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Night out in Downtown SF?

hamachihil Apr 8, 2009 10:00 AM

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?

  1. Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 10:12 AM

    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. Paul H Apr 8, 2009 10:42 AM

      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
        Ruth Lafler Apr 8, 2009 11:30 AM

        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
          Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 11:40 AM

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            Ruth Lafler Apr 8, 2009 12:47 PM

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

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 01:15 PM

              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
                Ruth Lafler Apr 8, 2009 01:57 PM

                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
                  Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 02:11 PM

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

        2. re: Paul H
          Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 11:37 AM

          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
            cortez Apr 8, 2009 04:33 PM

            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
              Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 04:51 PM

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

            2. re: Robert Lauriston
              Truffle Dog Apr 8, 2009 04:55 PM

              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
                Paul H Apr 8, 2009 05:05 PM

                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
                  Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 05:44 PM

                  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
                  Chuckles the Clone Apr 8, 2009 05:00 PM

                  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
                    Robert Lauriston Apr 8, 2009 05:44 PM

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

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