Archive for San Francisco

A16

cotogna

It’s been a few hers since I last went to A16 Founding chef Nate Appleman was still there
and a reservation was essential. We dropped in there just before 11 on a Saturday night and it was packed full of people. We got a table without any problem. We’d originally planned to go to Mamacita which advertised itself as being open til midnight but its kitchen actually closed at 10:30.

As much as I was looking forward to a Mexican meal, I am glad I ended up at A16 after all. We started with some artichokes and mozzarella paired with some pine nuts that was cooked in some savory broth almost like a thick kitchen soup. It was delicious. Then we had the pizza bianca. Green olives, fresh herbs, and fontina went well with the slightly burned thin crust. We then topped the meal off with a real special treat: porchetta. The porchetta didn’t have much in the way of herbs inside but it did have crispy salty skin to complement the moist pork meat and fat on the inside. It was served with some arugula, pickled strawberries, and hazelnuts. Though it wasn’t exactly what I expected, I am glad we had it. Very delicious.

A16
2355 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
415.771.2216

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Cotogna

cotogna

Quince is one of SF’s best dress up restaurants. Cotogna (Quince in Italian) is Quince’s little sibling, more casual and affordable than it’s grown up sibling next door. Even at 10:45 on a Saturday night (with a reservation) we still had to wait a few minutes for our table. Even that late at night the place was hopping.


We started with the sformato, which is like a savory custard — it was quite good. The tagliatelle with duck bolognese was also good. We even had the squid flatbread and while it was good it was not as good as Starbelly or Zero Zero. For dessert, I got the bombolini which are little Italian donuts. Can’t resist an opportunity to have some donuts, right?

Parking, even late at night, was a challenge since the place is so close to crazy North Beach. Upon leaving I dropped my phone on the floor and broke the screen. How sad — it took my almost a week to get my replacement phone. All in all, this is one of the hottest reservations in the city and it was good but didn’t blow me away. Even late at night, I’d highly recommend a reservations.

Cotogna
490 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
415.775.8508

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Starbelly

star belly

Owned by the same folks who brought you the Mission’s Beretta, Starbelly is also a casual, mostly Italian, place on the edge of the Castro. We started our meal with some terrine which was served with mustard and some tangy jam. We followed that up with a nice salad featuring some goat cheese and pears. Our entree was a mushroom pizza with gruyere and we added sausage to that. It was pretty busy on a Sunday night around 10 but we got seated right away and ended up having a very relaxing and delicious meal. I love restaurants like this and I would certainly go back to Starbelly anytime.

Starbelly
3583 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
415.252.7500

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Zero Zero

zero zeroNamed after the fine grade of flour used in all the best pizzas, Zero Zero (or ’00′) is a fine italian restaurant in SoMa. They specialize in plates for sharing. I’d been there a couple times for lunch/snacks when I worked at the Chronicle. Finally went there for a full dinner on St. Patrick’s Day.


For starters we had the arancini with black garlic sauce. They were perfectly browned with rice and cheese just oozing out of them. Additionally we also had a pizza, The Geary, which featured clams, bacon, and calabrian chile. Wow — the crust was blackened just a bit on the edges and it was delicious. We also tried their spaghetti with local crab which was also a winner.


We decided to skip dessert and our server still brought us two zeppoles on the house! Even if you don’t have a reservation you should consider walking in. Even if you can’t get in here, the same block has LuLu, Bis, and Oola as alternatives.

Zero Zero
826 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
415.348-8800
Late night: Open ’til 11 Fri/Sat

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Boxing Room

boxing roomA late night spot that also serves Louisiana/Creole cuisine? SF’s Boxing Room has it all. These days with my wife sometimes working late at a local SF spa, I’ve been going into the city once a week for a nice late night dinner. At first we tried limiting our late night choices to Oakland but it turns out there aren’t too many of them and the places in Uptown are just too popular for a quite late night meal to unwind. When I began to research SF options I found many.


At the Boxing Room (which used to house Citizen Cake) we had some local oysters, an oyster po’ boy, and some of the best collard greens with ham hocks I’ve ever had. I can’t forget to mention that they also have hushpuppies. Next time I go back I need to remember to leave room for the beignets! Yum.


Boxing Room
399 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
415.430.6590
Late night: Open ’til 11 Sun-Thu; ’til 12 Fri/Sat

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Cobb’s Comedy Club

CobbsIf you like standup comedy, the best place to go in the Bay Area is Cobb’s Comedy Club. As you can see from the thumbnail, we went there to see Patton Oswalt. He had a great routine. At Cobb’s we have also seen Sarah Silverman. If you go, get there early so you can get a good seat. Seating is first come, first served and there’s a two drink minimum. If you don’t have time to eat before the show, you can also order food and they wll bring it to your table.


Cobb’s Comedy Club
915 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
415.928.4320

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Iluna Basque

Iluna BasqueOn our way to see Patton Oswalt at Cobb’s we figured we could duck into one of North Beach’s many Italian restaurants. No such luck — there was a long wait at all of ‘em and we were short on time. Luckily we found Iluna Basque. They had a delightful menu of all kinds of tapas. The seafood dishes were especially good. Chef Mattin Noblia is going to be on one of our favorite shows Top Chef (season 6). So, if you’re in North Beach, this place is worth a visit. Just have tapas and a drink or make a meal out of it.


Iluna Basque
701 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
415.402.0011

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Citrus Club

Citrus ClubThe Citrus Club doesn’t really have much to do with citrus and it really isn’t a club either (even though it does have a bar). The first couple times I passed by this place while shopping at Amoeba in SF, it didn’t really register on me that this was a restaurant.

In fact, this place is actually a very nice noodle house with a casual and somewhat funky vibe. The prices here are very reasonable, the portions are large, and we’ve never had to wait long for a table even though it’s often packed. I really like their garlic-soy sauce edamame. I don’t go over to this part of SF too often but I can’t think of another place in the upper Haight I want to eat at (except maybe Cha Cha Cha).


Citrus Club
1790 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
415.387.6366

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Kid Robot

Kid RobotThe vinyl toy craze may have slowed down a bit but one of my favorite stores Kid Robot is still going strong. This Haight Street haven has the best selection of limited edition vinyl toys around. They used to carry lots of Asian blind box toy editions but these days most of those are their own brand. Also, they have plenty of limited edition vinyl figures displayed in cases lining the store walls. They now have stores all over the country but I’ll always love the store that started it all.


Kid Robot
1512 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
415.487.9000

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Icebee

IcebeeThe newest frozen yogurt concept allows you to blend your own flavors and add your own toppings and then pay for the snack by weight. The new Icebee store near my office in San Francisco is a lot of fun. They’ve got all the usual toppings you’d expect as well as some nice suprises such as fruity pebbles. The flavors were actually quite good including green tea and peanut butter/banana. Frozen yogurt seems to be making a comeback — it was really big in the late eighties.


Icebee
829 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
415.882.7800

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