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Best Prix-fixe San Francisco 2008 -

Prix-fixe means a bargain-priced meal of several courses: it can be chef's choice, or offer a limited number of options. In our food-obsessed city, there are prix-fixe treasures to be found, on many different days of the week: educational, chef-driven, even at brunch!

817 Sutter (at Jones), 928-8870

Every dish in the tiny, chic, dinerlike Canteen is personally overseen by chef Dennis Leary in his minuscule open kitchen. On Tuesdays, there's a prix-fixe that offers three courses of his exquisitely fresh, light, seasonal fare for $38. Reservations — which are essential — are taken for 6, 7:30, and 9:15 p.m.

Le Zinc
4063 24th St. (at Castro), 647-9400

Enjoy a several-course Saturday or Sunday brunch prix-fixe in the very French setting of Le Zinc, a Parisian cafe magically transported to Noe Valley. If you're lucky, you'll score a table in its charming back garden, where for $20, you'll sip fresh-squeezed juice, and espresso, coffee, or tea; and choose from fruit salad or cereal with fresh fruit; a baguette with jam, almond cake, or brioche; and any of the egg dishes of your choice (smoked salmon or crab cake for an additional $3.50).

290 Pacific (at Battery), 391-4132

Globe, in the Financial District, is famed for hearty, rustic Mediterranean cuisine, available until the very-late-for-S.F. hour of 1 a.m. On Sunday there's an exciting, seasonally changing farmers' menu: four courses (soup or salad, pasta or starter, main, and cheese or dessert, with several choices for each course) for $39. from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Educated Palate Restaurant
88 Fourth St. (at Mission), 908-7522

This sleek, modern, window-lined corner space is staffed by students from City College of San Francisco's culinary program. On Thursdays from 5:30 to 8 p.m., they offer three-course themed prix-fixe dinners with several choices per course for only $19.95. Past themes have included Mob-Movie Italian favorites, contemporary Asian cuisine, Andalusia, and barbecue. Check the Web site for upcoming menus.

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