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Dinner recommendation on 10/29 after 8 pm 715 Bush St. Typifying SF Dining Experience

Hello, my colleagues and I will be arriving from Fresno via train and checking into our hotel hopefully around 8ish. We would like to recover with a nice dinner. We have already arranged an "off the menu" Chinese dinner for 10/30 and are since we are from Fresno don't need recommendations for ethnic restaurants. I grew up in the Bay Area, so remember Sam's fondly. I am wondering what sort of recommendations you might have that are w/in walking distance (8 blocks); serve martinis, and might give my colleague a good and positive example of SF dining. Our budget is flexible. I fondly remember dinner at Farallon several years ago, but that would be my latest dining experience in SF so am obviously out of touch. Any recommendations high or low would be most appreciated. Also is their a convenient wine store selling quality wines nearby?

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  1. Being at Bush and Powell puts you in the heart of tourist district. From there you can go to number of restaurants, so if you specify food style or budget you'll get a lot more replies.

    Without a reservation (they don't take any), you can go to Tadich Grill or Sam's Grill (very similar restaurants). Very old school San Francisco restaurants serving simple fish dishes and cioppino, a locally invented seafood stew. You can get a great martini at either. If you choose Sam's Grill, you can also walk down Belden Alley to Voda, a vodka bar with dozens of premium brands to choose from.

    Perbacco is probably new since you were last year. It's one of the better Italian restaurants within walking distance for you, and I'd be surprised if they did not serve up a solid martini since most restaurants in the city of their caliber do basic cocktails well.

    If you're tired, have no reservation, and just want a lovely restaurant nearby to sit down and eat immediately, head to Scala's in the St. Francis Drake Hotel. It's perfectly serviceable Italian food, and I've had good cocktails there as well. If you get a seat by the window, people watching is quite enjoyable and quite SF in its own way.

    Two wine shops nearby:

    Napa Valley Wine Exchange
    John Walker & Co

    Sam's Grill & Sea Food Restaurant
    374 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104

    Tadich Grill
    240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Scala's Bistro
    432 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

    Napa Valley Winery Exchange
    415 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA

    John Walker & Co
    175 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      Pei, thanks so much for your reply. Our budget is around $40 (not including the liquor bill). I would guess that narrows it quite a bit.

      1. re: 4spain

        You can eat at any of the places for around $40 before alcohol. It'll be slightly more difficult at Perbacco, but not too bad. Enjoy!

        Most restaurants seat until 10, but you might want to do yourself a favor and call.

    2. Bocadillos (tapas) is reasonably priced, but there's no reseervations. Other then that, why not go to Zuni? You can take public transpo.

      710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Zuni Cafe
      1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1. What about Biscuits and Blues? Some friends had recommended that and it seems like it might be a compromise tween cost, food, location and live music. Once again thanks for all of your comments.

          1 Reply
          1. re: 4spain

            I would skip it unless you see that you'd really enjoy the performer. It's a fun venue, but the food is several steps down from any of the other suggestions posted, and the price is not that low. I would also say it's a fun spot for large groups.

          2. I think Sam's and Tadich's are excellent ideas especially since you've been to Sam's and have fond memories.

            Alternatives might be Boulevard, Bix, Oola, Anzu, and on a more casual but convenient location Cafe Claude.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sugartoof

              You may wish to check the hours of both Sam's and Tadich...I seem to recall them being early closers, particularly Tadich...

            2. Several dishes at Tadich or Sam's would break your $40 per person budget.

              I like the restaurants along Belden Place (nice outdoor seating, like European cafes):
              B44 - Spanish
              Brindisi - Italian
              Plouf - French
              Belden Taverna - Mediterranean
              Cafe Bastille - French

              On Grant street at the gate entrance to Chinatown, you'll find Cafe De La Presse.
              Around the corner on Bush street, you'll see Le Central Bistro (my favorite dish is the roasted chicken with frites. Some dishes are pricey).

              If you're willing to walk towards Moscone Center, there's Lulu Restaurant on one side and XYZ (W hotel) on the other. Both have good food and bars.

              For a more affordable French meal, you can walk further (still within 8 blocks) and there's Le Charm on 5th street, near Folsom St.

              1. Well we decided to go to Farallon based on old memories. Decor beautiful as remembered. I ordered a martin dirty w/ hangar vodka...had odd taste. Waitress was impatient w/ us. We ordered variety of oysters (I liked), excellent green salad, weird calamari appetizer, halibut entree (decided mediocre), odd bass dish w/ bacon--bacon was best part of meal. Waitress recommended excellent half bottle of white wine. Service good but waitress annoyed with our questions and ready to call it a night; when we left alll the garbage was out on the front street )bad impression). Conclusion: mediocre meal and overpriced. Next night chowhounds took us to Toom Kee ....more in our price range and much more delicicous. Should have paid closer attention to ur recommendations.

                3 Replies
                  1. re: 4spain

                    Thanks for the update. I haven't read much positive on Farralon. Did you get dessert? The one saving grace there is supposed to be an excellent pastry chef.

                    Do you remember what you had at Toon Kee?

                    450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    Toon Kee
                    2191 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                    1. re: rworange

                      2191 Irving -- My God, is New Hai Ky gone? Possibly the best Chinese BBQ in town.