The may have ceased to exist 20 years ago, but if you happen to have any longings to take a trip to the former Eastern Bloc, this is your chance. As soon as you enter the door, you’re greeted by a sign announcing your entrance into the Soviet sector.

The restaurant, which serves up Eastern German dishes like grilled Thüringer bratwurst, beef roulade , cheese Spätzle , and Jäger schnitzel , recreates the Cold War atmosphere with utilitarian tables and Communist relics. The only missing element is the surly service.

381 S Van Ness Ave


So often when I go out for Indian food, I wind up ordering curry. There’s nothing wrong with chicken tikka masala or vindaloo, it’s just that I’d like to be able to diversify my Indian dining experiences.
Dosa at Dosa: mlinvska

It’s easy to do so at South Indian restaurants, like Dosa, with their varied array of organic dishes like Chennai chicken, bite-sized pieces of meat marinated in yogurt, coriander, and cumin, and the namesake Dosa (lentil dumplings, and uttapam, a thicker, open-faced version of a dosa).

If you do insist on having curry, though, I highly recommend the Bagara Baingan, an eggplant curry in a peanut sauce.

995 Valencia St


San Francisco may lack a Grand Place and a statue of a little boy urinating, but it does offer Frjtz, a casual restaurant serving moules et frites a la Belgique. Well, not exactly. This being San Francisco, Frjtz puts a more exotic twist on these Belgian favorites.

You can choose to have your mussels cooked in the traditional white wine, butter, parsley, and garlic, or go for the Thai, Mexican, and Greek interpretations with ingredients like coconut milk, lemongrass, chipotle, and kalamata olives. The frites can be ordered plain, with garlic, or spicy, and come with your choice of dipping sauces – the wide selection includes pesto mayo, strawberry mustard, and white truffle artichoke ketchup.

590 Valencia St

Bissap Baobab

San Francisco (and indeed, the United States) has a dearth of African cuisine. Bissap Baobab helps fill that void with its Senegalese specialties like mafe, a heavenly dish of vegetables smothered in a peanut sauce, and its famous tiep dien, a red snapper with Jolof rice.

The restaurant shines in the beverage department as well, with juices made from ginger and hibiscus and a coconut-infused rum.

2323 Mission Street

Community Connection

Now you know where to go, now here’s what to avoid:
What NOT to Do in San Francisco

And here’s how to do some good:
Urban Volunteering: San Francisco