Seared foie gras at Haven.
Rice, Paper, Scissors
The Vietnamese food pop-up has found a semipermanent home at Brick & Mortar, where it serves a short but sweet lunch menu. The banh mi op la is a beautiful bruiser of a sandwich topped with a perfectly fried egg, and the Hanoi-style beef pho is delicious. The best seats are out on Mission Street, where you can perch on a red plastic stool and watch the world go by.
1710 Mission St. (at Duboce St.), 415-878-6657 R.M.
The neighborhood’s long-standing Loló has moved to shiny, happy, new digs in the thick of Valencia Street. Against a riotous backdrop of color and whimsy (dog statues, anyone?), diners dig in to Mexican-ish fare, including everything from carnitas to lamb sliders on a brioche bun with porcini mushroom sauce. If you’re a mezcal junkie, sit at the bar.
974 Valencia St. (near 21st St.), 415-643-5656 S.D.
An inconspicuous corner of the Parc 55 Hotel houses this Thai food labor of love from food writer Pim Techamuanvivit and chef Michael Gaines. Balanced cocktails, plus curries and noodles, boast top-shelf ingredients (and prices). The spicy, sticky chicken wings induce wolflike behavior, while a dish of chicken-fat rice served with poached chicken and a killer chili sauce is a delight. In a flash, crab sen chan, a pad Thai–esque dish, is gone.
55 Cyril Magnin St. (near Ellis St.), 415-362-7456 S.D.
In a hood starved for good food, Réveille is a beacon of hope. The tiny café is centered on its Four Barrel coffee offerings, but its food menu includes delicious, healthy sandwiches and salads (the poached tuna is a favorite). The Scandinavianlike interior is given an extra pop with sleek black and white cement tiles.
4076 18th St. (near Castro St.), 415-789-6258 S.D.
Originally published in the April 2014 issue of San Francisco.
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