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My Surprising Sanctuary in SF: B Restaurant and Bar

Nestled two stories above SOMA is one of the gems of San Francisco. For me, it’s a welcome respite from the 180bpm hustle of city life. B Restaurant & Bar at 720 Howard Street manages to be a sanctuary despite being flanked by concrete jungle, roaring downtown traffic, and conference-goers who flock into town every other week and block traffic on Harrison Street.

I discovered B by accident over a year ago. A coworker and I had a meeting that day and decided to take it outside to get some fresh air. We walked towards the Yerba Buena Gardens, which is the only significant patch of green in San Francisco’s startup district. We wanted sun, trees, and grass, if only to pretend for a moment that we weren’t in the middle of the city. To avoid heading into a mall, we walked up a set of stairs at the south face of Yerba Buena and suddenly found ourselves in a plaza with a beautiful body of water on one side and buildings on the other. “B Restaurant & Bar. What a weird restaurant name,” I said.

Weird as it may be, I found myself returning to the same spot week after week until it became habitual. And like an old friendship for which the beginnings are hazy and the development so natural that it eludes memory, my relationship with B Restaurant & Bar turned from casual acquaintanceship to regular visits.

What I found remarkable was that the restaurant suited itself perfectly to anyone that I wanted to bring. B became my default for business lunches — it was quiet enough for conversation, the menu was creative enough to spark conversation, the food was delicious enough to feel like a treat for everyone, and the price point sat just right so that no one remembered the cost.

In the evening, B became my favorite date spot. Never for the first date — bringing a date to B was like introducing a close friend or a sibling. No matter whom I brought, B was accommodating and perfect.

If I or the person who dined with me had a tough day, I’d recommend the truffle fries. If it had been a really hard day, I’d recommend the steak frites. A successful week at work or dinner with a close friend called for the P.E.I. mussels; for something more refined and less siesta-inducing, I’d choose the pork and beans. Drinks are a more personal decision — my favorite is the hitachino white ale or leffe Belgian blonde ale to go with the ricotta cavatelli; none of their wines disappoint. I once went to B for a happy hour. Crowds aren’t my scene but for anyone who likes happy hours, I’d recommend the $1 oysters with a draft beer of your choice.

I’m grateful to have found a restaurant that feels like home in the heart of San Francisco and am excited to share it with the world. Hope you get a chance to visit!

Photos from: http://www.bsanfrancisco.com/photos.php

Sophy’s SF Suggestion

B Restaurant & Bar $$
720 Howard Street (btw 4th St and 3rd St), Financial District, SoMa

Sophy now lives in LA, and is looking for restaurant recommendations. Someone from LA help her out, pretty please.

Sophy Lee grew up in Australia and currently calls San Francisco home. She enjoys lazy coffee shop mornings during the weekend and cooking for friends during the week. She once taught a village in rural France how to line dance, despite not knowing how to line dance.

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Sophy Lee • May 5, 2016

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