Stroll the tree-lined lanes of Hayes Valley in the evenings and you’ll bump into the high-end performance crowd in no time. There are ladies wearing fur and sparkly earrings, gentlemen in suits, and little girls in patent leather shoes during “Nutcracker” season.

But what restaurant is actually worth your time—and money—if you’re dining before the opera, symphony, or ballet?

If you saved for months for your nosebleed seats and don’t want to spend $38 for Absinthe’s cheese plate, consider some of Windy‘s bargain options. Arlequin Café has a lovely back patio, a great lamb burger, and excellent chocolate chip cookies, she says. And rather than ordering a glass of house wine, you can jump over to the connected wine shop next door and buy a glass that better suits your meal or your tastes.

Windy also suggests the newest outpost of The Grove, an always-packed local chain that serves, in my opinion, a solid BLT as well as another Windy-approved chocolate chip cookie.

chairbc visits red-sauce spot Caffe Delle Stelle before performances, and recommends the non-meat pastas for vegetarians while rapini notes that Bar Jules recently adjusted their hours of operation to better accommodate pre-event diners.

Arlequin Café & Food To Go [Hayes Valley]
384 Hayes Street, San Francisco

The Grove [Hayes Valley]
301 Hayes Street, San Francisco

Caffe Delle Stelle [Hayes Valley]
395 Hayes Street, San Francisco

Bar Jules [Hayes Valley]
609 Hayes Street, San Francisco

Discuss: Best place to eat in Hayes Valley, pre-symphony

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