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SF Union Square Table for one

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.

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  1. 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.

    http://www.andrewshotel.com/fino.html

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

    http://www.sfcanteen.com/

    1. 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. 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. Boulevard seems like what you're looking for.

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

          6 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              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

                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

                  Concur with Ruth - Prospect has definitely slipped...

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    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

                      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. 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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: Hattiebee

                      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

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

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          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. 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. 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. 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.

                      http://www.cafeclaude.com/

                      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."

                      http://www.sfgate.com/restaurants/din...

                      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.

                      http://www.barbaccosf.com/

                      http://www.perbaccosf.com/