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Best French in San Francisco

By: Cityseeker
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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.

151 Noe Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94114
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.

352 Grant Avenue, At Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94108

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.

941 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94117
Atelier Crenn

Nestled amid the hillsides of Cow Hollow, Atelier Crenn is Chef Dominique Crenn’s splendid culinary haven. Combining the art of poetry with gastronomy, this luxurious restaurant offers a unique dining experience. With dishes such as spiny lobster and geoduck tart, the tasting menu strikes an exemplary balance between classic flavors and molecular gastronomy. The portions of food are just right, the atmosphere is beautiful and the attention to detail is palpable. Along with world class wine pairings, the restaurant’s signature desserts, one of which is coconut and pineapple, are simply unmissable. The seamless service by the amiable wait staff only adds to the unforgettable experience of dining at Atelier Crenn. The quality and unique flavors are well worth the apparently pricey experience. Atelier Crenn is a culinary delight deserving of every praise it receives. The moment you step into the restaurant, you are transported to a world of pulchritude and artistry.

3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94123
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.

1454 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94133

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.

126 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA, United States, 94118
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