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Affordable SF Ambiance?

angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 08:49 AM

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?

  1. c
    carfeng Jul 18, 2008 04:24 PM

    Pagolac (655 Larkin St, near Ellis St) in the Tenderloin has great Vietnamese for cheap (you can eat like a king for under $20/person) and great ambiance (minimalistic with persimmon-y colored walls, high ceilings). It has great service as well. It feels like a hidden gem in a somewhat gritty neighborhood.

    1. angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 12:58 PM

      Thank you all for being so helpful! Unless something else great comes along, I think I'm going to try to get into L'Osteria del Forno, but just in case the wait is too long I made reservations at Maykadeh....

      1. m
        ML8000 Jul 18, 2008 12:34 PM

        Ti Couz, crepes in the Mission.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000
          Robert Lauriston Jul 18, 2008 12:55 PM

          I love Ti Couz, but to me it's so big, busy, and noisy that it's not romantic at all ... at least not until after my third bowl of cider.

        2. t
          tdo Jul 18, 2008 12:18 PM

          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.

          1. Robert Lauriston Jul 18, 2008 10:34 AM

            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
              angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 10:56 AM

              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
                Robert Lauriston Jul 18, 2008 11:10 AM

                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
                Chris Rising Jul 18, 2008 01:30 PM

                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. w
                whiner Jul 18, 2008 09:38 AM

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

                1. k
                  kc72 Jul 18, 2008 09:16 AM

                  what price range is affordable?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: kc72
                    angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 09:40 AM

                    I'd like to spend about $60...

                    1. re: angie2210
                      whiner Jul 18, 2008 09:44 AM

                      For how many people?

                      1. re: whiner
                        angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 09:47 AM

                        2 people

                        1. re: angie2210
                          whiner Jul 18, 2008 09:54 AM

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

                          1. re: whiner
                            angie2210 Jul 18, 2008 10:10 AM

                            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
                              whiner Jul 18, 2008 10:27 AM

                              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.

                      2. re: angie2210
                        kc72 Jul 18, 2008 10:56 AM

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


                    2. l
                      lmarie Jul 18, 2008 09:14 AM

                      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.

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