serious problems with too much dairy/eggs in his diet. i have heard wonderful things. i dream of being able to try it one day. very good suggestion.

      2. Have you tried Minako? It's a tiny organic Japanese restaurant right there in the Mission.

        Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant
        2154 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          ruth, after doing research i find very mixed reviews. have you had an experience there? though i don't often post, i do read on a regular basis and really love your opinions. would love to hear about what you think.

          1. re: tinymango

            Thanks for the compliments! I haven't actually eaten there myself (I don't really like Japanese food), but people whose opinions I trust have always said good things about it. I think it really comes down to expectations. A lot of people when they think "Japanese" think "sushi" and that's not really what Minako is about.

            Here's a recent report from Melanie: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/319637
            And one from pane: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463769

            Note also that the famous Limster almost always hits Minako when he comes to town.

            1. re: JasmineG

              does anyone happen to know if bar crudo has a happy hour?

              1. re: tinymango

                I don't think so -- and really, it's too small for something like that, no room for people standing around.

          1. It doesn't get much tinier, different or unique then Yamo: Burmese, counter only seating, and in the Mission. I wouldn't call it chic or dainty but it has its charm.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000

              great rec, esp since i am on a budget. this looks like a really fascinating little place.

            2. just to let you know country station closed unfortunately, very sad. but if you want to stay in the mission, i love the front porch. kinda carribean with a rock and roll flare. the wait can be long but go early and enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: potatoe

                i had heard about country station closing. how heartbreaking! i really loved that place. it was pretty much my personality summed up in a restaurant.

              2. I second the rec for Minako. I know that people have had varied experiences but both the food and the atmosphere are unique in San Francisco. I can also recommend two other tiny spots - Kiss in Japantown and Piqueos in Bernal Heights.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dreux

                  i suppose i will definately be making minako my country station replacement it really does look very tempting. the fact that their umeboshi is supposed to be outstanding sells me.

                  kiss is but a dream restaurant to me at this point, way out of budget. i am a very poor mango.

                  1. re: Dreux

                    I think you'll really like Minako, it has character. I also really like Eiji, over on Sanchez. It's less of a sushi place and more of a Japanese restaurant.

                  2. The French spot Chez Maman is a quick bus ride [on the 22] from the Mission District and is definitely both tiny and delicious. Its a good spot for brunch on the weekends, especially if you are into crepes.

                    Chez Maman
                    1453 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    1. Cordon Bleu has great homestyle Vietnamese. Get the 5-spice chicken!

                      Cordon Bleu Vietnamese
                      1574 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mchan02

                        Reports seem to be mixed based on what time people go, as if they really do one big batch of chicken and if it's been sitting around for a while it's not as good.

                        What time do you go?

                        1. re: SteveG

                          i don't go all that often, but its always for dinner. I'm pretty sure they roast it ahead of time and then throw it on the grill when its ordered. Its still darn good though.

                      2. If you want tiny and Japanese and good, you might check out Maki in J-town, in the Mall across from the bookstore.

                        I've been walking by this place for years and always thought it an odd place, never saw a reason to go inside.. A friend's cousin brought us there and I was pleasantly surprised. The basics were very, very good. (best teri sauce I've had in a long time not made at home.) The wappas however looked to be the winner...basically hot bentos and very down home. The place holds maybe 10 inside and 6 outside in the mall.

                        Maki Restaurant
                        1825 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ML8000

                          I really like Maki, it's my preferred spot in J-town.

                          BTW El Metate had just opened a small dinning room, ajacent to their existing space.

                        2. I like Rocco's for breakfast and lunch. It certainly meets your "tiny" criteria. The food is sinple but good. You could even get a dose of NYC attitude form the staff.

                          Don't show up right at noon and expect to sit right down. There's always a line.