Best Freebies (tie) - 2005
The Old Clam House
299 Bayshore (at Oakdale), 826-4880
150 Stockton (at Geary), 362-4777, www.rotundarestaurant.com
550 Washington (at Montgomery), 434-3100, www.tartarerestaurant.com
We like tradition, especially when it comes in such tasty forms as the all-you-want piping hot clam broth with shreds of potato and onion that starts off every meal at the Old Clam House (an old-fashioned touch that reminds you, more than the remodeled setting, that the place has been roosting on Bayshore since 1861); the tiny cup of rich chicken broth accompanied by Neiman Marcus' signature huge, airy popovers that begins the repasts at the store's restaurant, the Rotunda; and the spicy little ice cream sandwiches that appear unbidden with dessert at George Morrone's fancy new Tartare. Yes, we like tradition, particularly when it's free.