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People watch and indulge in the fabulous dining at this San Francisco favorite. Known equally well for its affluent clientele and its oven-roasted chicken, this hot spot is worth the wait. Dinner entrees are nominally priced, though specials will cost you a bit more. If you are not enamored with the dinner scene, try visiting late mornings or early afternoons when you can sip on a latte (or scarf a Gorgonzola-topped burger) and watch the fog lift.
Modeled after traditional dim sum service, State Bird Provisions lets patrons use the sense of smell and sight to choose their dishes, with cuisine brought in on a trolly for viewing. Each item is creative and innovative, with dishes like sweet corn and chive pancakes, kimchi pork belly with tofu and duck liver mousse with almond biscuit. The space is rather small, yet cozy with an open concept kitchen, and friendly staff.
Opened in 2010, Sons & Daughters is located in the neighborhood of Union Square by chefs Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty. The restaurant specializes in seasonal, local contemporary New American cuisine. The changing prix fixe menu features dishes listed simply by ingredients like farm egg, malt, yeast, ground cherry or wild boar, Burgundy truffle, apple, hay. The dining area is clean and warm, featuring lots of polished wood furniture and black and white photos; the lack of overbearing fanciness ensures that you can be relaxed enough to fully enjoy every aspect of this Michelin-starred dining experience.
Benu opened in San Francisco's SoMa area in 2010, and has become one of the Bay Area's most coveted restaurants. Chef and owner Corey Lee, former chef de cuisine at the famed French Laundry in Napa Valley, is a James Beard Award winner who has created this modern and intimate restaurant. The cuisine is New American, serving dishes on the a la carte and prix fixe menus like foie gras steamed in sake with carrot, orange, ginger and brioche or poularde cooked en vessie. You can always count on Benu to provide excellent service and incredible, innovative food and perfect wine pairings for a truly memorable dining experience. Benu was awarded two Michelin stars in 2011.
Contrary to its name, HRD Coffee Shop is not what you'd expect it to be. Combining Korean, Chinese, American and Mexican cuisine, HRD offers unique lunch and breakfast fare. One of the best-kept secrets of the SoMa area, the establishment is popular with fans headed to the ballpark as well as locals. Most patrons opt for take away, but the simple booths and a long communal table make for ample seating. Standout dishes include the Mongolian cheesesteak, kimchi burrito and the barbecue pork served over scrambled eggs and rice.
Saison is a light and homey-feeling restaurant. The menu is a tasty mixture of traditional French cuisine, and the ever popular New American genre that has already been sweeping the world. Focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients and careful and precise preparation and technique. The menu changes daily, so no matter how many times you come back (and you WILL come back), you always get to have a new, delicious and exciting dining experience. Of course, wine pairings are available for every course of the Michelin-starred prix fixe menu.
In one of San Francisco's best signature styles, Chef Will Dodson presents a menu that defies categorization. Suffice it to say that the food showcases some of the best ingredients from the Bay Area, combined in a very creative and eclectic fashion that exemplifies why fusion has become such a craze. The menu changes often, but typical menu items include Andalusian Seafood Paella and Baked Salmon encrusted in brown sugar and herbs. The service is first rate, too. The cable car is accessible just aound the corner.
Michael Mina's eponymous flagship restaurant champions itself on a food philosophy that harmonizes flavors. Striking a balance between Japanese and French cuisines, the menu is a contemporary illustration of gastronomy in the 21st Century. Savor the chef's signature Ahi tuna tartare, pan-roasted ocean trout and Black Angus skirt steak with Japanese whiskey, single malt scotch or wine by the glass. The aesthetic decor maintains an atmosphere of understated elegance, replete with modern design and chic accents. The award-winning Financial District favorite promises a memorable meal, but most of all holds the relationships fostered with its patrons in high regards.
You might pass by this casual and slightly funky place and dismiss it as just another hole-in-the-wall, but do not be fooled. Inside, it is done up with whimsical lighting and bright paint. The menu takes the best of Californian cuisine and fusion trends. The wait staff is as hip as the joint itself and just as accomplished. The entrees are imaginative, fresh and never less than very good. The wine list is also good, featuring Californian vintages.
Serving breakfast until 4p each day, this popular weekend brunch spot is the place to be. Combining traditional Thai cuisine such as pad thai and tiger prawns with typical American breakfast fare of pancakes and omelets makes for a diversified menu. The atmosphere is laid back and features modern decor plush seating, fireplace and patio. Be sure to try one of their acclaimed stone pots or the millionaires bacon.