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Apr 8, 2009 10:00 AM

Night out in Downtown SF?

We've scored a free night at the Hotel Vitale in early May. Planning an SF mini-weekend
(live in Oakland) and wondering where folks would recommend for dinner. In the E.Bay
we're big fans of Flora, Pizziaola, Cesars, Sea Salt, Luka's. Would like a place with great
food and atmosphere- not crazy expensive, and preferably walking distance (Mission and
Embarcadero). Thinking about Canteen, Perbacco, Ame. Any thoughts, hounds?

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  1. Those places are all on my East Bay short list.

    Walking distance from there, Bocadillos, Bar Crudo, TWO. Canteen's fun but a fair schlep.

    Perbacco's the best Italian downtown but nowhere near as laid-back as the East Bay places you mention. Ame's expensive.

    1. Canteen is too far. Perbacco is good food, a fun place, and good value. Ame is expensive & a pretty good walk, too.

      Check out these additional options:

      * Bocadillos - best tapas in the city
      * Piperade - Basque/French same owner as Bocadillos
      * Kokkari Estiatorio - Great Greek food; the joint is jumping; not cheap but reasonable for what you get; close

      Kokkari Estiatorio
      200 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94111

      1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

      710 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      14 Replies
      1. re: Paul H

        Whether Canteen is too far is debatable -- it's about a 20-30 minute walk, depending on how fast you walk. On a nice spring evening, walking up Post from Market is a pleasant walk. Or you can hop on Muni metro and/or take a cab back.

        Piperade is a good idea, though -- a little different from anything in the East Bay.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Piperade has the same chef-owner Bocadillos, which is closer in lively atmosphere to the East Bay places mentioned.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Yeah, but Bocadillos is a little more casual -- not someplace I'd choose for a nice evening out.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I'm going by the list of East Bay places in the original post: Flora, Pizziaola, Cesar, Sea Salt, Luka's. Piperade's considerably more sedate than any of those. Nice place for a relaxing meal, unless you encounter one of their occasional service lapses.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Hmmm. I would never use the word "sedate" to describe Piperade. More sedate than Luka's or Cesar I'll grant you. But *considerably* more sedate than Flora or Sea Salt? Really?

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Flora's bar scene makes it livelier. Maybe comparable to Sea Salt.

        2. re: Paul H

          Has Kokkari lowered its prices? The online menu shows entrees $15-21. That's mid-range verging on low these days--significantly cheaper than Delfina or Bar Tartine.

          Or maybe Kokkari has held prices steady while other restaurants that used to be in the same price range have raised theirs.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I love going to Hotel Vitale and eating at places very, very close to the hotel. You might consider these: (none are more than 300 yards from the hotel):

            * Waterbar for oysters, cocktails and the view
            * Boulevard for lunch: cheaper, great view and consistently fun
            * Vitale for drinks -- bartenders know what they're doing
            * Slanted Door at the Ferry Building: always delicious, noisy and fun.
            * Taylor's Refresher: if you need the burgers and shakes
            * Boulette's Larder: delicious there or to go

            Others to consider (but I haven't been to yet):

            * Chaya: SF version of the Venice, Ca. popular place
            * Shanghai 1930: well regarded bar, club, restaurant for Asian
            * La Mar Cebicheria: next to Ferry Building, Peruvian cebiche
            * Yank Sing: Rincon Center dim sum
            * One Market: Bradley Ogden staple

            Great neighborhood. Have fun.

            1. re: cortez

              Boulevard at lunch is more expensive than most places at dinner!

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              RL - are you quite sure you weren't looking at the lunch menu? They have lowered their prices considerably if those are the most expensive entrees are $21. Whole Fish & steak were in the 30s last I was there. For the OP, the food at Kokkari is great and the vibe is probably in line with what you are looking for.

              Chaya is good for bar bites (good sushi, good fries, etc) and drinks. If you go at happy hour and stick the specials its reasonable. If not you can easily end spending way more than you planned.

              In addition to the other suggestions on this thread I'd recommend Scott Howard (by the Chef formerly of Myth)

              1. re: Truffle Dog

                Scott Howard has closed. The space has been taken over by Sean O'Brien's Zinnia. O'Brien was the chef at Myth, not Scott Howard.

                1. re: Truffle Dog

                  Yeah, I must have accidentally gotten the Kokkari's lunch menu. Non-veg dinner menu entrees are $23.50 to $39.

                  500 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Add two glasses of wine, a starter, dessert and coffee and you're easily in the $90/pp range after tax and tip.

                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                    Yeah, my bad, confusing Web layout, I was looking at the lunch prices.