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SF party of one?

I will be in SF for about a week and I am looking for some places that progressive food and are more conducive to eating a meal alone. I would prefer something with bar seating in front of an open kitchen, like Momofuku in NYC or Le Pigeon in Portland. Any suggestions on where I might be able to find this in SF? thanks.

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  1. HI bawmis,
    My buddy and CHOW editor cohort loves eating alone at Pizzetta211. It's not progressive food like Chang, it's more of a homey but yummy trattoria with pizza. But it's got a great vibe and as it's tiny, really only good for eating alone at!

    Also try Bar Bambino - has a great bar to eat at. It's also more centrally located and near an underground stop.

    1. This question gets asked often on this board. The usual responses include Boulevard, Gary Danko and the Slanted Door. The Tadich Grill also has a long counter with seating that is great for dining solo, but that is a very traditional seafood house, not "progressive" in the least.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DavidT

        i know it might not be the most original question, but I am really most curious about finding places with open kitchens by the bar (beyond the sushi counter variety)....I am more interested in seeing the action than i am self conscious about looking lonely.

        1. re: bawmis

          Range on Valencia at 19th St is small and you can watch the bartenders make their artisan cocktails, as well as see a view of the open kitchen depending on where you sit at the bar. (There's also a window into the kitchen along the wall to the back dining area.) Small space, very friendly, great food and cocktails. Was voted one Michelin star recently. Go earlier than later for a seat at the bar.

      2. Bar Jules you can sit right in front of the "kitchen". Menu changes daily, more like Le Pigeon than Momofuku with straight forward California cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner

        SPQR and A16 you can watch pizza being done or pasta being flipped in pans.

        Pizzetta 211 is a personal favorite, but it is a little out there and if you are going to go out to this district you might as well make a day of it and explore all that it has to offer.

        I would attach links but this option is not working for me!

        1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

        1. I love the counter at Boulevard--the one in the center of the restaurant, not the front bar. The seats are comfortable and there is lots of action. If you go, try to get a seat near where the expeditor stands--it's near the center of the counter. The food is great, too!

          The counter at A16 gets too warm for me because of it's proximity to the wood fired pizza oven.

          1. I'm amazed that there have been five responses and no one has mentioned Canteen. It's a tiny place, great for one person, and the counter is right near the open kitchen (when you make your reservation, ask for a seat nearest the kitchen). Boulevard and A16 are also great, you just have to be at the right place at the bar for it. I wouldn't recommend Slanted Door for a solo dinner of this type, it's great for a drink and a bite, but I think that Slanted Door is best when you can share items.

            817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            1. Canteen. Try to get a seat at the end of the counter away from the door - that's where the action is.

              1. Slightly off-topic, but what exactly is "progressive" food? That's not a term I associate with food but clearly posters here know what is being asked for. Enlighten me please :)

                1. My friend and I had a fantastic dinner at Conduit on Valencia. You can sit at the counter and watch/chat with the chefs.

                  280 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  1. I enjoy dining solo at the bar at Town Hall, especially for lunch. The bartenders are personable, and you sometimes meet friendly fellow diners. Best of all, the food is fabulous. Their soups are some of the best in town, and I just love their warm ham and cheese toast with jalapeno cream. Good wine list, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 1wino

                      Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone!

                    2. Soi has seating out front that you can order off either the bar menu or the full dinner menu. No view of the kitchen though.

                      1. I still don't know what "progressive" means. I've heard of progressive dinner parties but clearly that's not what this means.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          Since it isn't a term in general use, you can make it mean whatever you want.

                          To me, "progressive food" is food a "progressive" would not eat. Greens is not progressive, Boulevard is. I could come up with more examples, but it would get me in trouble. Oh, what the heck: McDonald's is not progressive, but In 'n Out Burger is. How about this. Can you imagine Alice Waters on Iron Chef America? Me neither. Guess which is progressive?

                          1. re: Paul H

                            You have made my brain hurt :) I get the Greens/Boulevard and the Alice Water/Iron Chef. Still cogitating on McD/In n Out. Give me one more example; I promise I won't report you, PH.

                            1. re: Paul H

                              Yeaaaahhh ... none of the above. I can't believe that anyone would think Boulevard fits in this category. Yeah, it is easy to watch the kitchen, but ... don't know ... anyone not enamoured with Chez Panisse isn't going to be wowed by Boulevard.

                              The OP clarified things ....

                              Probably Canteen and Conduit. Then there are those events where everyone stands around and watches a pig being buthered and eats the remains ... what's that called again? That's gotta be a conversation starter. Am I the only one that thinks that is bizzare?

                              Funny, there's more I can think of out of the city than in ... though it might be because I eat out of the city more these days.

                          2. The bar seats at A16 and Boulevard have great views of the kitchens.

                            Canteen, not so much, it's a sideways view into the kitchen and not all that close.

                            Progressive food, this is probably the wrong city.

                            6 Replies
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Too perfect! I guess I'm definitely NOT progressive :)

                                  1. re: c oliver


                                    You've inspired rworange to start a thread on this issue:


                                2. Delfina, Range or Flour + Water for at the bar seating and nice dinning alone options. I like Bette's Oceanview Diner over in Berkeley for at the counter brunch with a great view of the kitchen but the wait on weekend mornings can be tough. Hog Island Oyster Co at the Ferry Building has their small kitchen open with the bar wrapping around it and the shuckers.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: emmaroseeats

                                    PS I love eating alone while watching the kitchen. Enjoy!! And post what you find.