El Techo

 

Tra Vigne

Eat This Town: San Francisco

By Mary Ladd

Tra Vigne
While thin-crust sourdough pizza is old hat to most of us by now, this mainstay has been slinging these pies for years; their pastas are also something of their own wine country institution. Winemakers and hospitality pros are frequent fliers among the wooden tables here—the joke is you can also get “shucky” during happy hour, and who wouldn’t, with $1 oysters seven days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. Wash it down with $5 craft beer, $7 well drinks, tap wine selections, or frozé wine slush.
Neighborhood: St. Helena MAP

Koo
In the Inner Sunset, a $5 happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. scores eaters elegant, fresh, and tasty hand rolls, jalapeno stuffed yellowtail, marinated and grilled artichoke in miso mayo, and seaweed or compressed spinach salad, for a nice spin on getting one’s greens. Families, students, and regulars loudly celebrate the “feast of five-dollar-ness,” and drink specials on Sapporo, Asahi, house sake, and white and red wine keep the party going.
Neighborhood: Inner Sunset MAP

Acacia House
This house suggests a welcoming, grandmotherly figure, well-versed in telling stories, but the guests are a stylish blend of vacationers and locals. The restaurant is both the hearth and heart of the luxe Las Alcobas hotel, and whether you take in the vineyard views from the wraparound porch or settle into air-conditioned comfort, there’s a certain loosening of the shoulders that soon sets in. Perhaps the compelling concoction of gin, honey, crème de violet, and sparkling wine ($15) has something to do with that. While celebrity chef Chris Cosentino is known for his charcuterie skills and finesse with meaty and porcine proteins—including the airy porkcorn, a pleasing snack—his kitchen also rocks lighter fare. The $29 prix-fixe lunch menu has seasonal delights in three courses, starting with chilled corn gazpacho (with whipped crème fraiche and herbs), little gem Caesar (with bagna cauda), or hamachi crudo with finger lime. Next is smoked salmon avocado toast, honeyed grilled cheese, or house-made zucchini pasta. Lightly sweet baked cherry crumble (with ten-grain granola) or milk chocolate mousse with crunchy fennel pollen can actually be mixed together—and granny would approve in such decadence.
Neighborhood: St. Helena MAP

Cava 22

Cava 22
Around the corner from El Techo, the entertainment on Fridays is a mariachi band. Bring dollar bills to tip the musicians during a most-generous happy hour that runs from 4 to 6 p.m..This lively spot is an entry point into the Mission’s past, present, and potential future: There’s a family-run feel, traditional Latin American flourishes, and massive margaritas. Pro tip: This is the perfect spot for large groups of relatives or friends. Savor the large picture windows, the sports action on TV, and perhaps most important, tostaditas, quesadillas, nachos, mango margaritas, ceviche, taco Tuesdays, and tangy micheladas. It’s a true Mission bounty.
Neighborhood: Mission District MAP

Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar
One of the sweetest ways Chris Shepherd and Elizabeth Frumusa commemorated parenthood was to name a restaurant after their kids. Bellanico is the 2.0 version of their Aperto restaurant operation across the Bay in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Other significant names pop up amidst the wine racks at this sweet spot: Duroc (succulent porcine goodies), Prather Ranch (meats from the whole animal), and Pitman Farms (poultry). You don’t have to be pondering what to name your kids to want a fab meal here, and the promise of four courses ($40; wine pairings an additional $17) means solid nourishment no matter the occasion. Prather Ranch fans have been known to chirp, “Praise the Lard” after cleaning their plates (yes, really).
Neighborhood: Oakland Glenview MAP

El Techo
This stretch of the Mission was favored by Anthony Bourdain back in the day. Urban rooftop views are a (popular!) rarity in this neighborhood, where you can watch the city’s skyline morph with crazy, beautiful glory. While on the weekend, bachelorette parties and larger groups stream in, on weekdays, it’s a touch more mellow. With $4 cervezas, $7 margaritas, and $5 bar bites—chips and guacamole, house salsa with pork and beans, meaty skewers—there are rewards for early birds. Arrive right as the 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour begins to get a seat. Otherwise, expect to wait at the street level, then again upstairs, where you should order a thirst quencher, stat—you’re almost there!
Neighborhood: Mission District MAP

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