The Rough Guide San Francisco Restaurants 1 (Mini Rough Guides)

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The Rough Guide San Francisco Restaurants 1 (Mini Rough Guides) Details

INTRODUCTION

San Francisco smells like food.
Jack Kerouac

Welcome to the first edition of the Rough Guide to San Francisco Restaurants. When it comes to food, San Francisco is spoiled. The vineyards of Northern California are enjoying a golden age, the Bay Area is bountiful in fish, and quality producemuch of it organicis championed everywhere. Where dining out is concerned, San Franciscos old nickname of "The City that Knows How"bestowed by a former president after an especially liquid banquetis wholly deserved. Theres something to the theory that this town is where all crazes begin, and in the food world that means anything from tandoori pizzas to duck quesadillas or a dash of sea salt in your grapefruit sorbet.

Never has there been a better time to eat at the frontier of new food. Nearly 5,000 restaurants jostle to serve an ethnically diverse and remarkably food-conscious population, and Asian and Latino cuisines are strongly represented, as well as East-West "fusion" food. The energy of this colorful community seemed at risk after the boom in the Bay Area's dotcom explosion gave way to bust, but many former tech-heads took the opportunity to open their own restaurants, and the result was hot competition and terrific value. Tourism faltered after September 11, 2001, but even this tragedy had a wake-up effect on the industry that could be seen (in a grim light) as salutary. Restaurants have added hours, introduced prix fixe menus, slashed pricesthe $30 entree has faded awayand tuned up service.

The 350-plus San Francisco restaurants reviewed here are organized into sixteen sections reflecting the city's village-like neighborhoods, with three final chapters on notable restaurants in the East Bay (notably Oakland and Berkeley), Marin County (destination spots across the Golden Gate Bridge), and the Peninsula, to the south of the city. The reviews reflect the huge diversity of atmospheres, ethnic cuisines, and price ranges found in San Franciscothe possibilities range from prix fixe lunches in Americas finest dining rooms to complete dinners for $5 at tiny hole-in-the-wall joints. Weve included only places we liked and which offer good value, with one further rule: you have to be able to eat for under $50.

TIPPING

American diners tip 15 percent because the waiters and kitchen staff depend upon the tips for their livelihood and daily income. Indeed, it's considered rude not to tip in San Francisco unless you truly and sincerely hated your service. Good service deservesand getsmore like 20 percent.

PRICES AND CREDIT CARDS

Every review in this book includes a spread of prices (eg $2550). The first figure relates to what you could get away withthis is the minimum amount per person you are likely to spend on a meal here (assuming you are not a non-tipping, non-drinking skinflint). The second relates to what it would cost if you don't hold back. Wild diners with a taste for fine wines will leave our top estimates far behind, but the figures are there as a guide. For most people, the cost of a meal will lie somewhere within the spread.

For a more detailed picture, each review sets out the prices of various dishes. At some time in the guide's life these specific prices (and indeed the overall price spreads) will become out of date, but they were all accurate when the book left for the printer. And even in the giddy world of restaurants, when prices rise or prices fall, everyone tends to move together. If this book shows one restaurant as being twice as expensive as another, that situation is likely to remain.

Opening hours and days are given in every review, as are the credit cards accepted. Where reviews specify that restaurants accept "all major credit cards", that means at least AmEx, Diners, MasterCard and Visa, but if you're relying on one card it's always best to check when you book.

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