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Hipster dinner out for the Middle Aged!

OK I'm going to bare my soul...

I'm in my 40's, married and no longer hip! I want to go to dinner in SF with my friends. We'd like to find a good restaurant with some style and buzz, preferably somewhere we can walk around before/after and not break the bank. Can't get into Contigo, SPQR, Delfina. Suppenkuche won't take a reservation. Saturday night, about 50-60 per person including one bottle of wine. Having good veggie options is a plus, too.

So, any ideas?

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

Suppenkuche
525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Contigo
1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

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  1. Can you specify how many people make up your table? I'd probably give a different answer for 4 people vs 8, for instance, based on how difficult it would be to get a large table at our "hip" restaurants here.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pane

      There are 4 of us. My friends live in the Oakland hills and would rather come over here for the eve.

      1. re: JojoSF

        On Open Table, Plouf, B44 (downtown) or Front Porch, Limon Rotisserie, and Locavore (Mission) have a 7:00 for 4. All are a bit smaller, it depends on what neighborhood you want to go to.

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        B44
        44 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

        The Front Porch
        65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Plouf
        40 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

        Limon Rotisserie
        1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Locavore
        3215 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: Calvinist

          What do you like at Locavore? I want to love this place (because it's in my hood) but I just haven't had the right experience there yet.

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          Locavore
          3215 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    2. When I was your age Bix was hip. Anyone out there, is it still?
      In keeping with the Civil War Sesquicentennial it is of interest that Bix is only 300 feet away for a William Tecumseh Sherman plaque on Jackson and Montgomery.
      http://www.brightbill.net/cgi-bin/lm/...

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      Bix
      56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

      5 Replies
      1. re: wolfe

        I think Bix is a little too quiet/romantic for this eve. I like it, but usually we go as a couple.

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        Bix
        56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. re: JojoSF

          No, I wouldn't say Bix is hip.

          OK, looking on Open table for restaurants available on Saturday night for four, I'd say:

          If I were choosing in terms of restaurant scene, I'd pick Prospect or Gitane. Take a look at those menus to see if you could get by on your budget.

          If I were choosing in terms of neighborhood scenes (i.e. places that would have drifting crowds of bar and restaurant goers on Saturday night) I'd go for Tuba, Maverick or Local Mission Eatery (walkable to the Mission scene), Tipsy Pig maybe in the Marina (I haven't been there, no idea about the food). Comstock Saloon for North Beach, too.

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          Bix
          56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

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

          Tipsy Pig
          2231 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

          Local Mission Eatery
          3111 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Comstock Saloon
          155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. re: pane

            Love Gitane -- if the times and budget work I would highly recomend it.

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

            1. re: pane

              I vote for Prospect. I took some work associates there from Portland recently (we are all over 50) and we agreed that it was a fabulous meal, with great cocktails, a young/hip vibe, but yet we could hold a conversation without shouting.

              It's easy to get to from Oakland (which is where I live) and street parking is possible, but I opted for the valet.

              1. re: pcdarnell

                I thought about this too but is it possible to leave within $50 to $60 pp including wine bottle?

        2. How about Mission Chinese Food? No reservations. Just try your luck with a walk-in.

          Plenty of bars in the Mission afterwards.

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          Mission Chinese Food
          2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          3 Replies
            1. re: JojoSF

              Yes, but probably not an extensive selection. $8 corkage fee if you choose to BYOB.

              1. re: JojoSF

                Place link says beer/wine only. Yelpers describe it as cheap but decent.

            2. Commonwealth, Foreign Cinema, Bar Bambino

              Commonwealth - 2224 Mission St San Francisco, CA

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              Bar Bambino
              2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: scarmoza

                Good choices Scarmoza. I would add Bar Agricole. Just ate there last night and had a great meal. Drinks are terrific.

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                Bar Agricole
                355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                1. re: farmersdaughter

                  If I wasn't still miffed at the $15+ eggs & peas plate I had for brunch at Bar Agricole a few weekends back I would have recommended them. Reviews I've read indicate dinner is a much better time to go.

                  Also, I want to add Bar Crudo to the list.

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                  Bar Crudo
                  655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

              2. Barbacco would fit.

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                Barbacco
                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                1. I don't know if Indian food is an option, but I think that Amber Indian and Dosa (on Fillmore) both have good drinks, food, and a hip vibe. They are also nice places to walk around (even at night).
                  I also second the recommendations for Foreign Cinema and Gitane... Both hip with great food (although I am not sure about veg options at Gitane).

                  1. I'd add Serpentine and Nopa to the list, but getting reservations on Sat Nite may be a tall order

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                    Nopa
                    560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: budnball

                      Nopa keeps coming to my mind, too. The earlier, the better chances for seating. Bar Tartine?

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                      Nopa
                      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      Bar Tartine
                      561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      1. re: Frosty Melon

                        Excellent ideas! Quite a few of these are places I haven't been yet. I think that Foreign Cinema would fit the bill, but we've been already, and Dosa just isn't good enough for this evening (you know, the weirdly high ceiling and vaguely office building ambiance). I've not had good luck at Nopa. Does anyone think that Commonwealth would fit? I'm not sure if it would fit the bill (style/walking/price). I think that Mission Chinese is off the mark, Prospect looks like it's going to be pricey, Serpentine isn't in a walking area really, I think Bar Bambino might be too dicey outside. I'm intrigued by Bar Agricole and Barbacco, too.

                        Thanks for the help.

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                        Nopa
                        560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                        Bar Bambino
                        2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

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

                        Bar Agricole
                        355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                        Barbacco
                        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        1. re: JojoSF

                          If it's just the ambiance at Dosa that you don't like consider its Valencia street location.

                          1. re: artychokeasana

                            I like the Valencia spot much better, but I think we want something a little more special for this eve. My friends' have two little kids so I want to make it worth it for them to get a babysitter. More buzz, better cocktail/wine choices, better ambiance. Not to knock Dosa; I do like it. Do you have an opinion about Commonwealth?

                            1. re: JojoSF

                              If you all like wine, Barbacco is a great choice. Great wine choices and setup and good and delicious snacks to go with it.
                              To me, Commonwealth (in the Mission, haven't tried CommonWealth, Oakland, though it has already become confusing) is one of the best values for innovative food I have experienced. I loved it and will be back for several of teh delicious dishes. They don't seem to have a big cocktail program, though they usually have a "modern" (usually nitrogen frozen) cocktail of the evening. I had wine by the glass and faired just fine, however.

                              -----
                              Barbacco
                              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                          2. re: JojoSF

                            I also think Barbacco is a great choice. Very lively atmosphere and really great food, though perhaps more suited to a meat-loving palate. Cheapest bottle of wines are in the $40 range.

                            Ragazza on Divis for pizza might be a good option too. Close-ish to lower Haight and the Divis corridor. They have a couple bottles of wines priced in the $20s, which is a great deal.

                            Not sure if this is a factor, but the Mission on a Saturday night will most certainly be over-run with hipsters in their early 30s or much younger. Downtown probably has the most diverse age group scene.

                            Also, you can definitely just get a drink at many of the places mentioned here, so if you go somewhere nearby, these are great options for stopping by before or after.

                            -----
                            Barbacco
                            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            Ragazza
                            311 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                            1. re: carfeng

                              I don't think you have to be a meat lvoer to like Barbacco. Their farotto is the best vegetarian entree I've had in quite a while. The brussels sprounts with anchovy and capers are so good that thinking about them makes me want to go there now. They have a great cheese selection. The salads sound great though I haven't tried them yet.

                              -----
                              Barbacco
                              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Oh yes, you're right. I just meant meat-lovers (especially of charcuterie) would especially love Barbacco. I especially liked the fennel salami and the pate.

                                -----
                                Barbacco
                                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                      2. I am probably one out of 1000 people on CH who did not like their meal at Commonwealth, except for one dish, and that dish was very good. That said, i think it fits your bill. Special enough, certainly hipster enough, in food and scene, and the price is right. Everyone else loves the food so much, I may have to go back and give it a second shot. But yeah, I would recommend it, if you can get in.

                        1. Commonwealth is fantastic, but to really enjoy your meal you'll need to spend more than 50-60 pp. I second Bar Agricole as well - I've had several meals here that actually surprised me with how much I enjoyed the food, and the space is absolutely stunning and certainly "hip". I was able to get a very last minute reservation there at prime dinner hour last Saturday night.

                          For less pricey options that meet "hipness" criteria - I personally like the food at Beretta, Slow Club, Maverick and Spork, all in the Mission.

                          Also, Beast and Hare is a new addition to the Mission. A bit more casual, and perhaps more achingly "hipster" than "hip", but they do some amazing charcuterie.

                          I am pretty sure all the places I mentioned take reservations. Have a great dinner!

                          -----
                          Slow Club
                          2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Spork
                          1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          Bar Agricole
                          355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JuliaG

                            I agree on Maverick and Spork. What is Beast and Hare? (reminds me of Hog & Rocks, whose food i didn't like much.) will have to google that....

                            -----
                            Spork
                            1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            1. re: JuliaG

                              Have you been to Maverick since the change in chef?

                              I wasn't crazy about the old incarnation (always wanted to like it more than I did), but have been curious.

                            2. My 3:

                              Lolo's
                              Bar Bambino
                              Nihon Whiskey Lounge

                              -----
                              Bar Bambino
                              2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: pauliface

                                i love Bar Bambino but a friend of mine went recently and said they spent $100 pp (probably lots of wine.) They're pretty pricey, tho good, and certainly fulfill the hipster quotient.

                                -----
                                Bar Bambino
                                2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  Bar Bambino can be cheaper than that but you need to order carefully.

                                  Lolo is the cheapest of the three I mentioned, Nihon the most expensive

                                  -----
                                  Bar Bambino
                                  2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              2. How about Range in the mission?
                                Has a "young(er) bar scene" in front but you will find adults of all ages dining. Food is terrific and you can also still talk to your dinner companions.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: gowest

                                  Fantastic lists.

                                  I think I'm going to go on a reconnaissance trip in the next few days to check the places that are catching my interest most: Barbacco, Commonwealth, Bar Agricole, Ragazza and maybe more. I was really underwhelmed by Beretta. I like Range but the last time I went there I stumbled upon an acquaintance with the wrong woman! Bad karma, for now. Maverick has always intrigued me, too. It's a petite place, though and may be lacking in that extra buzz. Any other opinions on Maverick? Also, any opinion about Heirloom Cafe? We may need to the push the date back because of the babysitter, so I might have breathing room.

                                  -----
                                  Bar Agricole
                                  355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                  Barbacco
                                  230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                  Ragazza
                                  311 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                  1. re: JojoSF

                                    I love Barbacco and eat there often (Perbacco too), but to me it is not fun and hip, but more sharp and industrial..... I also like Wexler's and Wayfare Tavern but the vibe at all of these places still feels "financial" to me.

                                    I loved Gitane for hip, but it was a little quiet probably because the bar is on a different level than the dining room. And I like the buzz at Medjool, but understand it has gone downhill.

                                    -----
                                    Medjool
                                    2522 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                                    Barbacco
                                    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    Wayfare Tavern
                                    558 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    1. re: JojoSF

                                      I've been hearing a lot of "meh" reports about the food at Heirloom Cafe, but I decided to try it anyway. I've had one dinner there and actually thought the meal was good, perhaps not the most creative menu, and slightly overpriced but nothing too egregious. If you are into wine then that is the real star of the show there.