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solo dinner recommendations

I'll be in San Francisco for about a week in Nov. with several group dinners at mediocre restaurants and would love recommendations for some good places to get some solo dinners to recover/eat fantastic food. I'm staying at the InterContinental, but am willing to venture outside that area. No Italian please, but otherwise I'm open to cuisine. I wouldn't mind one expensive (around $100ish) meal, but would like to keep the rest in the $50-75 range. I'm going to a Thursday night 49ers game. Are there any good restaurants for a solo dinner around the stadium if I sneak out of the game early?

BTW, how bad is the Stinking Rose?

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  1. Boulevard. Maybe the new La Folie Lounge?

    The 49ers play in the middle of nowhere.

    La Folie
    2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks much! I should have looked up the location of the stadium before asking. Just found out my company is taking us on a shuttle so I guess I won't be sneaking out early.

      PS Sorry for the double posting. I received an error message and didn't think the original message posted.

    2. Hmm. Could be fun to sit at the counter at Kiss Seafood. You get to watch the man work as you sup on his most excellent 5 course meal....

      1. Seriously. you say no Italian and then inquire about one of the worst tourist traps in the city. What's that about?

        Zuni is good. Canteen. 1550 Hyde

        2 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          I have to go to Stinking Rose. It is one of the "mediocre group dinners" I have to attend. Trust me, it's so not my choice. I love Italian, but both of my group dinners are at Italian restaurants so on the nights I'm on my own, I'd prefer something else. Thanks much for the recommendations.

          Stinking Rose
          325 Columbus, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. re: cookiegirl

            Here's some past but old reports about The Stinking Rose

            I doubt anything changed so hopefully if you read those you can cull something good out of them or find out what to avoid

            If you look at the upper right corner of the SR webpage, you will see other restaurants owned by the group. The menus are pretty similar.

            They do a good job with mussels, but no so much with the sizzling iron shrimp or crab, so stick to the mussels.

            Avoid the fresh fish. Often it is hit and miss. There are cooks in the kitchen following corporate instructions. It is likely the fish will be overdone and the veggies too al dente

            This group has a steakhouse and all their restaurants seem to do a good job on beef, so that prime rib might be a good choice.

            For the most part anything that sounds complicated should be avoided.

        2. Bad. Really really bad. If you're going there for one of the "mediocre group dinners" then by all means find a way to escape halfway through ordering. You won't regret it.

          SF is really a great solo dining town, especially at any restaurant with bar seating. Boulevard, Zuni, Canteen, and 1550 Hyde would all be great in helping you recover from horrible group meals. If you want more Asian/fusion try Ame for your "closer to $100" meal, or Ryoko's if you're looking for an underground, late night, rock n' roll sushi vibe. If you're one of those few who really relish a meal alone, three hour meals at the Dining Room at the Ritz, Coi or La Folie could be very entertaining.

          1. Consider Tadich Grill in SF's financial district., a classic old-school San Francisco seafood restaurant. Many solos, including women, eat at the counter.

            Tadich Grill
            240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            1. $100- Boulevard or Ame.

              $50-$75- Piperade, Fringale, Laiola

              1. Zinnia should have a full menu at the bar. If you heard of Myth before it closed, it's the same chef and same food, just different location and name.

                Further away, Delfina, SQPR, and Range are good options.

                If you want to splurge, Gary Danko is an option with the full menu at the bar.

                1. I picked up 6 members of my family in the van after they visited the stinking rose for lunch. They thought it had been fine. I did not enjoy driving them all around in the van afterwards, 'though So if you are going to be in close quarters with folks you'd like to make a good impression with, don't eat there before hand! ......... But the garlic fries at the ball game are great!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kabocha

                    The garlic fries at the ballpark were probably the single worst thing I've had to eat in the past year. Well, not single, actually, since I had them on two different occasions.

                  2. In the haight district I had the most amazing meal at Alembic. It's kind of a cocktail bar, doesn't look like a "restaurant" but the food was mindblowing.


                    Stinking rose is a chain that serves mediocre food. It's a total gimmick!

                    1. Thanks so much for all of the recommendations! I ended up having only one night on my own and ended up at the bar at Ame. It was fantastic. I had the sashimi plate, which was amazing - a great combination of flavors. There was trout with apple fennel slaw, salmon and one other fish with a kind of deconstructed guacamole. I also had the cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with foie gras duck tortelloni. It seriously was one of the best soups I've had in a long time. I finished with the brown butter chocolate ganache crunch with sherry ice cream. It was okay. The flavors were good, but the crunch part was very difficult to cut and I was afraid it was going to fly across the dining room. I had a whiskey cocktail to drink, which was also delicious.

                      One group dinner was at Epic Roasthouse and was quite nice actually. I had a watercress salad with figs and blue cheese and seared tuna with gnocchi and bacon - delicious. Second group dinner was at Cafe Tiramisu and I had the veal scallopine, which was very good. They seated my very large group in the basement room and this worked out perfectly as things got a bit out of control. The restaurant was a hit and they were very accommodating with a special dessert request for someone in my party with a birthday. This is the second group dinner I've coordinated there and wouldn't hesitate to return. Last group dinner was at Stinking Rose. I wouldn't go back, but it wasn't the worst meal I have ever had. I had the forty clove garlic chicken. The chicken was okay, but the accompanying mashed potatoes were very mediocre. I had a few bites of the garlic ice cream, which was interesting. A few Peroni made everything go down better. The last night I was there, I went to the 49ers/Bears game and ate about 1/4 of a very crappy hot dog and then ordered room service when I returned to the hotel.

                      I did manage to squeeze in breakfast at Dottie's on my last day. All in all, a pretty good week of eating in San Francisco.

                      Stinking Rose
                      325 Columbus, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      Epic Roasthouse
                      369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

                      Cafe Tiramisu
                      28 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104