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Affordable SF Ambiance?

I will be taking a train into the city tonight and would like to find a place for dinner. We don't have a lot of money but love good food. I'd like somewhere that's affordable, small (think hole in the wall) yet has a bit of a romantic ambiance. Type of food doesn't really matter...help please?

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  1. Try Cafe Claude. It is a French Bistro in an alley near the financial district. The food is quite good and the atmosphere is charming - most of the waitstaff are French. I think they even have music some evenings.

    1. what price range is affordable?

      7 Replies
            1. re: angie2210

              Ah. I stick wit my suggestion of L'Osteris del Forno! :-)

              1. re: whiner

                I looked it up online...it sounds perfect! I wish they took reservations though, since there are only 12 tables and we'll be there around 8:00...do you have any idea what the average wait is on the weekend?

                1. re: angie2210

                  Geez... it has been everything for me. You might call ahead to see what they think it looks like. I've never had to wait more than 25 minutes, but I wouldn't be shocked to hear 45 minutes.

                  Another, very different, rec would be Helmand Palace. They do take reservations and the food there is unbelievably good. It in't a hole-in-the-wall, but it is a family owned and operated Afghani restaurant that really, think, is pretty special.

          1. re: angie2210

            Le Charm has a prix fixe dinner for $30, takes reservations online and nice vibe.

            http://lecharm.com/alacartemenu.php

        1. L'Osteria del Forno in North Beach. No reservations, no credit cards

          1. Low prices, good food, romantic ambiance (at least for the price range):

            Bodega Bistro (Vietnamese)
            Maykadeh (Persian)
            Angkor Borei (Cambodian)
            Helmand Palace (Afghan)

            L'Osteria del Forno has more ambiance than most holes in the wall, but you might be standing around on the street for an hour.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              What would you reccoment at Maykadeh? I've had persian food once and I loved it but my Iranian friend ordered and I have no idea what it was..

              1. re: angie2210

                kaske bademjan (couisin of baba ganoush)
                mast-o-khier (like tzatziki)
                barley and vegetable aash (soup)

                chelo kebab koobideh (beef and lamb kebab)
                khoresht ghorme sabzee (lamb and eggplant stew)
                tah dig (crispy rice, not on the menu) topped with khoresht
                braised lamb's head
                lamb's tongue
                calf's brains

                bastani (saffron-rose ice cream)

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                Plus in the summer, with the dollar where it is, most of North Beach is swarmed with foreign tourists. Nothing wrong with that, but it might not be your idea of SF ambiance.

              3. I like Chez Maman in Potrero. Haven't been to the other locations yet. It is a casual, neighborhood bistro that is great for date. Not that far from the train station stop either but you'll have to take a bus/taxi.