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Bar Tartine in San Francisco blends tastes and flavours from Europe, Asia and the US to create its

unique menu PR

Marcia Gagliardi
Saturday 25 May 2013 00.10 BST

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Bar Tartine
This stylish Mission district restaurant is consistently packed, with dedicated
locals frequently returning for another hit of chef Nicolaus Balla's unclassifiable
but utterly delicious cuisine that dabbles in flavours from places such as
Hungary, Japan and Denmark, as well as California. Try the irresistible fried
langos potato bread and daytime smrrebrd sandwiches (like steak tartare on
owner-baker Chad Robertson's sprouted rye bread). Many dishes feature housefermented and housemade items, including butter, cheese, and specially-grown
peppers. Pair it all with choice beers and small-producer wines, and you'll see
why this place is a hot ticket. Diners also come by for lunchtime sandwiches and
weekend brunch.

561 Valencia Street, +1 415 487 1600, Open for dinner MonThurs, and Sun 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11pm; open for brunch Sat-Sun 11am
2.30pm; lunchtime sandwiches served Wed-Fri 11am-3pm, mains from $9,
sandwiches from $12


Dedicated local gourmands know the trek to the Outer Richmond is well worth it
for the experience of dining on Mourad Lahlou's contemporary Cal-Moroccan
cuisine. His flavour-packed food is sophisticated, soulful, and inspired (you've
never had chicken wings like the ones here), and features ingredients at the
height of seasonality. The culinary-minded cocktails are a can't-miss, and there
are many choice selections on the wine list. No belly dancers here but you will
find some exquisite couscous and basteeya (spicy chicken pastries), and desserts
are quite special. Go for the tasting menu ($95) for a full-on experience.
5800 Geary Avenue, +1 415 752 2222, Open Wed-Mon 5.30pm10pm, mains from $19


Chef Melissa Perello has had diners lining up at her door for her authentic take
on California cuisine from day one for a reason no one does it like she does.
Her highly personal cuisine delivers on so many levels: execution, flavour,
interest, value it's like she knows exactly what you're craving for dinner. Start
with the hearty bouches, like the creamy panisse frites, baked cherrystone
clams, and bacon beignets, before moving your way into a satisfying kale salad,
and a perfect bavette steak. The wines will be matched seemingly effortlessly,
and the service will strike that gentle balance of warmth and professionalism.
Reservations are tough to land (call and see) but queuing up before they open
can yield success.
3870 17th Street, +1 415 621 3870, Open Tues-Thurs, Sun 5pm10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10.30pm, mains from $18

ICHI Sushi

Photograph: Alanna
On a remote stretch of Mission Street far from the Valencia Street action is
this buzzing place serving a new and California-ised style of sushi, chef-owner
Tim Archuleta's creative spin on nigiri. He takes exquisite (and sustainably
sourced) seafood and adorns it with bright touches such as yuzu-ponzu gel,
pickled kelp, oryuzu kosho. Omakase (chef's choice) is the way to go. The vibe is
casual and energetic, with quality sake flowing, and regulars chowing down on
fantastic yuzu chicken wings and oysters as well. Look for an expansion into a
second space nearby later this year.
3369 Mission Street, +1 415 525 4750, Open Mon-Thurs
5.30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-11pm, traditional rolls from $3.50

Mission Chinese Food

Who knew how much press a restaurant tucked inside a grimy Mission district
Chinese dive named Lung Shan was going to generate? This place is a house on
fire, just like its incendiary food. Chef Danny Bowien and crew have created a
new genre of Chinese food, one that uses Sichuan peppercorns, quality
ingredients, and bold flavours in abundance. The food is crazy-affordable, and
crazy-delicious; the kung pao pastrami, Sichuan pickles, salt cod rice, and ma
potofu should all be on your table. There's a better chance of landing a table at
lunch than dinner, but the nighttime scene of hungry hipsters is a large part of
the fun.
2234 Mission Street, +1 415 863 2800, Open
11.30am-3pm and 5pm-10.30pm daily (closed Wednesday), small dishes from

Namu Gaji

Here's yet another example of why the culinary scene in the Mission district is
one of the city's most interesting. The trio of Lee brothers have collaborated on
this energetic restaurant with an appetising menu of new Korean-American
dishes; from the okonomiyaki to the bibimbap (both come in searing-hot stone
pots), you'll note the balanced flavours and fresh ingredients (the Lees have their
own farm that grows special herbs and vegetables for them). The potato puffs,
beef tongue, and Korean fried chicken are other faves. Chef Dennis Lee is such a
talent, and the location kitty corner to Dolores Park makes this corner
restaurant one to visit (it's also open for lunch). Bonus for oenophiles: the tight
yet outr wine list is fun.
499 Dolores Street, +1 415 431 6268, Open for dinner Tues-Thurs

5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, open for lunch Wed-Sun 11.30am-4pm, mains

from $10


This Mexican restaurant is so popular that it now has two locations: by the
Panhandle and the Inner Sunset. Chefs Jos Ramos and Gonzalo Guzman
learned about using top-notch ingredients while cooking at sister
restaurant Nopa and have applied it to wonderful regional Mexican dishes here.
The housemade masain the tamales and tortillas tastes so sweet and full of
flavour, and the carnitas are regarded by many as the city's
best; pozole and birria will warm you on a foggy evening. The vibe is casual and
come-as-you-are, and be sure to order a cocktail: the selection of tequilas and
mezcals is muy bueno (try the Paloma).
306 Broderick Street, +1 415 535 3969; 1224 9th Avenue, +1 415 233
9966, Open, Broderick Street Sun-Thurs 11.30am-10pm, Fri-Sat
11.30am-11pm, 9th Avenue Mon-Sat 11.30am-10pm, Sun 10.30am-10pm, mains
from $10

Rich Table

This unfussy and welcoming restaurant in the Hayes valley neighbourhood
serves a creative riff on California cuisine. Chef-owners Evan and Sarah Rich
update their menu nightly, but one constant is the trademark sardine chips (get
'em). The pastas can be masterful, and the use of seasonal vegetables, texture,
and flavour excite. There's a bar area to handle the flow of walk-ins; you can
even stop by for excellent cocktails and a few small plates. The friendly and
skilled service will make you feel like a regular in no time.
199 Gough Street, +1 415 355 9085, Open Sun-Mon, WedThurs 5.30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5.30pm-10.30pm (from 1 June 2013 Rich Table
will be open seven nights a week), dishes from $11, chef's picks $80 per person


This Upper Fillmore spot is tiny, with diners packed in at the two counters and
wood tables, feasting on chef Matthew Accarrino's exquisite and sophisticated
Italian dishes. The pastas are some of the city's finest, and his dishes are intricate
and layered with flavour. Another huge draw is partner Shelley Lindgren's artful
Italian wine list that the savvy servers will happily guide you through. To
experience one of the city's best restaurants, and certainly one of its top Italian
restaurants, here's your spot.
1911 Fillmore Street, +1 415 771 7779, Open for dinner Mon-Sat
5.30pm-10.30pm, Sun 5.30pm-10pm, weekend lunch Sat-Sun 11am-2.30pm,
pasta dishes from $20, mains from $31

State Bird Provisions

The wait to get a reservation at this informal but notable restaurant is no joke
(tip: keep the size of your party small). No reservation? It's worth joining the line
of hopeful walk-ins lined up before it opens at 5.30pm because the cooking here
shows so much heart (and talent). Chef-owners Stuart Brioza and Nicole
Krasinski have created their own style of California cuisine, with the kitchen
acting like a culinary workshop. An ever-changing line-up of dishes is presented
to guests on trays and dim sum-style carts it's like the appetiser spread of your
dreams. The pancake with smoked sturgeon, spicy kimchi yuba, duck liver
mousse with almond biscuits, and the namesake fried state bird (quail) will
make you sorry when the eating extravaganza winds to an end.