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Best French in San Francisco

By: Cityseeker
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L'Ardoise

This intimate French restaurant is tucked away on the border of the Duboce and Castro neighborhoods in San Francisco. Warm tones and exposed brick walls contribute to the romantic and quaint atmosphere. Classic French dishes such as Coq au Vin or steak frites are well-executed, and a well-appointment wine list is the icing on the cake.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Keiko à Nob Hill

Intimate and exclusive, Keiko à Nob Hill offers a truly world class dining experience to the true connoisseur of fine food. The restaurant features sophisticated decor and the perfect setting for a romantic meal. This sophistication and focus on every sense through taste, texture and flavor is perfectly reflected in the meticulous preparation of each dish. The concept is a unique one, with one seating per night with a fixed price 13-15 course tasting menu that can be paired with wine or for the more discerning palate, the Magnifique Wine pairing with the chef's hand picked vintage selection. Japanese flavors combine with classic French technique to create a unique fusion of the two with dishes like Hokkaido’ Uni Capellini with Caviar, A5 Wagyu with Yuzu-Soy Foam, Honwasabi and Bluefin Tuna ‘Toro’. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Café de la Presse

Right by the gates of Chinatown you'll find this Gallic cafe that's a dead ringer for the kind that populate those quaint little side streets just off the Rue Rivoli. It is chic in a determined, downscale way with half of the already cramped floor space given over to French newspapers and periodicals. The centrally located counter jockeys for position with the closely packed tables and chairs. Huge windows alleviate the claustrophobia and the wait staff, conducting serious conversations in rapid-fire French, take you to a different hemisphere. The food can, too. It is upscale cafe fare, heavy on sandwiches, soups (gratinee, but of course) and salads. The desserts change daily and are never less than scrumptious. The crowd is mostly young, sometimes European, and always the height of hip.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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La Folie

La Folie, an upscale French restaurant located in the Russian Hill neighborhood, offers great delicacies at steep prices. Owned by Chef Roland Passot, this dining spot is quite popular among the gourmets in the city. The menu changes often, but past offerings have included decadent foie gras, lobster, and squab dishes. Vegetarians need not worry as eggplant, polenta and other fresh veggies are regularly tossed in pots and pans at La Folie. Valet parking is available, as is private dining.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Zazie

Named after the Louis Malle film Zazie dans le Metro, this charming French bistro that was voted "Best Brunch" in 2007 boasts delectable French and Basque cuisine with a decidedly California accent. Owner and chef Jennifer Piallat uses many of her French husband's family recipes, often adding a touch of fresh herbs or native Cali veggies. The plates are on the simple side, but with a complexity of flavor that would please any gourmand. The brunch menu, however, Piallat has left unchanged since she took over for former owner Catherine Opoix, but why alter tradition when the sidewalks overflow week-end after week-end with those eager to try their favorite of the varieties of egg dishes offered? Show up early to snag a table on their garden patio, sample one of their tasty wines and get a taste of French leisure on California shores.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Atelier Crenn

Atelier Crenn is located in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood. Chef and owner Dominique Crenn presents rotating menus of dishes that combine classic flavors and molecular gastronomy for a truly unique experience. Diners have the option to choose between the chef's tasting menu or the vegetarian tasting menu (nine courses) or a more economical four course prix fixe menu. In addition to their Michelin-starred cuisine, Atelier Crenn also provides impeccable service for an unforgettable dining experience.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Cafe Jacqueline

The color palette in the 12-table Cafe Jacqueline is soft and creamy, not entirely unlike the only dish on the menu: souffle. There are delicious house-made soups and simple crisp salads to pass the time as your souffle rises to the occasion in the oven. Souffle choices include cheese, garlic and lobster, among others. For dessert, chocolate, strawberry and seasonal specials take center stage. The service is warm and efficient for the upscale clientele here, and the wine list has a good selection of imported and domestic vintages.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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Chapeau!

Chapeau! is a cozy French bistro which is a good choice for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Modeled after a French Provencal dining room, the place has a comfortable continental feel with nary a trace of pretension. The owners try (and succeed) in making you feel at home. The brunch menu is filled with tasty dishes like crepes, omelets, and smoked salmon. Enjoy delicious house soups like traditional French onion, as well as chestnut with celery root and apples. Notable dinner entrees include a sauteed cod with fennel, tomato confit, shellfish and bouillabaisse, roasted pork loin with French green lentils, caramelized apples and Calvados or orange glazed duck. The wine list features French and Californian selections in a variety of prices ranges.

San Francisco, CA, United States
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