location: 3870 17th street (at sanchez), castro
time of day: weeknight dinner
i ate: applewood smoked bacon beignets ($7), calamari salad ($7), chickpea fritters ($7), crab risotto ($16), bavette steak with potatoes ($25)
frances is by far the best meal i've had in san francisco. the food is fresh, unique, and delicious. the space is small and intimate but comfortable enough to enjoy your own conversation even though you're a foot from your table neighbor. the service is impeccable. i have been to many of san francisco's top restaurants and nothing tops the service here. my meal was made even better by an incredibly thoughtful gesture of a friend and that really put the experience over the top.
frances specializes in giving you a great dining experience and they do it at a pretty low cost. all of the appetizers are sharing size and the same low price - $7. the starters include fresh vegetables, pastas and meats and are also low prices and sized to share. the entire meal at frances could be shared with another but i encourage ordering a lot, because the more you try, the better the experience. frances also specializes in their pay-by-the-ounce house red and white wines and their "market shot" - a daily shot priced at $3/3 ounces.
reservations are a requirement unless you want to walk in at 5:00 pm and eat 5 hours later. i would also recommend making your reservation well in advance - we made ours a whole month in advance but we were able to get a perfect dining time. depending on your budget you can do dinner here at a low cost or you can go all out, another reason this place is so perfect.
food vs. price: yay!