Oysters, Seafood, Groovy Lounges
Gonna be in San Fran for 2 nights staying near Union Square. Looking for nice, atmospheric restaurants that have great oysters and seafood. Not touristy places.
Also any nice restaurant or bars with a cool vibe where you can eat at the bar. Or Lounge.
Romantic a plus...
Near Union square, not quite "hip" but not stodgy either: Farallon.
A little far, but my favorite: Bar Crudo.
Hip location/decor but food does not quite match: La Mar or Waterbar.
Not a restaurant, restaurant - but Hog Island in the Ferry Building has awesome oysters and is on the water. Great place to stop by mid-day or for lunch (beware heavy traffic during the Saturday Morning Farmer's market - which is a must-see).
Swan's Oyster Depot (on Polk Street) is the place to go. It has been discussed here many, many times. Do a search to find past threads.
For mussels, try Plouf (Belden Lane), which is maybe a 10-minute walk from Union Square. Sam Grill's (on Bush Street at Belden Lane) is almost next door to Plouf and is a classic old-school seafood house.
Go to Zuni. It's a SF classic.
The food is great, the ambiance is wonderful, and they've got fresh oysters every day.
It's a dirty tourist trap that closes early, makes you wait in line, and doesn't take credit cards.
Tadich Grill comes to mind, though it's not "atmospheric" in the upscale sense. It's the oldest restaurant in SF and has a great old-style bar/counter where you can sit to eat, instead of getting a table. Fantastic seafood cioppino and all the other dishes we've tried there have been great as well. More FiDi than Union Sq.