Welcome to our dining listings, a detailed guide by neighborhood of some great places to grab a bite, hang out with friends, or impress the ones you love with thorough knowledge of this delectable city. Restaurants are reviewed by Paul Reidinger (PR) or staff. All area codes are 415, and all restaurants are wheelchair accessible, except where noted.
BR Saturday and/or Sunday brunch
AE American Express
DC Diners Club
¢ less than $7 per entrée
$$$ more than $20
Acme Chophouse brings Traci des Jardins’s high-end meat-and-potatoes menu right into the confines of Pac Bell Park. Good enough to be a destination, though stranguutf8g traffic is an issue on game days. (Staff) 24 Willie Mays Plaza, SF. 644-0240. American, L/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Café Claude is a hidden treasure of the city center. There is an excellent menu of traditional, discreetly citified French dishes, a youthful energy, and a romantic setting on a narrow, car-free lane reminiscent of the Marais. (PR, 10/06) 7 Claude Lane, SF. 392-3515. French, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Fleur de Lys gives its haute French cuisine a certain California whimsy in a setting that could be the world’s most luxurious tent. There is a vegetarian tasting menu and an extensive, remarkably pricey wine list. (PR, 2/05) 777 Sutter, SF. 673-7779. French, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Mandarin, though a Gen Xer by birth and a longtime resident of touristy Ghirardelli Square, still offers a matchlessly elegant experience in Chinese fine dining: a surprising number of genuinely spicy dishes, superior service, and wine emphasized over beer. (PR, 9/04) 900 North Point (in Ghirardelli Square), SF. Chinese, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
*Mijita shows that Traci des Jardins can go down-market with the best of them. The Mexican street food is convincingly lusty, but in keeping with the Ferry Building setting, it’s also made mostly with organic, high-quality ingredients. (PR, 4/05) 1 Ferry Bldg, Suite 44, SF. 399-0814. Mexican, B/L/D, ¢, AE/MC/V.
Tlaloc rises like a multistory loft on its Financial District lane, the better to accommodate the hordes of suits crowding in for a noontime burrito-and-salsa fix. They serve a mean pipián burrito and decent fish tacos. (Staff) 525 Commercial, SF. 981-7800. Mexican, L/D, ¢, AE/MC/V.
Tommy Toy’s Haute Cuisine Chinois is a cross between a steak house and The Last Emperor. The food is rich and fatty and only occasionally good. (Staff) 655 Montgomery, SF. 397-4888. Chinese, L/D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Gondola captures the varied flavors of Venice and the Veneto in charmingly low-key style. The main theme is the classic one of simplicity, while service strikes just the right balance between efficiency and warmth. (Staff) 15 Columbus, SF. 956-5528. Italian, L/D, $, MC/V.
House of Nanking never fails to garner raves from restaurant reviewers and Guardian readers alike. Chinatown ambience, great food, good prices. (Best Ofs, 1994) 919 Kearny, SF. 421-1429. Chinese, L/D, ¢.
Maykadeh Persian Cuisine is a great date restaurant, classy but not too pricey, and there are lots of veggie options both for appetizers and entrées. Khoresht bademjan was a delectable, deep red stew of tomato and eggplant with a rich, sweet, almost chocolatey undertone. (Staff) 470 Green, SF. 362-8286. Persian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Moose’s is famous for the Mooseburger, but the rest of the menu is comfortably sophisticated. The crowd is moneyed but not showy and definitely not nouveau. (Staff) 1652 Stockton, SF. 989-7800. American, BR/L/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Rose Pistola cooks it up in the style of Liguria, and that means lots of seafood, olive oil, and lemons along with a wealth of first-rate flat breads (pizzas, focaccias, farinatas) baked in the wood-burning oven. (PR, 7/05) 532 Columbus, SF. 399-0499. Italian, L/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Washington Square Bar and Grill offers stylish Cal-Ital food at reasonable prices in a storied setting. (Staff) 1707 Powell, SF. 982-8123. Italian, $$, L/D, MC/V.
Hawthorne Lane remains at the top of the city’s restaurant heap after more than a decade. Bridget Batson’s modern California cuisine is first-rate, the ambience a perfection of understated elegance, and the service knowledgeable, friendly, and smooth. It is not possible to ask more from any restaurant. (PR, 9/06) 22 Hawthorne, SF. 777-9779. California, L/D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Julie’s Supper Club and Lounge II preserves the name of a longtime SoMa institution while bringing a new fusion menu to the table. The food at its best is innovative a sushi-like presentation of somen noodles, an asparagus version of pigs in a blanket but prices are a little high for what you get. Excellent atmospherics. (PR, 11/06) 1123 Folsom, SF. 864-1222. Fusion/eclectic, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Koh Samui and the Monkey joins a high-value Thai menu with a spare, hip SoMa warehouse look. The sweet-hot food tends more toward the former than the latter but is excellent nonetheless. As for heat, check out the youngish crowd in their crest-of-1999, dot-com finery. (PR, 1/07) 415 Brannan, SF. 369-0007. Thai, L/D, $, MC/V.
Oola gives Ola Fendert his own platform at last, and the result is a modern, golden SoMa restaurant with a menu that mixes playful opulence with local standards. (PR, 10/04) 860 Folsom, SF. 995-2061. California, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Roy’s Restaurant promises "Hawaiian fusion" cuisine, but while there are island touches (macadamia nuts turn up in various guises), the place seems right at home on Mission Street. The cooking, once noted for a certain overwroughtness, has become elegantly restrained, and a three-course $35 prix fixe dinner is one of the better deals of its kind around town. (PR, 12/06) 575 Mission, SF. 777-0277. Hawaiian/fusion, L/D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Salt House offers a nice Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-tours-a-19th-century-factory look and utterly up-to-date California pub food, an entertaining hodgepodge that ranges from a crock of house-picked vegetables to panko-crusted mackerel to an oozingly moist chocolate Bundt cake, still warm from the oven, plus interesting proprietary-blend wines. (PR, 12/06) 545 Mission, SF. 543-8900. California/pub, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
NOB HILL/RUSSIAN HILL
Ah Lin offers Mandarin-style Chinese cooking in an easy-to-take storefront setting on Cathedral Hill. The dishes are well behaved and tasty, with only an occasional flare-up of chile heat. The roast duck is one of the best deals in town. (PR, 10/06) 1634 Bush, SF. 922-5279. Chinese, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Alborz looks more like a hotel restaurant than a den of Persian cuisine, but there are flavors here of barberry and dried lime, among others you won’t easily find elsewhere. (Staff) 1245 Van Ness, SF. 440-4321. Persian, L/D, $, MC/V.
East Coast West Delicatessen doesn’t look like a New York deli (too much space, air, light), but the huge, fattily satisfying Reubens, platters of meat loaf, black-and-white cookies, and all the other standards compare commendably to their East Coast cousins. (Staff) 1725 Polk, SF. 563-3542. Deli, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
La Folie could be a neighborhood spot or a destination or both, but either way or both ways it is sensational: an exercise in haute cuisine leavened with a West Coast sense of informality and playfulness. There is a full vegetarian menu and an ample selection of wines by the half bottle. (PR, 2/06) 2316 Polk, SF. 776-5577. French, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
O’Reilly’s Holy Grail, a redo of the old Maye’s Oyster House that strikes harmonious notes of chapel and lounge, serves a sophisticated and contemporary Cal-Irish menu. (PR, 10/05) 1233 Polk, SF. 928-1233. California/Irish, BR/L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Ananda Fuara serves a distinctly Indian-influenced vegetarian menu in the sort of calm surroundings that are increasingly the exception to the rule. (Staff) 1298 Market, SF. 621-1994. Vegetarian, L/D, ¢, cash only.
*Bodega Bistro has a certain colonial formality much of the menu is given in French and it does attract a tony expat crowd. The food is elegant but not fancy (lobster, rack of lamb, both simply presented); if even those are too much, look to the "Hanoi Street Cuisine" items. (PR, 11/05) 607 Larkin, SF. 921-1218. Vietnamese, L/D, $$, DC/DISC/MC/V.
Mangosteen radiates lime green good cheer from its corner perch in the Tenderloin. Inexpensive Vietnamese standards are rendered with thoughtful little touches and an emphasis on the freshest ingredients. (PR, 11/05) 601 Larkin, SF. 776-3999. Vietnamese, L/D, $, cash only.
*Saha serves "Arabic fusion cuisine" a blend of the Middle East and California in a cool, spare setting behind the concierge’s desk at the Hotel Carlton. One senses the imminence of young rock stars, drawn perhaps by the lovely chocolate fondue. (PR, 9/04) 1075 Sutter, SF. 345-9547. Arabic/fusion, B/BR/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Arlequin offers light Provençal and Mediterranean food for takeout, but the best place to take your stuff is to the sunny, tranquil garden in the rear. (Staff) 384B Hayes, SF. 863-0926. Mediterranean, B/L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Canto do Brasil The draw here is lusty yeoman cooking, Brazilian style, at beguilingly low prices. The tropically cerulean interior design enhances the illusion of sitting at a beach café. (Staff) 41 Franklin, SF. 626-8727. Brazilian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Destino reweaves traditional Peruvian flavors into a tapestry of extraordinary vividness and style, and the storefront interior has been given a golden glow that would have satisfied the most restless conquistador. (Staff) 1815 Market, SF. 552-4451. Peruvian, D, $$, MC/V.
Hayes Street Grill started more than a quarter century ago as an emulation of the city’s old seafood houses, and now it’s an institution itself. The original formula immaculate seafood simply prepared, with choice of sauce and French fries still beats vibrantly at the heart of the menu. Service is impeccable, the setting one of relaxed grace. (PR, 7/06) 816 Folsom, SF. 863-5545. Seafood, L/D, $$$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Sauce enjoys the services of chef Ben Paula, whose uninhibited California cooking is as easy to like as a good pop song. (PR, 5/05) 131 Gough, SF. 252-1369. California, D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
CASTRO/NOE VALLEY/GLEN PARK
Ararat Mediterranean Tapas affords the view-minded a good setting from which to scope the foot traffic at 18th Street and Castro, along with a Turkish-scented Mediterranean menu rich in small plates and some bigger ones too. The menu’s smash hits include coins of lavash-wrapped beef (a kind of Middle Eastern beef Wellington), an enslavingly good shrimp casserole, and a coil of baklava with lavender honey. (PR, 8/06) 4072 18th St, SF. 252-9325. Mediterranean/Turkish, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Eureka Restaurant and Lounge combines, in the old Neon Chicken space, a classic Castro sensibility (mirrors everywhere, fancy sparkling water) with a stylish all-American menu that reflects Boulevard and Chenery Park bloodlines. Prices are high. (PR, 12/06) 4063 18th St. SF. 431-6000. American, D, $$$, AE/MC/V.
*Firefly remains an exemplar of the neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco: it is homey and classy, hip and friendly, serving an American menu deftly inflected with ethnic and vegetarian touches that’s the match of any in the city. (PR, 9/04) 4288 24th St, SF. 821-7652. American, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Toast welcomes families with little children pancakes from dawn to dusk! as well as monied young adults, who tend to gather for weekend brunch. The deli-ish menu emphasizes sandwiches, but care is taken in the details, from a bewitching bit of paprika in the lentil soup to generous parmesan shavings and fresh croutons on the Caesar salad. (PR, 1/07) 1748 Church, SF. 282-4328. American, B/BR/L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
2223 could easily be a happening queer bar, what with all that male energy. But the American menu joins familiarity with high style, and the ambience is that of a great party where you’re bound to meet somebody hot. (Staff) 2223 Market, SF. 431-0692. American, BR/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
HAIGHT/COLE VALLEY/WESTERN ADDITION
*Frankie’s Bohemian Cafe has Pilsner Urquell, a Bohemian beer, on tap for a touch of Czech authenticity, but the crowd is young, exuberant, Pacific Heights, het. Follow the crowd and stick with the burgers. (PR, 2/05) 1682 Divisadero, SF. 921-4725. Czech/American, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Grandeho’s Kamekyo Sushi Bar Always packed, Grandeho serves up excellent sushi along with a full Japanese menu. (Staff) 943 Cole, SF. 759-5693. Japanese, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Hukilau brings a dash of Big Island conviviality and Big Island (i.e., big) portions to a wind- and traffic-swept corner of the big city. Spam too, if you want it. (Staff) 5 Masonic, SF. 921-6242. Hawaiian/American, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
Kate’s Kitchen dishes up the best scallion-cheese biscuits out west. The lines on the weekends can be long. (Staff) 471 Haight, SF. 626-3984. American, B/L, ¢.
Metro Cafe brings the earthy chic of Paris’s 11th arrondissement to the Lower Haight, prix fixe and all. (Staff) 311 Divisadero, SF. 552-0903. French, B/BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
New Ganges Restaurant is short on style it is as if the upmarket revolution in vegetarian restaurants never happened but there is a homemade freshness to the food you won’t find at many other places. (Staff) 775 Frederick, SF. 681-4355. Vegetarian/Indian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Tsunami Sushi and Sake Bar brings hip Japanese-style seafood to the already hip Café Abir complex. Skull-capped sushi chefs, hefty and innovative rolls. (Staff) 1306 Fulton, SF. 567-7664. Japanese/sushi, D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Zoya takes some finding it is in the little turret of the Days Inn Motor Lodge at Grove and Gough but the view over the street’s treetops is bucolic, and the cooking is simple, seasonal, direct, and ingredient driven. (PR, 12/05) 465 Grove, SF. 626-9692. California, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
MISSION/BERNAL HEIGHTS/POTRERO HILL
Aslam’s Rasoi reinvents a gently fading curry house as a high-powered rival to Dosa, in the next block. The food is fiery and elegant, and the menu strikes a fine balance between fleshly and fleshless choices. Desserts are not bad, particularly kulfi, a house-made cardamom ice cream presented like a frozen sliced banana. (PR, 8/06) 1037 Valencia, SF. 695-0599. Indian/Pakistani, D, $$, MC/V.
Baobab Bar and Grill serves great-tasting West African specialties like couscous, fried plantains, and savory rice dishes for a reasonable price. (Staff) 3388 19th St, SF. 643-3558. African, BR/D, ¢.
Baraka takes the French-Spanish tapas concept, gives it a beguiling Moroccan accent harissa, preserved lemons, merguez sausage and the result is astonishingly good food. (Staff) 288 Connecticut, SF. 255-0370. Moroccan/Mediterranean, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Blue Plate has a diner aura bustle, clatter but the Mediterranean food is stylishly flavorful. A great value. (Staff) 3218 Mission, SF. 282-6777. Mediterranean, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Bombay Ice Cream and Chaat Stop in for some Indian chaat cheap, delicious fast food such as samosas and curries. (Staff) 552 Valencia, SF. 431-1103. Indian takeout, L/D, ¢.
Caffe d’Melanio is the place to go if you want your pound of coffee beans roasted while you enjoy an Argentine-Italian dinner of pasta, milanesa, and chimichurri sauce. During the day the café offers a more typically Cal-American menu of better-than-average quality. First-rate coffee beans. (PR, 10/04) 1314 Ocean, SF. 333-3665. Italian/Argentine, B/L/D, $, MC/V.
Chez Papa Bistro sits like a beret atop Potrero Hill. The food is good, the staff’s French accents authentic, the crowd a lively cross section, but the place needs a few more scuffs and quirks before it can start feeling real. (Staff) 1401 18th St, SF. 824-8210. French, BR/L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
*Delfina has grown from a neighborhood restaurant to an event, but an expanded dining room has brought the noise under control, and as always, the food intense variations on a theme of Tuscany could not be better. (PR, 2/04) 3621 18th St, SF. 552-4055. California, D, $$, MC/V.
Dosa serves dosas, the south Indian crepes, along with a wealth of other, and generally quite spicy, dishes from the south of the subcontinent. The cooking tends toward a natural meatlessness; the crowds are intense, like hordes of passengers inquiring about a delayed international flight. (PR, 1/06) 995 Valencia, SF. 642-3672. South Indian, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Front Porch mixes a cheerfully homey setting (with a front porch of sorts), a hipster crowd, and a Caribbean-inflected comfort menu into a distinctive urban cocktail. The best dishes, such as a white polenta porridge with crab, are Range-worthy, and nothing on the menu is much more than $10. (PR, 10/06) 65A 29th St, SF. 695-7800. American/Caribbean, BR/D, $, MC/V.
*Little Nepal assembles a wealth of sensory cues (sauna-style blond wood, brass table services) and an Indian-influenced Himalayan cuisine into a singular experience that appeals to all of Bernal Heights and beyond, including tots in their strollers. (Staff) 925 Cortland, SF. 643-3881. Nepalese, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Lombardo’s Fine Foods is the little café that could, in Mission Terrace. The menu is heavy on pastas and casseroles, many made from owner-chef John Lombardo’s family recipes. The orzo salad is particularly good. (PR, 9/06) 1818 San Jose, SF. 337-9741. Italian/American, BR/L/D, $, MC/V
Maharaja offers romantically half-lit pastels and great spicy food, including a fine chicken tikka masala and a dish of lamb chunks in dal. Lunch forswears the usual steam-table buffet in favor of set specials, as in a Chinese place. (Staff) 525 Valencia, SF. 552-7901. Indian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Maverick holds several winning cards, including a menu of first-rate New American food, a clutch of interesting wines by the glass and half glass, and a handsome, spare Mission District setting discreetly cushioned for sound control. (PR, 9/05) 3316 17th St, SF. 863-3061. American, L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Medjool doesn’t offer much by way of its namesake date, food of the ancient pharaohs, but the pan-Mediterranean menu (which emphasizes small plates) is mostly tasty, and the setting is appealingly layered, from a sidewalk terrace to a moody dining room behind a set of big carved-wood doors. (PR, 11/04) 2522 Mission, SF. 550-9055. Mediterranean, B/L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Mi Lindo Yucatán looks a bit tatty inside, but the regional Mexican cooking is cheap and full of pleasant surprises. (PR, 3/04) 401 Valencia, SF. 861-4935. Mexican, L/D, ¢, cash only.
Moki’s Sushi and Pacific Grill serves imaginative specialty makis along with items from a pan-Asian grill in a small, bustling neighborhood spot. (Staff) 615 Cortland, SF. 970-9336. Japanese, D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Pakwan has a little secret: a secluded garden out back. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the fiery foods of India and Pakistan. (Staff) 3180 16th St, SF. 255-2440. Indian/Pakistani, L/D, ¢, cash only.
Papalote Mexican Grill relieves our Mexican favorites of much of their fat and calories without sacrificing flavor. Surprisingly excellent soyrizo and aguas frescas; sexily varied crowd. (Staff) 3409 24th St, SF. 970-8815. Mexican, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Regalito Rosticeria offers spanking-fresh versions of Mexico City street-cart food in a warm setting of glossy wood, stainless steel, and glass. The long counter, backed by a busy exhibition kitchen, is epic. (PR, 12/06) 3481 18th St., SF. 503-0650. Mexican, L/D, $, AE/DISC/MC/V.
MARINA/PACIFIC HEIGHTS/LAUREL HEIGHTS
L’Amour dans le Four gives a nice local boho twist to classic French bistro style. Many dishes from the oven. Tiny, noisy, intimate. (Staff) 1602 Lombard, SF. 775-2134. French, D, $, AE/MC/V.
Betelnut Peiju Wu is a pan-Asian version of a tapas bar, drawing a sleek postcollegiate crowd with its wide assortment of dumplings, noodles, soups, and snacks. (Staff) 2030 Union, SF. 929-8855. Asian, L/D, $$, MC/V.
Dragon Well looks like an annex of the cavernous Pottery Barn down the street, but its traditional Chinese menu is radiant with fresh ingredients and careful preparation. Prices are modest, the service swift and professional. (Staff) 2142 Chestnut, SF. 474-6888. Chinese, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Rigolo combines the best of Pascal Rigo’s boulangeries including the spectacular breads with some of the simpler elements (such as roast chicken) of his higher-end places. The result is excellent value in a bustling setting. (PR, 1/05) 3465 California, SF. 876-7777. California/Mediterranean, B/L/D, $, MC/V.
Sushi Groove is easily as cool as its name. Behind wasabi green velvet curtains, salads can be inconsistent, but the sushi is impeccable, especially the silky salmon and special white tuna nigiri. (Staff) 1916 Hyde, SF. 440-1905. Japanese, D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Taste of the Himalayas is primarily Nepalese, but the Indian influences on the food are many, and there are a few Tibetan items. Spicing is vivid, value excellent. (PR, 10/04) 2420 Lombard, SF. 674-9898. Nepalese/Tibetan, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Tortilla Heights brings the Pac Heights, blond-het-frat vibe into the Western Addition and nourishes it with surprisingly good Mexican food. The menu is familiar, but the dishes are executed with care and panache, and there are some regional specialties. Open late. (PR, 9/06) 1750 Divisadero, SF. 346-4531. Mexican, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Bullshead Restaurant offers buffalo burgers in various guises, and they are worth the price of the ticket (about a dollar more). The West Portal location is a slice of Route 66 Americana, while the newer Castro operation has an upstairs-downstairs, creaky-Victorian-staircase aura. The menu boasts good fries and a surprisingly convincing vegetarian burger. (PR, 11/06) 840 Ulloa, SF. 665-4350; 4230 18th St., SF. 431-4201. American/burgers, L/D, $, MC/V.
Le Charm might be in San Francisco, but it has a bistro authenticity even Parisians could love, from a wealth of golden wood trim to an enduring loyalty au prix fixe. The chicken liver salad is matchless, the succinct wine list distinctly Californian. Ponder it in the idyllic, trellised garden. (PR, 9/06) 315 Fifth St, SF. 546-6128. French, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
*Dragonfly serves the best contemporary Vietnamese food in town, in a calmer environment and at a fraction of the cost of better-known places. (PR, 8/05) 420 Judah, SF. 661-7755. Vietnamese, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
KL Restaurant is a Hong Kong-style seafood house that presents its wide array of creatures from the deep in an equally wide array of guises. Particularly good: the sampan-style dishes. If you’re not in an oceanic mood, the land-based stuff is good too. (PR/ 11/06) 4401 Balboa, SF. 666-9928. Chinese/seafood, L/D, $$, MC/V.
Pisces California Cuisine brings a touch of SoMa sophistication to an Outer Sunset neighborhood in need of paint. (You can’t miss the restaurant’s black facade.) The kitchen turns out a variety of seafood preparations the clam chowder is terrific and offers an appealing prix fixe option at both lunch and dinner. (PR, 8/06) 3414-3416 Judah, SF. 564-2233. Seafood, L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
So Restaurant brings the heat, in the form of huge soup and noodle and soupy noodle dishes, many of them liberally laced with hot peppers and chiles. The pot stickers are homemade and exceptional, the crowd young and noisy. Cheap. (PR, 10/06) 2240 Irving, SF. 731-3143. Chinese/noodles, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
*Aziza shimmers with Moroccan grace, from the pewter ewer and basin that circulate for the washing of hands to the profusion of preserved Meyer lemons in the splendid cooking. (Staff) 5800 Geary, SF. 752-2222. Moroccan, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Be My Guest Thai Bistro offers tasty vegetarian-friendly food in a campy-hip setting reminiscent of an old Woody Allen movie. Tofu larb is surprisingly successful. (PR, 9/06) 951 Clement, SF. 386-1942. Thai, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
*Chapeau! serves some of the best food in the city at shockingly reasonable prices. The French cooking reflects as much style and imagination as any California menu. (Staff) 1408 Clement, SF. 750-9787. French, D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Spices! has an exclamation point for a reason: its Chinese food, mainly Szechuan and Taiwanese, with an oasis of Shanghai-style dishes, is fabulously hot. Big young crowds, pulsing house music, a shocking orange and yellow paint scheme. Go prepared, leave happy. (Staff) 294 Eighth Ave, SF. 752-8884. Szechuan/Chinese, L/D, $, MC/V.
Sutro’s at Cliff House has a Miami-to-Malibu feel and offers a "California coastal" menu that appeals to tourists and locals alike. You can get everything from gumbo to seafood red curry to falafel while resting assured that the kitchen is honoring the local-seasonal-sustainable imperative. The setting a glass house perched at the foamy edge of the Pacific is timelessly spectacular. (PR, 7/06) 1090 Point Lobos, SF. 386-3330. Eclectic, L/D, $$$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Cliff’s Bar-B-Q and Seafood Some things Cliff’s got going for him: excellent mustard greens, just drenched in flavorfulness, and barbecued you name it. Brisket. Rib tips. Hot links. Pork ribs. Beef ribs. Baby backs. And then there are fried chickens and, by way of health food, fried fishes. (Staff) 2177 Bayshore, SF. 330-0736. Barbecue, L/D, ¢, AE/DC/MC/V.
Old Clam House really is old it’s been in the same location since the Civil War but the seafood preparations are fresh, in an old-fashioned way. Matchless cioppino. Sports types cluster at the bar, under the shadow of a halved, mounted Jaguar E-type. (Staff) 299 Bayshore, SF. 826-4880. Seafood, L/D, $$, MC/V.
Taqueria el Potrillo serves one of the best chicken burritos in town, if not the best. You can get your bird grilled or barbecued or have steak instead or tacos. Excellent salsas and aguas frescas, and warmer weather than practically anywhere else in town. (Staff) 300A Bayshore Blvd, SF. 642-1612. Mexican, B/L/D, ¢, cash only.
Breads of India and Gourmet Curries The menu changes every day, so nothing is refrigerated overnight, and the curries benefit from obvious loving care. (Staff) 2448 Sacramento, Berk. (510) 848-7684. Indian, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Café de la Paz Specialties include African-Brazilian "xim xim" curries, Venezuelan corn pancakes, and heavenly blackened seacakes served with orange-onion yogurt. (Staff) 1600 Shattuck, Berk. (510) 843-0662. Latin American, BR/L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Locanda Olmo Fine versions of risotto, gnocchi, and soft polenta pie, terrific thin-crust pizzas, and good traditional desserts have made Locanda Olmo a reliable anchor in the burgeoning Elmwood neighborhood. (Staff) 2985 College, Berk. (510) 848-5544. Italian, D, $, MC/V.
Le Cheval Shrimp rolls and peanut sauce, the fried Dungeness crab, the marinated "orange flavor" beef, the buttery lemongrass prawns it’s all fabulous. (Staff) 1007 Clay, Oakl. (510) 763-8495. Vietnamese, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Connie’s Cantina fashions unique variations on standard Mexican fare enchiladas, tamales, fajitas, rellenos. (Staff) 3340 Grand, Oakl. (510) 839-4986. Mexican, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Rockridge Café offers bountiful breakfasts, a savory meat-loaf special, and hearty cassoulet. But the burgers, wide-cut fries, and straw-clogging milkshakes remain the cornerstones of the menu. (Staff) 5492 College, Oakl. (510) 653-1567. American, B/L/D, $, MC/V. *