Places Where I Love To Dine and Why

June 28, 2010

San Francisco has over three thousand restaurants crammed into a 7×7 square mile city. There are some really great places to dine. We find ourselves wondering what’s out there. What would really make our dining experience memorable? Some of the places we frequent just get it. They know their stuff. Whether it’s the menu design, wine and beer list or just attention to detail, they get it. Now you need to try them and judge for yourselves.

Nopa

Nopa is one of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Their commitment to local and fresh ingredients changes daily. They have a wonderful wine and cocktail list and their service is attentive, funky and fun. It’s also nice to be recognized as return guests. Reservations are highly recommended. It gets packed very early.

Sociale

Sociale is nestled in a long cobble stoned walk way in Laurel Heights. It has a great patio setting when you arrive and it feels like you are dining in a small European bistro. The menu changes frequently and the staff is polished, their wine knowledge is solid and the food is very fresh, very local and imaginative. I recommended for a first date or a romantic dinner.

First Crush Wine Bar and Restaurant

We’ve eaten at First Crush for over five years and it always satisfies. The menu is upscale California-French and changes frequently. The ingredients are local,fresh and very well prepared. The wine program is one of the best in the city and offers great wine flights that are fun and interesting. The staff is seasoned and are attentive but not intrusive. Another great first date spot or for a romantic dinner.

Hard Knox Cafe

Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures in life and fried chicken is one of mine. There are so many places in the city that offer up this wonderful comfort food but really never deliver the goods. Hard Knox does just that. For about ten bucks you get a wonderfully crispy half chicken with two sides that range from collard greens to mac-n-cheese. The staff is very friendly and homey. The place has a funky vibe to it. Watch out for the power tools!

Alembic Bar

This Upper Haight haunt is nestled directly next door to the Red Vic Theater. You can miss it if you aren’t looking carefully. The place is tiny with about eight bar stools and a few tables in the back. They are known for their cocktails. Hand smashed ice a plenty but the tattooed drink making dominatrix’s will entertain you for hours. They even have cocktail recipe books at the tables where you can pick a drink from the book and they will make it for you! The menu is small but well thought out. Very funky ingredients like complimentary Togarshi popcorn to beef tongue sliders. Again, it’s small, it gets packed quick but patience pays when you are finally seated. Enjoy one of their local Magnolia brews or a signature mint julep whilst you wait.

Pacific Catch

Considered a “chain” but you know what? I don’t care! They put together one of the best and biggest rice bowls that we’ve ever tasted. Huge chunks of poki tuna that’s fresh with pickled ginger, shredded seaweed and did I mention rice? All for about thirteen bucks. The service is friendly and attentive and they have a great signature drink list. I recommend their top shelf margaritas. One side note. Parking is horrendous so either try Golden Gate Park or public transportation or you will find yourself circling blocks for hours.

Park Chow

We’ve only frequented the park location of Chow because of the proximity to our Inner Richmond apartment. The food is comfort, with large portions and is made from fresh ingredients. They have a rotating tap beer selection that is very well thought out and even some Belgian ales. We always love the servers who are funky, fun and attentive. The prices are very reasonable and they have outside dining available. There always seems to be space available because the place is quite large inside.

Internos Wine Cafe

We really like this wine bar. They have a great wine program by the glass and the bottle selection varies from numerous countries. We’ve tried all of their small plates and everything was delicious from flat breads to small salads. Cezar who runs the wine program there is very knowledgeable and will steer you in the right direction with the choice of wines you are looking for.

The Richmond

Whether you just want a burger or house made ravioli, The Richmond is a lovely restaurant located on Balboa st. in the Inner Richmond district of San Francisco. The owner/chef is always making sure your dinner is enjoyable and we had a great conversation about the highs and lows of starting your own restaurant. He was super friendly and gave us very sound information on opening a restaurant. The service was very friendly, polished and professional. The menu was upscale California cuisine and they have a very well thought wine list as well.

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