Best Hidden Restaurant - 2006
Monte Cristo Café
Readers' Choice: Emmy's Spaghetti Shack
On top of the Embarcadero Center building closest to the Embarcadero and thus blessed with a swell view of the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge the below-the-radar Monte Cristo Café serves surprisingly good French and Italian dishes (caprese salad, grilled lamb chops with potatoes gratin, seafood linguini). Everything on the menu is made in-house, which works out particularly well for the fresh fruit sorbets. It's an especially useful place at night, when you can pull into the magically empty garage for four free hours of parking; you can get a view table without a reservation; and the bridge glows like a necklace hung above the bay. You can squeeze a movie in at the classily programmed Embarcadero multiplex, too, for an easy and pleasant urban evening.