I started coming to SF for a conference a few years ago and have fallen in love with the awesome food here.
I have eaten at Nopalito, Michael Mina, Perbacco, Barbacco, Jardiniere, La Taqueria, Garaje (quite the range...was not paying for myself at the $$$$ restaurants!) but some of my absolute favorites are Il Casaro on Columbus, the saturday morning farmer's market at the ferry building, and I must now say Don Pisto's which I looved last night.
I find it difficult to find new great places to try for mid-priced dinners because I am a creature of habit and keep wanting to go back to the same places I love so much...or even if I decide ot try somewhere new, I have so enjoyed the italian and mexican food here that I find myself looking at places in one of those two genres (speaking of which...how is tacolicious?!).
What I would really like is a place with "northern california" or "american" cuisine (something to break me away from the mexican/italian)...priced reasonably...that will knock my socks off like some of the places I have been (not saying it should be fancy, but just exceptionally delicious/well executed).
I have heard of State Bird provisions...and on one of these trips I will splurge for one night and book a table 3 months in advance... I also have looked at The Progress which could be just the ticket, but the format (pick 4 entrees, share) would be challenging as I am travelling with a colleague that wont eat any seafood and I would hate to have to navigate that menu with that limitation.
Any other tips for places I should give consideration to that I may have overlooked?