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Cocktails+dinner, brunch recs -staying in Union Square

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  • CG09 Sep 22, 2010 06:24 PM
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I'll be in San Francisco for work and am meeting up with a friend for dinner, but she just moved there so we're looking for suggestions for somewhere for cocktails and dinner that would appeal to two thirtysomethings and would be walking distance or easily accessible (short cab ride is fine) from the Union Square area. Steak, Italian, French bistro, or tapas all appeal as far as cuisine, and we would prefer an atmosphere that has energy and a good crowd, but where you don't have to shout at each other or have a total nightclub vibe (ex: menu looked good at 5A5 but it looked like it tries to be too clubby).

Also looking for a Sunday brunch suggestion.

Thanks!

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  1. When you search "Union Square" and read through the many previous threads from visitors asking the same question, do you see particular restaurants that appeal to you that you have questions about?

    Your specified cuisines and geography are broad enough to be answered many times over in previous threads, but if you've got anything more specific, I'm sure people would be happy to jump in with answers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pane

      Thanks - I see that there are quite a few and will try to browse them - unfortunately this time so much to do to be able to get out of town that I haven't been able to do my usual research to narrow it down, and may just have to wing it when I get there!

    2. Gitane for the good crowd, don't have to shout, will have great cocktails and French bistro food.

      Canteen for Sunday brunch.

      Do NOT go to Morton's for steak even though it is right on the Square. San Francisco isn't really a "steak" city so most of the local posters don't have much to say about steakhouses. They are more frequented by tourists.

      For tapas, take a short cab ride to Zarzuelas.

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

      4 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        Thanks! Gitane sounds great.

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

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          "steakhouses. They are more frequented by tourists."
          And an occasional restaurant reviewer for a major San Francisco newspaper who recently gave Morton's food ZERO stars on a scale of 1-4.

          1. re: wolfe

            Not only did Bauer give Morton's zero stars, but he continued to heap criticism on it in a review of another steakhouse (Alfred's): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

          2. re: CarrieWas218

            I absolutely agree with the comment for Morton's on post street (union sq). If you are looking for a restaurant with great atmosphere, bar and food as well as service - give Farallon a try if you do not mind seafood.

            You won't be disappointed!

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            Farallon
            450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          3. Foreign Cinema in the Mission is an easy BART ride from Union Square and my #1 brunch spot in the city.

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            Foreign Cinema
            2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

            8 Replies
            1. re: tvham

              +1 on Foreign Cinema for brunch.

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              Foreign Cinema
              2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

              1. re: mariacarmen

                THanks - Foreign Cinema looks very cool and I like their menu.

                Very interesting that San Fran is not a steak town - that's usually a safe bet most places! We are moving in other directions and looking at Gitane, Ozumo and Americano for dinner.

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                Foreign Cinema
                2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                Ozumo
                2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

                1. re: CG09

                  Actually, you can get very good steaks in San Francisco. I would particularly recommend the newly opened Alexander's. High-end meat like 5A5, but not clubby and very good non-steak dishes as well. (Coincidently, the chef at 5A5 is the brother of the proprietor of Alexander's.) Be aware that it's quite expensive, though.

                  Americano has never had much of a reputation for sit-down dinners. It's a highly popular place for after-work drinks, though, but Ozumo would probably be a better choice for dinner. Other good and happening places in that part of town include Prospect and La Mar.

                  1. re: nocharge

                    Thanks - we're going to try Ozumo. I had dinner at La Mar last time I was here and really liked it, though among our group it seemed to depend on what you ordered.

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                    Ozumo
                    2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

                    1. re: nocharge

                      It shouldn't be too surprising SF isn't a steak town. The reputation here rests squarely on local veggies, fish, bread, chef's talent in mixes and mashups. Steak's pretty generic - as you say, a safe bet most places. The town does get excited about a good burger, though - a place where a cook can play with toppings, bread, adjuncts. That's not to say that there aren't a few decent steak places - although they come and go, except Harris'

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Yes, I think that the generic steakhouse concept is just that, very generic and not likely to spawn a lot discussion among foodies. Usually, the requirement for the concept is high-end meat, not a super-talented chef.

                        However, that doesn't mean that SF steakhouses are only frequented by tourists. I know a lot of locals who go to chain restaurants like Hillstone (formerly Houston's) and have a great time while getting their red meat fix, nothing wrong about that. But when it comes to inspiring a discussion, the generic steakhouse is ubiquitous as a restaurant concept so who cares, one way or another, about the ones in SF? Steakhouses that go beyond the run-of-the-mill variety are much harder to find and I'd like to reiterate my belief that Alexander's is one of the very best in that category.

                        1. re: nocharge

                          Exactly. Sundance Mining in Palo Alto is a great little steakhouse that I wouldn't *recommend* but do go to every year or so.

                      2. re: nocharge

                        We ended up at Alexander's during the week - group of 8 and everyone was very impressed with the quality of food and the variety in the meal. Those who had steaks were very pleased, but the restaurant had a lot more to offer than that and the cocktails were good as well. We also ate at Ame another night since we were staying at the St. Regis and it was great, but I'd probalby go back to Alexander's over Ame. Though we did get a couple of laughs out of the "we consider ourselves an elegant steakhouse" spiel they give you at the beginning of the meal, and the prices of some of the "off the menu" beef choices.

                        I'll go back to Ozumo, too, but sitting in the bar area is a lot more appealing than the dining room which was dull. And I was amazed at how quickly Slanted Door fills up - a line at the door at 5:30, though I had no trouble getting a walk-up table on the patio and a great meal.

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                        Slanted Door
                        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        Ozumo
                        2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612