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Located inside the Inn at the Opera, Pläj Scandinavian Restaurant & Bar touts itself as the only restaurant of its kind in the city. The cuisine is a fusion of Californian and Scandinavian fare created by renowned chef and owner, Roberth Sundell. The atmosphere is sophisticated and trendy with plush lounge seating, industrial style lighting, dark wood paneling and crisp white table linens. Notable menu items include their braised ox cheek, poached lobster and cured salmon. Be sure to make reservation as this establishment is quite popular.
Should you be in the mood for hearty, meaty German food in substantial portions, stop by Suppenküche. This trendy, casual restaurant serves brunch and dinner. Reservations can be made for parties of six or more. Big, wooden beer hall-style tables and traditional, seasonal decorations will have you thinking you've been transported to a family-run inn somewhere in the Bavarian countryside. Grab a stein of lager (or maybe even a boot!), pull up a chair and revel in the vibe. Dozens of German and Belgian beers are available on draft and in the bottle. The kitchen serves up old favorites like Kartoffelsuppe and Wiener Schnitzel. The wait staff is quick and friendly. See the website for the menu, beer list and complete glossary of beer terminology.
The decor of Walzwerk is a cross between upscale California and proletariat chic. There is a lot of metal in the tables, chairs and paneling while the floor is unadorned and unapologetic cement, trying to evoke an industrial East German feel. Despite that, they are a personable bunch that hardly seems likely to foment a revolution. The cuisine is German, featuring potato pancakes, sausages, and Wienerschnitzel, perfect with the great selection of German beers available. Reservations accepted only for parties of four or more.
Often ranked in the Top 100 San Francisco restaurants by local polls, this fine restaurant specializes in Swiss cuisine with a handful of German dishes. The wait staff speaks German and French as well as English, and valet services are available. The decor evokes a Swiss chalet with carved beams in the ceiling and Alpine knick-knacks throughout. The dining room is large, but surprisingly cozy, offering both table and booth service. Most people come for the great fondue. There are many options where the entrees feature blends of meats and Swiss cheeses, with bread and veggies for dipping. For dessert, dip fruit and marshmallows into rich, milk chocolate.
This authentic tavern located in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco offers a warm welcoming atmosphere and delicious German and Austrian cuisine. The decor leans on the side of kitschy with rich wood paneling, oil paintings, family photos, mounted antlers and the waitresses in traditional dirndls outfits. Patrons can order a "das boot" which is a large glass boot vessel for beer or one of their many delicious menu items including pappardelle, house-made sausage, goulash, vegetable strudel and more.
Zarzuela has been a San Franciscan favorite since opening in 1994 and the quaint little gem perennially buzzes with patrons from the likes of locals to Spanish expats in the city. The food here is wonderful, lovingly prepared Spanish cuisine, served in the warm intimacy of a neighborhood tradition. Try the Tortilla Espana, a Spanish potato omelet, empanadas, or the chef's signature Paella. An extensive list of Mediterranean wines complements your meal perfectly. Select a table amidst rustic indoors or one on the patio that truly transports you to Barcelona.
For the beer-drinking enthusiasts of the world, Schroeder's proves that you don't have travel to Germany to enjoy a great German brew. Locals swear that it's the best German pub in the city, and a great place to get together with old friends or have a beer with a new one. They are known for their European beers on tap and assortment of imported bottled brews. Try your favorite beer in a pint or even a boot. Schroeder's offers a mix between authentic German fair with a Californian flair.
Kokkari Estiatorio introduces Greek essence to the Embarcadero waterfront. The success of the Levi's Plaza favorite can be attributed to its elegant ambiance and top-quality food that patrons admit is flawless. It is christened after the fishing harbor in Samos Island and illustrates welcoming hospitality signature to the village. Traditional Aegean specialties and rustic Hellenic fare is presented with a modern take and includes the likes of moussaka, kolokithokeftethes, soutzoukakia and spanakotiropita. Multiple dining areas feature warm fireplaces, hand-made furnishings and ethnic accents to create the nostalgically charming Mediterranean vibe it aims for.
La Trappe is a small, intimate bistro that plies the best beers from Belgium as well as the diverse cuisine from both Flanders and Wallonia. The name itself pays homage to the great Belgian tradition of brewing beer in the traditional 'trappist' style and the amount of beers is just as good as you will find outside of the Benelux. The beer selection highlights the more traditional styles in Belgium such as 'Kriek' and 'Gueuze', however the menu is so dense that you can find practically anything to suit your palate. The menu changes daily, but the moules frites always remain a favorite and it is a perfect staple to pair with some suds.
With a playful ambiance and a menu full of authentic Spanish food, Coqueta--"flirtation" or "infatuation" in Spanish--is a delight for those seeking a Spanish dining experience. The restaurant offers hot and cold tapas as well as larger, family-style dishes. It also features a full bar with a wide variety of beers, hard ciders and, of course, sangrias to choose from. Be sure not to miss the unique cocktails, such as the Spanish Golden Ale, made of ransom old tom gin, fever tree Mediterranean tonic, amontillado sherry, chocolate bitters, gold and lemon espuma, and the Presidio, made of SF China Beach vodka, yuzu puree, almond, fig, farm egg and peychaud's bitters. The restaurant is often busy, so give yourself plenty of time to dine and enjoy the Coqueta experience. With tasteful wooden flooring, velvety drapes and large windows letting in some natural light, the ambiance is perfect for a romantic evening.