I've had a handful of remarkable meals out recently. Here's what I'm loving of late.
  1. Al's Place
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    I normally like to stay away from hype, but when my neighborhood's new spot was named the country's best new restaurant by @BonAppetit, I had to check it out. Every bite was SUBLIME. Brilliant, creative, fresh, and utterly addictive food. And even though it's nice, they perfectly capture SF's comfortable-chic ambiance. It's Michelin-worthy food you can eat in jeans. Reservations are tough to get, but stalk Opentable for cancellations, or show up early and wait in line. Worth it.
  2. Gardenias
    Owned by the brilliant women behind the now-closed gem that was Woodward's Garden, Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino, this place is vegetable-focused (though they do meat really well), Cali-Italian, and so, so thoughtful. @evan and I shared a ricotta raviolo with brown butter and pears that was so good we couldn't continue our conversation and eat it at the same time.
  3. Souvla
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    A very modern, super fresh approach to Greek food in Hayes Valley. You can get various meats and vegetables in a salad or wrap form, plus they have a Greek frozen yogurt machine that makes a crazy-good soft serve which they serve with baklava.
  4. Ragazza
    Superb pizzas, flavorful, creative pastas, and vegetable sides that keep the food from ever feeling too heavy. I recently had a butternut squash baked ziti so good I wanted to write poetry about it. Don't skip the arancini. They're worth every calorie.
  5. Saru Sushi Bar
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    Very expensive, but worth it for a really refined, special sushi experience. Fish is perfectly fresh, flavors are vibrant, and service is wonderful. It's little and quiet (and tucked away in Noe Valley).