A mélange of tempting San Francisco dining spots, both upscale and casual

Today we will check out the following in one post:

Red Hill Station

Campton Place 

Bix

Boulevard

Koja 

Andytown Coffee Roasters

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Red Hill Station (803 Cortland Ave.) is a very chill place and it was uncrowded at lunch time. The waiter started us off right by bringing over house made crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar plus a dish of olives. This was a nice way to kick off lunch.

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Taco plate at Red Hill Station.

We began with two glasses of prosecco ($12) which were well chilled and of good quality. Very tasty.

I ordered the Alaskan Cod taco plate ($18), which included a small salad, and was nice. My friend had the red meat trout ($26), which included mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It was a generous amount of food. The side green salad ($9) had a honey-balsamic dressing and was good. My only comment was that a few pieces of lettuce were past their prime and wilted. We had to set those aside.

The staff at Red Hill Station is super friendly and helpful and Michael, a Bernal resident, had time to chat with us.

Side note:  They have a small private room for about 10-12 people with a window overlooking the small kitchen. This would be a fun place to host a small, intimate dinner party.

Campton Place (Stockton & Sutter streets) has great cocktails and they bring out olives, nuts and dried peas to the table, which is appreciated. (I believe the French 75 cost about $14).

My only caveat was the greeting we received from the staff when we walked into the small bar area. The bartender came over and informed us that we would have to move if someone arrived who was going to have dinner in the restaurant afterward. We felt singled out (two women) and it was a lousy way to welcome us (or unwelcome us as it seemed).

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Would I go back to Campton Place again? Yes, but if I had the same unwelcome experience again, that would be the final time.

Bix (56 Gold St.). I was really looking forward to trying Bix as I had heard the name for a while and wanted to finally check it out. I love the Jackson Square area with its interior designers (it’s fun to browse in the windows) and the restaurant, situated on a dark alley, was intriguing.

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Bix entrance on Gold St.

It was an extremely busy night as there was a JP Morgan convention in town with attendees from all over the country. The place was packed.

We had a 9 p.m. dinner reservation for four and we were finally seated about 9:30 p.m. As it was so late, I planned on having some smaller plates. I chose a caesar salad ($13.50), which was minuscule and rather tasteless, and truffle fries ($9), which were lukewarm at best. I didn’t bother to say anything to the server as it was late and I just wanted to eat.

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Historic plaque at Bix.

The service was lackluster, not rude, just inattentive and it felt like they were unorganized and overwhelmed. I guess they were having a bad night. The best part about Bix are the cocktails ($14), which are well-constructed. We finished and left about 11:30 p.m.

Boulevard is always fabulous. Period. They are so well-trained and professional. I love going to Boulevard but beware because it is pricey.

Everyone’s dishes were wonderful but, to me, the desserts are outstanding. I am generally not a dessert lover, but their sweet creations are so memorable that I just had to try one.  We ordered a creme brulé ($13,) which was topped with berries, tiny cookies, baked meringue, candied fruit and a boule of the best vanilla ice cream around.

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Dessert at Boulevard

Side note: Some people in our group of six only ordered appetizers and I was surprised that the waiter was okay with this. Kudos to Boulevard!

Koja Kitchen Westfield:  Koja is located on the concourse level in the Westfield Shopping Center near Market and Powell streets. It is fairly new and their story begins in 2011 when they decided to combine Korean and Japanese food in fresh ways. They were featured on Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins & Dives) in 2013 and in December 2013, they opened their current retail location inside the lower level of the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

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I ordered one chicken taco ($3.25), with Korean bbq chicken and one zen taco (vegetarian, $3.25), with a soy and portobello mushroom patty. They were both fresh and tasty but my mouth was burning while eating the zen taco. My guess is that the heat came from the red sauce.

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Inside secret: If you tell them that you work in the area, they give you a 10% “neighbors discount.” It’s not advertised, so you have to mention it.

Andytown is a cool little gem in the Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco at Lawton and 43rd Avenue. It’s a coffee place with house made breads, food and fixings. They make their own butter, jam (marmalade on the day that I visited) and more in their tiny kitchen space. There are a few small (and I mean tiny) tables along the wall and a few in the front.

The staff is super friendly and they happily answered my questions about the place. The service was efficient and I did not feel rushed. (Neither was it too slow.)

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I definitely do not like paying $5 for toast but since theirs is made on the premises, I decided to give it a try. The wheaten bread comes with a house made butter (tasty and sweet) and I added a side of jam ($0.75), too. The two slices of bread were warm and crispy. The butter was sweet and delicious. Next time I would skip the jam and stick with the sweet butter.

I almost forgot about the coffee. My mocha ($4.75) was delicate and tasty. Loved it.

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That’s it for today and I decided to review several place in one blog post because my food/dining experiences were starting to add up.

Please feel free to share this with your family and friends if they want to learn more about eating out in San Francisco. Or, if you have a question about a place, let me know.

Bon appétit!

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