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SF Union Square Table for one

Hattiebee Jun 17, 2013 08:50 PM

Am arriving in SF Thursday, June 27, a day ahead of my family and am looking for a great meal in a place that I won't be uncomfortable being on my own (married woman but travelling alone - i.e. don't want a big bar scene). Staying at Campton Place. Could eat there? But could also go for something more straight forward like a great italian hole in the wall. Just want to feel safe but well fed. Price doesn't matter. Location does - don't want to get too far away from the hotel.
Also, have booked Boulevard for Friday night with my sister and grown niece coming in. Sound good? We love a pretty room and great food.
One more thing: We are going to Carmel for two nights Sunday and Monday. Any recommendations? Would love a great view with great food.Thanks. Know it's a lot of questions.

  1. m
    madscribe Jun 26, 2013 07:12 AM

    Canteen—which several others have already recommended—is a good choice if you can get in. I would also recommend Café Claude, though I find its vintage, zinc-topped bar too narrow to comfortably dine at, and so I would recommend a table.


    Across the alleyway from Café Claude is Claudine, a sister restaurant which serves up a more modern take on French cuisine in a casual environment. Claudine has no website, but I'm including the link to Michael Bauer's review in "The Chronicle."


    A bit farther away from Union Square (but still walkable) are the dual Italian restaurants of Perbacco and Barbacco. Perbacco is the more formal of the two, while Barbacco, a high energy trattoria, is as close to the Vespa smoke and espresso of urban Italy as you're likely to get this far from Rome or Milan.



    1. Zach Georgopoulos Jun 21, 2013 03:50 PM

      Scala's Bistro at the Sir Francis Drake hotel is reliably decent and has a comfortable bar area for single dining (you could eat at the bar itself, or one of the tall bar tables). Also, Farallon is a stone's throw away. Although, I think others are right to point you to Canteen.

      1. m
        mamacooking Jun 20, 2013 04:08 PM

        Plus one on Canteen. Note that it's in the zone of sketchy blocks near union square. Walking alone, I think Sutter is the best choice to feel safe (someone check me if I'm wrong).

        1. w
          W42 Jun 18, 2013 02:52 PM

          The only recent meal I had a Campton Place was a business breakfast and we both agreed it was truly terrible, especially considered that the dishes we chose were hard to screw up.

          6 Replies
          1. re: W42
            Hattiebee Jun 18, 2013 08:13 PM

            Good to know. Breakfast is included in our room rate and I already was looking at other options. Going to the Ferry Terminal market on Saturday for one thing. And I know it's touristy but I can't miss the corned beef hash at Sears Fine Foods. and the silver dollar pancakes. Geez, better bring my walking shoes.

            1. re: Hattiebee
              Steve Green Jun 18, 2013 09:25 PM

              Just curious -- when was the last time you had that corned beef hash at Sears? I'm asking because I had it last fall (the first time I'd been there since the Boyajian days), and it was pretty disappointing.

              1. re: Steve Green
                Hattiebee Jun 19, 2013 04:33 AM

                Three years ago....hate to hear it.

                1. re: Hattiebee
                  Steve Green Jun 19, 2013 07:57 AM

                  Wait though.....I was comparing it to what I used to get 10+ years ago, when the same family owned the place as in the 70s. They served a very consistent breakfast over most of that period, except towards the end.

                  What you get now may or may not be the same as what you were served 3 years ago. Too many factors to say for sure. I may give the place one more try, but for sure it's a very different restaurant that when I used to go there regularly.

                  Also, with the redecoration, I feel like I'm eating breakfast in a steakhouse with kitsch strewn about. Guess I'm just a traditionalist. I wish I could recommend a great CBH downtown, but I haven't found one.

                  1. re: Hattiebee
                    Robert Lauriston Jun 19, 2013 08:24 AM

                    The Boyajians closed Sears Fine Food in 2003. The Lori's Diner people reopened it in 2004.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      Hattiebee Jun 19, 2013 07:37 PM

                      Well three years ago I ate breakfast with my hyperactive ten year old son who wanted to get the hell out of there and maybe my longing for that corned beef hash was really a longing to eat a decent breakfast at my leisure. In fact, the service was kind of sour and rushed, too. Still, it was real corned beef, hand chopped and griddled crusty. Not many places do it like that anymore.

            2. Ruth Lafler Jun 18, 2013 11:25 AM

              Boulevard seems like what you're looking for.

              Carmel and Monterey are discussed extensively on the chowhound California board.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                Robert Lauriston Jun 18, 2013 11:30 AM

                Boulevard's a mile away.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  Hattiebee Jun 18, 2013 02:31 PM

                  Thanks. Going to Boulevard the next night when the girls get here. Although Prospect seems like a good....prospect? instead of Boulevard.

                  1. re: Hattiebee
                    Ruth Lafler Jun 18, 2013 03:14 PM

                    Right. I was commenting on her question about whether Boulevard would be appropriate for the dinner with her sister and niece.

                    I wouldn't choose Prospect over Boulevard, especially if you're looking for a pretty room. I haven't heard anything good about Prospect since the chef left last year.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      CarrieWas218 Jun 18, 2013 03:53 PM

                      Concur with Ruth - Prospect has definitely slipped...

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        nocharge Jun 18, 2013 04:18 PM

                        I wouldn't consider "the chef that left" to be an issue when choosing between Boulevard and Prospect. (I suppose the chef in question is Ravi, not Chris, in which case he also can be said to have left Boulevard where he was until Prospect opened.) My understanding is that the kitchen is currently run by chef/partner Pamela Mazzola who was part of the opening staff at Boulevard and still remains a co-executive chef there. There are differences in food and ambience between Boulevard and Prospect for sure, but I wouldn't make the choice between them based on the chef situation.

                        1. re: nocharge
                          Ruth Lafler Jun 18, 2013 05:13 PM

                          Regardless of who is running the kitchen at Prospect, the food is reportedly not as good as it was when Ravi was there. The fact that Pamela moved over to Prospect may explain why there were also reports of slippage at Boulevard shortly after Ravi left Prospect, although that seems to have been temporary.

                2. Robert Lauriston Jun 18, 2013 08:45 AM

                  The sidewalk tables at Rouge et Blanc a block and a half away provide a great view of the endless parade of tourists up and down Grant Ave.

                  Cafe Claude around the corner from there has a more extensive menu and the bar's a comfortable place for a solo diner.

                  1. CarrieWas218 Jun 17, 2013 11:49 PM

                    I think Campton Place is a bit to twee -- and (as a middle-aged woman, have dined there alone) not that exceptional.

                    I would head to Canteen, where I have dined alone often.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CarrieWas218
                      Hattiebee Jun 18, 2013 08:20 PM

                      Will try Canteen. Thanks!

                    2. d
                      DavidT Jun 17, 2013 09:07 PM

                      For Italian, try Fino, on Post Street 2 blocks west of Union Square. The website says bar & restaurant, but the bar area is very small.


                      Sitting at the counter at Canteen, on Sutter Street, is another option. It is a very small space and reservations are recommended.


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