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Belden Alley suggestions?

mvandy Feb 14, 2008 01:30 PM

I'm looking for any tips on picking one of the restaurants in Belden Place/Alley. Atmosphere is a priority but really we're just looking for quality.

  1. sflegs Feb 14, 2008 04:47 PM

    Love Plouf. Cafe Bastille is great too but atmosphere can be hit or miss if you are upstairs or downstairs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sflegs
      junesix May 14, 2008 10:44 AM

      More votes for Plouf. If you have a large party, get a few variations of the mussels.

    2. p
      philmaur Feb 15, 2008 07:26 AM

      Another vote for Plouf (http://www.ploufsf.com/01_home.html).

      1. singleguychef Feb 15, 2008 10:04 AM

        I think Belden Taverna gets overlooked, but the food is solid with quality ingredients.

        1. Robert Lauriston Feb 15, 2008 10:10 AM

          I like B44 (Catalan). My favorite dishes include xato, mushrooms a la plancha, arros negra (most favorite), romescada, baccala amb samfaina, and rabbit. They usually have really well-selected cheap cava.

          I was disappointed with the moules-frites at Plouf the last time I was there, a few months ago, but I've had great versions of that dish there so many times that I'll give them another chance.

          Umbrella Web site:


          44 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

          40 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            DezzerSF May 13, 2008 07:31 AM

            When I had the moules-frites last month, the frites were practically old and soggy. Moules were pretty good.

          2. spicedish Feb 15, 2008 10:22 AM

            B44 or Plouf.

            1. v
              virtualguthrie Feb 15, 2008 10:39 AM

              I had amazing Calamari at Plouf once, it seemed like a wonderful place.

              1 Reply
              1. re: virtualguthrie
                Robert Lauriston Feb 15, 2008 10:48 AM

                If you order the specials at Plouf, watch the prices, sometimes they're a lot more expensive than the moules.

              2. l
                Lunch Critics May 12, 2008 11:07 PM

                I’d have to give a marginal thumbs up to Plouf. While we experienced some serious missteps during our visit, the positives were just enough to outweigh the negatives.

                Because we’d had a similar dish at the Belden Taverna the prior evening, we started with the Dungeness Crab Cakes with Baby Lettuce and Sauce Gribiche ($13). While the sauce was excellent, the three crab cakes themselves were a bit dry. To make matters worse, one of them was burnt. After having superb crab cakes at the Belden Taverna the night before, we thought that the Plouf version of this dish could use some improvement.

                For our entrées, we ordered the Thai Coconut Poached Butterfish with Kaffir Lime Scented Jasmine Rice and Baby Bok Choy ($24) and the Fish And Chips Served With Prawns, Garlic Aioli And Malt Vinegar ($16). The butterfish was perfectly cooked, and served with a delicate sauce that complimented entire dish. Our only suggestion would be to offer the sauce on the side, as opposed to pouring it over the fish and rice (we didn’t ask for it on the side, so we don’t take “points” off for that presentation). The fish and chips were very good. The “fish” part of the dish was made up of several varieties of fish (including salmon) that were deep fried. We’d never had deep fried salmon before, but it turned out to be rather tasty. The trick with all the fish was to dip it in the malt vinegar first, and then in the garlic aioli. However, the highlight of the dish was the frites. Light, crispy, and (above all) flavorsome, these frites were some of the best we’ve ever eaten. After devouring all of the frites on the plate, we came to the conclusion that Plouf’s reputation regarding its frites is very well deserved.

                Finally, we had the Plouf Apple Tarte Tatin With French Vanilla Ice-Cream And A Caramel Sauce ($8.50). It turned out that we saved the best for last. This exquisite desert had a flaky crust, a tender apple, and a caramel sauce that was heavenly. We (including our two-year-old, who though she was in paradise) devoured every scrap of it.

                As for the service and ambience, it was adequate. The restaurant itself is a bit loud, and the table placement isn’t exactly optimal when trying to accommodate a toddler. But, the staff was friendly, served us promptly, and made every accommodation possible to have our two-year-old seated at the table.

                In the end, we enjoyed our dinner at Plouf. Even though some of the dishes could some improvement, we found that the culinary successes could better be described as triumphs. We would be open to going there again…this time to try the famous mussels. But, we think we’ll try the other restaurants in the Belden Alley first.

                1. rworange May 13, 2008 09:23 AM

                  Could you tell us a little more about your dinner at Belden Taverna?

                  Belden Taverna
                  52 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

                  Cafe Bastille
                  22 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rworange
                    Lunch Critics May 15, 2008 11:57 PM

                    I already did, with this post:


                    I'm just late in posting my Plouf comments.

                  2. c
                    charlotteowens May 13, 2008 02:56 PM

                    Sam's Grill is still great...right on the corner and a taste of the old-days fresh fresh fish restaurants! I love the private booths in the back.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: charlotteowens
                      poulet_roti Jul 15, 2008 08:10 PM

                      I have been to Sam's a handful of times and always enjoy. Question: do they accept reservations or first come first served only?

                      1. re: poulet_roti
                        Robert Lauriston Jul 16, 2008 09:30 AM

                        Unless they've changed their policy, you can make reservations for dinner but not for lunch.

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