Northside SF  

October '09

The Tablehopper
Fillmore citizens will soon have their cake, and eat it too
By Marcia Gagliardi

After 10 years on the corner of Grove and Gough, Elizabeth Falkner closed Citizen Cake in Hayes Valley at the end of February, and will be reopening in the Vivande Porta Via space (2125 Fillmore Street) in mid-March. She said she is sad to leave their wonderful Hayes Valley customer base, but she’s looking forward to having more foot traffic, and is excited to be working on the new lunch and dinner menus. Based on all the people who keep swinging by the Fillmore space to say hello, you can say the neighborhood is excited to have her. Lunch and dinner will be served daily, continuously from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will be a combination patisserie and restaurant, with 30 seats open for guests who just want to come in for an éclair and coffee, or a sit-down lunch or dinner of dishes like a Cobb chicken sandwich, clam chowder, a variety of salads, a few pizzas, steak frites, cioppino, and pork spare ribs. There will also be some seats reserved for walk-ins. As for her sweets, there will be a variety of cakes, pastry items, petits gâteaux, and made-to-order ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Cool (literally). The opening is slated for sometime this month.

Also on Fillmore: Sure, it’s a new year, but our finances haven’t bounced back just yet. Ahem. Fortunately Chouquets (2500 Washington Street, 415-359-0075) has launched two new specials to help with our dining expenses. Diners can enjoy a French three-course dinner (appetizer, entrée and a dessert) for $29.95 per person every night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Also, on Mondays all bottles of wine are 50 percent off. Salud!

In the Marina, the transformation of the Marina’s Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe to Ristobar (2300 Chestnut Street, 415-923-6464) is now complete. The new incarnation is a combination restaurant, wine bar, and salumi bar that is meant to feel more relaxed and casual. The menu includes snacks, salads, crudos, a number of vegetable dishes, some pasta dishes like paccheri with sautéed guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon from pork cheek or jowl), cipolline, pecorino romano, and hazelnuts ($15), pizzas ($10–12), and main dishes like osso buco and lamb meatballs, with nothing over $20. Wine from the Enomatic system is available in a variety of pours, from a taste to a bottle. Dinner nightly (Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.).
Looking for a lunch spot after a trip to the DeYoung Museum? You can now have lunch at The Richmond Restaurant (615 Balboa Street, 415-379-8988) in … the Richmond (and you thought I was going to say North Beach). On the menu: American classics, like potato leek soup, a seasonal green salad, fried oysters with coleslaw, a seasonal fish dish, meatloaf, and a half-pound cheeseburger with fries. Starters will cost between $6 and $9, while mains will range from $9.95 to $14.95. Lunch is served Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Last, it’s an exciting month for me: My first book is coming out on March 9, The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion from Ten Speed Press. It will be the first restaurant guidebook of its kind, recommending the perfect San Francisco locations for all of life’s occasions, whether it’s date one, two, or three; dinner with the parents; old-school power lunch; or bachelorette blowout (no hairdryer needed). I hope you enjoy it. I will be doing a variety of launch events (some of them with food, and many of them with wine, of course) – you can follow updates on my events and more at

Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at Additionally she writes for San Francisco magazine, Edible San Francisco, and the weekly San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau blog, Foodie 411. Got a hot tip? E-mail:

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