Dining In the City and Bay Area
This is a very selective listing of recommended
restaurants, in San Francisco with
one exception. We'll add to the list as
restaurants and cafes are reviewed. Here are a few of the
best places in a great dining city.
New Museum Restaurant - in the
The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, one
of the city's great civic art museums, has been
rebuilt in its previous location in Golden Gate
Park, after severe earthquake damage. It's now
open to the public, and the new museum building
includes a great new restaurant to tempt museum
goers and park people alike.
The very fresh food being served in the cafe
ranges from salads and burgers to full meals
including steak, chicken, and pasta dishes --
with a concentration on obtaining food from
local sources. It is, other words, California
cuisine of high quality. Takeout is available,
in addition to tables with a grand
(floor-to-ceiling) view of Golden Gate Park.
Diners can visit the restaurant without entering
Museum hours are: 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.,
Tuesday-Sunday, and 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.,
Friday. Museum admission : $6 - $10. These
regular hours begin on Tuesday October 18.
The museum will be open free to the public
from noon on Saturday Oct. 15, until 5 p.m. on
Sunday Oct. 16
558 Sacramento (between Sansome and
A consistently hot place to dine is Rubicon. It's
owners include Francis Ford Coppola, Robert DeNiro and
Robin Williams. The decor is simple but the food is not:
house-cured salmon with fennel & creme fraiche, Maine
scallops with truffle oil, pork tenderloin and venison.
The kitchen and wine-serving staff are superb and the
house wine is from Coppola's Napa Valley winery. The
interior has a loft like, sophisticated New York-style
ambiance, with high ceilings, bricks, dark wood and
800 North Point Street
After winning top awards as chef at the Ritz-Carleton,
Gary Danko has his own eponymous restaurant, and has won
raves since it opened in 1999. This is elegant
French/California cuisine, focusing on fixed price meals.
The fixed-price menu is arranged by courses: eight
appetizers, five fish selections, six meat items, a
cheese cart and eight desserts. Ideally, diners choose a
dish from each category, but dishes are also available a
la carte. The bill is determined by the number of dishes:
$48 for three courses, $57 for four, $66 for five and $75
for six. There's also a five-course tasting menu for $66,
which can be paired with wines for an additional $29.
This is complex, exquisitely delicate cuisine. The
ingredients are absolutely fresh and the tastes are
amazing. The wine list has more than 900 items. Expect
dishes such as lobster, poached oysters, medallions of
salmon, and guinea hen set on cooked cabbage and apples.
240 California St. (between Front and
This is one of the city's old standbys (and the oldest
operating restaurant in California). This quintessential
fish house, at 240 California Street, is in the midst of
the city's Financial District.. The specialty is pan
fried seafood, and the Tadich has served many generations
of fond regulars. Try the old-fashioned desserts.
Information: 415-391-2373- - no reservations taken.
252 California Street - at Battery
Michael Mina, the executive chef of Aqua, focuses on
making his dishes as simple as possible -- he's a
minimalist who infuses his cuisine (mainly seafood and
beef) with basic flavors -- bringing out the best in a
particular food. For instance, Mina's petrale sole,
smothered in five kinds of onions with a scallion sauce
and delicate crispy fried potatoes. he has reinvented the
traditional pot pie into something special - lobster
inside with wild mushrooms and vegetables. Reservations:
Rose Pistola & Rose's Cafe
532 Columbus Ave. (between Green and
Named after one of the pioneer women (and cook) of North
Beach, Rose Pistola has won the affections of local and
visitors alike. The surroundings are glamorous, and the
food is a selection of delicious Italian combinations.
The food is based on Ligurian cuisine, and many of the
same dishes are available at the less formal Rose's
Cafe, at 2298 Union Street, in the Marina district.
Fleur de Lys
777 Sutter Street (near Taylor)
Highlighted by Bon Appetit Magazine in its Year 2000
review of America's best restaurants, Fleur de Lys is the
happy result of Hubert Keller meeting his wine Chantal
and founding a restaurant. Along with maitre d' Maurice
Rouas, the Kellers offer the utmost in romantic fine
dining, with superb cooking and service. The atmosphere
is dramatic with low lights, heavy curtains, round tables
with starched tablecloths, but it is also intimate.
Ferry Terminal Building - Embarcadero
Charles Phan -- not a professional cook -- opened his
restaurant in the Mission district in 1996. It became an
instant success, and remains one of the finest Asian
restaurants in the nation. With the refurbishing of the
landmark Ferry Building, the restaurant now has an
extreme modern design, and windows look out to the bay.
This is prime Vietnamese cuisine. The imperial rolls are
crispy on the outside,with an incredibly moist interior
-- shrimp pork, vegetables, rice noodles. All of the fish
dishes are tasty and extremely fresh. Five spice chicken
is better (more subtle) than at any other local place.
And the desserts are not particularly Vietnamese except
for the French influence (think creme caramel and
brulee). Reservations: 415-861-8032
The French Laundry
6640 Washington St. (Creek St),
This renowned restaurant is an hour's drive from the
city, and well worth a ten-hour drive. The setting is
Yountville, a little town in the middle of the Napa
Valley. It has been labeled the best restaurant in the
United States for several years. In what was formerly a
French laundry (also a brothel), chef Thomas Keller has
fashioned a dining place that is truly remarkable. For
those whose time and money are no object, this is the
place to have at least one meal in your lifetime. This is
French inspired cuisine with incredibly subtle California
touches, all flavored with fresh herbs that come from the
garden just outside the restaurant door. The wine list is
simply superb (even for a Napa Valley restaurant), and
the service is subtle and complete. The French Laundry is
a world class dining experience.
To reserve, call exactly two months to
the day in advance, preferably in the morning: 707-944-0167
Note on French Laundry Serving
Dinners are served daily, and lunch Friday through