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  • Article

    Blue Moon - The food shines while the service flickers at Bella Luna

    There's something discreetly schizophrenic about Bella Luna. The Italian food is superior: dish after dish executed with splendor and verve by a kitchen that clearly believes in what it's doing and knows how to do it. The food matters a lot. But...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 22, 1997
  • Article

    Alice's Restaurant - Hot Chinese on real china

    There are so many arty touches, big and small, at Alice's that the Chinese food itself could easily become an afterthought. The interior design is more like that of a museum than a restaurant, from the fresh white walls and handsome new oak floors to...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 15, 1997
  • Article

    Dish

    The Nose Knows You walk into a decent restaurant and order, say, cioppino. It's a local thing, and at this time of year there's plenty of good fresh crab. (Weather permitting.) But when the dish comes, the cracked crab emanates a foul odor of amm...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 15, 1997
  • Article

    Dish

    It's the Cheese A new book, Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins (Workman, $16.95), while unmistakably Europhilic, has some unsnobby things to say about California cheese. Several locally produced goat's-milk cheeses, in particular, earn Jenkins' prai...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 8, 1997
  • Article

    Ready or Not - Early success settles on the Inner Sunset's Avenue 9

    Success, especially if sudden, can be a trial by fire for a restaurant. Favorable early press -- such as has lately been visited on Avenue 9, a mod, modest bistro in the Inner Sunset -- often means big crowds, waits for tables, the exhaustion of some...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 8, 1997
  • Article

    High Attitude - Tasting the good and the bad of Paris at South Park Cafe

    The South Park Cafe could easily be mistaken for a smart Paris spot, except for the lack of cigarette smoke: That's pure California. There is, through the glass doors and across a narrow lane, South Park itself, a kind of secret village green typical...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 1, 1997
  • Article

    Dish

    Porcini Weather For most of the year, the only porcini mushrooms available around here are the dried (and some say the best) kind, but in recent damp weeks, early shoppers at the Saturday farmers market might have noticed that John Garrone, who s...

    by Paul Reidinger on January 1, 1997
  • Article

    Dish

    What's Your Poison? If you're looking for fugu on local Japanese menus, don't be fooled by Blowfish, the enticingly named sushi bar that's moved into the space on Bryant at 20th Street vacated by the passing of Tisane. Blowfish offers sushi "to d...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 25, 1996
  • Article

    At the Stir-Fry Cafe - Firecracker's Chinese food tastes great and is less oily

    Firecracker is -- but does not look like -- a Chinese restaurant. Notwithstanding the few Fu Manchu-style dolls perched on a stagelike outcropping above the kitchen at the back of the dining room, the overall cosmetic spirit of the place is that of a...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 25, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    Caribbean Sunset If you've never been to Miss Pearl's Jam House, the Caribbean restaurant with live reggae music in the Tenderloin's Phoenix Hotel, you'd better make haste. The restaurant will end its seven-year run in a New Year's Eve blowout th...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 18, 1996
  • Article

    Spanish Mainstream - Looking for that big break at Barcelona

    Despite the profusion of Spanish restaurants that have opened recently in the city -- one of the latest being Barcelona, on a romantically narrow Financial District alley -- there is still something exotic about Iberian cuisine. "That's because ...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 18, 1996
  • Article

    Through a Glass Darkly - The madding crowd and the serious palate converge on Mecca

    On the charm scale, Mecca's exterior rates a clean zero. It looks like a misplaced Ice Station Zebra, with a punitive concrete facade and broad, blank steel-framed windows smoked over with mesh shades. It's the sort of industrial space that could eas...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 11, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    Tangerine Dream The holiday season elsewhere might be heralded by snowstorms, mailers full of credit-card checks ("works just like a real check!") to make living beyond one's means more convenient, and shopping-mall parking lots crowded with cars...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 11, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    M Is for Mum The people behind the defunct Bistro M -- including celebrity chef Michel Richard -- aren't exactly flapping their lips about why the restaurant closed earlier this fall. Richard and his minions at Citrus in Los Angeles failed to ret...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 4, 1996
  • Article

    The Great Indoors - At Fizz Supper Club, it's hot California food and a cold garden

    With nearly 4,000 restaurants of various shapes and sizes operating in this city, a distinguishing angle or characteristic for new entries is all but indispensable. Fizz Supper Club, across the street from Bank of America's Dark Tower, has certainly ...

    by Paul Reidinger on December 4, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    Darkness at Noon If you blinked, you missed the Cosmopolitan Grill, whose six-week run across the street from the Moscone Center ended abruptly after lunch Nov. 14. That's when the owner, Peninsula restaurateur Robert Fischer, complaining that he...

    by Paul Reidinger on November 27, 1996
  • Article

    French Connection - Meribel, with its modern menu, joins the Nob Hill Club

    For those who think San Francisco's best days of grace and amenity are behind her, Meribel will give a pleasant shock. The restaurant (which occupies the space formerly filled by Alexis, where Nancy Oakes, among others, worked) is entirely at home in...

    by Paul Reidinger on November 27, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    The Friendly Skies Flying Kamikazes, the rock 'n' roll sushi joint in the Marina that lost its name in a fight with Kamikaze Sushi of San Rafael, has taken to the air again as Ace Wasabi's. The new name is the result of a three-week contest in wh...

    by Paul Reidinger on November 20, 1996
  • Article

    That's a Wrap - At Fresca, the joy of roast chicken, and the world in a tortilla

    Imagine a fugitive liaison between Boston Market and World Wrapps: Roast chicken (with two side dishes) meets a world of cuisines folded in brightly colored tortillas. Their love child might easily be Fresca, a sleek new cafe in West Portal that neat...

    by Paul Reidinger on November 20, 1996
  • Article

    Dish

    Wrappmasters College buddies are nothing if not hatchers of schemes to make their mark in the world, and every now and then these schemes bear fruit -- or, in the case of World Wrapps, tasty food wrapped in colored tortillas. "We were the fi...

    by Paul Reidinger on November 13, 1996
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From the Print Edition

Just the Crust: Laying the Foundation for New S.F. Pizza Shops Just the Crust: Laying the Foundation for New S.F. Pizza Shops

There are two kinds of people when it comes to pizza: those who place an inordinate amount of importance on the crust, and everyone else. I'm squarely in the former… More >>

Food Fight: Which Side of the Bay Makes a Better Burger? Food Fight: Which Side of the Bay Makes a Better Burger?

Chances are, most of us have enjoyed our fair share of fast food burgers, whether they be the objects of a late-night McDonald's craving (don't deny it) or the lauded… More >>

Fog Belt Brewing Company: Hoppy Beers in Santa Rosa Fog Belt Brewing Company: Hoppy Beers in Santa Rosa

Fogbelt Brewing Company has opened the tap, introducing a few new microbrews to the Bay Area craft beer scene. This 2-month-old Santa Rosa brewery and taproom is as much a… More >>

Q&A With Nopa's Wine Director Lulu McAllister Q&A With Nopa's Wine Director Lulu McAllister

Lulu McAllister's curiosity has led her to establish her own ice cream food cart in San Diego, work on a farm in Hawaii, and cover the music scene as a… More >>

Distillations: Improvisations on a Theme at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro Distillations: Improvisations on a Theme at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro

Les Joulins Jazz Bistro makes a great nightcap: Take a date there after the-thing-you're-ostensibly-doing is over, put a cheap drink in her hand, let her be stunned by the live… More >>

Recent Openers April 16-22, 2014

Cantina Verde: FiDi workers have a new lunch option with this healthy, fast-casual Mexican spot. Fill up on burritos, tacos, bowls, or salads with carne asada, chicken, pork, roast veggies,… More >>

Kin Khao: Upscale Thai Tries to Sort Out Its Identity on Your Tongue Kin Khao: Upscale Thai Tries to Sort Out Its Identity on Your Tongue

Location can make or break a restaurant, or so the conventional thinking goes. It's not a factor I consider much in a place like S.F., where high-end food can be… More >>

The Galley: Next-Level Dive Bar Grub The Galley: Next-Level Dive Bar Grub

When I walked into Clooney's Pub at noon, no one at the bar turned around to check the door. The regulars had long since taken their seats at the bar,… More >>

Marla Bakery: A Breakfast Sandwich Worth Waking Up For Marla Bakery: A Breakfast Sandwich Worth Waking Up For

Eggs, bread, and cheese: These are the minimum components to a simple breakfast sandwich. Add a little salty piggy protein or a vegetable for complexity and you're going above and… More >>

SRO: Tiny New FiDi Bar Goes Big on Cocktails SRO: Tiny New FiDi Bar Goes Big on Cocktails

The shift towards ever-more-baroque mixology in ever-tinier surroundings hits a new high in SRO, a cash-only venue-within-a-venue that one may enter from gritty Washburn Alley in SOMA or through Oddjob.… More >>

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