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Seeking hip, moderately-priced spot in San Francisco for small birthday gathering

Did this once at the old Tajine and looking for something different. Small plates, thoughtful/playful fusion, street food are of interest, as is manageable parking since folks will be driving in the from the greater Bay Area. Thanks so much!

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  1. Maybe AQ, parking's pretty easy around there in the evening. It's also close to BART.

    http://aq-sf.com

    1 Reply
    1. Gitane could be an option.

      Maybe State Bird Provisions (but I haven't been yet)?

      1 Reply
      1. re: goldangl95

        Thanks so much, I've been looking at State Bird Provisions, will check out Gitane.

      2. I'd consider Skool. Easy parking, fun food, nice space, main problem being a fairly limited menu (fish or forget it).

        I don't know if Zare at Flytrap is cheap enough for you, but it's very fun and californian. Parking in that neighborhood isn't terrible at night - simply bad.

        If your group is around 10 people, you should consider Heaven's Dog's room. Having your own room improves the experience - you can hear each other. That area isn't great for parking (you'll end up paying $10 at a garage or valet), and the food is street-food interesting but lacks a certain splash. It makes up in the cocktail arena, though.

        I was at a similar thing Friday night - we did Mua in the East Bay. Big table - maybe 25 people. We had a _lot_ of good food and drinks and ended up at $50/pp with tax and tip, which I thought was outstanding for the quality of experience. The only problem was the noise, and it was hard to visit with other people. Parking was terrible because of First Friday, but otherwise isn't that bad in the area.

        +1 on AQ.

        My personal best on the small birthday gathering was the communal table at Cesar (Piedmont) when they were still spanish. They had a "buy out price" that included an ungodly amount of food, and a real paella served for all 14 of us. No longer an option.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bbulkow

          Thank you, these are awesome suggestions.

          1. re: bbulkow

            I've found street parking easy in the evenings around AQ and Heaven's Dog. Maybe it's worse if something's happening at the Warfield.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks, that's helpful. I'll have to check the Warfield's website.

              1. re: glomer

                I discount the Warfield theory. I find it has a lot to do with the time of day, but there's also ebb and flow regarding summer, which theater might have a hit, and of course the warfield as well, whether there's a convention with local draw, but I wouldn't plan around the warfield's schedule. There's just not that much street parking down there. Mission has a lot of spots taken by driveways. I can usually find street parking down there, often on one of the alleys, but I have to walk a few blocks - and blocks down there are long - and that was my side of town for 7 years.

                4 or 5pm is hard. At 6pm or even 7pm, parking is still tight, but it better in the alleys like Minna and Stephenson. After 7pm, when folks who live in those alleys come home, you're better off on the main streets (like mission) that have street sweeping every night. Then, you have to be careful of the tow away signs - nothing like having to take a taxi to 22nd and 3rd at midnight.

                Compared to the mission or north beach, parking around AQ & HD is positively spacious.

                For out of towners, especially those who might be freaked out by 6th St I would prepare them to pay $10 for the valet, but they should circle the block first. Some folks are morally opposed to the valet system, and they should just lump it - it's underwritten by the restaurant.

          2. Parking in GG Park pretty easy for Inner Sunset restaurants. I recommend recently opened Nopalito or Social Kitchen Brewery. Another neighborhood with parking is Potrero Hill, recommend Chez Papa Bistrot.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mlutsky

              I have to humbly disagree about Chez Papa being "hip" It's a standard, classic french bistro.

              1. re: goldangl95

                Got it. Sounds nice, but perhaps not for this occasion.