Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 21, 2013 10:02 PM

Help Needed: in San Francisco, specifics

Hi all,

I'll be coming up from L.A. in a couple of months and need a few suggestions for some specific criteria. There will be two locals, a few of us up from L.A., and one from Guadalajara by way of Zurich. We'd like to find something that is very much San Francisco, with a heavy emphasis on local, farm-to-table cuisine. Equally important, though, is that we're able to actually have a conversation. Down in L.A., there are few places where one can actually be heard (at least for those of us not in our 20s) yet with a menu that pleases both the under-40 and over-40 set. We're family, and don't get to see each other very often (check out our geographic range and you'll understand), so being able to talk is important.

Yet equally important (or only slightly less important) is going somewhere that we'll know we're in SF.

Price: $40/PP (food only; or less, if that's possible).

In the city, as that's where we'll all be, basically without a car.

On a Saturday night in October.

Thanks so much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. outside on a picnic table at Suppenkuche

    2 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      Do you mean Biergarten? Do they serve full meals or just snacks?

      1. re: hill food

        I think you'd be referring to :

        I've been wanting to get to Biergarten for a while, but I'll note that their indoor restaurant Suppenkuche is one of, if not the, loudest place(s) in SF and the food, though great, isn't particularly emblematic of SF. See this recent post:

        Zuni would be my best suggestion foodwise. Foreign Cinema is lots of fun, but the food less exciting. I've never felt rushed to get out of either place, so great for family.

        FYI, I tried doing a search on sfgate for restaurants fulfilling the criteria (California cuisine, 1-3 star sound level, and price). After eliminating places that are too pricey, nothing came up that I've both been to and would recommend. "The Richmond," recommended by Ruth below, is on there. The sound requirement mixed with farm-to-table is a tough one. Most farm-to-table places in SF are pretty loud given their aesthetic.

        Someone with a properly calibrated sound meter needs to survey SF's restaurants and report the dB level...

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I like all of your choices (and Zuni was my first thought) but 40/pp or less is hard at all of them. Maybe if they are interested in either appetizers or sweets and not both?

          if Slow Club were not so loud, I'd suggest there, but years later my mother still complains about the noise.

          1. re: absc

            You're right, $40 sounded like a lot but an appetizer and main course at AQ, Bar Jules, or Zuni would put you over that.

            Farm to table + not noisy + know you're in SF + under $40 is tough. Pauline's Pizza?

        2. Heirloom Cafe might work. Foreign Cinema can be a good option in terms of being able to hear if you sit outside, but probably is over your budget.

          1. I think all the "name" SF restaurants would be out, based on your price and noise level criteria.

            I'm thinking something like "The Richmond" might fit your criteria.

            1. Thanks already for the quick responses!

              Realizing that $40 may have been a bit of wishful thinking, let's say it was $50 pp for two courses (some don't eat dessert, others don't eat appetizer).

              The menu someone posted for St. Vincent sounded good, for example.

              Being able to have a conversation without shouting is more important than the price point.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Jack Flash

                AQ, Zuni, and Bar Jules would all work in that price range. AQ and Bar Jules have menus with prices online. Looking at my receipt from Zuni the other night its prices are similar to Bar Jules's. At AQ and Zuni, mention that you want a quieter table when reserving.


                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I don't know about Zuni, but on a Saturday night, I think even the quieter tables at AQ would be too noisy for this group.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I've been seated in the back when AQ was completely full and it didn't seem loud, didn't have to raise our voices.

                    At Zuni, the back room upstairs over the kitchen is quiet.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      This sounds like a group of at least six people, which requires more quiet than two or four.