These days, fine dining SF-style means hip soundtracks, spare spaces, and going to dinner in jeans, but Aster makes all of those trappings seem cool, never forced. Set in a quiet, residential corridor of the Mission, its caramel-colored banquettes, wood tabletops, and strands of LED lights add up to a studied, yet casual vibe. It's the kind of place where even the attentive, hospitable service manages to feel laid-back, but it's not just a den for hipsters, either-the older crowd is just as smitten. Start with an aperitif as you peruse Chef Brett Cooper's elegant menu, which deftly interplays nutty, tangy, earthy, and salty elements in dishes like the soft-cooked farm egg, served atop crispy potatoes with a smoky bacon vinaigrette, crunchy puffed rice, and pearls of salmon roe. Steelhead trout arrives in a complex charred-allium bone broth, while deliriously rich pork head croquettes are balanced by a zippy arugula salad with blood orange kosho. The lighter food makes it easy to save room for the excellent desserts, including a tart with layers of cookie crust, rich dark chocolate ganache, and white chocolate-parsnip ganache-plus a mist of vinegar for a hint of pleasant tanginess.
MICHELIN guide inspectors
Nearby tourist attractions