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Recommendation for 1 night in SF

Im flying into SF next Friday, renting a car, and planning to grab dinner before I hit the road to San Jose. Im looking for a good meal at a place that is not too serious (like Michael Minas), but not looking for bar food either. Somewhere in the middle of that if you get what Im sayin. I enjoy the small plates thing so that could be a plus. Any recommendations?

Also, any recs for San Jose?

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  1. Do you mean to drive into San Francisco from the airport and then drive back down to San Jose? Or are you looking for places on the way to San Jose?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sharon S.

      Drive into SF, chow, head to San Jose. :)

      1. re: Blind Mind

        Do you specifically want to eat in SF? Because that's 20-30 minutes the opposite direction from San Jose. There are good places to eat that aren't out of your way and where you'll be able to actually park your car.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Yes, I want to eat in SF or else I wouldve said, "Near the airport". I have one night there and I wanna take in a good meal along with the sights and sounds of a Friday night in SF.

          1. re: Blind Mind

            Just a warning...not to dissuade you but traffic into SF on a Friday evening can be very unpleasant to just plain bad.

            Any preferences beyond not serious and something in the middle? Any specific likes in cuisine? I'm asking because In SF that middle part is a very wide band...perhaps the best part of SF...the mid-priced, well-executed casual place with good grub. BTW, dining alone?

            1. re: ML8000

              Ill take the mid-priced, well-executed casual place with good grub for $500, Alex.

              I know about the traffic but the few times Ive had this flight to SF Ive driven into the city/wharf area and the traffic wasnt that bad. Plus, no way its worse than Miami or LA. Also, Im dining with one other person.

    2. Incanto's great, you can treat the appetizers and half-portion pastas as small plates, and it's closer to the airport than most places.

      http://incanto.biz/sample_menu.html

      1. Canteen is a great place to eat on your own, and the food is fantastic. The Incanto recommendation is a good one too. Or SPQR, which has gotten good reviews on this board for the antipasti, since you like the small plates.

        1. Traffic into SF doesn't usually back up as far as 280, where you'd turn off to head to Incanto. You could be sure of avoiding traffic by taking 380 to 280.

          SPQR would add a lot of time--it's on the far side of town, parking can be difficult, and on a Friday night the wait could be over an hour (unless it's one person at the counter).

          Canteen, reservations are essential, even for a solo diner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            But do you think Incanto satisfies the poster's need to experience "the sights and sounds of a Friday night in SF" which is the entire reason he's driving into SF instead of heading south? If he wants more of a scene, this might be situation that calls for Zuni or something in Hayes Valley, which is an area with decent freeway access and not-impossible parking.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Now that Blind Mind has added sights and sounds, Incanto's not a great fit.

              For that, I'd recommend Valencia Street. Park in the New Mission Bartlett Garage if you get tired of looking for a street space.

          2. Thanks for the replies so far. Im not worried about traffic or parking really. Traffic wasnt that bad the past few times Ive done this and if parking is bad I can always valet at a hotel with no problem. The last trip to SF I did Americano @ the Hotel Vitale. The time before that I did that restaurant in the wharf that looks out at Alcatraz (its famous I believe but I foget the name cuz it was a few yrs ago)

            I pretty much like all types of food with the exception being Indian/Ethiopian food. I like that stuff occasionally but overall Im not really a fan. French and Japanese are probably my favorites if I had to name them. Im going to go to Blowfish in San Jose, most likely on Saturday night, so Japanese on back-2-back nights might be a bit of overkill. I also plan to go to Arcadia in San Jose.

            Keep the suggestions coming!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Blind Mind

              Well, I was going to recommend Bar Tartine, because the food is great and the area will be a lot of fun on a Friday night -- I held off because the parking around the Mission is not at all fun on a Friday night (or really, at any time) but if you're not worried about parking, then go for it.

              1. re: Blind Mind

                Bar Tartine and the Mission is current SF. You could walk around a bit too.

                If it's French and Japanese, you might check out Ame...French/Japanese fusion. It's a little beyond mid-range at $35-ish for entres...might be too serious however. Do a search for reviews.