Mason Pacific is somehow both a date spot, and a bro-date spot. It's romantic, but also bromantic. It has cloth napkins, but also fried chicken. It has rosé, and also ros... uh... beer. Yeah... beer. In any event, you're going to need to convince your bros it isn't a chick place and your chicks it isn't a bro place. And we, like a $200 robot designed to sweep your floors unless there's a chair leg in the way, are here to help...
If you're with a girl: Wait for your table in the foyer, pointing out the Surrealism in the finger-puppet artwork, making sure to milk all that you can out of that one Art History class you took sophomore year.
If you're with your buddy: They have beef tartare with cornichons and pretzel crostini or buttermilk fried chicken with sauce remoulade and green Tabasco... better order two of each, because you will be demolishing these.
If you're with a lady: They have more than 16 wines by the bottle or glass, including a red and a white specially made for the restaurant that're available in carafe form.
If you're with a bromo sapien: See: wine in carafes for $12 (!!), or seven craft beers if you aren't comfortable sharing a carafe...
If you're with The One: This booth is situated specifically to look outside and people-watch, it's amazing.
If you're with The One Friend: Dude, this booth is situated specifically to look outside and people-watch, it's amazing.
Much like its location at the intersection of Chinatown and Nob Hill, Mason Pacific is a convergence of two styles: it's a restaurant that at once feels like a neighborhood bistro and a fine dining establishment. Situated along a cable car line, it has an elegant look in both its decor (leather banquettes, large mirrors, white tablecloths) and cuisine, which centers on refined American plates like poached trout, half roast chicken, and braised lamb, all presented with fresh seasonal vegetables -- and with polite and polished service. You won't find any pretension at Mason Pacific, particularly in the friendly bar area at the front, where you can start with oysters and appetizers, or simply stop in for a glass of wine (while impressive, the list is petite and pricey).