Still one of the hottest tickets in town, Frances is located, ironically, on one of the Castro's quieter streets. Chef-owner Melissa Perello's California and French cuisine is well executed and, for the quality, notably affordable. Bacon beignets, tender gnocchi, and a savory bavette steak are longtime favorites on the seasonally driven menu, with newer entries such as baked clams with bacon cream and a duck confit and baby kale salad angling to become standbys as well.
The apple galette for dessert hits all the right notes. The small space is simply designed, with a limited number of tables (hence the difficulty in landing a reservation) and a small bar area with counter seating for walk-ins desperate to dine here. Service is professional and warm.