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Dining alone, the city or Marin

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I had a plan. My wife and I were finally getting back to my old home without kids. I was going to take her to Fog City Diner because: It used to be my fall back need an upscale but not expensive meal. Sitting at the counter by the kitchen alone was O.K. because I could pick up techniques and recipe ideas while waiting. I cook her stuff out of the F.C.D. cookbook pretty frequently. I've been there many times and many memories but she's never been.

But now she can't come this weekend.

So where would you go to dine alone on a Friday night that is quality but not expensive, not so oozing ambiance that being alone is uncomfortable?

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  1. For Marin (these all have counters) --
    --Buckeye
    --Marin Joe's
    --Samurai
    --Robata

    1. Dunno know how high (price-wise) you are willing to go, but my favorite place to go alone is Laiola. Most ot it is walk-in (the entire bar area, which is over half the restaurant, is walk-in). Mostly small plates. Casual. Really nice bar tenders. Very social. Some of the best food in SF.

      1. I had dinner alone at the counter at Boulevard a few months ago. It WAS pricey but I was on an expense account. My meal was very good...not anything to wax rhapsodic about, but very delicious and the service was very attentive and did not make me feel self conscious about eating alone.

        1. Thanks! Laiola looks like a winner unless I end up with a flight delay. I have to pass the Buckeye and I had kind of forgotten about that place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kevin B

            Kevin B, I think you'll really lke Laiola.

            Reading what I said about it, though, I should clarify something... the restaurant is very casual in atmosphere (servers wear their own t-shirts and jeans) and social at the bar, but part of that is also that some people "go out" there on a Friday night -- almost everyone there will be under 45, most might be under 35, and while people won't be wearing fancy clothes, necessarily, people do generally look presentable and then some.

            As I said, it is just about my favorite restaurant in SF, but not knowing your age or what you are looking for, I thought I ought to clarify.