Homey, rustic, and decidedly untrendy, this 50-seat dining room (and even smaller bar) occupies a restored Victorian house in a quiet part of Nob Hill. Chef Vitaly Paley eschews faddish cookery and focuses on a short but sweet menu of traditional French dishes, made largely with local, organic ingredients. He and his wife, Kimberly, whisk about the place schmoozing while serving up spit-roasted rabbit salad with Armagnac-plumped prunes; or spring-nettle pasta with farmers’ market vegetables, preserved lemon, and local Dungeness crab. Service can be a little pokey, but then, this is a restaurant for lingering in.
Tip: The majority of the entrées at Paley’s can be ordered as half-portions; it’s an excellent strategy if you’d like to sample two or three different mains.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.