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Help please, restaurant suggestions needed.

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A year ago I requested help from this board for a trip to San Francisco. You guys were great but unfortunately I had to cancel my trip at the last minute :(
I am now again preparing to head to the area and need you all to help me again. I have been lurking and reading all your posts and I am now more confused then ever about where to eat.
My husband and I will be traveling around the bay area for almost 3 weeks. Specifically we will spend our first 5 nights in a hotel in Union Square.
During that time we will celebrate my birthday ( I was thinking of AQ for that night and if I do that what do you think about the table where you can watch the chefs cook?)
One afternoon we have tickets for a baseball game (how is the stadium food ?)
Our weekends will be spent in the Menlo Park/ Palo Alto area visiting our son who is there for the summer (need reccommendations for this area as well)
Our second week we will drive down the coast as far as Santa Barbara, stopping in Montarray and Carmel along the way.
For our last week we are staying a couple nights in Mill Valley and heading to Bodega Bay for two nights.
We do not eat meat but do eat dairy and fish. We don't usually like prix fixe meals as we hate to be over stuffed.
Except for my birthday night meal we are happy to eat in places that are not fancy as long as the food is really good. We don't get away very often so we will spend whatever it takes to enjoy our meals. We have a car for all but our first 5 days.
Sorry about the length of this post. Thank you all in advance for your advice.

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  1. AQ has counter seating along the kitchen. I enjoyed sitting there but the it might not be so convivial for a party larger than two.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I ate there with a party of four and it was fine -- the tables are perpendicular to the kitchen counter.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Oh, I didn't notice those. We sat at the counter seats closer to the door. There's a good picture on Eater:

        http://sf.eater.com/archives/2011/11/...

    2. SF: Perbacco- great pastas, one of the few places I order vegetarian.
      Yank Sing - dim sum
      Ferry Bldg- Recchiuti chocolates, Stonehouse Olive oil; Food stalls on Thursday & Saturday mornings.

      Palo Alto: Howie's Artisan Pizza, Oren's Hummus
      haven't been...Curry Up Now, Steam (dim sum)
      Upscale Greek...Kokkari.
      Ahi tuna...Umami Burger
      decent & inexpensive...Gyros Gyros
      Fraiche yogurt

      Mountain View (Indian) - Chaat Paradise, Amber

      Just went to Tacolicious in PA...didn't try any seafood or veg. offerings, but was disappointed with meat dishes. Ribs-not much meat & fatty smell; chicken taco was a little salty & tortillas were greasy. To their credit, taco was taken off bill as I mentioned that we had just had excellent tacos at Ferry Bldg in SF.

      1. Original post and response
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855146
        (including someone sticking up for Gary Danko! how quaint.

        )

        Here's the last recent thread on PA that I can find, and I did a long writeup there.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893775

        You don't eat meat --- regrettably, the fish in this area is no better than you would find in Topeka. Unless you seek out line caught fish of the rare fish in season at a given time, everything else is flown in.

        That being said, the best fish dishes are found at regular good restaurants, and if they have a fish special and can quote the place it was caught and when it was delivered, then go for it. I've had some excellent fish in SF that way. Don't try to go to a "fish place".

        2 Replies
        1. re: bbulkow

          Oh, and notice in that original post the person asked specifically about late night and cozy ... you'll get better recommendations if you narrow down your request in some way. Otherwise, since all restaurants have their place, you'll get the generic list of "best restaurants of X town" which you can look up anywhere.

          1. re: bbulkow

            not far from Mill Valley, Fish in Sausalito has very fresh, sustainable, locally sourced seafood [bare bones ambience a la 'fish shack', organic local produce]. obviously, there's very fresh local fish in Bodega Bay, Monterey/Pacific Grove, Santa Barbara, but one has to track down the places that identify their sources. the menu items from Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, or the Southern Hemisphere might far outnumber the local catch.