Set in one of San Francisco’s snazziest neighborhoods, Spruce draws a regular following of wealthy retirees and corporate types by day. Evenings bring couples out for date night. The dining room, with its cathedral-style ceilings and skylight, is masculine yet modern—think studded leather chairs and splashes of charcoal and chocolate. A small front café serves coffee and pastries, while the marble bar lures happy-hour crowds for a cocktail or glass of wine from the extensive list.
Micro-seasonal and thoroughly Californian, Spruce spotlights cooking that’s both simple and undeniably elegant. Rustic and homey starters may include hand-shaped ravioli filled with fresh ricotta and bathed in a broth of tart whey with fava leaf purée. A roulade of guinea hen stuffed with pork and duck sausage is exquisitely moist, juicy and accompanied by thick fingers of nutty-sweet brown ale toast that is perfect for sopping up every last drop.
For dessert, a decadent crème fraîche cheesecake is thick, creamy—and necessary—with sweet vanilla flavor and a classic graham-cracker crust. Juicy citrus segments and a quenelle of brilliantly tart makrut lime ice cream add a delicious bit of zing.