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Mid-range small plates easy walk-in on a Saturday night (San Francisco)

Absent of a reservation, either on the phone or online, what are some good mid-range places that are easy to get into on a Saturday night for a party of two? Table rather than bar seating and I'm thinking casual, small plates or seasonally focussed menu, and decent bar. Location not important and neighborhood restaurants fine.

St. Vincent and Lolo come to mind. Any others?

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  1. Aquitaine. Might be busy on weeknights but it was almost empty when I was there on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago, the staff says it's always a slow night.


    1. Saturday night with easy availability and good food... in this town? Sounds like a snipe hunt. But Blue Plate, Piqueo's, Dosa, Corner Store, Mozzeria... maybe Picino, Farina... come to mind.

      1 Reply
      1. re: BernalKC

        Thanks for the tip about Piccino!

        No wait at 6pm this past Saturday. There were spots at the counter facing directly into a clothing store. Kind of an odd view, but beggars can't be chosers. When we left at 7:30, they said the wait was 30-45 min., and typically up to 15-20 min on a random weeknight.

        Full report at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921158

        For a Cal-Italian place, the wait at Piccino isn't prohibitive. Plus, there's enough space to wait around and there are seats for walk-ins to perch at.

      2. Try Saturday the 31st. You know how empty the city is during Burning Man!

          1. Thanks for all the suggestions! Glad to see some places I'd not heard of on the list too.

            As for my St. Vincent suggestion above, I had a great meal there this past Saturday. At 7:30, there were still several empty tables and this lasted about an hour. By 9pm, it was packed. Not quite sure why this place isn't more popular ... I think they need some kind of a deep fried or decadent hook that's always on the menu such as Frances' chickpea fries or Bar Tartine's langos.

            More complete report at:


            1. Bocadillos serves small plates and does *not* take reservations, so you have as good a chance as anyone else in line.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                Is there usually a line there? I'm interested in places where there won't be a wait.

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Probably not any longer. Why not give them a call and ask when is a good time, etc. Fair question if they don't take reservations.

                  1. re: hyperbowler

                    Most of the seating at Bocadillos that's not actually at the bar is pretty bar-like, at narrow counters with stools. There's one communal table, that's the only spot with chairs, and they're kind of uncomfortable.

                2. Canela on Market between Noe and Sanchez serves tapas and they are really pretty good. I bet you could get in as a walk-in most saturday nights.

                  To see the menu, go here and click "Take a look at our dinner menu."

                    1. at 6 pm you may get lucky with Gitane - and if not, they do have bar seating..

                      1. Saturday night at 6pm, Piqueos in Bernal Heights had plenty of 7-8pm spots on Opentable. Easy parking too.

                        Complimentary fried chickpeas are pretty good. They seem to be lightly coated in a kind of flour.

                        Tuna cebiche : excellent, and served with thin crispy wonton ribbons. Menu listed it as containing hoisin sauce, but looked and tasted more like sweet chile sauce.

                        baby octopus Pulpito Bebe : good charring and flavor, but the octopus was too mushy in sections

                        Lolo saltado : thin, McDonald's sized fries were served on top of vegetables and cubes of beef, and lightly topped with aioli (?) . Rice was served on the side. Looked and tasted great.

                        Suspiro a la Limean/Dulce de leche : delicious

                        Another recent report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9188...