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Restaurants & Bars 13

a boston chowhound

twentoystahs | May 18, 200512:09 PM

Hey, I know you guys get requests like this all the time (I know we do on the Boston board) but yes, I'm coming to your fair city, just for a weekend (over Memorial Day). I've done a ton of research and have some ideas of places I'd like to eat. Most are fairly casual (i.e. oysters at the Ferry Landing) so I can just go when I want.
Wondering if there are any quinticential S.F. places I should try that will require a reservation? I'm thinking we'll mostly go with the flow, but I wouldn't mind having a res one night.
So, given that, what would you recommend? Let me give you some parameters:

I am (obviously) into good food, prepared passionately; but I really enjoy a casual atmosphere and not a place that's too stuffy or formal, more along bistro lines. It's not about the money but the type of place I'm looking for shouldn't be crazy expensive...I'm thinking Italian or some Italian influenced; love French too (but again, more Bistro-style), or some sort of mix i.e. California-influenced. To me it's abt using the freshest, seasonal ingredients. I have not ever been to Chez Panisse and so this is an option, would love to hear thoughts on this...again, looking for the more casual side, + like having options vs one prix fix meal for the evening...which I think is downstairs?
Last time I was in SF (years ago) we went to Rose Pistola which we enjoyed.
Most importantly, I'd love a place with real energy, doesn't have to be a 'scene' but I'm not necessarily looking for an intimate dinner, would love a place with an overall 'energetic vibe.'

Looking forward to your suggestions. TIA.

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