I ate extremely well during my 4 day stay in San Francisco last week :) I wanted to say a big thanks to the this board for helping me decide on reservations for our 2 main dinners. What we chose was Bar Tartine and A16. I had originally wanted Slanted Door but couldn't get reservations. Have to save that one for next trip.
Bar Tartine was fabulous. Everything from food to service was just perfect. Both the hostess and server were warm and friendly and we were seated promptly for our 8:30 reservation. The place was full and yes it was a bit loud (you don't go there for a quiet intimate dinner) but never so loud that I couldn't hear my husband across the table from me. I started out with a salad of heirloom tomatoes and avocado on a bed of purslane with a meyer lemon/basil vinegarette and him with a cold roasted gypsy pepper soup with a touch of truffle cream and almond brittle. I was sopping up the salad dressing with the wonderful bread. For entrees we ordered a halibut in vanilla "foam" and the oonglet steak. Both were cooked perfectly so the taste of the fish/meat really came through. Dessert was incredible--a Sharffen Berger dark chocolate tarte with a dollop of espresso mouse and a fresh fig and raspberry tarte with vanilla ice cream.
Next night was A16 which was also wonderful. Reservations were at 9:30 but we got there around 8:15 hoping to get seated earlier. Hostess told us she would see what they could do. As luck had it two people were leaving the bar so we got seats up there and ordered some marinated olives and the roasted peppers with tuna (which was outstanding even according to my husband who doesn't like tuna) Also got a nice basket of great bread. We were perusing the wine list and the very friendly bartender (who resembled Jack from "Lost") overheard us discussing a few and offered us a taste. Nice touch. A table was ready around 8:45 and we were seated. I ordered the pomadoro pizza and husband had a pasta dish. The pizza was delicious--cherry tomatoes, ricotta, basil, garlic, and grana cheese. Crust was just the right consistency and slightly charred. Might have been the best pizza I have ever had. The pasta was good but nothing extraordinary. For dessert we had the chocolate burdino tarte with sea salt and olive oil. Strange combo but totally worked. We did wine by the glass so we could sample the many different, unique wines. All were winners.
Other great food experiences were the Ferry Building (where I snacked my way through) and the Saturday Farmers Mkt. Highlights include a delicious asiago cheese/sourdough roll from Acme, a dark chocolate brownie with cherry preserves and white chocolate chunks from Lulu petite, and Michael Rechutti chocolate. At the Farmers mkt we sampled lots of things and had an egg scramble from Rose Pistola and a smoked salmon sandwich on Acme bread (with heirloom tomatoes, cream cheese from one of the dairy vendors, and a touch of lavender salt) from Capt. Mikes smoked fish stand and a cup of Blue bottle coffee. Perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. Picked up some fruit and pastries to enjoy later in the day.
A few good impromptu meals around the hotel in Union Square included crepes and omellettes at Crepe O Chocolate and a salad and sandwich at Sugar Cafe. I try to eat mainly organic, seasonal, local, sustainable, etc so dining in San Fran was a real treat for me. I can't wait to go back and try more places!