When I feel like eating classic French dishes such as steamed mussels with pommes frites, duck confit and French onion soup, one of the places in San Francisco that immediately comes to my mind is Garçon, a cozy French bistro on Valencia street in the Mission district. It’s no surprise that Garçon does the French classics well: it has a French chef and French owners (the same people who started Plouf and Cafe Bastille on Belden Place in downtown San Francisco).
- Vibe: casual, friendly and warm; always crowded and lively. They have a way of making you feel very welcome and at ease.
- Pros: this is where you can indulge in your favorite French bistro food: the duck confit is wonderful, and if they are serving a daube (which I’ve seen on the menu only on one occasion), you must order it because the only restaurants that know how to do a real daube are the other French bistros run by French people; the cassoulet, which they serve (mostly) in the winter months, is also a dish you must try. Good wine list; reasonable prices.
- Cons: street parking is difficult in the Mission, but there’s a garage on 21st street a few steps away from the restaurant; reservations are a must.
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