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Even the proud, well-fed people of Paris admit that the chefs of San Francisco produce some très fin food. These three restaurants combine fresh local ingredients with Old World techniques and recipes to bring the flavors of France to the City by the Bay. Bon appetit!
Fleur de Lys – With food, fanfare, and prices to match the best of the Champs Elysee, chef Hubert Keller’s San Francisco masterpiece reigns as perhaps the best French restaurant in the City. In truth, the menu at Fleur de Lys might better be described as ‘French-inspired California cuisine,’ though ‘delicious beyond imagining’ also works. The pink plush chairs, grand flower arrangements, and sparkling white tablecloths combine to create a Francophilic romantic atmosphere in the dining rooms. Blend the soft, luxurious feel of your dining experience with a stay at the ultramodern Clift hotel or the vintage Sir Francis Drake. 777 Sutter Street
Café Claude – It’s more than just the furniture that comes to the City direct from a French brasserie—at Café Claude, the staff and many of the patrons seem to be expats imported directly from les rues de Paris. You can order a croque monsieur, salade niçoise, and poulet rôti and expect an authentically delicious dish. The noise level at this medium-sized bistro can get Paris-level loud, especially on weekends when the live music gets grooving. Tucked into tiny Claude Lane a few blocks from Union Square, Café Claude is an easy walk from the Campton Place Taj Hotel and the Galleria Park Hotel. 7 Claude Lane
Fringale – Taking a turn to the south, both in San Francisco and in French-styled cuisine, Fringale’s bright yellow exterior draws the eye of SoMa passers-by. The interior décor is mercifully a little bit less intense, which lets diners relax and focus on the flavors of the food. Both the lunch and dinner menus run true to Fringale’s Basque theme, leaning heavily on local seasonal produce and on traditional seafood dishes like steamed mussels and poached cod. Though Fringale’s location is very south of Market (on the other side of the 80 overpass), a cheap cab ride up 4th St will get you back to the San Francisco Marriott Marquis after a late dinner. 570 4th Street
Photos courtesy of Fringale Restaurant
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