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What's the SF equivalent of LA's Animal or NYC's Momofuku Ssam?

I have one night in SF next month and will be meeting up with another friend from out of town. I'm looking for the kind of moderately-priced, casual but fun restaurant that pleases both foodies and less adventurous diners - which, for me, tends to be exemplified by restaurants like Animal or Momofuku Ssam. What'll be my best bet? For what it's worth, I'm going to be staying at the W, and my friend will be coming in from Mill Valley.

Much obliged for any suggestions...

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  1. I hate to say this, but having eaten at both Animal and Ssam, that San Francisco really has nothing like either restaurant.

    Casual and fun in San Francisco tends towards Frances, perhaps Gitane, Ame, or SPQR.

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    SPQR
    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1 Reply
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      I would go for SPQR. Have been to Momofuku Ssam and while the food is completely different, it is excellent, and has broad appeal, from pig ears to pasta.

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      SPQR
      1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    2. If you're thinking of pricey Asian fusion (I don't think of Momofuku Ssam Bar as "moderate") you might give Heaven's Dog a try.

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      Heaven's Dog
      1148 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. Pleasing to both foodies and adventurous diners would say Nopa to me.

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        Nopa
        560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

        1 Reply
        1. re: JasmineG

          I absolutlely love going to NOPA, but I wouldn't necessarily consider it adventurous. Their menu is basically familiar "comfort food" done extremely well with innovative techniques (brining the porkchop all day), everything from scratch (making the brioche buns for the hamburgers every day), with extremely high quality ingredients, but it's still just burgers, pizza [flatbread], fries, steak, fish, roast chicken, soups, salads

        2. I had a few dishes at Namu that reminded me of Ssam Bar (I don't think it's as strong of a restaurant overall though). CAV wine bar might fit the bill too - more creative than your average SF restaurant, but with enough familiar tastes and textures to please the less adventurous.

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          Namu
          439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

          1. Frankly I'd screw trying to find something like Animal and Momo and go with SF's strength. Between SF and Marin? I'd go to Aziza. Cal-Moroccan, "exotic", fusion-y and different yet accessible palette, won't get it anywhere else, Michelin starred, NorCal.

            1 Reply