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Persian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Bacio offers homey, traditional Italian dishes in a charmingly cozy rustic space. Service can be slow. (PR, 1/05) 835 Hyde, SF. 292-7999. Italian, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Cordon Bleu has huge portions, tiny prices, and a hoppin' location right next to the Lumiere Theatre. (Staff) 1574 California, SF. 673-5637. Vietnamese, L/D, ¢.
Crustacean is famous for its roast Dungeness crab; the rest of the "Euro/Asian" menu is refreshingly Asian in emphasis. (Staff) 1475 Polk, SF. 776-2722. Fusion, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
East Coast West Delicatessen doesn't look like a New York deli (too much space, air, light), but the huge, fattily satisfying Reubens, platters of meat loaf, black-and-white cookies, and all the other standards compare commendably to their East Coast cousins. (Staff) 1725 Polk, SF. 563-3542. Deli, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
[TK]La Folie could be a neighborhood spot or a destination or both, but either way or both ways it is sensational: an exercise in haute cuisine leavened with a West Coast sense of informality and playfulness. There is a full vegetarian menu and an ample selection of wines by the half bottle. (PR, 2/06) 2316 Polk, SF. 776-5577. French, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Grubstake might look like your typical Polk Gulch diner — sandwiches and burgers, open very late — but the kitchen also turns out some good mom-style Portuguese dishes, replete with olives, salt cod, and linguica. If you crave caldo verde at 3 a.m., this is the place. (Staff) 1525 Pine, SF. 673-8268. Portuguese/American, B/L/D, ¢, cash only.
*Matterhorn Restaurant offers dishes that aren't fondue, but fondue (especially with beef) is the big deal and the answer to big appetites. For dessert: chocolate fondue! (Staff) 2323 Van Ness, SF. 885-6116. Swiss, $$, D, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
O’Reilly’s Holy Grail, a redo of the old Maye’s Oyster House that strikes harmonious notes of chapel and lounge, serves a sophisticated and contemporary Cal-Irish menu. (PR, 10/05) 1233 Polk, SF. 928-1233. California/Irish, BR/L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Persimmon offers a tasty, fairly priced Middle Eastern menu to tourists, theatergoers, and neighbors alike. Excellent hummus. (PR, 9/05) 582 Sutter, SF. 433-5525. Middle Eastern, B/L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Le Petit Robert offers classy French cooking as a wealth of small plates, along with a few larger ones, in a setting that's at once spacious and warm. Not cheap, but good value. (Staff) 2300 Polk, SF. 922-8100. French, L/D, $$, MC/V.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse brings on the lipids in a big, big way — even the salads are well marbled — but if you're not worried about fat, you'll find the food to be quite tasty, the mood soothingly refined. (Staff) 1601 Van Ness, SF. 673-0557. Steak, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Wasabi and Ginger looks to become a popular neighborhood spot. The sushi is first rate, but the great stuff on the menu is cooked: buttery-tender beef short ribs and a seafood-miso soup served in a teapot. (Staff) 2299 Van Ness, SF. 345-1368. Japanese, L/D, $, MC/V.
Yabbies Coastal Kitchen There's lots to shuck and swallow at the raw bar, but don't miss tropical seafood cocktails (like the crab with mango and lemongrass) piled glamorously into martini glasses. (Staff) 2237 Polk, SF. 474-4088. California, D, $$, MC/V.
Zarzuela's rich selection of truly delicious tapas and full meals makes it a neighborhood favorite. (Staff) 2000 Hyde, SF. 346-0800. Tapas, D, $$, DISC/MC/V.
CIVIC CENTER/TENDERLOIN
A la Turca is a surprisingly stylish spot on a not particularly stylish block. Excellent pides and Turkish beer. (PR, 3/04) 869 Geary, SF. 345-1011. Turkish, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Ananda Fuara serves a distinctly Indian-influenced vegetarian menu in the sort of calm surroundings that are increasingly the exception to the rule. (Staff) 1298 Market, SF. 621-1994. Vegetarian, L/D, ¢, cash only.
[TK]*Bodega Bistro has a certain colonial formality — much of the menu is given in French — and it does attract a tony expat crowd.