MIKE SHINE'S THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO BEFORE YOU'RE DEAD

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It isn't real hard to find great restaurants in San Francisco, if you don't mind spending some cash. The bigger challenge is finding the good ones that are actually affordable (and easier to get a table at).

In the interest of practicality, I've broken this guide into two parts. The first, places to go when you're on a healthy expense account, and/or with clients. And the second, where to go when it's your buck, or after your clients have gone to bed.

Classy places:

Plumpjack's (415-563-4755) has a wine shop next to it. Great food, as long as you're not a bunch of vegetarians.

Mecca (415-621-7000) Good bar with a N.Y. feel. Good food too.

La Folie (415-776-5577) Yeah, it's French. The food's rich and expensive. Lots of courses.

Boulevard (415-543-6084) Cool art nouveau interior. Interesting menu. Pretty expensive but worth it.

Not-so-classy places:

SuppenkÜCHE (415-252-9289) German, family-style restaurant. Good bar, obviously lots of good beers. The place keeps pretty busy, so it's better to go in off hours.

Slanted Door (415-861-8032) Good, cheap Thai food. Pretty self-explanatory.

El Toro (415-431-3351) (on 17th and Valencia). Cheap, good taqueria.

Mr. Bing's (415-362-1545) Tiny dive bar on Columbus. Usually safe, but not a bad idea to bring a weapon.

Chameleon (415-821-1891) Seedy club with live punk music. Lots of different beers on tap.

Enjoy, and remember, cabs are a bitch to find here, so call early.

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