Originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com
During a culinary tour of San Francisco, I got to sample savory and sweet sensations at five new or newly improved restaurants. This is a foodie town and my visit was in no way meant to be an exhaustive search. I just found these eminently worthy of mention. Here are my latest five favorite dining spots in Baghdad by the Bay (in order of increasing likelihood of food-related orgasm).
- The food and service were fantastic in this dining room, located on the third floor of the J.W. Marriott at Post St. and Mason St. in downtown San Francisco. The decor may be a bit too corporate to make it a romantic or “big night” destination dining spot, but it’s a terrific option for dinner after work or for some energy for before or after a shopping binge.
- Also on Sutter St. (near Grant St.) E&O Trading Company, a Southeast Asian Grill, has been around for a while but re-invented itself with the arrival of its latest chef, who introduced the new “lunch break” option, incredibly tasty and inexpensively priced options that have proven to be wildly successful with the business and shopping crowds at lunch.
- This market-driven neighborhood bistro is located at 330 Townsend, deep in the once-scary, now super-cool SoMA (south of Market) district. Characterized by an eclectic offering of snacks, appetizers, sides, and mains and affordable and interesting wines, Marlowe recently featured a divine Jerusalem artichoke soup (with whipped creme fraiche), a garlic-y dish of roasted pistachios, and a warm open-faced deviled egg sandwich.
- Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner just off Market in the still super gay-popular Castro district Starbelly has been wowing fans for over a year with inexpensive, farm-to-table cuisine. Dine in the patio year round. Enjoy snacks (like three Starbelly salumi for $14), small plates (including the mouth-watering pan seared day boat scallops also $14) or if you’re feeling peckish (or want to share) a pizza (the fall squash and sage pie is delish and cheap at only $13).
- Save up one evening to enjoy a to-die-for meal at this eponymous restaurant. (The chef is actually Mr. Jeff Banker and his wife, the pasty chef is Lori Baker.) The restaurant serves upscale dishes and a great wine list at affordable prices in a relaxed yet chic setting, with terrific service. It’s one of those places that’s less known than the big name-dining spots but beloved by in-the-know locals.
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