San Francisco's 4 Most Unusual Places to Eat a Meal
For those looking for something a little different in San Francisco, here are four unique places to eat at that offer plenty of atmosphere, from the funky to the fantastic.
Tonga Room (950 Mason St.)
A Polynesian classic, this iconic San Francisco location in the Fairmont Hotel has been pouring Tonga Mai Tais since 1945. There’s a lagoon in the center of the room where the band will play on a thatched barge, and it periodically rains and thunders throughout the evening. Large (and boozy) Tiki cocktails and pupu platters will quickly get you into an island groove. www.tongaroom.com
P.S. For more tropical libations, head to Pagan Idol in the Financial District, where you can sip island-inspired cocktails in a tiki hut and witness an erupting 'volcano'. Also, at PIER 39, you'll find San Francisco's only waterfront tiki bar at the Players Sports Grill and Arcade's Luau Lounge. Grab a drink while taking a break from the arcade's 85 games and full prize center. www.pier39.com
Farallon (450 Post St.)
Walking into this Union Square restaurant is like entering an underwater fantasy, with aquatic elements throughout. The Jellyfish Lounge is a playfully designed place to come by for happy hour and oysters from the raw bar, while the dining room is high on drama, but still elegant. As you’d expect, the menu highlights seafood, but here it’s also sustainable and top of the line, featuring the best of what’s in season. Pro tip: don’t miss the carrot cake for dessert. www.farallonrestaurant.com
AsiaSF (201 Ninth St.)
Prepare to be mezmerized and delighted. The transgender performers at this SoMa club are absolutely, utterly gorgeous—the ladies perform a few shows on a runway while guests dine on Cal-Asian dishes and drink cocktails. This place is bachelorette and birthday party central, but small parties are welcomed too. www.asiasf.com
Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.)
One of the most atmospheric venues in the city, this Mission pioneer has a huge patio where they screen films on the back wall while you dine (there are also drive-in style speakers at the tables so you can listen to the movie in the background). The Cal-Med menu includes quality charcuterie, oysters, seasonal dishes, and if you’re lucky you’ll find their incredible fried chicken too. You can also just come by for a cocktail. www.foreigncinema.com
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, tablehopper, about the SF dining and drinking scene, get all the latest news at www.tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more SF finds!