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Take a trip to the 1930s by visiting this corner coffee shop that's been around since then and has not changed much over the years, except for changing hands to the family that has run it with style and good humor since the '50s. The neon sign is vintage, too. Sit at the counter with locals, or in one of the booths by the huge windows, sip a Coke and listen to your favorite oldie playing on the jukebox. There are the usual burgers, fries, shakes, and banana splits on the menu, with eggs and pancakes for the breakfast crowd. It is all good and there is not a thing to break the spell of being in another time and place.
One of the most popular Thai restaurants, not only in Tenderloin but all of San Francisco, Lers Ros truly lives up to its reputation. Whether in for a vegetarian meal or something with more bite, there is no shortage of delicious options. Apart from regular treats like fried quail, the menu also features specials like garlic and pepper rabbit and prawns asparagus.
This contemporary American bistro is a godsend to people who like to eat late at night. It makes a great alternative to 24-hour greasy spoons. This modern diner has a retro feel. Sit on the red padded bar stools at the chrome counter and slurp up a chocolate milkshake. Located in the theater district, a block from Union Square, Cafe Mason serves breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever you want and at affordable prices. The cooks make most things from scratch including home-made pastas, desserts, soups, and sauces. Nothing beats hot buttermilk pancakes topped with pure maple syrup at 4a.
The ambiance at Taqueria Cancun is Mexican bohemian, with students, artistic types, yuppies, tourists and Mexican ex-pat families mixing easily over huge platters of enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and other authentic Mexican favorites. The beef here is slow-cooked and exceptionally flavorful with its chile-spiked marinade. The service is friendly and personable, but peak hours can slow them down, so plan accordingly.
Nopa is a great place to get together and try out some of the finest wines from around the globe while enjoying an array of organic cuisine prepared in a wood-fire stove. The extensive wine list offers bottles from Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The atmosphere is laid back and entertaining - you can eat at the bar and watch the chefs in action as they prepare food in the open kitchen. Be sure to try their famed grilled country pork chop!
Head downtown to Ryoko's for arguably the most creative sushi on Nob Hill. The family owned and operated restaurant has dabbled in the food business for over two decades. Exclusively sourcing its fish from Japanese waters, it creates an imaginative array of sushi and sashimi. Start off with gyoza, beef teriyaki, or wakame-su with octopus. The menu features classics like salmon sake, white tuna shiromaguro and BBQ eel unakyu. For a thrilling treat to your palate, brave the Volcano Roll which is a tasty tempura shrimp sushi filled with cucumber, peanut butter and jalapeño. The best seat in the house is right next to the friendly chefs where you can catch all the sushi rolling action.
Glowing candles light each table while unpretentious light bulbs illuminate the bar, setting the chic ambiance for a meal of upscale San Franciscan cuisine. The meat at Oola is organic and the ingredients used are ocean and farm fresh. Oysters, ribs and steak are only some of the reinvented comfort foods that will stick to your ribs and leave you craving more. Among the wines, the robust whites provide the subtlety you fancy. Oola arranges semi-private events with prior reservations.
Do not mistake this diner with a typical San Francisco tourist trap. Beyond the garishly painted exterior featuring the Golden Gate Bridge and a curly-cue city skyline, you will find a cozy converted railroad car that serves up some very fine burgers, fries and milkshakes. But that is not all. Portuguese specialties such as Bacalbau a Gomes de Sa (codfish with eggs and olives) can be found depending, according to the menu, on availability. The service is always good, but the crowd changes with the hour. Daytime and early evening, it is full of local professionals with their families and students from around town. Later at night, after the area bars have closed down, it becomes a bit more boisterous with people drifting in for a bite and a cup of java after a night of drinking.
Bob's Donuts and Pastry Shop is a popular stop for people leaving the bars, since Bob's is open 24 hours a day! The donuts and pastries in this hole in the wall are made from scratch. They are light, never greasy, and while they will never be confused with health food, they are undeniably a comfort food par excellence. They are also always fresh, as you can see by watching staff fry 'em up right behind the counter. The Bear Claw comes highly recommended.
The red leather covering in the booths and on the chrome-stemmed stools at the counter let you know that this Castro Street institution is proudly 1950s retro. The food is classic 1950s diner fare, with hamburgers cooked to order and fries that are tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The milkshakes are almost too thick to get through the straw. Other sweet treats are from some of the finest bakeries in the Bay Area. The prices, too, are affordable. Located on the corner of Castro, this is a great place for people watching.
Sam's Pizza and Burgers offers a simple, uncomplicated menu, featuring All-American fast food for delightfully low prices. Expect to find here a wide range of burgers, pizzas and such that have brought in the locals and tourists in droves ever since 1966! These offerings, albeit lax on the health factor, are truly delicious and highly addictive. The Telegraph Hill eatery features simple and comfortable furniture that is conducive for a relaxed meal with the family or a close group of friends. Drop in and enjoy one of their freshly-grilled, juicy hamburgers with toothsome fries anytime you get the munchies - they're open all week, well into the wee hours of morning!
Golden Boy Pizza features a few tables, a counter and pizza, and this is all you will find here. Italian-speaking locals mix with people from all over who come here for slices or whole pies made with focaccia dough, thick and dripping with olive oil that makes a napkin required with every bite. The toppings are piled just as thick and are similarly, no frills. No goat cheese here, but you will find the classics such as pepperoni, mushrooms and even pesto!