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Trying to Avoid Brothers Bad Taste & Obsessive Parsimony

I'm visiting SF for 4 days and my older brother always drags me to some hole in the wall restaurant that is notable simply because the bill is under $10 and he is greeted like an international celebrity. I do recall one establishment that served an apple fritter with chunks of garlic nestled within the fruit. I smelled like a Calabrian garbage dump for weeks.

These are the restaurants I am thinking about after my research. My desire is just for good food and a great experience that echoes San Francisco rather then NYC, LA, or Chicago.

RICH TABLE
SPQR
BENU
AZIZA
COTOGNA
FRANCES
CAMPTON PLACE
PLAJ
NOPALITO
LE CHARM
CHAPEAU

Any help the Chowhounds could provide would not only add to my holiday, but could temper my familial neurotic behavior. Thanks

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  1. Hmmmm the Calabrian Garbage Dump -- I think I have been there once.

    Thanks for the hilarious post, and good luck getting to a good place to eat.

    1. Benu is about two price points above the rest. I think the food is very unique (california cuisine with some distinct asian notes). The service is flawless and unbelievably competent, but it does not give a California "vibe." On the other hand, it's not steak house/white table cloth formal in the same way that many East Coast and European Michelin star places are. I really enjoyed my experience at Benu. I found the food and service better than Atelier Crenn or Cyrus (my other tasting menu experiences for 2012). But I would say Atelier Crenn is a little more "Californian" (though I don't find Atelier Crenn as smooth an experience, and I find the food more uneven.) Many on this board love Atelier Crenn.

      Chapeau is not uniquely Californian nor does it feature foods/cuisines you can't get elsewhere. It's French bistro food with a twist here and there.

      Of the places I've been on the rest of your list, Cotogna or Frances represent the San Francisco neighborhood food scene at its best. Nopalito is a fun neighborhood place -more casual than the other two.

      Aziza and Plaj feature very unique cuisines.

      I'm unfamiliar with Rich Table, Campton Place, and Le Charm.

      1 Reply
      1. re: goldangl95

        Thanks much for all the excellent reviews.

        1. Of places on your list I've been within the last two months, I'd say Frances, Cotogna and Nopalito the most San Francisco. I finally made it to Aziza in August and it was very good--with excellent cocktails--but something about the room didn't quite come together for me.

          I'd consider Atelier Crenn and AQ. Maybe throw Delfina into the mix.

          1. I'm curious about these ten dollar meals. Were any of them okay?

            Anyway, that's not a bad list. Personally I think Nopalito is a little boring, especially considering that SF has plenty of good cheap Mexican, but it is much loved by locals and it is very "san francisco," so.

            Chapeau! has a pretty good early bird special. It's like $30 for three courses; totally worth it.