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Jun 24, 2013 02:22 PM

Upscale restaurants in Union Square

How close to Union Square are Rich Table and AQ? Any other suggestions?

I am particularly interested in Rich Table if it is geographically desirable. I'd rather not take a taxi far if possible. Walking distance would be nice.

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  1. Walking distance is subjective. As Elizabeth Bennett would say, I'm not a great walker, and I would consider AQ walking distance from Union Square. Rich Table I would not consider walking distance, not because it's terribly far (although it's about twice as far as AQ), but because the walk takes you through some rather unpleasant neighborhoods. It's only a little over a mile, so it's not an outrageous cab ride, and there are public transit options as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Just to follow up on Ruth's post: you can take any of the outbound Muni lines underground at the Powell Station to the Van Ness stop and you will be just a couple blocks from Rich Table. Very easy. Rich Table's porcini doughnuts are delicious. I've had very good luck with their smaller dishes, in particular. I hope you enjoy it!

    2. Gitane. Cafe Claude is decent and the atmosphere when there is live music can be fun.

      There's been mixed reports on Son & Daughters but that may be worth at try.


      I consider Perbacco walking distance - and while not a picturesque walk a pretty safe one. It's further afield than the rest I mentioned.

      4 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        I consider Perbacco walking distance as well; I used to work a couple of blocks farther from Union Square and occasionally walked it -- walk down either Post or Sutter and then cut over to California when they dead end at Market.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thank you all for your suggestions.
          You have helped us make our decision.
          After perusing all menus, it looks like the winner will be Rich Table. (It was between that and Canteen)
          The other nights are already selected.
          Kokkari Estiatorio, and then to please our grandchildren for the other 2 nights, Perbacco and Scala Bistro.
          We shall all look forward to spending yet another lovely vacation in your beautiful city in September while we visit the San Francisco Opera.

          1. re: arepo

            I'm a big fan of Rich Table and would find it walking distance from Union Square. That said, I walk a lot more than most.

            You have a nice line-up of spots for your visit. Enjoy!

        2. re: goldangl95

          I still like Sons & Daughters but I think they suffer from the fact that their prices and menu length have both gone up over the years and thus they are now compared to some of the most famous places in town. Back when it was 4 courses for $48, I thought it was a real innovative gem, even if the portions were a little small.

          This past March, the chefs said they heard the feedback and reduced the price from $135 to $110 (inclusive of service and Health SF charge) and went from 9 courses to 7, with different breads in between. Their fame and ambition has deservedly grown, but it's hard to justify price increases unless demand greatly outstrips supply.

        3. AQ is a 16 minute walk which I think is doable for most folks. You will have to walk two whole blocks on either 6th or 5th where you may see such unheard of sights as homeless people, disabled people and drug users on the streets. Then you will do one or two block on Mission which at night is totally dead and it's dark because businesses close at 5 or 6pm.

          Rich Table is a walkable too, easiest way is down mid-Market which they are hard at work at gentrifying but yes again there will real live homeless people on the streets so if you can't bear that an easy way to avoid it is to walk down powell from market, hope on the F-line which is always charming if slow and get off at Van Ness then it's just a couple of minutes until you are safe in the bougie bubble of Hayes Valley.

          Both are good places, AQ more experimental. Rich Table more upscale comfort, with the smaller dishes being better than the larger ones.

          4 Replies
          1. re: tjinsf

            AQ's block of Mission has a strong stench of Urine, not just the vision of homeless people.

            1. re: bbulkow

              Maybe you are confusing with one of those aging frat boy places in the Marina.

              1. re: tjinsf

                Most of SF has that smell (outside of the more remote suburban areas that have less foot traffic) - especially if it is hot. I don't think this is very controversial - just a fact.

                1. re: goldangl95

                  I disagree - Potrero doesn't have that smell, the Marina doesn't have that smell, Specific Whites - I mean, Pacific Heights doesn't have that smell, SOMA away from Market, even the Height (the height smells like human grease when you're exactly downwind from some of the crazy/homeless people, but not in general) etc etc.

                  After a day at Moscone flogging software, I went with my co-founder up to Heaven's Dog to meet a customer, and right around there he said "Smells like my childhood", by which he meant india. It's very noticable for some reason right around AQ. My GF mentioned it to, unrelated, since she was walking from Mission.

                  I got no problem with it, it's part of City life, just want to set expectations since two non-city-ites mentioned it to me - the 'loin isn't just about glancing at homeless people.