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Peruvian, D, $$, MC/V.
Espetus means “skewer” in Portuguese, and since the place is a Brazilian grill, the (huge) skewers are laden with a variety of meat, poultry, and seafood. The giant buffet at the rear assures that you will not — you cannot — leave hungry. (PR, 3/04) 1686 Market, SF. 552-8792. Brazilian, L/D, $$$, MC/V.
Frjtz serves first-rate Belgian fries, beer, crepes, and sandwiches in an art-house atmosphere. If the noise overwhelms, take refuge in the lovely rear garden. (Staff) 579 Hayes, SF. 864-7654; also at Ghirardelli Square, SF. 928-3886. Belgian, B/L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Hayes Street Grill still offers a workable formula: the best fish, prepared with conservative expertise and offered with a choice of sauce and excellent pommes frites. An old, reliable friend. (Staff) 320 Hayes, SF. 863-5545. Seafood, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Sauce enjoys the services of chef Ben Paula, whose uninhibited California cooking is as easy to like as a good pop song. (PR, 5/05) 131 Gough, SF. 252-1369. California, D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Suppenküche has a Busvan for Bargains, butcher-block look that gives context to its German cuisine. If you like schnitzel, brats, roasted potatoes, eggs, cheese, cucumber salad, cold cuts, and cold beer, you'll love it here. (Staff) 601 Hayes, SF. 252-9289. German, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
*Zuni Cafe is one of the most celebrated — and durable — restaurants in town, perhaps because its kitchen has honored the rustic country cooking of France and Italy for the better part of two decades. (PR, 2/05) 1658 Market, SF. 552-2522. California, B/L/D, $$$, AE/MC/V.
CASTRO/NOE VALLEY/GLEN PARK
Alice's sits on an obscure corner of outer Noe Valley, but the Chinese food is reliably fresh, tasty, and cheap. The decor is surprisingly elegant too: Wedgwood place settings and displays of blown glass. (Staff) 1599 Sanchez, SF. 282-8999. Chinese, L/D, $, MC/V.
Amberjack Sushi is like a miniature version of Blowfish or Tokyo Go Go. The more complex dishes, such as a tuna-sashimi tartare with lemon olive oil, are better than the simple, traditional stuff, which can be overchilled. (Staff) 1497 Church, SF. 920-1797. Japanese, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Bacco breathes north Italian authenticity, from the terra-cotta-colored walls to the traditional but vivid veal preparations. One of the best neighborhood Italian restaurants in town. (Staff) 737 Diamond, SF. 282-4969. Italian, D, $$, MC/V.
Blue dishes up home cooking as good as any mom’s, in a downtown New York environment — of mirrors, gray-blue walls, and spotlights — that would blow most moms away. (Staff) 2337 Market, SF. 863-2583. American, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
Burgermeister uses top-grade Niman Ranch beef for its burgers, but nonetheless they're splendid, with soft buns and crisp, well-salted fries. Foofy California wrinkles are available if you want them, but why would you? (PR, 5/04) 138 Church, SF. 437-2874. Burgers, L/D, $.
Catch offers some excellent seafood pastas and a fabulous dish of mussels in Pernod over frites, while the atmosphere is full of Castro festivity. (Staff) 2362 Market, SF. 431-5000. Seafood, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Chenery Park is the restaurant Glen Park has been waiting for all these years: a calm, understated setting and an eclectic American menu with plenty of sly twists. (Staff) 683 Chenery, SF. 337-8537. American, D, $$, MC/V.
Chow serves up an easy Californian blend of American and Italian favorites, with a few Asian elements thrown into the mix. (Staff) 215 Church, SF. 552-2469. California, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Côté Sud brings a stylish breath of Provence to the Castro. The cooking reflects an unfussy elegance; service is as crisp as a neatly folded linen napkin. Nota bene: you must climb a set of steps to reach the place. (Staff) 4238 18th St, SF. 255-6565. French, D, $$, MC/V.
Eric's Dig into the likes of mango shrimp, hoisin green beans, and spicy eggplant with chicken in this bright, airy space. (Staff) 1500 Church, SF. 282-0919.