I always take people to Caffe Sport because the inside is such a trip. It has been cleaned up a bit since Antonio Sr. passed but its still like no other place. If you have a design/creative team they will appreciate the interior and chaos. The name is completely nonsensical, there is nothing sporty about this old place. I have been coming here since before I could drink and when I go back, I always wish I came in more often. Its on Green@ Columbus.
Lunch is actually a good bet here as dinner is a bit on the spendy side for what you get. I like the prawns/scallops in red sauce(might be alla antionio especial?) and the fritto misto. Their white sauces are something of an acquired taste-my Mom loves it, Dad hates it. He always gets Cioppino anyway so its never a problem. The pesto tastes like dust. Dont order that. If you want a quirky, unique, old spot this could be it. Carafes of house wine keep $$ down.
Another entertaining old school place, that stays consistent is Esperpento in the Mission. Rabbit Stews, Escalivada, Boquerones fritos, Tortila, Gamabas al Ajillo, patatas bravas, sometimes the Paella is good, depends on the cook. Good times to be had. Sangria is funny-it usually had green apple in it.
Lastly I had a surprisingly good meal at Local Kitchen and Wine on 1st at Folsom this week. Really well prepared food and funny doors. It doesn't feel like an SF place to me. Feels maybe more like LA. Its great food by the same folks at Oola. And you can buy snacks and wine for later.
574 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant
330 1st Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110