Welcome to our dining listings, a detailed guide by neighborhood of some great places to grab a bite, hang out with friends, or impress the ones you love with thorough knowledge of this delectable city. Restaurants are reviewed by Paul Reidinger (PR) or staff. All area codes are 415, and all restaurants are wheelchair accessible, except where noted.
BR Saturday and/or Sunday brunch
AE American Express
DC Diners Club
¢ less than $7 per entrée
$$$ more than $20
Bocadillos serves bocadillos little Spanish-<\d>style sandwiches on little round buns but the menu ranges more widely, through a variety of Spanish and Basque delights. Decor is handsome, though a little too stark-<\d>modern to be quite cozy. (PR, 8/04) 710 Montgomery, SF. Spanish/<\d>Basque, L/D, $, MC/V.
Boulevard runs with ethereal smoothness you are cosseted as if at a chic private party but despite much fame the place retains its brasserie trappings and joyous energy. (Staff) 1 Mission, SF. 543-6084. American, L/D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Brindisi Cucina di Mare cooks seafood the south Italian way, and that means many, many ways, with many, many sorts of seafood. (PR, 4/04) 88 Belden Place, SF. 593-8000. Italian/<\d>seafood, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Bushi-tei melds East and West, old and new, with sublime elegance. Chef Seiji Wakabayashi is fluent in many of the culinary dialects of East Asia as well as the lofty idiom of France, and the result is cooking that develops its own integrity. The setting of glass, candles, and ancient lumber shimmers with enchantment. (PR, 3/06) 1638 Post, SF. 440-4959. Fusion, D, $$$, AE/MC/V.
Café Claude is a hidden treasure of the city center. There is an excellent menu of traditional, discreetly citified French dishes, a youthful energy, and a romantic setting on a narrow, car-free lane reminiscent of the Marais. (PR, 10/06) 7 Claude Lane, SF. 392-3515. French, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Chaya Brasserie brings a taste of LA's preen-and-be-seen culture to the waterfront. The Japanese-<\d>influenced food is mostly French, and very expensive. (Staff) 132 Embarcadero, SF. 777-8688. Fusion, D, $$$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Cortez has a Scandinavian Designs-<\d>on-<\d>acid look lots of heavy, weird multicolored mobiles but Pascal Rigo's Mediterranean-<\d>influenced small plates will quickly make you forget you're eating in a hotel. (Staff) 550 Geary (in the Hotel Adagio), SF. 292-6360. Mediterranean, B/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Cosmopolitan Cafe seems like a huge Pullman car. The New American menu emphasizes heartiness. (Staff) 121 Spear, SF. 543-4001. American, L/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
Da Flora advertises Venetian specialties, but notes from Central Europe (veal in paprika cream sauce) and points east (whiffs of nutmeg) creep into other fine dishes. (Staff) 701 Columbus, SF. 981-4664. Italian, D, $$, MC/V.
Dalla Torre is one of the most inaccessible restaurants in the city. The multi<\d>level dining room a cross between an Italian country inn and a Frank Lloyd Wright house offers memorable bay views, but the pricey food is erratic. (Staff) 1349 Montgomery, SF. 296-1111. Italian, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Enrico's Sidewalk Cafe remains a classic see-and-be-seen part of the North Beach scene. The full bar and extensive menu of tapas, pizzas, pastas, and grills make dropping in at any hour a real treat. (Staff) 504 Broadway, SF. 982-6223. Mediterranean, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Gondola captures the varied flavors of Venice and the Veneto in charmingly low-key style. The main theme is the classic one of simplicity, while service strikes just the right balance between efficiency and warmth. (Staff) 15 Columbus, SF. 956-5528. Italian, L/D, $, MC/V.
House of Nanking never fails to garner raves from restaurant reviewers and Guardian readers alike. Chinatown ambience, great food, good prices. (Best Ofs, 1994) 919 Kearny, SF. 421-1429. Chinese, L/D, ¢.
Le Charm might be in San Francisco, but it has a bistro authenticity even Parisians could love, from a wealth of golden wood trim to an enduring loyalty au prix fixe. The chicken liver salad is matchless, the succinct wine list distinctly Californian. Ponder it in the idyllic, trellised garden. (PR, 9/06) 315 Fifth St, SF. 546-6128. French, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Chez Spencer brings Laurent Katgely's precise French cooking into the rustic-<\d>industrial urban cathedral that once housed Citizen Cake. Get something from the wood-<\d>burning oven. (Staff) 82 14th St, SF. 864-2191. French, BR/L/D, $$, MC/V.
Fly Trap Restaurant captures a bit of that old-time San Francisco feel, from the intricate plaster ceiling to the straightforward menu: celery Victor, grilled salmon filet with beurre blanc. A good lunchtime spot. (Staff) 606 Folsom, SF. 243-0580. American, L/D, $$, AE/DC/MC/V.
*Fringale still satisfies the urge to eat in true French bistro style, with Basque flourishes. The paella roll is a small masterpiece of food narrative; the frites are superior. (PR, 7/04) 570 Fourth St, SF. 543-0573. French/Basque, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
India Garden indeed has a lovely garden and an excellent lunch buffet that does credit to South Asian standards. (Staff) 1261 Folsom, SF. 626-2798. Indian, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
NOB HILL/RUSSIAN HILL
Acquerello reminds us that the Italians, like the French, have a high cuisine sophisticated and earthy and offered in a onetime chapel with exposed rafters and sumptuous fabrics on the banquettes. Service is as knowledgeable and civilized as at any restaurant in the city. (PR, 3/05) 1722 Sacramento, SF. 567-5432. Italian, $$$, D, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Ah Lin offers Mandarin-style Chinese cooking in an easy-to-take storefront setting on Cathedral Hill. The dishes are well behaved and tasty, with only an occasional flare-up of chile heat. The roast duck is one of the best deals in town. (PR, 10/06) 1634 Bush, SF. 922-5279. Chinese, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Alborz looks more like a hotel restaurant than a den of Persian cuisine, but there are flavors here of barberry and dried lime, among others you won't easily find elsewhere. (Staff) 1245 Van Ness, SF. 440-4321. 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, $$, AE/MC/V.
Cordon Bleu has huge portions, tiny prices, and a hoppin' location right next to the Lumiere Theatre. (Staff) 1574 California, SF. 673-5637. Vietnamese, L/D, ¢.
Mangosteen radiates lime green good cheer from its corner perch in the Tenderloin. Inexpensive Vietnamese standards are rendered with thoughtful little touches and an emphasis on the freshest ingredients. (PR, 11/05) 601 Larkin, SF. 776-3999. Vietnamese, L/D, $, cash only.
Max's Opera Cafe Huge food is the theme here, from softball-<\d>size matzo balls to towering desserts. Your basic Jewish deli. (Staff) 601 Van Ness, SF. 771-7300. American, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Mekong Restaurant serves the foods of the Mekong River basin. There is a distinct Thai presence but also dishes with Laotian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and even Chinese accents. (PR, 1/06) 791 O'Farrell, SF. 928-2772. Pan-<\d>Asian, L/D, $, MC/V.
Olive might look like a tapas bar, but what you want are the thin-crust pizzas, the simpler the toppings the better. The small plates offer eclectic pleasures, especially the Tuscan pâté and beef satay with peanut sauce. (Staff) 743 Larkin, SF. 776-9814. Pizza/<\d>eclectic, D, $, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Frjtz serves first-rate Belgian fries, beer, crepes, and sandwiches in an art-<\d>house atmosphere. If the noise overwhelms, take refuge in the lovely rear garden. (Staff) 579 Hayes, SF. 864-7654; also at Ghirardelli Square, SF. 928-3886. Belgian, B/L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Hayes Street Grill started more than a quarter century ago as an emulation of the city's old seafood houses, and now it's an institution itself. The original formula immaculate seafood simply prepared, with choice of sauce and French fries still beats vibrantly at the heart of the menu. Service is impeccable, the setting one of relaxed grace. (PR, 7/06) 816 Folsom, SF. 863-5545. Seafood, L/D, $$$, AE/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, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Suppenküche has a Busvan for Bargains, butcher-<\d>block look that gives context to its German cuisine. If you like schnitzel, brats, roasted potatoes, eggs, cheese, cucumber salad, cold cuts, and cold beer, you'll love it here. (Staff) 601 Hayes, SF. 252-9289. German, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
*Zuni Cafe is one of the most celebrated and durable restaurants in town, perhaps because its kitchen has honored the rustic country cooking of France and Italy for the better part of two decades. (PR, 2/05) 1658 Market, SF. 552-2522. California, B/L/D, $$$, AE/MC/V.
CASTRO/NOE VALLEY/GLEN PARK
Firewood Cafe serves up delicious thin chewy-<\d>crusted pizzas, four kinds of tortellini, rotisserie-<\d>roasted chicken, and big bowls of salad. (Staff) 4248 18th St, SF. 252-0999. Italian, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Los Flamingos mingles Cuban and Mexican specialties in a relaxed, leafy, walk-<\d>oriented neighborhood setting. Lots of pink on the walls; even more starch on the plates. (PR, 11/04) 151 Noe, SF. 252-7450. Cuban/<\d>Mexican, BR/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Fresca raises the already high bar a little higher for Peruvian restaurants in town. Many of the dishes are complex assemblies of unusual and distinctive ingredients, but some of the best are among the simplest. The skylighted barrel-<\d>ceiling setting is quietly spectacular. (PR, 7/05) 3945 24th St, SF. 695-0549. Peruvian, L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Gialina offers fabulous thin-crust pizzas in the nouveau-quaint heart of Glen Park's village center. Toppings reflect the companionable spirits of innovation and playfulness. For dessert: chocolate pizza, though beware the danger of starch overload. (PR, 3/07) 2842 Diamond, SF. 239-8500. Pizza/Italian, D, $, AE/DC/MC/V.
Hamano Sushi packs them in despite a slightly dowdy setting and food of variable appeal. The best stuff is as good as it gets, though, and prices aren't bad. (Staff) 1332 Castro, SF. 826-0825. Japanese, L/D, $$, 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/<\d>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/<\d>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-<\d>salted fries. Foofy California wrinkles are available if you want them, but why would you? (PR, 5/04) 86 Carl, SF. 566-1274. Burgers, L/D, $.
MISSION/BERNAL HEIGHTS/POTRERO HILL
Cafe Phoenix looks like a junior-<\d>high cafeteria, but the California-<\d>deli food is fresh, tasty, and honest, and the people making it are part of a program to help the emotionally troubled return to employability. (Staff) 1234 Indiana, SF. 282-9675, ext. 239. California, B/L, ¢, MC/V.
Caffe Cozzolino Get it to go: everything's about two to four bucks more if you eat it there. (Staff) 300 Precita, SF. 285-6005. Italian, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Caffe d'Melanio is the place to go if you want your pound of coffee beans roasted while you enjoy an Argentine-<\d>Italian dinner of pasta, milanesa, and chimichurri sauce. During the day the café offers a more typically Cal-<\d>American menu of better-<\d>than-<\d>average quality. First-rate coffee beans. (PR, 10/04) 1314 Ocean, SF. 333-3665. Italian/<\d>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, $$, AE/MC/V.
Circolo Restaurant and Lounge brings Peruvian- and Asian-<\d>influenced cooking into a stylishly barnlike urban space where dot-<\d>commers gathered of old. Some of the dishes are overwrought, but the food is splendid on the whole. (PR, 6/04) 500 Florida, SF. 553-8560. Nuevo Latino/<\d>Asian, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Couleur Café reminds us that French food need be neither fancy nor insular. The kitchen playfully deploys a world of influences the duck-<\d>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, $$, MC/V.
Dosa serves dosas, the south Indian crepes, along with a wealth of other, and generally quite spicy, dishes from the south of the subcontinent. The cooking tends toward a natural meatlessness; the crowds are intense, like hordes of passengers inquiring about a delayed international flight. (PR, 1/06) 995 Valencia, SF. 642-3672. South Indian, BR/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Double Play sits across the street from what once was Seals Stadium, but while the field and team are gone, the restaurant persists as an authentic sports bar with a solidly masculine aura mitts on the walls, lots of dark wood, et cetera. The all-<\d>American food (soups, sandwiches, pastas, meat dishes, lots of fries) is outstanding. (Staff) 2401 16th St, SF. 621-9859. American, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Emmy's Spaghetti Shack offers a tasty, inexpensive, late-night alternative to Pasta Pomodoro. The touch of human hands is everywhere evident. (Staff) 18 Virginia, SF. 206-2086. Italian, D, $, cash only.
Esperpento is as authentic a Spanish-style tapas restaurant as you'll find in San Francisco, but even better the paella is good! (PR, 4/07) 3295 22nd St, SF. 282-8867. Spanish/tapas, L/D, $, AE/DISC/MC/V.
Foreign Cinema serves some fine New American food in a spare setting of concrete and glass that warms up romantically once the sun goes down. (Staff) 2534 Mission, SF. 648-7600. California, D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Front Porch mixes a cheerfully homey setting (with a front porch of sorts), a hipster crowd, and a Caribbean-inflected comfort menu into a distinctive urban cocktail. The best dishes, such as a white polenta porridge with crab, are Range-worthy, and nothing on the menu is much more than $10. (PR, 10/06) 65A 29th St, SF. 695-7800. American/Caribbean, BR/D, $, MC/V.
MARINA/PACIFIC HEIGHTS/LAUREL HEIGHTS
Greens All the elements that made it famous are still intact: pristine produce, an emphasis on luxury rather than health, that gorgeous view. (Staff) Fort Mason Center, Bldg A, Marina at Laguna, SF. 771-6222. Vegetarian, L/D, $$, DISC/MC/V.
*Harris' Restaurant is a timeless temple to beef, which appears most memorably as slices of rib roast, but in other ways too. Uncheap. (PR, 5/04) 2100 Van Ness, SF. 673-1888. Steakhouse/<\d>American, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Kiss is tiny, industrial, not particularly Anglophonic and serves some of the best sushi in the city. Warning: the very best stuff (from the specials menu) can be very pricey. (Staff) 1700 Laguna, SF. 474-2866. Japanese, D, $$$, MC/V.
Letitia's has claimed the old Alta Plaza space and dispensed with the huge cruise mirror. The Mexican standards are pretty good and still pricey, though they don't seem quite as dear in Pacific Heights as they did in the Castro. (PR, 6/04) 2301 Fillmore, SF. 922-1722. Mexican, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Mezes glows with sunny Greek hospitality, and the plates coming off the grill are terrific, though not huge. Bulk up with a fine Greek salad. (Staff) 2373 Chestnut, SF. 409-7111. Greek, D, $, MC/V.
Out the Door is the takeout-friendly child of the Slanted Door, and the food reflects the same emphasis on first-quality ingredients. You can eat in if you want or shop for hard-to-find Asian groceries at reasonable prices. (PR, 1/07) Westfield Center, 845 Market, SF. 541-9913; One Ferry Bldg, SF. 861-8032. Vietnamese, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Plump Jack Café If you had to take your parents to dinner in the Marina, this would be the place. A small but authentic jewel. (Staff) 3127 Fillmore, SF. 563-4755. California, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Marnee Thai A friendly, low-key neighborhood restaurant now in two neighborhoods that just happens to serve some of the best Thai food in town. (PR, 1/04) 2225 Irving, SF. 665-9500; 1243 Ninth Ave (at Lincoln), SF. 731-9999. Thai, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Masala means "spice mixture," and spices aplenty you will find in the South Asian menu. Be sure to order plenty of naan to sop up the sauce with. (Staff) 1220 Ninth Ave, SF. 566-6976. Indian/<\d>Pakistani, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Nan King Road Bistro laces its mostly Chinese menu with little touches from around Asia (sake sauces, Korean noodles), and the result is a spectacular saucefest. Spare, cool environment. (Staff) 1360 Ninth Ave, SF. 753-2900. Pan-<\d>Asian, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Park Chow could probably thrive on its basic dishes, such as the burger royale with cheese ($6.95), but if you're willing to spend an extra five bucks or so, the kitchen can really flash you some thigh. (Staff) 1240 Ninth Ave, SF. 665-9912. California, BR/L/D, $, MC/V.
Pisces California Cuisine brings a touch of SoMa sophistication to an Outer Sunset neighborhood in need of paint. (You can't miss the restaurant's black facade.) The kitchen turns out a variety of seafood preparations the clam chowder is terrific and offers an appealing prix fixe option at both lunch and dinner. (PR, 8/06) 3414-3416 Judah, SF. 564-2233. Seafood, L/D, $$, AE/DISC/MC/V.
P.J.'s Oyster Bed Of all the US regional cultures, southern Louisiana's may be the most beloved, and at P.J.'s you can taste why. (Staff) 737 Irving, SF. 566-7775. Seafood, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Pomelo Big portions of Asian- and Italian-<\d>inspired noodle dishes. If you need something quick, cheap, and fresh, pop in here. (Staff) 92 Judah, SF. 731-6175. Noodles, L/D, $, cash only.
Sabella's carries a famous seafood name into the heart of West Portal. Good nonseafood stuff too. (Staff) 53 West Portal, SF. 753-3130. Italian/<\d>seafood, $, L/D, MC/V.
Sea Breeze Cafe looks like a dive, but the California cooking is elevated, literally and figuratively. Lots of witty salads, a rum-rich crème brûlée. (Staff) 3940 Judah, SF. 242-6022. California, BR/L/D, $$, MC/V.
So Restaurant brings the heat, in the form of huge soup and noodle and soupy noodle dishes, many of them liberally laced with hot peppers and chiles. The pot stickers are homemade and exceptional, the crowd young and noisy. Cheap. (PR, 10/06) 2240 Irving, SF. 731-3143. Chinese/noodles, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Tasty Curry still shows traces of an earlier life as a Korean hibachi restaurant (i.e., venting hoods above most of the tables), but the South Asian food is cheap, fresh, and packs a strong kick. (PR, 1/04) 1375 Ninth Ave, SF. 753-5122. Indian/<\d>Pakistani, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Tennessee Grill could as easily be called the Topeka Grill, since its atmosphere is redolent of Middle America. Belly up to the salad bar for huge helpings of the basics to accompany your meat loaf or calf's liver. (Staff) 1128 Taraval, SF. 664-7834. American, B/L/D, $, MC/V.
Thai Cottage isn't really a cottage, but it is small in the homey way, and its Thai menu is sharp and vivid in the home-<\d>cooking way. Cheap, and the N train stops practically at the front door. (PR, 8/04) 4041 Judah, SF. 566-5311. Thai, L/D, $, MC/V.
*Xiao Loong elevates the neighborhood Chinese restaurant experience to one of fine dining, with immaculate ingredients and skillful preparation in a calm architectural setting. (PR, 8/05) 250 West Portal, SF. 753-5678. Chinese, L/D, $, AE/MC/V.
Yum Yum Fish is basically a fish store: three or four little tables with fish-print tablecloths under glass, fish-chart art along the wall, and fish-price signs all over the place. (Staff) 2181 Irving, SF. 566-6433. Sushi, L/D, ¢.
Eva's Hawaiian Café re-creates the Hawaiian lunch-plate experience in a Clement Street storefront done up in primary colors worthy of a 1970s-era middle school. The food is excellent and inexpensive, the service skilled and cheerful, the setting immaculate. What's not to like? (PR, 3/07) 731 Clement, SF. 221-2087. Hawaiian, L/C, ¢, MC/V.
Katia's, a Russian Tea Room evokes the bourgeois romance of old Russia, and the classic Slavic food is carefully prepared and presented. Silken Crimean port is served in a tiny glass shaped like a Cossack boot. (PR, 12/04) 600 Fifth Ave, SF. 668-9292. Russian, L/D, $$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
Kitaro This Japanese restaurant, unlike many others, has a lot of options for vegetarians. (Staff) 5850 Geary, SF. 386-2777. Japanese, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Lucky Fortune serves up a wide variety of Chinese-<\d>style seafood in a cheerfully blah setting. Prices are astoundingly low, portions large. (Staff) 5715 Geary, SF. 751-2888. Chinese, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Mai's Restaurant On the basis of the hot-and-sour shrimp soup with pineapple alone, Mai's deserves a line out the door. (Staff) 316 Clement, SF. 221-3046. Vietnamese, L/D, ¢, AE/DC/MC/V.
Bella Vista Continental Restaurant commands a gorgeous view of the Peninsula and South Bay from its sylvan perch on Skyline Boulevard, and the continental food, though a little stately, is quite good. The look is rustic-stylish (exposed wood beams, servers in dinner jackets), and the tone one of informal horse-country wealth. (PR, 3/07) 13451 Skyline Blvd., Woodside. (650) 851-1229. Continental, D, $$$, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
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.
Ajanta offers a variety of deftly seasoned regional dishes from the Asian subcontinent. (Staff) 1888 Solano, Berk. (510) 526-4373. Indian, L/D, $, AE/DC/DISC/MC/V.
La Bayou serves up an astounding array of authentic New Orleans staples, including jambalaya, (greaseless!) fried catfish, and homemade pralines. (Staff) 3278 Adeline, Berk. (510) 594-9302. Cajun/<\d>Creole, L/D, ¢-$, MC/V.
Breads of India and Gourmet Curries The menu changes every day, so nothing is refrigerated overnight, and the curries benefit from obvious loving care. (Staff) 2448 Sacramento, Berk. (510) 848-7684. Indian, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Connie's Cantina fashions unique variations on standard Mexican fare enchiladas, tamales, fajitas, rellenos. (Staff) 3340 Grand, Oakl. (510) 839-4986. Mexican, L/D, ¢, MC/V.
Garibaldi's on College focuses on Mediterranean-<\d>style seafood. (Staff) 5356 College, Oakl. (510) 595-4000. Mediterranean, L/D, $$, AE/MC/V.
Gerardo's Mexican Restaurant offers all the expected taquería fare. But a main reason to visit is to pick up a dozen of Maria's wonderfully down-home chicken or pork tamales. (Staff) 3811 MacArthur, Oakl. (510) 531-5255. Mexican, B/L/D, ¢-$.