First date locations can be tricky: you want some style and vibe, but nothing toooo romantic or quiet. The price needs to be manageable (note that a few of these are a little spendy below), and there needs to be enough activity in the room to keep things from getting awkward. Drinks, bonus. Good luck out there.
This place is a riot of color and playful style. The menu of Mexican dishes just keeps getting better, from the tinga to the classic (and must-order) taco tropical. Fun date spot, and the margaritas are delish. Friendly staff, fun crowd.
This offshoot from the Quince team has it all: delicious Italian dishes, smart service, good value, cocktails, choice wines, and a handsome interior. Great for a lunch meeting, but equally fab for a dinner date.
Worth the trek to the Dogpatch--tasty cocktails, cool industrial-chic vibe, and the menu has a strong seasonal slant. Good for lunch, brunch, dinner too. Chicken livers are awesome, good burger too.
I don't think I could possibly love this restaurant any more than I already do. Fabulously flavor-forward cuisine by Nick Balla with Eastern European influences, and the occasional hint of Japan. Don't miss the langos appetizer, and come for lunch: excellent sandwiches (like the katsu).
Chef Matthew Accarrino is one of our city's most talented chefs. His salads, burrata plate, and pastas are top notch. He's also making his own chocolate-caramels. Love getting turned on to new wines here. Bar seats are my fave.
Handsome gastropub, perfect for an impromptu dinner, but also makes for a killer brunch. Famous for its fried chicken, burger, and fantastic range of house-brewed beers!
One of the best spots for late-night dining in town. Top-notch cocktails, wicked wine list, and I love the long bar and communal table (perfect for solo diners). Pork chop, flatbread, and the burger are all local favorites. Brunch is one of the city's best. FRENCH TOAST. Yes, it's that good.
I love bringing out-of-town visitors to this restaurant. It may be hidden away in Dogpatch, but is so worth the trek. Stunning space (chic and artsy but not too-too), the food is market-fresh and homey, and I really enjoy the well-selected wine list. Great for lunch: some of the city's best salads!
Tasty Turkish dishes, and vegetarians will find a lot to love on the menu here. Really affordable for the price, especially the mezes. The manti (dumplings) and moussaka are both so very delicious.
Huge fan of breakfast and brunch here: rice porridge, pho, and banh mi (with egg) are so good.
One of SF's most exciting restaurants to open in 2012, with a creative Cali menu that changes daily, balancing elevated technique with rustic appeal and big flavors. Wine list rocks. The menu is great to share. Two words: sardine chips.
A cool spot on a sleepy corner in SoMa. Inventive cuisine here--and the bar is always working on new cocktails. The restaurant's engaging decor changes with the seasons, ditto the menu. Come for brunch--excellent dishes and drinks.
Creative Japanese with California flair and seasonal ingredients. Menu has a rotating selection of skewers, plus salads, tartare, and a tasty tonkotsu. Good for solo diners, or a pre-symphony/opera bite.
Love the housemade kimchee, the beef tongue is a can't-miss, and no one else is doing okonomiyaki in a stone pot like this! So delicious.
Fab seafood served in modern and fresh presentations. Good weekend brunch (prix-fixe menu for $18). Perfect date restaurant.