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SF Tables Worth Snagging During the Burning Man Exodus

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While Burning Man has a reputation as a free-love junket for hippies, it's also become a locus of the local arts scene, a playground for nostalgic parents looking to relive their youthful antics, and a networking outlet for rich techies who fly in their own chefs. With all these restaurant-loving constituencies off partying in the desert, there's likely no better week to attempt to dine out in SF. To help you decide where to make the most of the Black Rock City exodus, we've once again rounded up the 15 toughest-to-snag tables in SF, whether you're seeking a date night, a raucous evening with friends, or a hangover-busting brunch. While we can't guarantee your ability to dine at any of these spots, at least you won't have to do it covered in dust.


Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

· SF's 15 Hardest-to-Get Tables, 2013 Edition [~ ESF ~]
· All Eater Maps [~ ESF ~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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State Bird Provisions

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As the grandaddy of crazy waits, we can't imagine State Bird's traffic ebbing much, even in this quieter week. But with reservation-hacking techies off to play on the playa, there may be hope for sampling the James Beard Award-winning small plates.

Rich Table

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Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Evan Rich book up their restaurant weeks in advance. Getting a walk-in seat or last-minute reservation at Rich Table to try the legendary porcini donuts, sardine chips, salads, and farm-fresh pastas is always a challenge, but might ease a little this week.

Flour + Water

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With only 49 seats, flour + water is a squeeze, and they take very few reservations (less than half of the dining room). Chef Thomas McNaughton's housemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas are likely to only get more famous with a cookbook release, set for next month.

Mission Beach Cafe

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Quiet in the evenings, MBC becomes sheer insanity at brunch, with waits easily topping an hour. The crowds come for lavender-infused french toast, huevos rancheros, and mimosas in enormous glasses.

Brenda's French Soul Food

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Brenda's shrimp and grits, biscuits, and hangtown fry are the stuff hangover dreams are made of, and the Cajun-inflected brunch bastion sees long waits and lines even on weekdays. But your wait for beignets may ease this week.

Cotogna

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Quince's casual outpost Cotogna hasn't let up speed since glowing reviews put it on the map, and Michelin-starred chef Michael Tusk's rustic and affordable take on Italian cuisine keeps 'em coming (and waiting).

Frances

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Easily one of SF's top five toughest tables, tiny Frances has the casual friendliness of a neighborhood spot, combined with a smartly upscale, seasonal, and delicious menu. Reservations book up a month in advance, but you might be able to score one of the walk-in seats in front this week.

Coqueta

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Michael Chiarello's waterfront restaurant serves up Spanish tapas and paella, and having a celebrity chef at the helm doesn't help when it comes to trying to score a table. But although Coqueta may be a flirt, now might be the moment to get some private time with this handsome spot.

This Divisadero spot is approaching a decade of serving local, sustainable California cuisine, but it's as hot as any newbie, probably because it continues to turn out some of the city's best food, and diners know it. This may be a rare chance to avoid squeezing in at the bar.

Outerlands

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Even with a new renovation making it double the size, Outerlands' surfer-chic feel and California-hip food often mean waits in its lonely corner of the Outer Sunset (especially at brunch). Try your hand with a little less competition.

Delfina

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Delfina has been serving upscale Italian since most Mission Italian-inspired spots were just twinkles in their proprietors' eyes. Their pizzeria next door doesn't diminish from the restaurant's draw, and both are continually tough tickets.

Matthew Accarrino's food at SPQR just gets better and more creative with each passing year, and the intimate Italian-inspired restaurant continues to draw crowds for its ambiance, excellent wine list and creative menu. It's a shoebox, and reservations disappear accordingly.

Foreign Cinema

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With the charm of a European movie night and a California/Mediterranean-inspired menu that also happens to boast some of the best fried chicken in town, Foreign Cinema has been going strong for over a decade. Plan an impromptu date night this week for maximum romance, or beat the crowds to a glorious outdoor brunch.

Padrecito

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Padrecito seats 75, but buzz over its upscale Mexican fare and agave-based cocktail list has kept tables full more than a year into its run in Cole Valley. This might be a rare chance to snag a walk-in table.

La Ciccia

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Adorable and petite, this family-run spot is known for its excellent Sardinian food and its impossible-to-snag tables, despite a location in a far corner of Noe Valley. The crowd is a bit older, so this might be less of a Burning Man relief effort, but it's worth a shot.

State Bird Provisions

As the grandaddy of crazy waits, we can't imagine State Bird's traffic ebbing much, even in this quieter week. But with reservation-hacking techies off to play on the playa, there may be hope for sampling the James Beard Award-winning small plates.

Rich Table

Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Evan Rich book up their restaurant weeks in advance. Getting a walk-in seat or last-minute reservation at Rich Table to try the legendary porcini donuts, sardine chips, salads, and farm-fresh pastas is always a challenge, but might ease a little this week.

Flour + Water

With only 49 seats, flour + water is a squeeze, and they take very few reservations (less than half of the dining room). Chef Thomas McNaughton's housemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas are likely to only get more famous with a cookbook release, set for next month.

Mission Beach Cafe

Quiet in the evenings, MBC becomes sheer insanity at brunch, with waits easily topping an hour. The crowds come for lavender-infused french toast, huevos rancheros, and mimosas in enormous glasses.

Brenda's French Soul Food

Brenda's shrimp and grits, biscuits, and hangtown fry are the stuff hangover dreams are made of, and the Cajun-inflected brunch bastion sees long waits and lines even on weekdays. But your wait for beignets may ease this week.

Cotogna

Quince's casual outpost Cotogna hasn't let up speed since glowing reviews put it on the map, and Michelin-starred chef Michael Tusk's rustic and affordable take on Italian cuisine keeps 'em coming (and waiting).

Frances

Easily one of SF's top five toughest tables, tiny Frances has the casual friendliness of a neighborhood spot, combined with a smartly upscale, seasonal, and delicious menu. Reservations book up a month in advance, but you might be able to score one of the walk-in seats in front this week.

Coqueta

Michael Chiarello's waterfront restaurant serves up Spanish tapas and paella, and having a celebrity chef at the helm doesn't help when it comes to trying to score a table. But although Coqueta may be a flirt, now might be the moment to get some private time with this handsome spot.

Nopa

This Divisadero spot is approaching a decade of serving local, sustainable California cuisine, but it's as hot as any newbie, probably because it continues to turn out some of the city's best food, and diners know it. This may be a rare chance to avoid squeezing in at the bar.

Outerlands

Even with a new renovation making it double the size, Outerlands' surfer-chic feel and California-hip food often mean waits in its lonely corner of the Outer Sunset (especially at brunch). Try your hand with a little less competition.

Delfina

Delfina has been serving upscale Italian since most Mission Italian-inspired spots were just twinkles in their proprietors' eyes. Their pizzeria next door doesn't diminish from the restaurant's draw, and both are continually tough tickets.

SPQR

Matthew Accarrino's food at SPQR just gets better and more creative with each passing year, and the intimate Italian-inspired restaurant continues to draw crowds for its ambiance, excellent wine list and creative menu. It's a shoebox, and reservations disappear accordingly.

Foreign Cinema

With the charm of a European movie night and a California/Mediterranean-inspired menu that also happens to boast some of the best fried chicken in town, Foreign Cinema has been going strong for over a decade. Plan an impromptu date night this week for maximum romance, or beat the crowds to a glorious outdoor brunch.