Restaurant Review

Radio Africa and Kitchen

Radio nights
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

Radio Africa and Kitchen is described by its Web site as a "nomadic" restaurant, but if it has anything like a home, it's Coffee Bar, the Multimedia Gulch spot kitty-corner from Circolo. This juxtaposition isn't as unlikely as it seems. Although the first thing you smell when you step into Radio Africa is Coffee Bar's coffee, the smell reminds you that coffee is native to the highlands of east Africa — and Radio Africa's food is east African in influence.

The maestro of the project is Eskender Aseged. Read more »

Hard Knox Cafe

The soul of Southern comfort
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

The password for 2009 so far seems to be "hard," as in hard times, hard luck, hard cheese. To this list we might also add Hard Knox Café, whose time has come, though it's never really gone. By this I mean that when you can go into a place and pay $10 for three pieces of good fried chicken and two substantial side dishes, along with a complimentary cornbread muffin, chances are you'll be back, regardless of Wall Street weather. And who needs dessert when Stella Artois on tap is just $3.50?

The ironist (a.k.a. Read more »

Bar Jules

A well-polished changeable menu and great hipster watching distinguish this Parisian-influenced hotspot
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

From hither and yon comes word that the restaurant world is troubled. Read more »

Green Chile Kitchen

Inspired by Mexico and New Mexico, this bright spot could be the best restaurant in its neighborhood
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

You would expect that a restaurant with "green chile" in its name would serve at least one memorable dish with green chiles, and Green Chile Kitchen does. In fact, the restaurant serves a host of memorable dishes (some with green chiles, many others without) and, because it's in the middle of NoPa rather than at, or just past, the edge of it, Green Chile could be the best restaurant in NoPa. Read more »

Zuppa

A buzzing yet intimate Italian spot whose dishes spark lively conversation
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

As a charter member of the Globe fan club, I tend to be favorably disposed toward any of that restaurant's descendants, cousins, siblings, or other relations. Read more »

Nopa

Emerging from an avalanche of early acclaim to be a genuinely winning restaurant
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

A hoary bit of wisdom teaches that we should be careful what we wish for, because we might get it — and if we are a new restaurant wishing for a meteoric rise, what might we expect? Few restaurants in recent memory have soared as sensationally as Nopa, which opened near the Panhandle in the spring of 2006 to widespread acclaim. Read more »

Cafe Mystique

A handsome interior, Moroccan-influenced menu -- and hearty favorites like beef stew
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If you squint — hard, on a night of driving rain, and you earlier washed your contact lenses down the sink by accident, leaving yourself legally blind — you might just catch a hint of a glimpse of a shadow of the Castro Street that figures so prominently in the movie Milk. Today's Castro Street, like its 1970s antecedent, is dominated by the Castro Theater's gigantic sign (a colorful spectacle even to the grievously nearsighted), and it's still just a few blocks long, a brief run from Market Street to 19th Street. Read more »

Cafe Kati

A fusion-cuisine pioneer whose blend of French and Asian influences remain fresh
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If the second half of the 1990s stands to be remembered as an era of golden bubble baths in San Francisco, the decade's quite different first half (less opulence, more calamities) might be remembered as a magical era of neighborhood restaurants. Read more »

Anchor and Hope

A brotherhood of fish at one of the more architecturally compelling restaurants in the city
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If there are more architecturally compelling restaurants in the city than the troika assembled by the troika consisting of the Rosenthal brothers and Doug Washington, I don't know of them. Read more »

Henry's Hunan Restaurant

A broad selection of Chinese greatest hits, a few clever wrinkles, and plenty of chili kick on outer Church Street
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

In ages past, I belonged to a small literary society — a sect, if you like. Let us call this society the Out of Print Society. Read more »