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Food & Drink

Best Caviar Tasting 

Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Cafe

1 Ferry Building, No. 12, Market & Embarcadero, 288-8630, www.tsarnicoulai.com

If you don't mind the envious glances of the passing parade, sit yourself down at the U-shaped counter of this purveyor of luxury and enjoy the taste of the sea in an assortment of pricey little fish eggs, accompanied by homemade buckwheat blini and crème fraîche. We prefer the premium caviar sampler (including two grades of California Estate osetra, two types of imported sevruga, and hackleback sturgeon caviar for $46) to the slightly wacky, bargain-priced, brightly colored American sampler (golden whitefish caviar, gold pearl trout caviar, hackleback sturgeon caviar, and whitefish caviars flavored with wasabi, ginger, beet and saffron, and truffles for $15). Caviar also tops the cafe's sturgeon and ahi tuna sashimi, ahi tartare, oyster shooters, and delicate truffled scrambled eggs. (Non-caviar fanciers can enjoy such refined treats as smoked salmon sandwiches, potato waffles topped with smoked salmon, and sturgeon sausage.) There are champagne and other sparkling wines available to wash it all down with. And once you've found your favorite caviars, you can buy jars of them to take home.

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