Valentine's Day is less than a month out. Call any of these places now, and not only will you reserve the romantic table your girl craves, you'll also avoid the predatory gougings of ubiquitous mandatory prix-fixe menus. Your options:
330 Townsend St, Soma; 415.974.5599
This swank, Sydney-loft-style spot for salmon sashimi w/curry and lime, New Zealand lamb w/beet purée, or the salumi-stacked "Bushman's Plate" (not to be confused with the Bush-Man's plate, which brims with lame duck)
Menu at SouthFWB.com
3621 18th St, Mission; 415.552.4055
The gold standard in boutique dining (intimate, organic, local, blah, blah, blah); if things don't work out, there's always Delfina's next-door, high-end pizzeria -- because since "pizza's a lot like sex", why not eat more pizza
Ogle the food at DelfinaSF.com
82 14th St, MISO; 415.864.2191
Hidden on a derelict block of MISO, this French hotspot boasts 30ft, wood-beamed ceilings and a garden patio up front heated by gas lamps -- like bum trash-fires, for people dropping $150 on haricots verts
Browse the menu at ChezSpencer.com
4288 24th St, Noe Valley; 415.821.7652
This soft-lit neighborhood fixture feels like a Tahoe après ski spot; the ever-changing menu pulls in influences from Vietnam to Mexico, though sadly, it's B.Y.O. "Ho Chi-rita"
Check out the eats at FireflyRestaurant.com
Local Kitchen + Wine Merchant
330 1st St, SOMA; 415.777.4200
Decked out in blond wood and marble tabletops, this casual nabe joint is co-helmed by a former Michael Mina sommelier.
The menu's PDF 's at SF-Local.com
2495 3rd St, Dogpatch; 415.252.2000
Set in a gutted industrial space, Serpentine serves simple, regional food a la Slow Club, or, to be politically correct, "Special Needs Club"
Slither through the spread at SerpentineSF.com
Presidio Social Club
563 Ruger St, Presidio; 415.885.1888
Serving classic cocktails like the Aviation and the Gunpowder, PSC feels like a 1940s officer's quarters, w/ fresh white paint, cabana-style ceiling fans, and leather accents -- meaning it has the vocal intonations of Jack Palance
Peep the Club's menu at PresidioSocialClub.com
3011 Steiner St, Cow Hollow; 415.441.3200
This beautifully appointed, 20-table, tapas-style restaurant is styled in the New York vein, which carries blood to the gland responsible for making you love pastrami.
Weigh your options at TerzoSF.com
22 Hawthorne St, SOMA 415.777.9779
The former Hawthorne Lane is now green'd up with pressed-bamboo walls and reclaimed redwood furnishings, leaving a bunch of pissed off Ewoks sitting on the ground