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THE San Francisco Restaurant: One Night Only!

Hello San Franciscans,
I've got exactly one free night in my upcoming trip to your fair city. If there was ONE place you would NOT miss for dinner, where would it be? I live in NYC, so I'd love something local, that I can't get here (read: celebrity chefs are a dime a dozen).

Budget is modest; I don't need dirt cheap, but I can't spend El Bulli bucks.


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  1. I'd go for the Tadich Grill.

    Tadich Grill
    240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    2 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      Another vote for Tadich Grill!

      And another vote to skip Zuni Cafe. Face it Zuni, I'm just not that into you. It's not me, it's you ;)

      I'm also terribly fond of the cioppino at Rose Pistola, if that's your thing. They have bar that works for the single diner.

      Tadich Grill
      240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Rose Pistola
      532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

      1. re: cosmogrrl

        Have you had Sotto Mare's cioppino to compare?

        Sotto Mare
        552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      1. re: wolfe

        It's a Friday....but just me, so reservations shouldn't be a big issue. Hopefully.

      2. Mochica or La Mar for upscale Peruvian. Zuni or Canteen for Cal-whatever.

        Zuni Cafe
        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        937 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

        La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
        Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I second Zuni Cafe... definitely California-centric cuisine. Their famed roast chicken is way too big for just one person though. Although, I thought it was just a really well made roast chicken... nothing unusual about it. Ricotta gnocchi blew me away though. Woo!

          Zuni Cafe
          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        2. Cotogna, at the bar. Arrive early.

          490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. Zuni is the quintessential San Francisco California-cuisine restaurant. For a sense of local place in both atmosphere and cuisine it can't be beat. There are plenty of great choices on the menu besides the roast chicken.


            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. Skip Zuni. Everybody recommends it on this list and I have no idea why.

              I'm leaving out super pricey places. This is my non-super-expensive, unique-to-SF list...

              Aziza (modern take on moroccan, possibly too pricey, but maybe not)
              Lolo's (mexican/turkish, fantastic flavors)
              Kappou Goumi (you have great japanese in NYC, but this is kinda special/different -- big long menu separated by kind of fish, each section has several ways it can be cooked)

              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              1. If you are into wine, I'd say definitely go to RN74. They have one of the most outstanding by-the-glass lists in the country (ie perfect for solo dining). They also have bar seating, which I tend to prefer when I'm eating alone. Plus there's good people watching (right after work it can have a kindof annoying rich douchey banker vibe but it calms down a bit later).

                Range, in the Mission, is very SF and has a terrific seasonal cocktail program that's also very typical. (Btw I don't think I've ever said this about a restaurant but their soups are absolute standouts, every one I've had there has been a teeny revelation.) The vibe is great - good lighting, good people watching but still small enough to feel relaxing. Best time to eat is 8 or later.

                Also, you can't really go wrong with Defina, which also epitomizes SF in its own West Coast-by-way-of-Italy menu, its hip, incredibly well-informed servers and vibey atmosphere......

                And if you can score a reservation, forget everything I've said and try Frances. It's the kind of place I like to find when I'm in another city - utterly fantastic food in a cozy, vibey, professional and utterly personal atmosphere.

                Delfina Restaurant
                3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                3870 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114