Tapas restaurants are a lot like rain. Now that you’re beyond confused, but need to know the answer, allow us to explain. When rain falls from the sky, it doesn’t land in random clusters, it’s equally distributed from one drop to the next. That’s how tapas places are too. There are a bunch of them perfectly spaced out around the city for easy access, which means that one of them has to be on the Embarcadero. That role is filled by Coqueta. The food here is good and they have classics like jamon and albondigas, but a large perk of this place is that it’s on the water (assuming there’s no fog blocking the view). It can get crowded with business people after work hours, so if you’re set on coming here, try to snag a reservation first. But if you can’t get one and need Spanish food after you leave the office, there’ll be another tapas place not that far away - that’s not our opinion, it’s math.
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Red’s Java House
Red’s Java House is a classic SF stop off for a burger and a cold beer in the Embarcadero.
Boulette's Larder does one thing, and it does it damn well: classy breakfast. Bring your mom for killer eggs and a nice view.
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Verjus is a wine bar and bottle shop in the Financial District perfect for an after-work date and drinks before dinner.
Abrazo is a Spanish place in Russian Hill that’s great when you need a last-second table.
Barcino, a Spanish spot in Hayes Valley, serves tasty but expensive tapas. Come for drinks and a snack, but probably not dinner.
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Leo’s Oyster Bar
Leo’s Oyster Bar involves pricey, but tasty seafood in an ’80s power yacht come to life. Obviously it’s in the Financial District.
The Slanted Door
Some restaurants that have been around a long time feel like ageless classics. The Slanted Door feels more like an aged classic.
Nojo is a great example of our favorite type of restaurant: excellent food and easy to get into.
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