Mediterranean, B/L/D, $, MC/V.
Tangerine occupies one of the lovelier and more tree-lined corners in the Castro, and the “fusion” cooking is really more of a potpourri, ably ranging from gumbo to deep-fried calamari to sea bass edamame. (Staff) 3499 16th St, SF. 626-1700. Fusion, L/D, $, MC/V.
Tao Cafe exudes rich atmosphere — a beautiful two-tone green paint scheme, ceiling fans, bronze fittings — and the attractively brief menu has some smart French touches, including a Vietnamese-style beef bourguignon. Quite cheap considering the high style. (Staff) 1000 Guerrero, SF. 641-9955. Vietnamese, D, $, AE/MC/V.
*Tapeo at Metro City Bar has a leg up on most of the city's tapas places, since it is part of an actual bar (and a gay bar!) in the true tapas tradition. It has a second leg up because the food is both innovative and authentically Iberian. An excellent locale for street surveillance. (PR, 8/04) 3600 16th St, SF. 703-9750. Spanish/tapas, D, $, MC/V.
Thai Chef joins the ranks of top-tier Thai restaurants in the city. Virtually every dish with meat, fish, or poultry is available in meatless guise. (PR, 3/05) 4133 18th St, SF. 551-CHEF. Thai, L/D, $, MC/V.
Tita's Hale Aina Traditional dishes include a tasty lomi lomi scramble chock-full of scallions, tomatoes, and salmon, and refreshing cold green tea soba noodles. (Staff) 3870 17th St, SF. 626-2477. Hawaiian, B/L/D, ¢.
2223 could easily be a happening queer bar, what with all that male energy. But the American menu joins familiarity with high style, and the ambience is that of a great party where you're bound to meet somebody hot. (Staff) 2223 Market, SF. 431-0692. American, BR/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Yianni's brings a bit of Greek sunshine to outer Church Street. All the standards — saganaki and pastitsio, among others — are here, as well as "Greek" pizzas and fries. (Staff) 1708 Church, SF. 647-3200. Greek, BR/D, $$, MC/V.
Le Zinc brings a French bistro presence to 24th Street. The setting is lovely, the food and service uneven and not cheap. But the possibility for something spectacularly good persists. (Staff) 4063 24th St, SF. 647-9400. French, B/BR/L/D, $$$, AE/MC/V.
HAIGHT/COLE VALLEY/WESTERN ADDITION
Alamo Square is an archetype for the "good little place around the corner." Five different kinds of fish are offered next to three cooking techniques and five sauces. (Staff) 803 Fillmore, SF. 440-2828. Seafood, D, $, MC/V.
Ali Baba's Cave Veggie shish kebabs are grilled fresh to order; the hummus and baba ghanoush are subtly seasoned and delicious. (Staff) 531 Haight (at Fillmore), SF. 255-7820; 799 Valencia, SF. 863-3054. Middle Eastern, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
All You Knead emphasizes the wonderful world of yeast — sandwiches, pizzas, etc. — in a space reminiscent of beer halls near Big 10 campuses. (Staff) 1466 Haight, SF. 552-4550. American, B/L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Asqew Grill reinvents the world of fine fast food on a budget with skewers, served in under 10 minutes for under 10 bucks. (Staff) 1607 Haight, SF. 701-9301. California, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Bia’s Restaurant and Wine Bar proves hippies know what’s what in matters of food and wine. An excellent menu of homey items with Middle Eastern and Persian accents; a tight, widely varied wine list. (PR, 11/04) 1640 Haight, SF. 861-8868. California/Middle Eastern, L/D, $, AE/DC/MC/V.
Blue Jay Cafe has the Mayberry, RFD, look and giant platters of Southernish food, including a good catfish po’boy and crispy fried chicken. Everything is under $10. (PR, 4/04) 919 Divisadero, SF. 447-6066. American/soul, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
Brother-in-Laws Bar-B-Cue always wins the "Best Barbecue" prize in our annual Best of the Bay edition: the ribs, chickens, links, and brisket are smoky and succulent; the aroma sucks you in like a tractor beam. (Staff) 705 Divisadero, SF. 931-7427. Barbecue, L/D, $.
Burgermeister uses top-grade Niman Ranch beef for its burgers, but nonetheless they're splendid, with soft buns and crisp, well-salted fries.