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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the San Francisco-based diner chain Mel’s Drive- In. In 1972, a location appeared in George Lucas’ film “American Graffiti.” The vinyl and chrome decor, jukebox and vintage cars make for a fun, nostalgia-filled dining experience. It’s open late, serves breakfast all day and even has a fresh-squeezed fruit juice bar. The menu offers staples such as chicken potpie, meatloaf, grassfed beef burgers and milkshakes. San Francisco has four locations. 801 Mission St., 415.227.0793
Spanish Located on the street level of the Swedish American Hall, this Basque restaurant (pronounced aah- CHAY) excels in Spanish wines, ciders, beers and tapas from talented chef Ryan Pollnow. 2174 Market St., 415.471.2977.
CANELA BISTRO AND WINE BAR
Spanish/ Tapas This elegant restaurant in the Castro neighborhood serves traditional tapas and modern Spanish dishes, sourcing ingredients from sustainable California markets, farms and fisheries. The wine list is carefully curated to pair with the extensive menu, and the dim, thoughtfully decorated dining room has a romantic feel. Brunch (Su), D (nightly), closed M. 2272 Market St., 415.552.3000.
California Serving modern California cuisine in a neighborhood setting, acclaimed Frances serves delights like chestnut soup with roasted ciopollini and house- cured pancetta; slow-roasted beef with creamed winter greens; and ling cod crusted with Boccalone lardo, squash and apples. D (nightly). 3870 17th St., 415.621.3870. $$$
CHINATOWN R&G LOUNGE
Chinese This bustling spot has a colorful lounge and cheerful, modest decor in the dining room downstairs. The Hong Kong-style menu includes tank-fresh seafood. The Travel Channel’s “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain visited the restaurant on his show and raved about the salt and pepper crab. L, D (daily). 631 Kearny St., 415.982.7877. $$
CIVIC CENTER/ HAYES VALLEY AUGUST 1 FIVE
Modern Indian This restaurant, named for the holiday and date commemorating India’s independence from British rule, celebrates the regional cooking of northern and central India as seen through a modern California lens. A global wine list and cocktails highlighting ingredients like turmeric, jaggery and house-made kefir round out the beverage options. The interior is inspired by the jewel tones and motifs of India’s national bird, the peacock, and features rich woods, brass accents and booths draped in teal velvet. 524 Van Ness Ave., 415.771.5900.
Mexican This upscale Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar is the latest success story from chef Gabriela Camara, who is known for several respected restaurants in Mexico, including MeroToro and Contramar. The seafood and vegetable-focused menu is unlike that of any Mexican restaurant in San Francisco. 149 Fell St., 415.660.7701.
ESPETUS BRAZILIAN STEAK HOUSE
Steaks Pace yourself: This authentic Brazilian steakhouse offers all-you- can- eat skewers (“espetus” in Portuguese) of slow-roasted beef, lamb, pork, chicken and shrimp for a fixed price. The giant salad buffet is included. L, D (daily). 1686 Market St., 415.552.8792. $$$ ; 710 S B St., San Mateo, 650.342.8700.
New American This modern California eatery serves up dishes free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Little Gem belongs reflects a growing trend of fine dining in a casual setting, offering counter service for lunch and weekend breakfast. Dinner is a sit- down affair with servers, and highlights include smoked Wagyu beef brisket and king salmon topped with lemon scallion vinaigrette. 400 Grove St., 415.914.0501.
American Named for its location North of the Panhandle, this expansive, hip restaurant serves wood-fired rustic cuisine that epitomizes the best of San Francisco’s current food scene. One of the city’s best late-night dining options, it’s also popular for its brunch, burger and pork chops. Brunch (Sa-Su), D (nightly until 1 am). 560 Divisadero St., 415.864.8643. $$$
Mediterranean Three words: Get the chicken. This San Francisco institution has been in business for more than 35 years and is most famous for its cooked-to- order roast chicken for two (allow an hour), a true stand- out on the Mediterranean-inspired menu of roasted and grilled goodness. Watch the vintage street cars roll down Market Street through the floor-toceiling windows while you wait. Brunch (Su), L, D (daily), closed M. 1658 Market St., 415.552.2522. $$$
FINANCIAL DISTRICT GOCHEES PIZZA
Pizza Whether you’re looking for a quick slice or you’re planning a meal for 100, Gochees has you covered. The downtown joint specializes in thin crust pizzas for dine in, pickup
or delivery. 2 Embarcadero Ctr., 415.834.9600.
LEO’S OYSTER BAR
Seafood This upscale seafood restaurant is the latest establishment from Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas (Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier), who describe the place as having a “breezy, slightly tropical ‘50s feel.” The retro interior was inspired by the TV show “Mad Men” and features a long brass and onyx bar complete with an oyster station as well as an atrium outfitted with ferns and other plants. Menu highlights include more than a half dozen varieties of oysters along with crab, shrimp, lobster Louie and lobster rolls. 568 Sacramento St., 415.872.9982.
American This ever-popular restaurant on the Embarcadero waterfront across from the Ferry Building offers contemporary presentations of American classics from chef/partner Mark Dommen, showcasing farmfresh ingredients, heritage meats, artisanal cheeses and an all-American wine list. 1 Market St., 415.777.5577. $$$
Japanese & Sushi Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga’s modern Japanese pub, or izakaya, offers sushi, robata and small-plate menus complemented by more than 100 premium sake selections and a variety of wines, Japanese whiskies, cocktails and Asian beers. 101 California St., 415.668.7228.
FISHERMAN’S WHARF/ WATERFRONT ALIOTO’S
Seafood One of San Francisco’s oldest restaurants run by one of the city’s most prominent families, this Fisherman’s Wharf landmark has magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay and a reputation for great cioppino and fresh seafood. Don’t mess
around with the menu: Get the Dungeness crab. Cracked, caked, stuffed or stewed, it’s impossible to get your fill. L, D (daily). 8 Fisherman’s Wharf, 415.673.0183. $$
THE BUENA VISTA CAFE
American This wharf institution by the Hyde Street cable car turnaround is famous for first introducing Irish coffee to the U. S. in 1952, and it has served millions of the hot cocktails since. B,L, D (daily). 2765 Hyde St., 415.474.5044. $$
Seafood & Steak In a dramatic setting by the waters of San Francisco Bay, diners can still watch fishermen bringing their boats to dock and unloading the day’s catch. The menu features fresh seafood, steaks and chops. Don’t miss the daily happy hour and live music throughout the week. 286 Jefferson St., 415.776.5015. $$$
FRANCISCAN CRAB RESTAURANT
Seafood Floor-to- ceiling windows provide spectacular bay views from every table in this three-tiered, spacious mid- century modern gem. Menu highights include fish and chips, sizzling iron skillet mussels and whole roasted Dungeness crab. Free parking with validation. L, D (daily). Pier 43 1/2, 415.362.7733. $$$
BEACH STREET GRILL ORGANIC RESTAURANT
American Known for its warm hospitality and all- day breakfast, the key word at this diner is homemade, from meltin-your-mouth blueberry pancakes to gravy-smothered biscuits. The outside patio is a great spot to enjoy a break from city life. B, L (daily), D (SaSu). 380 Beach St., 415.867.1711. $$
JAPANTOWN/ LOWER FILLMORE 1300 ON FILLMORE
American This spot in the heart of the Fillmore District
serves up soulful American cuisine. Signature dishes include black skillet-fried organic chicken, shrimp and grits and maple syrup slowbraised short ribs. Don’t miss the Heritage Wall paying homage to the neighborhood’s legendary jazz history. Gospel Brunch on Sundays. D (nightly). 1300 Fillmore St., 415.771.7100. $$$
New American Named after the Progress Theater that occupied the same building over a century ago, this is the second restaurant from the team behind the national smash-hit State Bird Provisions, and it’s located just next door. The boundary busting, international menu is served family style (choose six dishes for $62 per person) and features dishes like lamb merguez with yellow eye beans, octopus and crispy squid. If you don’t manage to snag a reservation, the bar is walk-in only. The Progress is a 2015 James Beard Award winner. 1525 Fillmore St., 415.673.1294.
MARINA/ COW HOLLOW A16
Italian This Marina neighborhood hot spot combines the cuisine of Campania with the pizzas of Naples and pours small-production wines from California and Southern Italy. L ( W- F), D (nightly). 2355 Chestnut St., 415.771.2216. $$$
French This modern upscale restaurant from the world’s only two Michelin-star female chef blends the line between food and art, presenting garden- centric dishes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate and menus that read like poetry. Giving center stage to the food, the 40-seat dining room has an earthy, minimalist appearance with teak tables, fig trees and glass orbs that provide soft lighting. Diners can select from one of two multi- course
tasting menus. D ( Tu-Sa). 3127 Fillmore St., 415.440.0460. $$$$ MAYBECK’S
Italian This Italian restaurant explores regional culinary standards (with a heavy focus on Italian American cooking) and playfully translates them into a Northern California style. Refined, light-handed renditions of classics pair with a Negroni- centered bar. The dimly lit and white tablecloth- cloaked dining room coupled with the big band soundtrack creates a dash of drama and a dose of old school charm. 3213 Scott St., 415.400.8500. MISSION DISTRICT AL’S PLACE
California Cuisine Named America’s best new restaurant of 2015 by Bon Appetit magazine, Al’s Place is a casual, 46-seat restaurant located on an unassuming corner in the outskirts of the Mission District. Chef and owner Aaron London, a Sonoma native who’s worked at acclaimed restaurants like Ubuntu, creates vegetable-focused and seafood main dishes, offering meat as a side. 1499 Valencia St., 415.416.6136. CRAFTSMAN & WOLVES
Bakery This modern and sleek patisserie in the hip Valencia corridor from James Beardnominated chef William Werner features a rotating menu of breakfast pastries, cakes, confections, confitures, desserts, lunch and other savory fare. The bakery is famous for the Rebel Within, a savory breakfast muffin with asiago cheese, green onion and breakfast sausage baked into the mix and a full soft- cooked farm egg in the center. 746 Valencia St., 415.913.7713; 1643 Pacific Ave., 415.855.1414. DELFINA
Italian This bustling neighborhood trattoria is a local favorite that pioneered San Francisco’s farm-to-table movement. It has received rave reviews since its opening in 1998 and still packs the house (and outdoor patio) each night. D (nightly). 3621 18th St., 415.552.4055. $$$ FOREIGN CINEMA
California Never was the old dinner-and-a-movie done so artfully, or so deliciously. The vast, bohemian- chic space suits the always excellent California- Mediterranean cuisine. A heated, covered patio screens a rotation of classic, foreign and independent films projected onto one of three walls, and speakers on each table allow you to adjust the volume. Meandering through the changing exhibits in the adjacent gallery is the perfect way to wait for a table. Brunch (Sa-Su), D (nightly). 2534 Mission St., 415.648.7600. $$$ TARTINE BAKERY & CAFE
Dessert/Coffee This popular artisan bakery serves freshfrom-the- oven pastries all day, as well as pies, cakes, artisan bread and coffee. Breakfast quiches, gourmet sandwiches, classic pastries and an addictive bread pudding keep folks lining up. B, L (daily). 600 Guerrero St., 415.487.2600. $ NOB HILL OSSO STEAKHOUSE
Steaks This swanky, sprawling steakhouse with a striking Art Deco interior is located just across the street from Grace Cathedral in the storied Nob Hill neighborhood. Menu standouts include dry-aged steaks and buttery Dungeness crab. D (nightly).
1177 California St., 415.771.6776. $$$
NORTH BEACH FIOR D’ITALIA
Italian Dubbed America’s oldest Italian restaurant, Fior d’Italia has been serving authentic Northern Italian cuisine since 1886. It has has more than 20 varieties of pastas to choose from, most of them made in-house. L, D (daily). 2237 Mason St., 415.986.1886. $$
NORTH BEACH RESTAURANT
Italian This classic restaurant serves generous portions of hearty Tuscan cuisine from its extensive menu. The award-winning wine list boasts over 500 bottles to pair with house specialties such as chicken al mattone with Italian herbs, filet of lamb alla Bruno and cioppino alla pescatora. The four dining rooms cater to a variety of occasions, from a power lunch to a first date. 1512 Stockton St., 415.392.1700. $$$
SOTTO MARE OYSTERIA & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Seafood One of Tony Bennett’s favorite San Francisco restaurants, Sotto Mare is an authentic Italian North Beach experience. The seafood restaurant serves up oysters and clams on the half shell, Boston-style clam chowder, baccala, crab cioppino, Louis salads, seafood pastas and more. Sotto Mare’s daily fresh fish can also be purchased retail if you feel like cooking yourself. L, D (M-Sa), close Su. 552 Green St., 415.398.3181.
THE STINKING ROSE
Italian Follow your nose to one of the city’s most interesting dining experiences, where garlic is king. This restaurant goes through more than 5,000 pounds of the pungent ingredient each month. Specialties include 40 clove garlic chicken, pork chops, roasted Dungeness crab and even garlic ice cream. L, D (daily). 325
Columbus Ave., 415.781.7673. $$
American Located in the historic Jackson Square district, Trestle offers a dailly- changing prix-fixe menu of refined comfort cuisine. English pea soup or mushroom pappardelle followed by crispy-skin striped bass served with polenta and lobster emulsion are just a few dishes you might served up at this intimate establishment. 531 Jackson St., 415.772.0922.
RICHMOND/ OCEAN BEACH CLIFF HOUSE
American Near Ocean Beach and Lands End Trail, this iconic historic site located on a headland above the coastal cliffs is home to two restaurants and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean (whale and sea lion spotting is a possibility) and Sutro Baths. The camera obscura on the deck is on the National Register of Historic Places. Sutro’s offers an upscale setting, while The Bistro offers a more casual experience, with burgers, sandwiches and other California favorites. B,L, D (daily). 1090 Point Lobos Ave., 415.386.3330.
SOUTH OF MARKET (SOMA) ARCHIVE BAR & KITCHEN
American Housed in the historic, pre- earthquake Atlas Building, Archive offers a menu designed with sharing and socializing in mind. Pizzas are the focus, but the restaurant and bar hybrid is also known for its sliders, salads and charcuterie as well as seasonal cocktails and local and craft beers. 602 Mission St., 415.987.5770.
Asian The San Francisco location of this international restaurant family features Roy Yamaguchi’s signature Hawaiian-fusion cuisine, complemented by exotic cocktails, Yamaguchi’s own line of premium sake, and Hawaiian art. L (M- F), D (nightly). 575 Mission St., 415.777.0277. $$$
UNION SQUARE FARALLON
Seafood This classic Pat Kuleto restaurant in Union Square has been enchanting guests for 18 years with carefully crafted details that capture the life aquatic. Blending casual and high- end coastal cuisine, Farallon offers fresh seafood options and simple raw preparations from the oyster bar. Beyond the welcoming spot’s dinner menu, find an approachable wine list, one of the largest collections of single malt whiskeys in the city and inventive desserts. D (nightly). 450 Post St., 415.956.6969. $$$
American Founded in 1908, this casual steakhouse is one of the city’s oldest restaurants, steeped in San Francisco history. It served as a setting for the classic book and movie, “The Maltese Falcon.” The framed black-and-white photographs and news clippings hung throughout serve as a veritable museum of San Francisco memorabilia. Live jazz every night. L, D (daily). 63 Ellis St., 415.986.0069.
NEW DELHI RESTAURANT
Indian Decorated like a Maharajah’s private banquet room, this regal restaurant serves northern Indian food, with recipes culled from royal menus dating back 400 years. Chef- owner Ranjan Dey creates daily specials with his six gourmet spice blends. The bar has drawn downtown professionals since the ‘80s with its Double- HappinessHappy Hour, 5:30-7:30 pm and 10 pm-midnight. Try the Madras Madness or Oh! Calcutta. L (M-Sa), D (nightly). 160 Ellis St., 415.397.8470. $$
VAN NESS CORRIDOR HARRIS’ STEAKHOUSE
Steaks This iconic restaurant represents classic steakhouse dining, but chef Michael Buhagier adds a California sensibility, The Kobe rib eye, cut from select Japanese cattle reared for optimal marbling, has a rich and delicate texture. A red cabernet butter melts on its seared surface, typifying a subtle flair for the unexpected. 2100 Van Ness Ave., 415.673.1888.
BAY AREA CHEZ PANISSE
California Don’t forget to make reservations for Chez Panisse, the famed Berkeley restaurant founded by Slow Food movement chef Alice Waters. The wait for a table at the main restaurant can be up to a month! If you’re looking for a more casual experience, however, the cafe below offers similarly organic, gourmet meals at an affordable price. 1517 Shattuck Ave., 510.548.5525.
THE RESTAURANT AT WENTE VINEYARDS
California This restaurant features California wine country cuisine. Enjoy seasonal dishes made from ingredients sourced from the vineyard’s magnificent herb and vegetable garden, along with numerous wine pairings for each dish. 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, 925.456.2450.
7 MILE HOUSE
Located in Brisbane, this is a family and dog-friendly restaurant, sports bar and live music venue. The historic site is more than 163 years old and was originally built as a stagecoach stop seven miles from the San Francisco Ferry Building. Today, the restaurant is known for Filipino dishes including sisig and adobo, as well as live jazz performances three times a week. 2800 Bayshore Blvd., Brisbane, 415.467.2343.