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(Staff) 7000 Geary, SF. 387-7091. Seafood, D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Pera combines elements of Istanbul café and college-town hangout. The Turkish food is vividly flavored, cheap, and served in big portions. Excellent street-gazing possibilities. (PR, 6/05) 349 Clement, SF. 666-3839. Turkish, B/L/D, $, DISC/MC/V.
*Pizzetta 211 practices the art of the pizza in a glowing little storefront space. Thin crusts, unusual combinations, a few side dishes of the highest quality. (PR, 2/04) 211 23rd Ave, SF. 379-9880. Pizza/Italian, L/D, $.
Q rocks, both American-diner-food-wise and noisy-music-wise. Servings of such gratifyingly tasty dishes as barbecued ribs, fish tacos, and rosemary croquettes are huge. (Staff) 225 Clement, SF. 752-2298. American, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
RoHan Lounge serves a variety of soju cocktails to help wash down all those Asian tapas. Beware the kimchee. Lovely curvaceous banquettes. (Staff) 3809 Geary, SF. 221-5095. Asian, D, $, AE/MC/V.
Singapore Malaysian Restaurant eschews decor for cheap, tasty plates, where you'll find flavors ranging from Indian to Dutch colonial to Thai. Seafood predominates in curries, soups, grills, and plenty of rice and noodle dishes. (Staff) 836 Clement, SF. 750-9518. Malaysian, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Spices! has an exclamation point for a reason: its Chinese food, mainly Szechuan and Taiwanese, with an oasis of Shanghai-style dishes, is fabulously hot. Big young crowds, pulsing house music, a shocking orange and yellow paint scheme. Go prepared, leave happy. (Staff) 294 Eighth Ave, SF. 752-8884. Szechuan/Chinese, L/D, $, MC/V.
*Straits Cafe has a slightly campy faux-tropical decor, but its Singaporean menu is a kaleidoscope of mingled satisfactions; masterful deployment of unusual ingredients all the way to a dessert of rice pudding in palm sugar syrup. (Staff) 3300 Geary, SF. 668-1783. Singaporean, L/D, $, AE/DC/MC/V.
Tawan's Thai Food It's tiny, it's cute, the prices are reasonable, and the food is tasty. (Staff) 4403 Geary, SF. 751-5175. Thai, L/D, $, AE/DC/MC/V.
Thai Time proves that good things come in little packages. The food is tremendous. (Staff) 315 Eighth Ave, SF. 831-3663. Thai, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Tia Margarita is an old-style Mexican restaurant with big servings and big flavor. Go hungry. (Staff) 300 19th Ave, SF. 752-9274. Mexican, D, $, MC/V.
Traktir serves as a kind of town hall for the local Russian community, but the food has a distinct international flavor: dolma, feta-cheese salad, Georgian wine, curry-spiked pieces of cold chicken. (Staff) 4036 Balboa, SF. 386-9800. Russian, D, $, MC/V.
Twilight Cafe and Deli is a bit of an oldster, having opened in 1980, but the Middle Eastern menu is full of delights, from falafel and hummus to foul muddamas, a cumin-scented fava bean stew. A fabulous mural on one wall relieves the standard deli dreariness. (Staff) 2600 McAllister, SF. 386-6115. Middle Eastern, B/L/D, ¢, MC/V.
BAYVIEW/HUNTERS POINT/SOUTH
Cable Car Coffee Shop Atmospherically speaking, you're looking at your basic downtown South San Francisco old-style joint, one that serves a great Pacific Scramble for $4.95 and the most perfectest hash browns to be tasted. (Staff) 423 Grand, South SF. (650) 952-9533. American, B/BR/L, ¢.
Cliff's Bar-B-Q and Seafood Some things Cliff's got going for him: excellent mustard greens, just drenched in flavorfulness, and barbecued you name it. Brisket. Rib tips. Hot links. Pork ribs. Beef ribs. Baby backs. And then there are fried chickens and, by way of health food, fried fishes. (Staff) 2177 Bayshore, SF. 330-0736. Barbecue, L/D, ¢, AE/DC/MC/V.
JoAnn's Cafe and Pantry has gotten some word-of-mouth recommendations as a dive, but it serves upscale breakfasts with decidedly nondive sides such as low-fat chicken basil sausage, bagels, and homemade muffins and scones. (Staff) 1131 El Camino Real, South SF. (650) 872-2810.