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Pick tonight's restaurant: One at a counter

Most likely just me, so I'm looking for a seat during prime-time hours tonight (7 or 8pm) preferably at a counter. I'm in the Nob Hill/Financial District area, but willing to take public transportation somewhere. I just don't know who would offer last-minute seating without a reservation, preferably at a counter.

Restaurants I'd like to try, but have yet to research above question:
Sons & Daughters
Frances
Plum (but not sure I want to go so far--is it worth the trip?)

Those are about my price range. I'd love to try Gary Danko, but that's more than I want to pay tonight. Looking for interesting food, and not caring about drinking. Prefer a quieter atmosphere, but will put up with noise.

Thanks!

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Gary Danko
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Sons & Daughters
708 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108

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  1. Good places with counters (and views of the kitchen):

    Incanto
    Delfina - noisy but lively scene
    Blue Plate

    Plum is very easy to get to on BART.

    I don't think you'll get into Frances. I looked into reservations for last Saturday a month ago and all they had was 10:30.

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

    Blue Plate
    3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    1 Reply
    1. re: Windy

      All of the counter seats at Frances are reserved for walk-ins (or were, at least, when I went in November); whether you get one with a reasonable wait depends on fate, karma or the willingness to arrive before they open and stand in line. We got there at 6 p.m. on a Thursday with no reservation and were seated immediately.

    2. I should add that my favorite place last trip was Commonwealth, but looking for a new place. Incanto and La Ciccia were good, but not places I'd necessary revisit.

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      La Ciccia
      291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

      1 Reply
      1. re: dimsumfan

        Coco500 and Skool are also good places to eat at the bar or on your own. Both close to downtown.

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        Coco500
        598 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

        Skool
        1725 Alameda St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      2. Incanto came to my mind first-the ber manager, Edward is a good conversationalist-and the service in the restaurant has always been spotty-so, i always sit at the counter when I go. I also like the counters at Delfina, Boulevard, Slanted Door and A16 (A16's counter is next to kitchen so if you enjoy watching cooks at work it is a fun seat.)

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        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        A16
        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: artychokeasana

          Incanto's counter seating is the most comfortable I've tried: the stools are just taller versions of the dining room chairs, and the bar has a wide, high step so your feet aren't dangling.

          Plum has a similar design, except neither the dining room chairs nor the bar stools have backs.

        2. Plum. It's only a 15-minute BART ride from the FiDi, three blocks from the 19th St. BART station.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I'd second Plum. Frances does have walk in space at the bar, but it can get pretty crowded with people waiting for tables.

          2. Barbacco's another good option. Great food. They don't take reservations so the wait for a solo diner shouldn't be long.

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            Barbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            1. Okay, you're making me lean Plum. No thoughts on Sons & Daughters?

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              Sons & Daughters
              708 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108

              2 Replies
              1. re: dimsumfan

                Get a reservation at plum. I've never seen an empty bar seat during "normal" hours (6:30 to 9:30)

                1. re: bbulkow

                  I've seen solo diners without reservations walk in and get seated, though often at a table rather than at the bar, since it's all communal seating.

              2. A later-than-expected, delicious lunch at Lers Ros has me wondering whether I can do big-time eating this evening. If I amend the question to finding a place that would offer a few creative smaller bites, what would you recommend?

                5 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Second that. I loved plum, but left hungry after having their "prix fixe" special dinner. You'll be fine despite a large lunch.

                    1. re: Pandora

                      And you can go on the late side.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        Having not yet decided what to do (my stomach will decide later, and I'll also have to check the BART schedule to see how late it runs, but looks like that should be no problem), I just wanted, for now, to thank everyone for the quick and generous help!

                        1. re: dimsumfan

                          Last BART train back to SF from 19th St. is 12:49am.

                          Get to Plum before 10:30 for the best selection. The late-night menu is good but shorter.

                1. Up early after a late night (caught the last train) and fantastic experience at Plum. Good time at the counter, and while I enjoyed every dish, my favorites were roasted beets (with white strawberry, arugula rabe, goat cheese, and rose), oyster and potato stew (with parsley, frisee, and espellete), and the smoked farm egg (with butter beans, peas, mushrooms, and radishes).

                  Thanks again for helping to provide the push for me to go!