4/01/2013 02:30:00 PM

Culinary Makeover: 11 Ways to Improve the SF Dining Scene

Why can't we find great souvlaki in this town?
We're pretty fond of the San Francisco dining scene. It's got heart, the freshest ingredients imaginable and a ton of cultural diversity. And unlike in other major food metropolises, we appreciate that what truly matters the most about dining out is what's on the plate, what you're wearing or whom your dining companion is. Still, that doesn't mean the restaurant landscape can't benefit from a little improvement, right? What changes would you most like to see? Which underrepresented cuisines do you wish we had here? Check out our 11 suggestions - and be sure to leave yours in the comments.


  1. Check out Uva Enoteca- very family friendly, and yummy.

  2. Espetus Brazilian Steak House brings the authentic "Churrasco Gaucho" to the Bay Area dining scene. www.espetus.com

  3. How about more restaurants with a section where there is no background music and you can actually HEAR a conversation?
    A quiet space does not need to be stiff or dull...just pleasant. The background music is generally ignored any way...why have it?

  4. Don Ramon's is a great place to bring the whole family.

  5. I AGREE! The food is wonderful in Bay Area restaurants, but there are too many that we won't go back to a second time because of the noise level. If I have to shout to be heard and end up with a sore throat, I'll take my business somewhere else, no matter how great the food is.

  6. The city's food lacks authenticity except for many Asian restaurants. There are few bargains, but there are no lack of high priced restaurants exuding attitude. You have to drive to Oakland to get real BBQ because San Francisco has only poor substitutes for properly slow smoked meat. Perhaps if people stayed sober they would be more discriminating about food, but alcohol is more important than food in this city. The trust fund babies have driven up the cost of everything and lowered the standards of taste, if you want authentic food at reasonable prices you won't find it here. Save your restaurant money for a trip to Chicago or Manhattan where you can find the real thing for a reasonable price.

    1. Reasonable price in Manhattan? Really?

    2. Yes, more reasonable in Manhattan where an enlightened clientele won 't bother with mediocrity. The competition soon eliminates everyone but the best regarding quality and value which are foreign concepts to the people crowding the latest " in" places in Fog City. You can spend a lot in New York City, but places like Asiate or Felidia are worth it. The only place in San Francisco where you can have an exceptional meal in a quiet, gracious atmosphere is Gary Danko.

  7. I second the call for restaurants where you can actually hear each other and enjoy the company you're with. Why on earth is every new, interesting restaurant ear-splittingly loud? I'd go out more often if I thought it meant my dining experience was also time spent having real conversation with the people I was sharing the meal with. As it is, I often stay in and cook with friends, not because it's my preference, but because we don't want to have to yell at each other all night. More conversation-friendly spaces, please please please!!!

  8. My first comment was deleted. Let's see if this one sticks. I'll take it slide by slide since I'm tired of people killing the SF food scene.

    1. Food trucks are a fad. They'll be gone in a couple of years. In any case, more people are downtown and it's more profitable for them to be there. It's simple math.
    2. There's plenty of Greek food around in FiDi, North Beach and Polk St. How many Greek places exactly do you need? Is Greek food really that good?
    3. We're not LA and we're not NYC. Why would we want to be like either? SF is about clean lines, design and simplicity (read: no velvet). Bar Agricole, Benu and Spruce all fit into that category. We also have our own inspired charm like Park Tavern, Wayfare Tavern, etc.
    4. The Chronicle made a miss in their list the last two years. Sometimes you shouldn't listen to the Chronicle as gospel.
    5. If test kitchens became a real restaurant, people like them. If not, people don't like them.
    6. How many more Molecular Gastronomy restaurants do you need? One is enough.
    7. Not enough $10 Sandwich shops.
    8. Probably not. If the council supports it, it probably will not be reformed. Write your council person.
    9. Plenty of these around. And who takes their kids to Chevy's? Really?
    10. It's not fair to compare suburbs and the City. It's different, as is the permit process and it has always been difficult to open restaurants in major cities. Any restauranteur will tell you, the profits in SF are better, too.
    11. The only real valuable part of this article.

    Look back even 10 years. SF has come a long way.

  9. Avoid restaurants that add a separate SF health surcharge to the bill. Include in price if owners are really paying it. Only way to stop this practice. Or maybe add social security surcharge.

  10. The health surcharge is a part of doing business in SF and has no right appearing on the check any more than a utility increase or a hike in food costs. I would rather be charged an extra dollar a plate and avoid restaurateurs wearing their costs on their sleeves.

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