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Universal, Maverick, Delfina, Tartine?

  • c

Friends will be here visiting from NYC. In showing them around town (and trying to convince them to move here) was thinking about dinner at either Universal Cafe, Maverick, Delfina or Bar Tartine. Thoughts? Is Delfina slightly stuffy? I've never been.

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  1. I haven't been to Universal, but I would say yes to both Delfina and Bar Tartine. Delfina is not stuffy at all, and the food is great, but I think that I like Bar Tartine the best of the three -- I always have excellent food there, and it's a very fun environment. My dinner at Maverick was fine, but not that interesting, and I don't think it would lure a visitor to want to come to stay.

    1. Love them all. Tartine has more "interesting" food. Maverick has great takes on "down home cookin'." Delfina has hearty food. Universal never been.

      My vote is Maverick for brunch, Tartine for dinner.

      1. If your limited to the mission, and they are wine lovers, may I also suggest Bar Bambino. Out of the restaurants you mentioned I think Delfina is wonderful.

        1. if the weather is nice and you can get an outside table I recommend Universal either for brunch or early dinner. I really like the space and I think it's a quiet contender because of the out of the way location.

          1. I'd throw Range into the mix and rank them like this:
            1. Delfina
            2. Range
            3. Bar Tartine
            4. Maverick
            5. Universal

            1. Range is a good option (and in line with your other choices in terms of vibe, prices, quality of food). But I think Universal Cafe showcases "Californian" cooking the best out of all the choices. And it has more of a Californian laid-back vibe than the others (in my opinion). I've had a couple meals at Maverick and wasn't too impressed with the food execution.

              3 Replies
              1. re: carfeng

                Thanks, all! I think I'm going to go with Bar Tartine since I live around the corner and have yet to have been, and I've never been to Universal for brunch so it could be an option on Sunday...

                on that note, has anyone been to Bar Jules?

                It is another one of the places that has been on my list for a while, but wasn't sure if it was a bit spendy or what.

                1. re: cswsf

                  Bar Jules is good, in the same vein as Bar Tartine (nice but casual atmosphere, friendly service, pretty good food). They don't take reservations though and sometimes the wait can be veerrrrry long.

                  1. re: cswsf

                    Maverick also serves a tasty brunch...

                2. I agree with several people above - if you want to convince New Yorkers to move, the food must be spot on...
                  I would do Range for dinner (if you can't get reservations - Delfina and Bar Tartine are good bets, though I would opt for the first), perhaps catch a documentary flick at the Roxie, and grab a drink from Bar Bambino, Monk's Kettle, or Laszlo.
                  Foreign Cinema for brunch.

                  1 Reply
                  1. For dinner, Range is top pick followed by Delfina & Bar Jules. Bar Tartine is fine but not in the same league as the others. Definitely take them someplace for cocktails as what we offer is very San Francisco & they aren't quite in our league on this. I'm a fan of Alembic & Beretta & Range for killer cocktails.

                    1. I definitely like Range and if your friends like cocktails, they will enjoy the bar. Delfina is excellent a lively -- not at all stuffy. I think Maverick is excellent and have always found the food to be great. Bar Tartine has always dissapointed -- the food is never as good as the menu descriptions. Foreign Cinema is THE place to do brunch.

                      1. The safest bet for out of town friends is Delfina-- won't disappoint, who doesn't love perfectly prepared, seasonal Italian food? Maverick might be fun for cocktails and dessert, though if the line isn't too long ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery always impresses the out-of-towners. I'd skip Universal and Bar Tartine, both are overrated and not on par with your other picks.

                        1. At the risk of hate mail, I have to comment every place on this list is very similar to every other, including the menus and the patrons who eat there. They are all also vaguely like places on the lower east side or upper west.

                          If I wanted friends from NY to move here, I would take them somewhere that has food they don't have in Manhattan or Fort Greene. Somewhere without hangar steak and divers scallops and baby gems lettuce.

                          I actually like many of the places above, especially Delfina, which as noted is far from stuffy. They're charming neighborhood places except Foreign Cinema, which is too much of a scene for my taste, and Universal, which is far more popular than the food warrants.

                          But Delfina is a safe place I'd take my visiting mother for roasted chicken and pasta with tomato sauce, not anywhere that would impress friends from NYC. Especially if I told them how hard it was to get a reservation.

                          Take them to Bodega Bistro, or Aziza, or the Old Mandarin, or the bar at Coi, or for Peruvian. Or to Incanto. Humphrey Slocombe. Something less safe but more memorable. My two cents.