Tadich Grill 240 California St./Battery St., Financial District. Begun in another location in 1849 as a coffee stand, this San Francisco institution has been here since 1967 and is California’s oldest restaurant in continuous operation. It is the third-oldest restaurant in the U.S. With dark wood walls, a long wooden dining counter, and private enclosed booths, it has an old-fashioned clubby feel and is a cozy place to be on a rainy day. The wait to get in can be long, but persevere. Then be wise and order simple, unsauced dishes. Pan-fried fish (my favorite is the petrale sole) is particularly good and served with housemade tartar sauce. Everyone gets a hunk of the classic sourdough bread. Steaks and chops are on the menu, Hangtown fry--scrambled eggs, bacon, and oysters--is available, and the housemade rice pudding has been on the menu for more than 100 years. Old fashioned drinks made from scratch include Manhattans, martinis, and Bloody Marys.
Tartine Bakery 600 Guerrero St./18th St., Mission District. This small bakery-cafe is famous for its huge loaves of country-style bread made with organic ingredients and wild yeasts. The bread is used for toast at breakfast and in sandwiches at lunch. A line generally snakes out the door, and seating space is limited and parking space difficult to find. Still, everything is so delicious that patrons seem not to mind. Pastries include an exquisite sugary morning bun, a jewel of an éclair, and the flakiest of croissants. Loaves of bread are available for purchase only after 4 p.m. The best plan of attack is to have one person get in the order line while another holds a table, preferably while sipping a drink purchased quickly at the back counter. One of the oversize sandwiches--the croque monsieur is popular and ready immediately, while other pressed hot sandwiches require a 10-minute wait--plus a dessert pastry can easily fill two diners. Organic ingredients, local eggs, and Niman Ranch meats are used.