Good Morning! My daughter and I are just back from a wonderful 4 day trip to SF, her 21st birthday choice! Although the main thrust of this trip was shopping, mom insisted on finding some nice dining choices. I posted my full trip report on Fodor's, but I lurked here for awhile and would like to payback with a summary of where we ate:
Restaurants: (aaahhh....now we're getting to mom's favorite - I may not have a shopping gene but I definitely make up for it with the dining gene!)
Kuleto's for lunch on our first day - they set a new standard for calamari and salad! - wonderful.
R & G Lounge in Chinatown. We had a late and very tired (us) dinner, so did not fully appreciate the food, but the atmosphere was clean and friendly, the Mai Tai was perfect, and it was nice to see the staff all sit down together and eat at 10 PM at the big table next to us (what a hoot! they all used forks! I'm not so stupid after all!).
Fritz in Hayes Valley. Hot inside, so we grabbed the only outdoor table, and those fries were perfect, I can still taste them! Fun to choose from the ten dipping sauces, but they're not even necessary.
Sodini's Italian in North Beach, The atmosphere was great, very local, great waitress and bartender. Food was mediocre - the calamari was only rings, and not tender (especially after being spoiled by Kuleto's), wine list was miniscule. I had petitioned for North Beach, but was overridden by daughter's friend on this one. Hmmmm....will have to go back!
Greco (El Greco?)for dessert in North Beach. Aaaahhh the tiramisu and cheesecake were wonderful, we enjoyed them as takeout.
Dottie's True Blue American, cafe near Union Square. This place was perfect for breakfast, the blackboard specials were awesome, real maple syrup on every table, and that All-American feel, San Fran style (that means with tattoos etc). We did have to wait in line, but that's how you know it's worth it, right?
Frisson. Our concierge (who recommended Frisson as a "groovy place" to celebrate a 21st bday) had mistakenly made our res for the wrong night, however the restaurant was gracious in squeezing us in anyway. Boy what a scene. Buzzing with 20 and 30 somethings wearing their designer duds, a truly inventive drink list, beautiful furnishings, even an Ally McBeel unisex bathroom with a breakdancing attendant - all added to the sexy NOW appeal of this place. With a bar scene this trendy, I figured the food would be mediocre. But it wasn't - it was truly gourmet, with a sweetbread ravioli app that was heaven in a bowl. Ditto the duck and my daughter's lamb. Food portions were quite small, but that gave us excuses to order the mini desserts. Imagine a homemade Fudgesicle, and truffles with hot chocolate centers! See why I call it sexy?
Lori's Diner. We had breakfast at this forgettable place on Fisherman's Wharf.
Cafe De Paris L'Entrecote. The food was rich and delicious - we had the steak with frites. The waiter, a very young Frenchman who never smiled once, was rude to my daughter. Twice when she asked for something, he gave it to me instead. When he brought her the wrong soda, he rolled his eyes when she pointed it out. She asked for the heater to be turned on, we were on the patio and it was chilly. He turned it on, but in five minutes turned it off again. Brrrr!
Catch in the Castro area. We dined here for sidewalk Sunday brunch. The staff was wonderful, the 1/2 pitcher of wine was more like 4 glasses, and the food was excellent. Highly recommend.
Top Of The Mark. Of course we stopped for a drink, to toast the great town. My daughter counted 75 martini offerings (and then ordered a coke - she's all talk!). what a view!
Martuni's. Not food, but a gay cabaret/karaoke type place. We were warned by the concierge that it was "80% gay" but it was FUN! and we felt very welcome - and safe! I was kind of surprised my young gal would like the 70's music - but she did!
Farallon. We did not eat here, but I HAD to look. We were dressed up, so that may account for the friendly invite to walk through from the hostess. Truly a beautiful place, just amazing. But the restauranteur in me kept wondering "how can they make a profit with all this ART to pay for?"
All in all, a great trip and a memory that will last both our lifetimes. Life is sweet when you have great kids! I can't wait til the next one turns 21, since I have more restaurants on my must try list!