Dining in San Francisco

The first thing you will notice at the Americano Restaurant at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco's Embarcadero is the majestic views of the bay from the circular bar. The stark and modern decor does nothing to detract from the view, and natural woods and soothing colors emphasize the panorama. On clear and warm days, there is an outdoor patio for even better views, light bites and cocktails. Americano Restaurant serves modern Italian cuisine with a seasonal and local emphasis. Look for fresh pastas, regionally raised lamb and beef, cheeses and meats imported from Italy, and wood-fired pizzas with artful and gourmet toppings not to be found anywhere else. Americano also hosts frequent special dinners with themes such as "Wild Food," "Crab and Champagne," and caters private events.

Fog City Diner, a San Francisco landmark and tourist must-see/must-eat destination, is filled with Depression-Era memorabilia but the food is far from depressing. A mix of Southern, Asian and Southwestern, the fusion food is fun, artful and hearty. Don't leave without trying the jalapeno corn bread with red pepper jelly or the Amaretto brioche bread pudding for dessert. As for the entrees? You'd be hard-pressed to find one that doesn't delight.

Stone Korean Kitchen is filled with Koreans; this is always a good sign. The modern, casual restaurant offers grilled beef tongue, fried smelts, kalbi skewers as well as other traditional Korean comfort foods. Koreans and non-Koreans alike can't get enough of the hot stone rice bowls and homemade dumplings. San Francisco's Asian population has a large grasp on the dining scene in town, but few have made this far into the zeitgeist as Stone Korean Kitchen.

Because more and more people are becoming vegetarian...because gluten-free is no longer just a buzzword...because diners are more inquisitive and vocal about where their food comes from...and because it's San Francisco, of course! The Plant was founded with a mission to promote ecologically sound and locally supportive, healthy food. And that it does--good food that makes you feel like you did your little part for not only the Earth, but for your body, as well. All dishes at The Plant are 100-percent organic, local ingredients. The seasonal produce is harvested in the Bay Area and the poultry and seafood are organic/free-range/wild-sustainable. The food is largely Cali-Asian, with lots of salads, grain dishes, pastas, smoothies and sandwiches. Do yourself a favor...save the Ghirardelli factory visit for another day. You've been too good to blow it.