Where to Eat

Where to Eat in S.F.’s Theater District, Such As It Is

<em>Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City</em> officially opens at A.C.T. next week. It's in previews now.
Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City officially opens at A.C.T. next week. It’s in previews now. Photo: Kevin Berne/A.C.T.

And now for a service-y moment, because we know how you love those… Do you find yourself at a loss, as we do sometimes, figuring out where to drink or eat when you’re heading to a show at A.C.T. or the Curran Theater? Don’t you wish you had a friend you could trust to point you in the right direction, food-wise, so you don’t get conned by the more touristy enticements of Union Square? This week marks the opening of The Blue Man Group at the Golden Gate Theater (Taylor and Market), the experimental theater festival called Risk Is This… is ongoing at the Cutting Ball Theater (277 Taylor Street), and last week marked the start of previews for Tales of the City: The Musical at A.C.T., which officially opens after Memorial Day. Assuming you’ll be kicking off summer seeing one or another of these shows, allow us to recommend a few places to enjoy before or after a performance, where you won’t feel ripped off.

Low-End Options

Lers Ros and Thai House Express serve some of the best Thai food in town, and they’re both about a ten minute walk away, on Larkin Street. But if you want something closer to the theaters, consider these options:

Borobudur - Indonesian, it’s been there for two decades, and we can’t get enough of that fried bread they call roti prata.

Show Dogs - closest to the Golden Gate Theater, on Market Street.

Shalimar - It’s a fluorescent-lit dump inside but their Indian and Pakistani food’s great.

Thai Stick - It’ll do in a pinch.

Mid-Range Options
There’s really not a lot in the mid-range, which we’re defining here as “you can realistically get out of there for less than $50 a person.” But consider these options:

Bar Adagio - A decent place for a drinks-and-apps type situation on a casual date, but the place has lost some of its sheen since the days of Cortez.

Burritt Room - This is more for post-theater drinking, or for a small snack-meal with drinks before, but it’s easily our favorite bar in the ‘hood.

Colibri - They do decent fish dishes and carnitas, but be forewarned this place is generally a mob scene on show nights and you’ll want to make a reservation unless you’re showing up at 5 p.m.

Grand Café - For a solid French meal in an elegant setting, the $38, three-course prix fixe here can’t be beat. They also offer $5 valet parking, and they’ll keep your car safe and close until the show’s over, which is a major bonus.

Jones - More snacky food, and a fantastic place to sit outdoors on their huge patio with a drink on those rare warm evenings.

- Pretty good nigiri, and mostly non-traditional maki rolls (think peanut butter and jalapeno Volcano Roll), but it’s uber-popular and in every guide book, so don’t bother unless you’re in the door way before six — otherwise you won’t make your curtain time.

High-End Options

Bourbon Steak — Great steaks, Michael Mina-created starters and fish dishes, and a terrific burger too, but all at a pretty hefty price tag once you’ve ordered your cocktails and wine.

Campton Place - We haven’t yet been ourselves, but Michelin loves them!

Canteen - This remains one of our favorite spots in town, and it’s on the Chron Top 100, but it’s tiny and you’ll need to reserve ahead to try some of Dennis Leary’s terrific and inventive California food.

Fleur de Lys - Chef Hubert Keller may be busy jetting around to his various restaurants these days, but this place still has its Michelin star, and is still bringing in the crowds.

Sons & Daughters - A fantastic deal for what you get, but we wouldn’t recommend ordering a la carte at this great new restaurant from a pair of young co-chefs. Go for the whole $58 four-course deal, or you’ll be hungry by intermission.

Earlier: Biergarten, Chambers, and Everywhere Else to Drink and Dine Outdoors This Summer

Where to Eat in S.F.’s Theater District, Such As It Is