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Jan 26, 2008 09:46 AM

Good eats around Union Square/Hotel Monaco?

I will be in SF this week on business...arriving on Monday evening around 8PM -- any suggestions for dinner close to the hotel?

Also, does anyone know the scoop about the Grand Cafe - its the resto in the hotel? Not so happy about having to eat at a hotel restaurant but someone else made the booking.


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  1. The restaurant in the back is pretty awful (although stunningly beautiful!). I have had better luck with the Café up front; good pizzas, cheese plates, charcouterie, and really good oysters. If you want some light fare, stick to the front and avoid the full-service (joke!) restaurant.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carrie 218

      I also prefer the Cafe up front, but I wouldn't call the Grand Cafe awful. I have eaten there fairly frequently since my employer often uses the Monaco for business meetings and our reimbursement policies are such that it is much easier to plan dinners at the hotel location. My experiences at the Grand Cafe have been mixed: a poor brunch, but a few good to very good dinners. That said, while I had the catered food at the Monaco very recently (last week as a matter of fact) I didn't stay for our group dinner (reports back were positive, but not necessarily a houndish group) and it has been a bit less than a year since my last dinner in the GC (which wasn't great, but certainly wasn't awful. My recollection is that it was squarely in the decent to good category, with an interesting dessert that generated some controversy, not necessarily a bad thing to generate conversation among business colleagues). Moreover, I believe that there have been recent uphill reports on the Grand Cafe from other hounds?...

      and The Grand Cafe certainly is beautiful, so for the OP: I wouldn't feel terrible about eating at a hotel restaurant and I do hope you will report back on your dinner there! (by the way, there do happen to be some outstanding hotel restaurants in SF, though I certainly wouldn't put Grand Cafe in that category). Also, in general service and rooms at the Monaco are truly lovely, so I think you will enjoy your time there!

      As for other suggestions very close to the hotel: Cortez right across the street and up the hill to your left a half a block has gotten some recent nice mentions recently and I think (?) might also be participating in Dine About Town, a local promotion that runs through next Thursday.

      In the other direction half a block across the street from the Monaco is Colibri, an upscale Mexican place that I think is not bad, though reviews on the board are mixed. Good margaritas and jicama salad, nice housemade tortillas.

      If you are willing to go a bit further afield, Union Square is just two or three blocks, so you might want to do a Union Square area search on the boards for other ideas. (we get LOTS of requests for Union Square ideas).

      Colibri Mexican Bistro
      438 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

      Dine About Town
      San Francisco, Ca, San Francisco, Ca

      Grand Cafe
      501 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94109

      550 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    2. Sultan Indian on O'Farrell is excellent, and the atmosphere is charming. Lots of choices for vegetarians and meat eaters.

      If you're in the mood for an old-fashioned bistro, I'm quite fond of Cafe Claude.

      1. I'm a big Bar Crudo fan. Also, Farmerbrown has received mixed response on this board but I've been 4-5 times and have not been disappointed.

        1. You can have a great bite to eat in the bar. I've also had good meals at Le Scene across the street. Breakfast at Cafe Mason is a good bet.

          1. Forgot to mention Canteen!