(credit: Melanie Graysmith)
Dining out should be an enjoyable experience, especially when the occasion calls for a celebration or significant occasion. Any time you dine out can be memorable when both the food and libation are the best they can be. At times, bringing favorite drinks along helps guarantee the meal to be perfect. Here are five San Francisco restaurants that welcome you to BYOB.
2049 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
The Elite Café (pictured above) has become a San Francisco must-go spot based on the consistently high reviews of its all-American, New Orleans-inspired cuisine. Opened in 1981, the Elite Café has stayed in the thumbs-up range of the city’s most beloved dining venues. Situated in a lovely Art Deco building from the 1920s, diners can enjoy brunch, cocktails and dinner from the inside or on the heated outside area for brunch. If the handmade cocktails, fresh juices or 20 wines by the glass don’t pull you in, then BYOB and you will be welcomed. Corkage fees are $15 per 750-ml bottle, $25 per magnum.
347 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
With a nice clubby feel, comfortable booth seating and high ceilings, the Daily Grill San Francisco is the perfect place to take a breather after a hectic workday or to relax the feet after a day of shopping. The restaurant is smack in the center of San Francisco’s busy downtown shopping district, after all. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner are served here, along with today’s must-haves to satisfy everyone. Choose from a wide range of American classics such as steaks, chicken, seafood, pastas, meal-size salads and whatever else you love to eat. There is a full bar and top-notch wines, but if you prefer to BYOB, the corkage fee is $15 per 750-ml bottle. Become a regular Daily Grill diner and take advantage of the Preferred Guest program, which gives access to priority reservations 24 hours in advance, in-house specials and free corkage (one bottle per two guests), plus additional promotions. If you join the program when you first order your meal, club benefits including free corkage applied on the spot.
2237 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Welcome to history at this famed North Beach spot that opened as Ristorante Fior d’Italia on May 1, 1886, making it America’s oldest Italian restaurant. The original Gold Rush era building burned in 1893 but immediately reopened, to again be at nature’s mercy in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Yet rising again out of its ashes, it reopened the next day in a tent. Fior d’Italia has moved around North Beach a few times to settle at its current location on Mason Street. This fine dining spot has served authentic Northern Italian cuisine from its beginning, and today is owned and operated by Milan-born Chef Gianni Audieri. Chef Audieri and staff welcome you for lunch, dinner and Spuntini, the small plates menu that fits nicely in Fior d’Italia’s happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The restaurant welcomes you to BYOB with free corkage on Tuesdays and at $18 per 750-ml bottle all other times.
272 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
This chic-casual restaurant and lounge is a fine day and night spot, as Soluna Café & Lounge offers brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center. California and locally driven food items, “just about all of the ingredients we use are organic, all-natural, or sustainable,” are highlighted on its menus in choices such as Humbolt Fog and Pt. Reyes Bleu cheeses, local wild salmon and California halibut. If the full bar and long wine list don’t include your favorite drink, then by all means BYOB. The corkage fee is $15 per 750-ml bottle, up to two bottles.
3945 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Fresca, Nouveau Peruvian cuisine, is a local three-restaurant favorite that consistently receives high praise along with positive reviews. Owners Julio Calvo-Perez and wife Zoila bring their passion and tender memories for the traditional Peruvian cooking, along with the Afro-Peruvian and other exotic flavors they grew up with, to their distinctive restaurants. While Fresca offers a varied wine list including a signature sangria, if you would prefer to BYOB the fee is $18 per 750-ml bottle.
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.