12 of San Francisco's Communal Tables You Need to Dine At
Want to experience a hot restaurant but couldn’t get a reservation? See if they have a communal table, which is almost always used to seat walk-ins. Sitting at a communal table is an ideal opportunity to gather friends, break bread and meet some locals this holiday season.
1601 Bar & Kitchen (1601 Howard St.)
1601 Bar & Kitchen, an under-the-radar Sri Lankan-inspired restaurant, is truly a hidden gem. You’ll encounter fascinating flavors in elegantly executed dishes, and the room has a contemporary look to it. There’s a communal table in the front (and a bar), where people come by after work for some quality wines (and beers) and a bite. You can also reserve it for large groups.
1760 (1760 Polk St.)
The communal table at this urban Russian Hill restaurant has a view of busy Polk Street and always draws a lively social scene, whether it’s for Friday night cocktails or Sunday brunch. The menu is market-driven with eclectic dishes. Look for Filipino influences in the flavorful cuisine as well. The excellent wine list and cocktails make 1760 your lucky number.
Coqueta (Pier 5)
The narrow communal tables at Coqueta are always filled with people, whether it’s for pintxos and gin and tonics, or something heartier off chef Michael Chiarello’s Spanish menu. There are also some outdoor tables where people gather when the weather is nice. It’s located on the Embarcadero right on the water, so you’ll have plenty of people watching. www.coquetasf.com
Dosa on Fillmore (1700 Fillmore St.)
Dosa on Fillmore, an urban-chic South Indian restaurant, has a varied menu with flavor-packed dishes featuring sustainable and organic ingredients. The long communal table here flanks the bar, which adds to the energetic feeling.The cocktails and wine list are also of note.
Flour + Water (2401 Harrison St.)
This popular Cal-Italian restaurant in the Mission famously didn’t take reservations for years until recently, but it doesn’t stop the flow of walk-in guests hoping for a seat. The communal table at Flour + Water has tall barstools and is always in high demand. The menu is known for its house-made pasta, Neopolitan-style pizzas, and seasonal ingredients. www.flourandwater.com/
Lolinda (2518 Mission St.)
A popular Argentine steakhouse in the Mission, Lolinda has a spacious communal table with room for 20 and is perfect for walk-ins, since reservations can be hard to come by. Be sure to order a cocktail and then enjoy dishes like their hearts of palm salad, empanadas, and all kinds of meats. This place draws quite a crowd, so expect a scene, especially on the weekend. www.lolindasf.com
Nopa (560 Divisadero St.)
This adored NorCal restaurant is one of the first in the city to really be known for its communal table—and it’s a big one. Walk-ins hover around it, clutching a glass of wine or a cocktail while hoping to snag a seat. You’ll definitely end up chatting with your tablemates here. The seasonal menu is known for its butter beans, pork chop, chicken, and burger, but it’s all delicious, rustic and open late (until 1 a.m. nightly).
Schroeder’s Restaurant (240 Front St.)
Of course, a German beer hall would have a bunch of communal tables! Not only do you get to meet your fellow beer lovers at Schroeder's Restaurant, but you can also find out which dishes they’re enjoying, too. This location has a long San Francisco history (since 1893), but was recently updated with a bit more of a modern sensibility. www.schroederssf.com
Terzo (3011 Steiner St.)
The communal table at Terzo is a cozy one at this Cow Hollow Mediterranean restaurant. It's right in the center of all the action. You’ll see many diners grazing on small plates while making their way through the extensive wine list, with a bunch available by the glass. www.terzosf.com
Town Hall (342 Howard St.)
A sister restaurant to Anchor & Hope and Salt House (also with a communal table), Town Hall always has high energy, partially fueled by its excellent Sazeracs. The communal table is in its own space and is definitely a social spot. The Southern-inspired fare is hearty, offering dishes like Faith’s ham and cheese toast, juicy fried chicken and fresh oysters. www.townhallsf.com
Trou Normand (140 New Montgomery St.)
The layout of the tables in the main dining room of Trou Normand definitely encourages groups to mingle and be close to each other. The back room has its own communal table, with a little peek into the kitchen. Anyone who loves charcuterie and salumi needs to pull up a chair at this chic downtown spot. Cocktails are also beautifully crafted here, while dinner offers chophouse cuts of meat and seasonal vegetables.
Zero Zero (826 Folsom St.)
There are some restaurants that really lend themselves well to walk-ins and Zero Zero is one of them. When you’re hungry and craving some hearty Cal-Italian dishes and you want a lively place where you can come as you are, this is the spot. The communal tables on both levels are always in heavy rotation. Sometimes large groups get seated at them, but then there’s always the comfortable bar. Cocktails and wine on tap are also served.www.zerozerosf.com