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Between Frances and Camino which do you guys like better?

rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 01:02 PM

In town for a few days, already planning to visit a few old favs but between Frances and Camino which do you guys think is a better bet? Any other rec's in that vein would be appreciated as well, very much into the whole panisse-verse rusticy ingredient obsessed style of cooking, no square plates or chefs tasting menus. Thanks :)

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    budnball RE: rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 01:20 PM

    Camino is lovely, Frances is a bear to get into. I would try Canteen!

    1. Scott M RE: rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 01:40 PM

      I like Frances better but it is a harder reservation to get.

      Have you considered Plum, Barbacco, Baker & Banker, Nopa?

      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      Baker & Banker
      1701 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      1 Reply
      1. re: Scott M
        rezpeni RE: Scott M Jan 26, 2011 05:37 AM

        Thank you for the list! Just the sort of thing I was looking for.

      2. singleguychef RE: rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 02:25 PM

        I prefer Frances over Camino in terms of getting to see a chef's creativity. But Camino is more along the lines of Chez Panisse, and does have a nice rustic decor with the wood-burning stove in the back and large picnic-like tables. As some mention, Camino is in Oakland and you'd have to drive because it'll be BART and reliance on AC transit buses to get there otherwise. Frances would simply be catching the Muni (underground) to Castro station and walking over. Plus, you could get drinks at Starbelly before going to Frances for dinner (if you're able to get a reservations). If you can't get reservations, you have a small chance of getting the bar seats at Frances if you get there right when they open their doors or eat very very late.

        Chez Panisse
        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

        1 Reply
        1. re: singleguychef
          tvham RE: singleguychef Jan 25, 2011 03:12 PM

          I've never tried walking in to Frances but on the five occasions that I've dined there I have seen open tables throughout the night on most of those evenings.

        2. z
          zinfanatic RE: rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 04:21 PM

          Hands down Frances. The food is superior by far and the service is friendly and professional. The service at Camino was rude and inattentive. Frances is difficult to get into, but well worth it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zinfanatic
            escargot3 RE: zinfanatic Jan 26, 2011 09:12 AM

            I'm quite surprised to read your description of service at Camino as "rude and inattentive". I've enjoyed several meals there and have never encountered a rude server. True, they don't repeatedly come over to ask how things are. But I'm usually engaged in conversation and prefer not to be interrupted. And have never had a problem catching the eye, and then attn, of a server.

          2. d
            dietndesire RE: rezpeni Jan 25, 2011 05:46 PM

            I have never been to Camino but Frances was underwhelming. Quite so.
            If that is the best of the city, the cooking chops in town are not up to what I expect.
            I walked into Frances on a Saturday night and sat, straight away but that might have just
            been me. Wish

            1. p
              pauliface RE: rezpeni Jan 26, 2011 09:17 AM

              Everybody on this list loves Frances but I'd advise you away.
              More detail here:

              Why not actually go to Chez Panisse?
              It's just across the bridge, accessible by train if need be.

              Chez Panisse
              1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

              3 Replies
              1. re: pauliface
                rezpeni RE: pauliface Jan 26, 2011 09:29 AM

                Thanks for the link, yes already have reservations at Panisse!

                1. re: rezpeni
                  pauliface RE: rezpeni Jan 26, 2011 09:52 AM

                  Wonderful! Panisse is great.

                  Here are a couple of other suggestions that haven't turned up that might be to your taste.

                  Woodward's Gardens
                  Chez Spencer (my report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7505...)

                  1. re: pauliface
                    rezpeni RE: pauliface Jan 27, 2011 09:23 AM

                    Thanks for the recs!!

              2. s
                SouthToTheLeft RE: rezpeni Jan 26, 2011 08:23 PM

                I have been to Frances many times and Camino once, but I will not be going back to Camino.

                I should say this up front: I love Frances. I find their food to beautifully straddle the line between creativity and homey deliciousness.

                On the other hand, I was completely underwhelmed by my visit to Camino. The food was fine, but nothing special. The drinks were absolutely tiny (served in shot glasses for cocktails!) The waitstaff was rude, unpleasant, and inattentive. Off the top of my head, there was absolutely nothing special or unique to the food at Camino. I cannot recall a signature moment in my meal that showed a unique vision particular to the chef.

                2 Replies
                1. re: SouthToTheLeft
                  rezpeni RE: SouthToTheLeft Jan 27, 2011 09:28 AM

                  Well seems like everyones thinks Frances is the way to go. I tried open table and the next available res is mid feb! I've been calling the last few days to check for cancellations unfortunately they don't awnser their phone! Well i guess good for them. So it looks like Camino afterall to satisfy my curiosity with Frances on the list for my next visit with earlier planning :)

                  1. re: rezpeni
                    daveena RE: rezpeni Jan 27, 2011 04:17 PM

                    Camino has a great looking menu right now. Pretty much everything looks good to me, but make sure someone gets the crab grilled in the fireplace, it's currently my favorite way to eat Dungeness.

                2. Robert Lauriston RE: rezpeni Jan 27, 2011 11:45 AM

                  My favorite restaurants are in the Chez Panisse rustic Italian / French / Med tradition, I hate tasting menus, and find "tweezer cuisine" ridiculous, but nevertheless I really like the food at Plum.

                  2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    pauliface RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 27, 2011 11:49 AM

                    "tweezer cuisine" !!! Love it.

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