Frances Restaurant Review, San Francisco



3870 17th St (At Pond)

San Francisco, CA 94114

(415) 621-3870

Frances Website

Book Reservation

Frances San Francisco exterior decor

Frances is run by Melissa Perello, formerly of Charles Nob Hill and Fifth Floor, was winner of several accolades including San Francisco Chronicle’s rising star chef in 2002. Her California Cuisine Castro district restaurant, named after her grandmother, is one presently of the hardest reservations in town. We didn’t have a reservation and went early for bar counter seating before the restaurant opened. (some seats here are pretty tiny) Frances never answered the phone when we called, but they did return our message. They use local, sustainable and organic products when possible.

Frances San Francisco interior decor

Decor, Vibe – Frances is a warm, tiny, narrow restaurant with simple decor, black-and-white pictures on the wall. Neighborhood restaurant with an urban feel. Neighborhood folk, middle-aged hipsters, serious foodies filled the place.


Frances San Francisco menu

Menu has an ever-changing short menu with just a couple options. Four different appetizers and four different entrées, and several bouchees.

Website Frances Menu

Full image set

Warm almond amuse, free filtered water, and Acme bread.

Frances San Francisco market shot

Market shot ($3) spiced and spiked juice, Pixie Mandarin, Meyer lemon, blood orange, pommeau, Visciole was a refreshing, fruity concoction with a little bit of brandy and Italian wine.

Frances San Francisco Bacon Beignets

Applewood Smoked Bacon Beignets – Maple Creme Fraiche & Chive ($6.50) were their famous savory deep-fried delights with more bacon flavor than we expected. Very nice dipping sauce. The chef must have a thing for Creme Fraiche!

Frances San Francisco calamari salad

Grilled calamari, warm bean salad, preserved lemon, Sicily olives ($6.50) was full of nicely cooked fresh calamari with perfect texture, lite citrus flavor, and very tender beans. Greens were a bitter.

Frances San Francisco crab salad

Dungeness crab salad ($13) little gem lettuce, kumquats, avocado vinaigrette had tons of fresh crab and an excellent dressing. The kumquats were nice contrasting accent.

Frances San Francisco corn chowder

White corn soup ($8) sweet red onion, dill, peas, and Bodega Chevre came out super hot. It was excellent and had a slightly creamy texture, and lite corn flavor.

Frances San Francisco Spring lamb

Watson Farms spring lamb ($26) butter beans, artichoke, Castelveltrano olives looked beautiful and tasted just as good. Cooked to medium rare, full of high-quality non gamey lamb, and featuring a perfect meat juice sauce. It also came with a braised lamb chunk, making this a pretty meaty dish.

Frances San Francisco smoked trout

Smoked steelhead trout ($24) fingerling potatoes, crème fraîche, grain mustard was juicy and cooked perfectly and looked delectable.

Frances San Francisco Bittersweet chocolate pot du creme

Bittersweet chocolate pot du creme ($7.50) roasted bing cherries and Vino Visciole had soft decadent pudding but was worth it. The wonderful cherry topping had a slight spike to them.

Frances San Francisco peaches strawberries dessert

Early Treat Golden peaches space warm Chandler strawberries ($5) with vanilla crème fraîche was excellent. The strawberries were in a perfect sweet marinade, and the peaches simple and snappy.



Service – Frances had very good service with servers keeping eyes constantly on diners. Pacing was very good although it took a while to get bread.

Value – Pricing is in line with upper midrange restaurants serving this style of cuisine. Frances is a cross between a neighborhood restaurant and a destination restaurant.

Alternatives – Favorites like Delfina and Limon are not far away.

Verdict – Frances serves excellent food that met our high expectations. The food was super fresh, perfectly prepared, and showed off the top-notch local ingredients.

Good wine list, with wines by the glass from $9, bottles from $36. The house wine by the ounce from a eco friendly tap.

Frances on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Map:

Frances Overall Rating: (Excellent 3)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Excellent)
Service Rating: (Very Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Good)
Value Rating: (Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine
Hours:Tu - Th, Sun 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-1030pm
Prices:$17 - $24

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