Temperatures can drop noticeably in the fall, but that’s when San Francisco’s arts and theater scene heats up. If you have tickets to any of the major venues in the Theater District, you’re in luck: there are several fabulous places to eat within walking distance of BART and the Curran, Orpheum, ACT’s Geary, from the Strand and the Golden Gate Theatre, as well as the Opera and the Symphony.
We suggest you plan ahead and make a reservation at the gourmet restaurants. And if you want to eat great food on the go, we have several suggestions — and they’re all under one roof! — leaving you time and money to treat yourself to a dessert or a drink after the show.
Extra-special evening? Consider this fine, year-old restaurant inspired by Pacific Northwest cuisine and ingredients. Located in the former AQ space just steps from the Orpheum, Birdsong is the brainchild of chef Christopher Bleidorn, former head chef at Atelier Crenn and season veteran. Bleidorn offers two tasting menus: (Discovery, only from Tuesday to Thursday) and Travel (every service evening) and a pastry program bursting with seasonal micro-fruits. Open Tuesday through Saturday at 1085 Mission St.; www.birdsongsf.com
Scandinavian small plates and homemade aquavit are the focus of this cozy spot inside the Inn at the Opera, steps from the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Run by Scandinavian-born chef Roberth Sundell and his wife and co-owner Andrea Sundell, Pläj offers unique dishes such as beetroot gravlax, three-way herring, grilled elk and Swedish meatballs. Don’t miss the impressive vegan tasting menu. Closed from Aug. 26 to Sept. 26 2; normally open daily at 333 Fulton St.; https://plajrestaurant.com
This 50,000-square-foot gourmet food hall at the base of the Twitter building offers six fast-casual spots, including Organic Coup, Manila Bowl, Poke Bar, Tony Gemignani’s Slice House, and — our favorite — Azalina’s, a Malaysian restaurant frequented by Lin-Manuel Miranda during the first broadcast of “Hamilton” in San Francisco. Did we mention there is also the Deluxe Sandwich Bar open until 8:00 p.m. on weeknights? Open daily at 1355 Market St., Suite 100; www.visitthemarket.com.
Reservations are a must at the Gabriela Camara Civic Center hotspot, located a third of a mile from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. to sopas with grilled lingcod and a sweet potato dish with bone marrow salsa. Don’t forget the mezcal margarita. Open daily for dinner at 149 Fell St.; www.calarestaurant.com
This rustic-chic trattoria is known for its modern Italian cuisine, laid-back vibe, and sensational cocktails, including a homemade limoncello program and boozy Italian sodas. Opt for small plate antipasti, homemade pasta and blistered pizzas. Don’t miss the fried chicken thighs with crispy prosciutto and lemon. Tratto, which is open daily, is adjacent to The Marker Hotel at 501 Geary St; www.tratto-sf.com.