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Italian/Argentine, B/L/D, $, MC/V.
Il Cantuccio strikingly evokes that little trattoria you found near the Ponte Vecchio on your last trip to Florence. (Staff) 3228 16th St, SF. 861-3899. Italian, D, $, MC/V.
Chez Papa Bistrot sits like a beret atop Potrero Hill. The food is good, the staff’s French accents authentic, the crowd a lively cross section, but the place needs a few more scuffs and quirks before it can start feeling real. (Staff) 1401 18th St, SF. 824-8210. French, BR/L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Circolo Restaurant and Lounge brings Peruvian- and Asian-influenced cooking into a stylishly barnlike urban space where dot-commers gathered of old. Some of the dishes are overwrought, but the food is splendid on the whole. (PR, 6/04) 500 Florida, SF. 553-8560. Nuevo Latino/Asian, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
[TK]Couleur Café reminds us that French food need be neither fancy nor insular. The kitchen playfully deploys a world of influences — the duck-confit quesadilla is fabulous — and service is precise and attentive despite the modest setting at the foot of Potrero Hill. (PR, 2/06) 300 De Haro, SF. 255-1021. French, BR/L/D, $, AE/DC/MC/V.
*Delfina has grown from a neighborhood restaurant to an event, but an expanded dining room has brought the noise under control, and as always, the food — intense variations on a theme of Tuscany — could not be better. (PR, 2/04) 3621 18th St, SF. 552-4055. California, D, $$, MC/V.
[TK]Dosa serves dosas, the south Indian crepes, along with a wealth of other, and generally quite spicy, dishes from the south of the subcontinent. The cooking tends toward a natural meatlessness; the crowds are intense, like hordes of passengers inquiring about a delayed international flight. (PR, 1/06) 995 Valencia, SF. 642-3672. South Indian, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Double Play sits across the street from what once was Seals Stadium, but while the field and team are gone, the restaurant persists as an authentic sports bar with a solidly masculine aura — mitts on the walls, lots of dark wood, et cetera. The all-American food (soups, sandwiches, pastas, meat dishes, lots of fries) is outstanding. (Staff) 2401 16th St, SF. 621-9859. American, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Emmy's Spaghetti Shack offers a tasty, inexpensive, late-night alternative to Pasta Pomodoro. The touch of human hands is everywhere evident. (Staff) 18 Virginia, SF. 206-2086. Italian, D, $, cash only.
Foreign Cinema serves some fine New American food in a spare setting of concrete and glass that warms up romantically once the sun goes down. (Staff) 2534 Mission, SF. 648-7600. California, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Geranium occupies an old butcher shop and serves vegetarian comfort food that, in its meatless meatiness, manages to honor both past and present in a way that should make everyone happy. (PR, 8/04) 615 Cortland, SF. 647-0118. Vegetarian, BR/D, $$, MC/V.
Herbivore is adorned in the immaculate-architect style: angular blond-wood surfaces and precise cubbyholes abound. (Staff) 983 Valencia, SF. 826-5657; 531 Divisadero (at Fell), SF. 885-7133. Vegetarian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Jasmine Tea House feels vaguely Italian, with its pastel pink walls and peals of opera floating from the kitchen, but the classic Chinese cooking is bright and crisp. Avoid the deep-fried stuff. (Staff) 3253 Mission, SF. 826-6288. Chinese, L/D, $, MC/V.
Joe's Cable Car is the place where "Joe grinds his own fresh meat daily," and it shows. Fill up with a thick milkshake on the side, but skip the disappointing fries. (Staff) 4320 Mission, SF. 334-6699. American, L/D, $, MC/V.
[TK]Kiji announces itself with red lanterns, one above the door, the rest inside. The food is hipster sushi, immaculate and imaginative, with some interesting cooked dishes thrown in. (PR, 1/06) 1009 Guerrero, SF. 282-0400. Japanese, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Last Supper Club is really a trattoria, and an impressive one, from its half-lit reddish-gold interior to its always tasty and sometimes astounding food.