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Best place to eat in Hayes Valley, pre-symphony

Hi Everyone: My parents are going to be in town in a few weeks. We have tickets to the symphony and would like to go to a nice place in Hayes Valley (or someplace nearby) beforehand. We have two vegetarians in our party, but don't necessarily need a veggie place as long as there are decent veggie options on the menu. What's your favorite place? Thanks!!

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  1. The classic pre-Symphony dinner spots are Jardiniere and Absinthe.

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    Jardiniere
    300 Grove St., San Francisco, CA 94102

    Absinthe Brasserie & Bar
    398 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    6 Replies
    1. re: Paul H

      What's up with the menu at Absinthe. I had lunch there yesterday. It does have a fine bar. On one side of the menu is the cheese menu. We ordered the three cheese plate. It was good , but way overpriced @ $ 24.00. And on the other side is just bar food. Burger, fries. etc.. Do you go for the drinks and forget the food ? Also the service is really scattered.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Thank's,I'll take a look at the dinner menu.But i'm a little scared to go back. I think I will find a different choice when in the area.

          1. re: emglow101

            "Cheap" and "pre-Symphony eating" are rarely found in the same paragraph.

            1. re: Paul H

              There are cheap places to eat around there, e.g. Gyro King, Burmese Kitchen, Paxti's, Ananda Fuara.

              Absinthe's cheese-plate pricing seems eccentric to me: $9 for one cheese, $24 for three, $38 for five?

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              Gyro King
              25 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I haven't been to the new kabob place, but there are cheap eats (under $10 without drinks) in Hayes Valley.

                The foremost of them is Arlequin Cafe's garden, next to and owned by Absinthe. Solid salads, excellent lamb burger, very good chocolate chip cookie. Get your wines by the glass from the wine shop unless you want house wine.

                The Grove has opened a gorgeous outpost that's always packed. Actually their chocolate chip cookies are good too. Boulange is fine.

                Double-Decker has burgers and buffalo wings, with great happy hour prices; last year I watched the World Series there, along with a bunch of other opera goers.

                And there's always the cafe in the parking garage.

    2. Hayes Street Grill is a traditional pre-performance spot; they show one vegetarian entrée on their website menu.
      [I read recently that Bar Jules has changed its hours to accommodate pre-performance diners, but the posted menu didn't seem veggie friendly.]

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      Hayes Street Grill
      324 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Bar Jules
      609 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1. Thanks for these suggestions! I have always wanted to go to Absinthe. My concern is that many of these places seem to only have a single veggie entree. This may pose a problem for the veggies in my family, as they prefer to have at least some choice. We do better with places with at least a couple veggie choices or a selection of vegetable sides that do not include fried, battered, or cheese-heavy options.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ccberkeley

          Other fine pre-symphony places are Paul K and Indigo. I'm not sure about the extent of their vegetarian options but I'm pretty sure the menus are online.

          Wherever you go, be sure you have a reservation because all the good places get totally packed before symphony.

          Michael

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          Indigo Restaurant
          687 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          Paul K Restaurant
          199 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          1. re: mdg

            I would stay away from Indigo; they have been on auto-pilot for about a decade now and the food is really tired (and the wait staff too, judging from the service I got last time I was there).

            Paul K' s would be a good choice; they always have at least one veggie entree and the appetizer selection leans towards Mediterranean veggie options.

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            Paul K Restaurant
            199 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. re: SFDude

              A visit to Paul K's last year was really enjoyable. But it's been a while.

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              Paul K Restaurant
              199 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          2. re: ccberkeley

            Take a look at Paul K's menu.

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            Paul K Restaurant
            199 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. re: ccberkeley

              Have not been in years, but Hayes St. Grill used to have a composed salad plate with several different salady items.

              I imagine that any place worth their salt, could whip up a simple non-meat pasta for you if you ask. I have done that before to accomodate a vegetarian friend at a group lunch.

              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                That salad compose was amazing...felt like a quick trip to Paris. But alas, it ended ages ago.

            2. Hayes St. Grill for fish, Bar Jules, Absinthe (sitting in the bar is fun) and the new Boxing Room are all good. Caveat is that I know virtually nothing about vegetarian choices at any of these places (also Hayes St. would be perfect for a Pescetarian).

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              Bar Jules
              609 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Boxing Room
              399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              1. I'm pretty sure it was a vegetarian friend who told me to try Sauce, though their Web site doesn't make it look particularly veg-friendly.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Actually, I thought of Sauce too. We ate there quite a while ago. The menu is very meat heavy, but the chef made a special dish out of a combination of the available sides for my brother-in-law. He's tough to please, especially in meat-centric restaurants where he tends to get a bit put out. He loved the food he was prepared and loved that they were willing to take his dietary preferences/needs so seriously. I think the rest of us liked it as well, although I admit that I'm having trouble remembering what I ordered!