Pacific Heights is a dreamy little pocket of San Francisco, with its colorful Victorians and sweeping views of the Bay. It's one of those magical places that linger in the memory, and now the area has yet another reason to remember it by: the lovely, urbane Nico-a relaxed and sophisticated French bistro with a distinctly Californian vibe. The space houses only a 40-seat restaurant and a small bar area, but feels wonderfully expansive with its high ceilings, gleaming glass windows, seats overlooking Sacramento Street, and intimate tables with a view of the glass-enclosed kitchen in the back. Diners at Nico experience a sophisticated five-course dinner, listed off a menu that notes only the main ingredients. Co-owners Nicolas and Andrea Delaroque are essentially asking you to play a trust game-and you should not hesitate to jump. Razor-thin slices of crispy artichoke arrive fanned over cool green herb jus and topped with delicious minced escargot; while a dish of wildly fresh peas finds perfect pairing in basil, peaches and sweet ricotta. Tender seared duck breast, duck confit roulade, and duck liver mousse are plated with lentilles du Puy, fresh cabbage, and roasted hedgehog mushrooms for an earthy finish.
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