Restaurants with Great Communal Tables & Bars
Valentine’s Day sucks if you don’t have a date. And this year, Valentine’s Day also happens to be on a Saturday. If you want to go out, but don’t want to deal with a cheesy prix fixe or rose-topped tables, a seat at a communal table or a deep bar is generally a sound, reservation-proof choice. In fact, if you’re single, please grab a seat at that communal table and then tell us what happens @goop #goopinlove and we’ll regram our favorites.
Nopa560 Divisadero St., Hayes Valley | 415.864.8643
Nopa is one of few restaurants around that's open late—dinner is served until 1am—which is unheard of in SF. This is a definite good thing considering it can be challenging to land one of the communal tables or booths on a super busy night, but if you’re lucky you can snag a seat at the bar. In a city full of Italian restaurants, this is the place to go for fresh pasta that changes regularly according to what’s in season. So good is the selection of the house-made pastas, burgers, salads, and sides that local chefs go here on their nights off. The wine list is the stuff of legend.
Slanted Door1 Ferry Building, Embarcadero | 415.861.8032
The first thing you notice about this San Francisco standby are the views. Ever since The Slanted Door moved into the Ferry Building from its original Valencia street location, the bay has become a welcome addition to the minimalist interior (same goes for the sleek private dining rooms upstairs). But one thing hasn’t changed: this is still the place for Vietnamese. The emphasis is on fresh and organic ingredients. If you’re wanting a quick fix, you can also pick up food to-go at their Out the Door counter in the Ferry Building marketplace. Slanted Door also has a few sister restaurants including Out The Door on Bush Street, which is where the crowds are flocking these days.
Hog Island Oyster Co.1 Ferry Building 11A, Embarcadero | 415.391.7117
Fresh off a major expansion, which doubled capacity and added outdoor seating, this Ferry Building mainstay draws a consistently big crowd for its oysters. The cooked food menu is pretty enticing as well: The clam chowder is creamy but doesn’t weigh you down after just a few bites and the shrimp and grits is the ideal share plate. But back to the oysters. There are three different variations of grilled oysters in addition to an oyster po’ boy that actually rivals the original.
The Hall1028 Market St., SoMa | 415.558.8293
On a night you don’t want to commit to a single restaurant, or simply can't deal with an absurd wait time, have your pick of six distinct venters at temporary food and wine space, The Hall. Before hunkering down at one of the communal tables, take a lap of the massive dining area where you’ll find a Vietnamese stall, the meat-centric Whole Beast, and an Indian food spot. You’ll love having the freedom to pick and choose from several different cuisines all in one spot.