Best View Over a Pile of Hash Browns - 2008
Since 1937, there has been no damn goat cheese at Louis' Diner. This is a regular bottomless-coffee, hash-browns-and-omelette kind of place. The menu features a diet plate with a hamburger patty, cottage cheese, and sliced tomato. So settle down, get a tuna melt, and forget about flavored foam and housemade salumi for today. Funny thing about Louis', though: If the food is simple, the view is platinum-plated, set with sapphires, and shot in IMAX — it's fancy like a movie star's emerald collection or a brand-new Porsche, and just as powerful. Louis', you see, overlooks the ruins of the famously beautiful Sutro Baths. At this friendly restaurant, filled with sneakered tourists though it may be, looking out the windows is like watching a movie that was extremely expensive to make, or looking at high-grade, large-scale art up close. The experience is fabulously dizzying, and if you're at all given to contemplation, this view may inspire as well as answer some existential quandaries. Spectacular green hills, ancient communal bathing pools, and the Western edge of the continent recline below Louis', and all you have to do is tip your waitress.