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Headed to SF Sketchfest? The big comedy extravaganza, which includes more than 250 shows spread over 19 venues, runs from Jan 10 to 27 in San Francisco. Of course, all that on-stage hilarity requires fuel, too. So if you’re heading to shows at theaters and comedy clubs near Union Square and Civic Center — the Nourse Theater, SPARC, Mezzanine, PianoFight and the Marine’s Memorial Theater — here are five great spots to grab a bite or drink before the show.
Head over to this big food hall in the Twitter building and let everyone in your party choose from six fast-casual spots, including The Organic Coup, Manila Bowl, Poke Bar, Slice House by Tony Gemignani, and, our favorite, Azalina’s, a Malaysian eatery. Grab a cup of Blue Bottle for the walk.
Details: Open daily at 1355 Market St., Suite 100; www.visitthemarket.com.
Another inexpensive, fast-casual spot, Popsons makes its tasty artisanal burgers with Five Dot Ranch beef (butchered, ground and pattied in-house daily) and Petits Pains Bakery buns. Whether you’re going original — onion, lettuce, pickle, special sauce — or covering your patty with mushrooms, truffle cheese, chili or bacon, it’s a great bite that won’t deplete your pocketbook. Killer veggie burger and kale salad, too.
Details: Open daily at 998 Market St.; www.popsons.com.
Mmm, rum punch! This sexy Jamaican restaurant is named after a Bob Marley and the Wailers album, with a menu borrowed from co-owner Nigel Jones’ Oakland restaurant, Kingston 11. Watch footage of old Marley videos while nibbling on salt fish fritters, fried plantains or grilled shrimp, or share a plate of piri piri chicken washed down with a Rum Punch bowl — it serves four.
Details: Open Tuesday-Sunday at 1420 Market St.; www.kayasf.com.
This rustic-chic trattoria is known for its modern Italian cuisine, casual communal vibe and sensational cocktails, including a housemade limoncello program and boozy Italian sodas. Go for the small-plate antipasti, housemade pastas and blistered pizzas or family-style entrees. Don’t miss the fried chicken thighs with crispy prosciutto and lemon.
Details: Open daily, Tratto is next to The Marker hotel at 501 Geary St; www.jdvhotels.com/tratto.
Reservations are a must at this Civic Center hot spot from Mexico City’s Gabriela Camara, where the focus is on high-brow seafood and the vibe is light and bright. You’ll want to try everything, from the abalone tostadas and kampachi ceviche to the sopas with grilled lingcod and a sweet potato dish with bone-marrow salsa that will leave you swooning before the show. Don’t forget the mezcal margarita.
Details: Open Sunday-Wednesday for dinner at 149 Fell St.; www.calarestaurant.com
Where to dine near San Francisco’s Union Square and Civic Center