Enricos - Enrico's packages up the essence of a European sidewalk cafe and plops it down in North Beach -- adding some good American live jazz for localization. Most people don't go to Enrico's for the food, although it is good enough that you could make that the reason for your trip. A table outside is a great place for Sunday brunch while watching the San Francisco Grand Prix. Or, you can sit inside on a foggy evening and listen to jazz. The menu is Italian, but is also influenced by the Alice Waters revolution. You can get fried calamari, shrimp risotto or homemade lasagna, but you can also get roasted chicken, pan roasted halibut and Niman Ranch lamb sirloin. Recommended.
Firewood Café (Metreon) - Living in the city of Saint Francis, our heritage is linked to miracles of long-ago. Magically, our present also includes miracles such as the presence of good food in a movie theatre food court. Firewood Cafe has two locations in the City, the original one in the Castro, and an outpost in the Sony/Lowes Metreon. Both of them feature pizza from a wood-fired oven as well as pastas including roasted chicken and mortadella tortellini, and penne pasta in a white wine cream sauce with proscuitto and shiitake mushrooms (my two favorites). The prices are reasonable. I will admit that I sometimes visit the Metreon solely to get take out from the Firewood Cafe. Recommended.
Fog City Diner - Well it *looks* a bit like a diner, but you won't find anything like this along the roadside in New Jersey (nor will you find a road like the palm tree lined Embarcadero in New Jersey). I had a feeling of deja vu when I saw this place: it reminded me of the Buckhead Diner in Atlanta, and for good reason! Pat Kuleto designed both of them. Neither, however, will remind you of Hopper's Nighthawks painting: they are "Yuppie Diners," comfortable and upscale. They have hash here, but it is "Lobster and Chicken Hash with Sweet Corn and Tomato pan sauce." They have macaroni and cheese, too, but the cheese is Gouda, and includes Hobbs Ham and costs (at this writing) $10.75. I had the "Ahi Tuna Carpaccio with Wasabi Cream and Daikon Sprouts" when I was there and it was fine. If you eat too much and feel in need of some exercise when you are finished, the steep routes up the north side of Telegraph Hill are only a block or so away. Take a hike up the stairs and through the fabled gardens of Babylon by the Sea, and see if you can spot any of the mysterious and shy green parrots. Recommended.