Where can I eat and park my car in San Francisco?
June 4, 2010 7:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an awesome restaurant to go to in San Francisco with my out of town friend and my car.

I have a friend in town on Saturday and we will be spending the day at the de Young, then puttering around Golden Gate Park. I was planning on driving there and parking in the garage next to the museum. Afterwards, we'd like to have dinner, but, as always, there are complications.

We are looking for somewhere with 1.) easy parking; 2.) American, French, or Italian food (he doesn't like anything he deems "ethnic"); 3.) a pleasant rather than romantic or impressive ambience. 4.) a relatively budget-friendly menu. We are thinking entrees for about $20-$30.

I've heard some pretty mixed reviews about Park Chow, which was a consideration. Does it have the MeFite seal of approval? Any other suggestions are more than welcome!
posted by chatongriffes to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
zuni cafe is great if a little "impressive" ambience-wise.
For something more chilled out , chez papa bistro is a nice neighborhood french bistro.
posted by alkupe at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2010

Zuni's a good idea, and they have $10 valet parking. It's a little on the pricey side of your budget, but it's classic SF, and always tasty.
posted by purpleclover at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2010

Slow Club (in the Mission) or Serpentine (sister restaurant of the Slow Club, in Dogpatch) are both, what, modern California/local ingredients kinds of places where parking is usually not a huge pain. Both have excellent cocktails, if you like that. Chez Papa (Potrero) is a good choice as well.
posted by rtha at 9:02 AM on June 4, 2010

Well, the parking isn't -great-, but l'Ardoise in the Duboce Triangle is definitely worth the hassle.
posted by jet_silver at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: I like Park Chow, and I also take my tourist friends there after a day of puttering around at the park and the Academy of Sciences. I enjoy the food. It's not something totally special and awesome, just good quality California/American cuisine with a decent beer list. The entree price is actually a bit less than your price range, probably more in the $12-$16 range. The ambiance is homey and comfortable. Sit by the fire or on the upstairs patio.

Standout things on the menu: eggplant parmesan, the artichoke appetizer, spaghetti & meatballs, fresh squeezed apple juice, and you MUST order the ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream.

Again, it's yummy but nothing mind-blowing. More of a comfortable place for dinner after work than a Nice Special Dining Event. I find it works well for my out-of-town friends who do not like what they consider "ethnic" cuisine.
posted by soleiluna at 9:21 AM on June 4, 2010

Also, if this helps: Park Chow is where we go for our workplace birthday lunches. It satisfies everyone, including picky eaters. It can be good for groups as well.
posted by soleiluna at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2010

Best answer: Why not visit The Moss Room Restaurant in the Academy of Science across the street from the de Young? While I haven't been there yet, it's on my list. The menu interests me and, though not inexpensive, I don't think it's a budget buster.
posted by namret at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2010

Yeah, Moss Room. Entrees are in the mid-2)s. Park Chow is fine but nothing special and it'll be filled with loud kids and big groups.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:39 AM on June 4, 2010

Response by poster: Oh man, I should not be reading about so many awesome restaurants before I eat breakfast. All these places look amazing! The ones I don't go to with my friend, I will definitely be checking out on my own.

You Moss Roomers, do you know if you have to pay to enter the museum to get into the restaurant?

Soleilluna, thanks for the Park Chow feedback!

Keep the great suggestions coming, O wonderful Mefites!
posted by chatongriffes at 9:45 AM on June 4, 2010

Dine About Town is going on right now in San Francisco.
posted by Seboshin at 10:03 AM on June 4, 2010

Albona, between Fishermans Wharf and North Beach, has free valet parking and is small, romantic and family-run. My wife and I go there on our romantic night-out dates and love it.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:14 AM on June 4, 2010

Beach Chalet is also an option with easy parking.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:44 AM on June 4, 2010

No need to purchase an admission to the museum to go to The Moss Room.

"Join us for lunch without purchasing museum admissions by visiting the museum’s Members Entrance. The guest services team will escort diners to the restaurant. Access to the exhibits is unavailable without admission tickets.

During dinner, reservations are accepted but not required. After the museum closes at 5:00pm, diners enter through the West Garden patio gate at the building’s northwest corner. Facing the main entrance, this external entrance is on the far right side of the building. "

However, the museum is really cool and if nothing else, plan on getting there early to go up the tower. Admission to the tower is free.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:14 AM on June 4, 2010

I change my vote to the Moss Room. And let us know how it is! I keep meaning to go.
posted by purpleclover at 8:19 PM on June 4, 2010

I had dinner at the Moss Room last night with my mom, who was visiting from out of town. It was absolutely delicious, and highly recommended. You don't need to pay to enter - you just go in the side entrance and right into the restaurant. Be prepared for a bill about twice the size of Park Chow, but know that the food is easily twice as delicious.
posted by judith at 12:54 PM on June 6, 2010

Response by poster: Just for follow up: we ended up meeting a friend at Park Chow. I'm saving the Moss Room for my boyfriend. :) Can't wait to check it out!
posted by chatongriffes at 11:20 AM on June 7, 2010

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