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~ Recently in San Francisco Restaurants Category ~



Best Brunch in San Francisco

Brunch is about indulgence. There's nothing quite so gratifying as sleeping as late as you want on the weekend, and then wandering out to a meal over which you can linger as long as you like and whose dishes are crafted to satisfy sweet tooth and searing headache alike. Brunch may be more socially acceptable for adults than having pancakes for dinner, but it offers the same exciting prospect of choosing what to eat with only our pleasure as a criteria. Dinner is the most sophisticated meal, but brunch is the most hedonistic. If only because no one seems to... continue reading


Bay Area Michelin Stars for 2008

If only the Oscars™ were released with this little fanfare each year, we might all get on with our lives a bit easier. The second edition of the Michelin Guide to San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country for 2008 was released yesterday, offering a revised judgment of the top dining destinations in San Francisco and the surrounding area. Now that we're into the second year of the guide and everyone has gotten over the initial controversy that accompanies Michelin's initial foray into any market, the gossip and discussion will inevitably rest upon the changing fates of those included (or... continue reading


Announcing The Michelin Guide Ratings to San Francisco

There's a new restaurant ratings authority in San Francisco as of this morning. Today marks the release of the Michelin Guide to San Francisco Hotels and Restaurants. While I'm mildly curious to see which hotels rated tops in this guide, the information that everyone cares about is the restaurant ratings which are bound to ruffle feathers, explode egos, and surprise many. Like the release of the New York guide, the ratings for San Francisco are a mix of predictability and utter befuddlement (it should be noted that my own predictions were wildly over-generous). Actually, the San Francisco ratings are a... continue reading


Special SF Meal Deals in July Courtesy of Visa

As a San Francisco food lover, I always look forward to January when Dine Around Town gives us all a chance to eat out at some great restaurants without breaking the bank. Recently, these sorts of deals, and the sponsored events that make them possible have started to spring up at other times of the year. Case in point: the Dine Out With Visa promotion that starts today in San Francisco. Roughly fifty restaurants are offering special four-course meals for $54.95 if you ask for the "special menu" and you pay with your Visa. Be aware that many of these... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Range, San Francisco

If orange is the new black, then small is the new big when it comes to San Francisco restaurants. Over the last 12 months, San Francisco has see a steady number of restaurant openings, the majority of which, much to my great satisfaction, are small operations that are bringing a wonderful variety of styles and charm to the San Francisco dining scene. Many of these boutique restaurants are appearing in what has been (appropriately) dubbed the Valencia Culinary Corridor, and none of them is a better example of the nature and potential of this phenomenon than Range. I've now eaten... continue reading


Thoughts On The Chronicle's Top Restaurants

While I was away in Argentina a couple of weeks ago, the San Francisco Chronicle came out with their annual list of top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area. This list is always contentious (as are most lists of this type) but in particular I always find a lot to argue about with the Chronicle's picks, and this year is no different. One reason this year IS different, however, is that it is the last year in which the Chronicle will have THE authoritative voice on Bay Area restaurants. Discounting Zagat, the Chronicle has never had much competition when it... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Ame, San Francisco

I was very excited when I learned that Starwood Resorts was going to be opening a new property in downtown San Francisco. Not that I'll ever stay there, but I'm generally a fan of their hotels and I'm of the opinion that San Francisco could use a few more good high-end hotels, especially ones which lean towards the contemporary in their design, as theirs do. I was also pleased when I found out that the hotel was not only going to satisfy from the design perspective (it's very nicely done) but that it would play host to Ame, a new... continue reading


Cheap(er) Good Eats in San Francisco: Dine About Town

January is one of my favorite months in San Francisco. No, not because I'm some sort of hydrophilic masochist who loves to frolic in the freezing rain and watch towns in Sonoma County and Napa County washed away by rising floodwaters. I love January because it's Dine About Town month in San Francisco, where scores of restaurants, some of them quite good, offer three course fixed-price dinners for $31.95. Some of them also do $21.95 dinners. This is a great way to go out and sample some of the best of what San Francisco has to offer. Some restaurants do... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco

What is it with pizza anyway? Short of sushi and steaks, I don't know any other foodstuff that inspires so much fervor of specificity among people who love to eat. And I'm not talking about pies from your local delivery service, however good they may be. What really sends people into paroxysms and polemics of culinary criticism are proper thin-crust pizzas that are increasingly finding their way onto menus of all types, from the casual bistro to the chic upper-end restaurants all over the city. Everyone has their own opinion of where the best pizza can be found, and what... continue reading


America's Best New Chefs for 2005

Thanks to a tip from The Daily Olive, I learned that Food and Wine Magazine has announced their list of Best New Chefs of 2005. Among them is San Francisco's own Daniel Humm, of Campton Place. Here's the list: Tyson Cole of Uchi, Austin Seth Bixby Daugherty of Cosmos, Minneapolis Christophe Eme of Ortolan Restaurant, Los Angeles Shea Gallante of Cru, New York City Colby Garrelts of Bluestem, Kansas City Maria Hines of Earth & Ocean, Seattle Daniel Humm of Campton Place, San Francisco Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder Tony Maws of Craigie Street Bistrot, Cambridge Eric... continue reading


Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants From The Chronicle

The San Francisco Chronicle, and more specifically, Restaurant Editor Michael Bauer released their list of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area. With all such lists, the making of which I utterly dislike as a concept, it must be taken with a grain of salt. Here are the top 17 restaurants according to Bauer (in reverse alphabetical order by star rating): 4 STARS: The French Laundry (Yountville) La Folie Fleur de Lys Chez Panisse (Berkeley) 3.5 STARS Zuni Cafe Terra (St. Helena) PlumpJack Cafe Oliveto (Oakland) Michael Mina Jardiniere Gary Danko Farmhouse Inn (Forestville) Farallon Dry Creek Kitchen (Healdsburg)... continue reading


Just How Good Is Manresa?

Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of Manresa Restaurant. I've reviewed it, given it an award, and even held a wine dinner there. It pleases me to no end, then, to be able to congratulate Chef David Kinch and the whole staff there for being named one of the top 50 restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine in the UK. The full list and official results will be out in three weeks, but Manresa announced the news today. Bravo.... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Myth Restaurant and Lounge, San Francisco

In trying to gauge my own reaction to the recently opened Myth, I recall my first experience of Restaurant LuLu nearly 10 years ago. At the time, this recently opened restaurant seemed, well... effortless. It knew what it wanted to be and managed to nail it perfectly, crafting an atmosphere, a menu, a wine list, and an overall experience that were its own, and both confidently and pleasingly so. This is not to say it achieved anything close to "perfection" (whatever that meant to my culinary sense then or now) but merely that it was the right thing, in the... continue reading


Dine About Town Season In San Francisco

Yes, the new year brings with it many things. I've always been a contrarian by nature, so while most are making their resolutions to lose weight and get in better shape, I usually make a resolution to indulge myself at 5 new restaurants in San Francisco in January. Why in January? Well, because it's Dine About Town season. Following (or perhaps forging? I'm not sure which was the original) the lead of other major metropolitan areas, San Francisco has a special dining season that is marked by significantly discounted meals at some of the top restaurants. Specifically, starting today (1/1/05)... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Quince, San Francisco

Pasta will never be the same in this town. It would be very easy to call Quince the best Italian restaurant in San Francisco, but saying that it's better than the likes of Delfina, Pazzia, Incanto, Frascati, A16, or Acquerello, all of which might be able to make that claim, is to fundamentally mis-classify it and even more tragically, underestimate the work of chef and owner Michael Tusk. Quince has chosen an unexpected, quietly residential location in lower Pacific Heights, and just as quietly it has redefined San Francisco's notion of what Italian cuisine can be, among other things. For... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Frisson, San Francisco

San Francisco has been a dining destination for years, but to those familiar with the New York restaurant scene, there is something categorically different about the nature of dining experiences in New York, especially those that attempt to push the boundaries of style and attitude along with their culinary aspirations. In a nutshell, New York just has many more "cool" restaurants than San Francisco in my opinion. For those yearning to exercise the outer fringes of their wardrobes and wallets, San Francisco now has a little bit of New York in it, courtesy of newly opened Frisson, the most recent... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Manresa, Los Gatos

"In the future, I think we'll go even further in mixing cuisines. French and Italian, Italian and Japanese, etc. We'll take ideas right and left" says Gilles Bajolle, pastry chef extraordinaire at the venerable three-star Taillevent in Paris. Bajolle is talking about the future of cooking with Andrew Todhunter in his recent book "A Meal Observed," which I just finished last night. If Bajolle is right, and I have no reason to believe he isn't, then chef David Kinch of Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California is certainly in the vanguard of this culinary future. Mixing French, Catalan (northern coastal... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Alma, San Francisco

When the moors invaded Spain, they brought rice with them, and spices, and when they departed they left behind palaces, and a legacy of cooking that developed over the next few thousand years, until it was imported, along with misfortune to the Americas. There it stewed, on the central and southern continents with new ingredients lent to it by native diets, Portuguese traders, and Africans in the Caribbean, slowly evolving into the many facets gathered together under the approximate banner of Latino cooking. Back in Spain, cuisine continued to evolve as well, pushed in new directions by the French and... continue reading


Restaurant Review: The Public, San Francisco

The last time I walked into the building at the corner of 11th and Folsom in San Francisco's SOMA district, it was a neighborhood Mexican joint, serving good but unremarkable food along with good Mexican beers to succor us worn out dot.com workers on the evenings we got out of work with the energy for a drink. Lucky for all of us those days are over, and even luckier are we for having that old brick building taken over by The Public, a new venture from Greg Luna (formerly of Delfina) and Chili Montes (formerly of the Cypress Club). These... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Rubicon, San Francisco

I'll just get it right out of the way and say that Rubicon is, and has been for years, quite possibly my favorite restaurant in San Francisco " I ate there when it first opened in 1994 and have been back many times since. However, for all the dining out that Ruth and I do, we've never been since we have been together. So when we decided to take a close friend of hers from out of town to a nice dinner, I called up last week and got us a table. Rubicon offers a polished and consistent dining experience... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Circolo, San Francisco

I tend to forget how difficult it is for a good restaurant to create a harmony of food, service, and atmosphere that fuse into a semblance of an identity or experience that is particularly its own. My recent experience at Circolo proved, however, that even with great chefs, and experienced staff, and a time tested location, it is possible to achieve only goodness instead of greatness. Opened at the end of March in the space occupied for years by Gordon's House of Fine Eats, and staffed with a kitchen crew and a front house crew from Limon and Aqua, Circolo... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

There's something sinfully delicious about sitting at a sunny sidewalk table in the middle of a weekday eating a pastry. In addition to affording those who don't work normal hours (and people like me who just have the week off) the ability to eat in the sun, Tartine also happens to have simple, delectable lunch fare. Tucked in the border between the mission and the Castro, this little French bakery is tiny and homey, but it is hardly the undiscovered neighborhood gem. They open at 10:00 AM on Sunday, but if you want a seat, you better get there at... continue reading


Restaurant Review: The House, San Francisco

Continuing my interest in exploring boutique restaurants in San Francisco, I bring you The House, which is now the only incarnation in San Francisco since its sister restaurant of the same name closed its doors out in the inner Sunset. Even though it is kept company by the recently installed Sake Lab around the corner, this small Asian fusion restaurant is still incongruously matched with the surrounding "all-Italian-all-the-time" neighborhood of North Beach. It's even harder to find amidst all the red green and white signage these days by virtue of a huge scaffolding which obscures the light orange neon sign... continue reading


Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant: Lunch and a glass of wine

I just had lunch at the Ferry Building again (see my previous post on the subject) yesterday and thanks to a tip from a friend I found out that you can buy food at any of the restaurants or shops in the building and bring it on down to the Ferry Plaza Wine Bar. There you can sit at a nice table and watch the crowd go by with your lunch and a glass of wine from their tasting list. The list is reasonable, with 5 whites, 5 reds, and a couple each of rose, sparkling, and dessert wines. They... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Valentina, San Francisco

It's always hard to bring myself to write about a small, favorite neighborhood restaurant, even though I have no delusions that this site is anywhere near well read enough to generate an onslaught of diners. However there's always a small hesitation associated with giving away something that feels like a well guarded secret, no matter who I'm giving it to. But for those who actually read this, I am committed to telling you about great places to eat, regardless of how close they are to my heart, and in this case, my home. Valentina is a relatively recent addition to... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Piperade, San Francisco

I've now been to Piperade four times " thrice for dinner, once for lunch " and it is definitely one of my favorite recent additions to the restaurant scene in San Francisco. Located incongruously in "ad agency alley," the heart of manufactured image and soundbytes, Piperade consistently delivers some of the most authentically innovative and genuinely focused flavors that I have had the pleasure of eating in the last couple of years. Of course, I don't often get to eat Basque food, so it may be that the North of Spain is semi-secret culinary paradise that we're all missing out... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Clementine, San Francisco

The first time I ate at Clementine was almost 6 years ago. It was pouring rain from a Pacific squall that overtook the city quickly on that afternoon, and due to the weather, and our desire to eat an early dinner, my girlfriend at the time and I were the only ones in the restaurant. On that afternoon, Clementine was a soft haven " a cozy yellow room, hidden from the street by the climbing vines of its façade " and it was also a wonderful meal. The food was delicious, the service attentive and warm, and the chef wonderfully... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Pizzetta, San Francisco

Recently, Ruth has been interested in finding some good Italian style thin-crust pizza in San Francisco, and so on a friend's recommendation we stopped by Pizzetta, a closet sized, super-cute little bistro out in the fog belt of the Richmond District. Actually we stopped by twice. The first time there were people lined up outside and there was a 60 minute wait! But what do you expect from a place that serves up mostly organic, incredibly savory, and utterly delicious pizzas and salads in a no-frills, friendly atmosphere? On a warm day, Pizzetta can seat (by my rough estimate) about... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Kyo-Ya: The Best Sushi in San Francisco

Let's settle the great sushi debate once and for all. Every sushi aficionado I know has a favorite restaurant that they will swear up and down is the best sushi in San Francisco. Well, I have now made a study of those favorites (plus some others) over the last year or two in San Francisco and the Bay Area (see list below) and I have made a single choice to save you the trouble of asking the question, or visiting one lousy place after another. No question, hands-down, THE best sushi I have had since I returned from eating $300-$400... continue reading


Restaurant Review: SF Ferry Plaza, San Francisco's New Gourmet Center

I was reluctantly persuaded to head down to the San Francisco Ferry Terminal today for lunch with some colleagues, and I've come back a transformed man. What they have done in the process of remodeling the terminal is incredible, and not only is the building gorgeous, they have populated it with some of San Francisco's most elite gourmet outlets and some excellent restaurants. If you need to shop on the way home for dinner, The Golden Gate Meat Company offers their meats (up until this point only avilable wholesale) to the public across from the Hog Island Oyster Company, who... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Watercress, San Francisco

It's pretty easy for me to find something wrong about a restaurant -- I can be an overly critical guy, and sometimes my standards approach snobbery (I'm working on that). In considering what to write about the dinner I had last week at Watercress, it strikes me that really the only thing I can find wrong with it was that the corkage fee was a little high ($18 per bottle compared with $10 - $15 at other boutique restaurants in the area.). Perhaps this is a preventative measure on their part -- if the corkage was $10 a bottle I... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Limon, San Francisco

I enjoy being able to see into the kitchen when I'm dining out, because sometimes I learn things, and also because what's going on in there is an indication of how good the Chef is. It takes guts to expose the behind the scenes stuff to diners, and it takes a prepared, coordinated, and skilled team to keep kitchen activities from resembling chaos. You can see the small kitchen from just about every seat in the house at Limon, which gets my vote for the best new restaurant in San Francisco in the last year or so, and also gets... continue reading


BYOW Night at Tablespoon

Last minute alert from ZagatWire: Tonight, February 3: Tablespoon hosts "B.Y.O.W." Night (Bring Your Own Wine), a monthly wine and dine social where guests are invited to bring their own bottle of wine at no corkage fee to share and enjoy with pizzas, salads and other small bites amid a casual atmosphere of communal-style dining. Tablespoon is the reincarnation of Spoon, a local Polk Street favorite for years. They've just remodeled and slightly retooled their menu (review coming soon). This sounds like fun, and it happens to be just a couple of doors down from William Cross Wine Merchants, so... continue reading


Restaurant Review: Phenomenal Meal for Two, for Under $10, San Francisco

Way out along Balboa, under the fog belt, lies San Francisco's greatest value meal. An unassuming little restaurant called the Shanghai Dumpling Shop churns out wonderful northern Chinese specialties at prices that boggle the mind. I hope I will not regret ever posting something about this restaurant here, but good things like this really need to be shared among folks who love to eat, whatever the risk of potential overcrowding. There are two important things that you need to know about Shanghai Dumpling Shop. 1. In a word: cheap. Ruth and I frequently eat our fill here for $10... continue reading


Restaurant: Firecracker

There's a certain class of restaurants that I am slowly gravitating towards as my favorite places to eat in San Francisco. They are not the classy Zagat top 10 like Gary Danko and Boulevard, nor are they the dirty hole in the wall favorites like Shalimar or La Taqueria. More often they are the small 4-12 table restaurants which have inventive, high quality food at medium to upper-medium prices. You're not going to have to wear a clean shirt, and you're not going to get a lovely work of art on your plate like you would at the places that... continue reading


Restaurant: Le Zinc

I'm always looking for good places to have brunch on Sundays in the city, and I've gotten tired of my usual haunts. As a result I've now been twice to Le Zinc, a cozy french bistro on 24th Street in Noe Valley. Somehow it manages to always avoid the crush of people on 24th, which is surprising, because I think the food is better than Savor or Miss Millies -- both restaurants that have waiting lists 12 deep on Sunday at noon. Max Braud, the chef at Le Zinc, says his first goal was to have "the cleanest restaurant in... continue reading


Restaurant Review: First Crush, San Francisco

It's often fun to walk into a restaurant and feel like you've just discovered a place that only the hip crowd knows about. First Crush, though it's sandwiched in the triangle between the Tenderloin, the nasty parts of Market Street and Union Square, definitely makes up in atmosphere what it lacks in location. It feels intimate and small, the low lights and lots of glass giving it the feel of a small club. You know you're eating on the cutting edge when your bottled water shows up in what looks like a glorified shampoo bottle. But on to more... continue reading

But Wait, There's More!

This page only has the last sixty entries in this category. If you're interested in digging farther into my archives, you'll want to use the complete list of archives to access my articles by month.

Calendar of Postings

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Most Recent Entries

Best Brunch in San Francisco Bay Area Michelin Stars for 2008 Announcing The Michelin Guide Ratings to San Francisco Special SF Meal Deals in July Courtesy of Visa Restaurant Review: Range, San Francisco Thoughts On The Chronicle's Top Restaurants Restaurant Review: Ame, San Francisco Cheap(er) Good Eats in San Francisco: Dine About Town Restaurant Review: Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco America's Best New Chefs for 2005

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud