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Criolla Kitchen

By   /  September 2, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

Friends who live in the Castro are counting their blessings these days. In a neighborhood that once settled for quantity over quality, a new generation of restaurants is turning out San Francisco worthy food.  The standard bearer, Chow, has been joined by Frances, Kasa, Starbelly, L’Ardoise, and now Criolla Kitchen, an ebullient, happening, well-run cafe [...]

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Bluestem Brasserie

By   /  August 26, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

The new Bluestem Brasserie, five years in the making, finally opened in an area of the City that sorely needs a neighborhood restaurant–downtown. San Franciscans used to regard downtown as Union Square. Bluestem is one block away from it, just across Market Street from Grant Avenue. However, these days downtown encompasses the Yerba Buena arts [...]

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Locavore

By   /  August 16, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

When I discovered that Jonathan Merritt had taken over the kitchen at Locavore, a six month old place at one end of the Mission just below Bernal Heights, I rushed over for dinner. Merritt previously cooked at Pok Pok, a Thai and Southeast Asian joint in Portland, Oregon that happens to be one of my [...]

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Boxing Room

By   /  August 10, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

The ebullient Boxing Room gives San Francisco a New Orleans-style restaurant it can love. Though no chef can replicate the real New Orleans deal here– we simply don’t have the wealth of seafood– Boxing Room’s Justin Simoneaux nimbly incorporates the cooking cultures of both his native southern Louisiana and adopted San Francisco.  At the Moss [...]

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Sichuan Home

By   /  August 4, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  1 Comment

One month old Sichuan Home is the best Chinese restaurant to open in San Francisco since Hakka Restaurant appeared on the outer edge of the Richmond.  This shiny new place, just west of Park Presidio Boulevard, has a wood paneled dining room and only a handful of tables which are always full.  Word has spread [...]

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Locanda

By   /  July 22, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

Every region of Italy claims culinary sovereignty.  Even villages five miles apart argue that their local dish is the only true version, and completely different from its neighbor’s.  Of course all roads lead to Rome, which has its own distinctive style. For me, Roman cooking is kind of a mash up of rich and refined [...]

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Cha-ya

By   /  July 15, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

I should have known that my friend Alma Hecht, blithe spirit, artist, sustainable landscape designer and certified arborist, would drag me to Cha-ya, a vegetarian Japanese restaurant in the Mission. Previously she had turned me on to Gracias Madre, an organic vegetarian Mexican restaurant that I actually ended up adoring. Still, just contemplating a dinner [...]

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Piccino

By   /  July 8, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

Piccino, a hip little cafe and pizzeria that opened in Dogpatch five years ago, has a new home in a bright yellow renovated Victorian it shares with MAC, a designer clothing boutique, and Dig Wine Store. As part of an enclave of smart shops in a neighborhood that still harbors the Hell’s Angels headquarters, dive [...]

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Bun Mee

By   /  July 1, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

Thinking goes that if all the components in a sandwich are great, the finished product will sing. Wrong. I’ve built many a soulless sandwich using the most pristine, painstakingly sourced ingredients. No, a brilliant sandwich has a magical something that makes it more than the sum of its parts. Some could argue that the Vietnamese [...]

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Rose Pistola

By   /  May 28, 2011  /  Restaurants  /  No Comments

When Rose Pistola opened in North Beach fifteen years ago, its wood burning pizza oven and Ligurian focus broke new culinary ground. Last February, the restaurant closed for a two week spruce up. Mark Gordon, the estimable chef from Cow Hollow’s Terzo, a sister restaurant, has been expediting in front of the Rose Pistola cooking [...]

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