Sauce Belden Place 56 Belden Pl./Bush St., Financial District. Located down-alley, this one-room venue’s decor includes a pressed-tile ceiling and high seating. Napkins are big—they are repurposed dish towels—and food is mostly tapas-style small “social plates.” Though comfort foods abound, you’ll see updated appetizer versions— sweet little two-bite mini chicken pot pies, meaty portabello mushroom fries with housemade ranch dipping sauce, bacon-wrapped meatloaf atop mashed potatoes. Chef Ben Paula suggests sharing a large sampler platter featuring four each of a variety of appetizers so diners don’t experience “entrée envy.” Brussels sprout salad consists of separate leaves tossed with bacon candy and dried cranberries and makes a delicious change from lettuce. Unfortunately, many Happy Hour diners probably never make it to the entrees that include a buttery Maine lobster roll--the bun is made in house, and the shells from the fresh lobster are used to make a bisque--and fried organic chicken with whipped potatoes and gravy. Daily from 2:30 to 7 p.m. Happy Hour BOOMS--I joked to my dining partner that maybe we should carry on a conversation by texting-- and microwbrews, bubbles by the glass, and creative cocktails are part of the mix (my fave is the tasty American Honey Side Car with Wild Turkey bourbon and triple orange liquor). Dessert brings on oatmeal cookie dough bon bons and PB&J sponge cake with a vanilla ice cream center. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available. Sauce stays open until 1 a.m.
Schroeder’s 240 Front St., Financial District. Contemporary German.
St. Francis Fountain 2801 24th St./York St., Mission District. Here since 1918, this informal cafe retains its old-time wooden booths and counter with swivel stools, and it claims to be the oldest ice cream parlor in San Francisco. Specialties include a Guinness float and a hot vanilla shake. The menu features typical diner fare, including pancakes, waffles, soups, salads, sandwiches, and burgers, plus many vegan options.
Super Duper Burgers 740 Market St./3rd St., 3 blks. from Union Square..