I avoid high tourist areas like the rest of us, but sometimes one needs to take in the sites to appreciate city splendor. Fishermen's Grotto on the Wharf is an old stand by, with kitsch appeal and excellent clam chowder. It's family owned since 1935, was the first restaurant to grace the Wharf, and father and son, Michael and Anthony, greet their guests with blue eyes and big smiles.
I recently went on an overcast day, which made it even more San Frantastic. It was cozy within the upstairs dining room (recommended), and a view of the Wharf and the Golden Gate made for much window gazing. The clam chowder is a must, and we had the Crab Louie salad and seafood risotto special; anything crab is delish, since it's in season. Portions are large, so sharing is ideal. Eat it up, soak it in, classic SF.
There's Limon (in the Mission) and Limon Rotisserie (semi-Mission). Having been to Peru and thoroughly enjoyed eating there, I have visited both restos...but I prefer the Rotisserie. It's on a Corner — refer to my Corner rant for explanation — it's casual and ideal for parties of two-to-four, and it's away from the Mission crowds. Low key delicious. The Aji sauces complement everything and are colorful and range in spice; mega corns appear here and there. Order the red sangria and yucca fries for additional treats. You'll find me here every couple months, and here's what I'm always sure to order:
1) Ceviche de Pescado; the fresh red snapper is my go-to. This is a nice refresher before the heartier fare.
2) Empanadas; I've had all three: the carne, the pollo, and the veggie. I mix it up depending on what I had for dinner the night before...
3) The Pollo a la Brasa. Whoever said chicken was boring obviously never dined here. When you have an 'itchin for chicken, hot tail it over - it's worth the wait.
The rest, is up to you...
Limon Rotisserie, 1001 South Van Ness Ave., Corner of 21st.
I've got a thing for corners. If you know me, you may have already heard me list off cool corner spots — mainly restaurants and bars. There was a point in time I actually sought out corner spots, so I've got a list. A list I can finally share! Here's why corner spots are concupiscible: corner entries are so welcoming, they're easy to find because they're right there, they generally have more light because of increased window space, and they're good feng shui.
You'll be hearing all about corner culture here and to kick things off — The Owl Tree, corner of Post x Taylor. Redone in 2008, this dive is a simple, moody place fit for a casual drink...simple, except for the fresh tiled owl design that wraps the CORNER. And the owl statues that overlook the 'loin. Rock muse dominates while two flat screens, exposed brick, and burgundy booths create the cozy. Keep selections simple: Jameson and Ginger, martini, beer.