Al’s Place, San Francisco, 3/4/17


Al’s Place is a hopping restaurant.   A good sized place, it has tightly packed tables in a hectic, noisy and rushed atmosphere.  We got there early and it was already full but it looked like they were trying to turn the tables 3 times in an evening. So don’t go for a lingering dining experience. The service is friendly and helpful but the entire staff seemed to share the room so no connection is made with any particular server. The food was fine but very variable in goodness. Plates are made to share and you can chose the ‘family style’ option where the chef picks a selection of plates from the first three sections of the menu and a dessert for your table to share.   Continue reading

Petit Crenn, San Francisco, 3/4/17


Petit Crenn is a small place with 14 closely spaced 2-top tables for reservations and a good sized bar to accommodate walk-ins. One side is windows looking out to the street and another side is a long bench seat with tons of pillows.  There is rock music in the background but it’s not loud enough to impact conversation.  The high ceiling  has ropes dangling with lights on the end for the tables.  They referred to themselves as a pescatarian restaurant and thus their Croque Madame has no ham.  For lunch they have a brunch menu but at night they offer a tasting menu only.  Service is helpful and efficient. Continue reading

Keiko à Nob Hill, San Francisco, 3/3/17


Keiko à Nob Hill is named for the female chef, Keiko Takahashi.  While she works her magic in the kitchen the small elegant restaurant is well overseen by her husband Seigo Takei who also has a huge selection of wines to chose from for your meal. They have been in this location for 5 years and he uses much of the space to store wine that is not listed. The fun is in the talking with him about what you like and letting him chose something you don’t know about and he did a marvelous job.  He will work within your price range. They do offer a couple levels of wine pairings.  They only do one seating each night in the building that has residential units above.  The comfortable seating is well spaced with low lighting accented by candles and soft jazz music in the background.   Continue reading

Mourad, San Francisco, 3/3/17

Mourad is a large place with one Michelin star. You enter where there is a big bar which leads into tables and a few side booths. We got there for an early lunch and not many people were there but as prime time approached it filled in with a mostly young crowd, although the noise level never got uncomfortable.  There is a cool tile floor, slowly rotating elaborate chandeliers and good separation between the tables.  The staff was very friendly and quite articulate and knowledgeable about their menu.  Everything we tried was full of flavor with lovely presentation and easily shared.  I would go back without a second thought and highly recommend it if you are in the area.   Continue reading

Quince, San Francisco, 3/2/17

sign out front

Quince is an elegant dining experience.  We were there several years and they have done a significant amount of remodeling since then and received their third Michelin star last fall.  The remodeling was finished about 2 and a half years ago and added 2 smaller dining rooms to the larger main dining room.  Lighting is low, soft music plays and linens are high quality but it was a tad warm in one of the small side dining rooms where we sat. These side rooms have banquette seating along one wall and fairly small tables. Service is excellent.  The friendly servers could not have been better and our waiter, Conan, looked after every detail – even sending me home with a box of their delicious caramels.   Continue reading

Cockscomb, San Francisco, 3/2/17


Cockscomb is a medium sized place with an open kitchen. Downstairs seating is at tables and the counter and there is an additional dining area on the second floor.  A small bar is located below the balcony from above.  Tables are bare wood and the open kitchen, which has a wood grill, takes up one wall of the downstairs.  We were there at lunch but dinner features a much larger menu.   There is no salt, pepper or ketchup on the table but most of the food was seasoned well enough you don’t miss it. There is soft background music.The main attraction seemed to be their veggie burger which is supposed to taste and look just like beef, but that was not an option we selected.  Service is friendly but fairly slow and disorganized.  The kitchen people really hustle but the waitstaff spent more time working on tickets than getting the food served on a timely basis.   Continue reading

SAISON, San Francisco, 7/30/16

Chef/Owner Joshua Skenes
Chef/Owner Joshua Skenes

This is a repeat visit to Saison, but in a different season than our usual.  As always the service is flawless and  Mark Bright’s wine selections bring out something different and wonderful in your price range. Michelin three star Chef Joshua Skenes was in the kitchen and when not supervising or inspecting he was cooking. It is thoughtful food and everyone is served a tasting menu, with the only changes being from preferences or allergies. Bring your major credit card, though, as it is now known as the most expensive dinner in the Bay area. Continue reading