Longtime Favorite Castro Eatery Has a Slightly New Look, But It’s the New Service That Caught Our Attention
The next time you hang out at Café Flore (2298 Market Street; 415-621-8579) one of the Castro’s popular spots to meet a date, friends or cruise the foot traffic walking by, you’ll notice something different about this popular bohemia spot in San Francisco’s gayborhood.
It’s the same old Café Flore, packed to the brim with brunchers – queer and straight – hanging outside on the patio and sidewalk enjoying one of the café’s scrumptious meals, but there have been some changes recently.
I love the award-winning 40-year-old café, like many people do, to simply to grab a good brunch or lunch or enjoy a cup of mocha. It’s always been an easy meet up spot with friends and a great place to hold meetings.
Stepping into the café, which I’ve been coming to since I was 20 years old (so, that’s eons ago), I noticed something was different. First, tables have been moved around a bit and a new communal table has been added inside. Second, post cards advertising the latest clubs and other happening events have a new home in a tidy place along one of the walls. Third, the biggest change, there is no line of people winding down Noe Street toward Market Street waiting to order their food.
It’s been about two months or more since I last met up with someone at Café Flore and I was a bit lost for a moment attempting to do the usual line up to order my food only to find out the usual has changed. The host asked Girl Roamer and travel writer Nicole Clausing and me to take a seat anywhere and told us that a server would be with us momentarily. What? We are being served now? Nice.
It’s was a casual Saturday afternoon. Nicole and I were meeting up to chat about assignments and the goals for Girls That Roam, the online women’s travel magazine and community that I launched with my girlfriend Super G.
We quickly took a seat. We hadn’t been sitting at our table for more than a few minutes when our server greeted us, handed us our menus and took our request for water.
It was a new experience instituted sometime mid-summer.
The service is a welcome upgrade to a longtime favorite with its garden and patio dining in the heart of the Castro.
Adding service and taking out a few tables instantly changed the atmosphere and lifted the mood from cramped to open and welcoming.
It also made it easier for us to enjoy our meal without waiting in a long line and then waiting for our number to be called or someone to bring our food to our table and bus our dishes after we were done.
Our waiter was attentive, but not overbearing while he brought Nicole her Wagyu Burger and side of fries and me my Pan Roasted Chicken Salad. When we were done, we didn’t have to wait very long before our table was cleared and our check was brought to us.
The food was what we’ve come to expect of Café Flore, healthy – both in offerings and portions – and flavorful and now there’s a breath of fresh air due to the upgrades.
A much better experience than before, not that I wouldn’t have returned under the former system, but I can say I will be scheduling coffee with friends and business meetings there more often now.
THE DIRTY DISH
Café Flore, 2298 Market Street, San Francisco, 415-621-8579, CafeFlore.com
TYPE OF RESTAURANT: Café,LGBT-owned
RATING: 4 = black
(0 – 5, 0 is the worst and five is the best)
AMBIANCE: Casual and fun, a warm and welcoming place to dine.
SCENE: Everyone goes to Café Flore to grab a cup of coffee, meet friends for brunch or lunch or to hang out and enjoy the “view” from the enclosed individual tables that look out onto Market Street.
SERVICE: Very good. Our waiter was quick to notice what we needed when we needed it, but wasn’t overbearing.
NOISE LEVEL: Much better since a row of tables near the coffee bar were removed creating an open space. Something about it allows conversations to not get jumbled over each other making it difficult to hear the people you are having a conversation with.
RECOMMENDED DISHES: So hard to say what is the best dish at Café Flore. It always depends on my mood, but I never go wrong with any choice brunch, lunch or dinner.
SIP: Coffee or tea or beer or wine Café Flore offers an eclectic selection to choose from that are all good.
CHECK, PLEASE: $$ = $10 – $20
(Price of average dinner/lunch/breakfast/brunch bill for an individual dinner)
THE EAT: It’s a fun place to simply hang out with friends or your partner on a lazy day.
WORTH THE NIGHT OUT?: Three plates =This was delicious!