Communal tables have long been decreed the restaurant trend of San Francisco. In today’s food section, the Chronicle takes a look at the evolution of communal dining in the Bay, from inchoate versions at Original Joe’s and the now-closed Vanessi’s to Jeffrey Chodorow’s splashy, $450,000 25-foot-long table at Asia de Cuba in the 90s:
In the Bay Area, the communal table typically is just for walk-ins. The folks at San Francisco’s Town Hall, which has a bar-height 12-seat communal table near the entrance, says it’s a way to ensure that locals almost always get a seat at the crowded restaurant.”The dining room here is booked just about every night,” says manager Zeke Durantini. “So the communal table is a great option for people who don’t have a reservation.”And that’s becoming more and more common, says restaurant architect Cass Calder Smith, who has designed many of the Bay Area’s trendiest restaurants, including Perbacco and LuLu, adding that today’s casual diner doesn’t want to commit and often waits until the last minute before choosing a place to eat.
Nowadays, it may even be more rare for a new, relatively upscale restaurant to not offer communal dining. In addition to the aforementioned communal dining hotspots, you can imbibe and enjoy a meal with complete strangers at the following San Francisco restaurants (among others): bushi-tei, Nopa, Pres a Vi, Presidio Social Club, Salt House, Terzo and TWO.
A Place At The Table [SFGate]