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Best Restaurant to Which to Take Indecisive Out-of-Towners 

Straits Cafe

If one of the burdens San Franciscans are saddled with is the frequency of out-of-town guests, we at least have enough options to satisfy even the most picky diners at those obligatory dinners out. Even so, everyone's got that aunt who can't decide between Chinese and Indian, or maybe Thai. Singapore lies at the crossroads of several culinary thoroughfares, blending influences from India, Malaysia, China, and elsewhere. Straits handles Singaporean fare with such mastery that it'll own your heart and stomach for years to come. Fiery Chinese-influenced noodle dishes cohabit with coconut milk-flavored curries, chili-spiced fish entrees, and other diverse delights, but don't think this is an expensive version of a mall food court. There's hardly a weak dish on the menu, and most are reasonably priced. Unforgettable are the murtabak appetizer, a meat-filled breadlike pancake served with a rich curry dipping sauce; the rendang, a richly spiced stewed beef dish; and the chili-lemongrass salmon steamed in a banana leaf. Order family-style and share -- you won't want to limit yourself to one plate alone. Tropical drinks take the bite out of some of the infernally hot offerings, but there's also a decent wine and beer selection. An added bonus, Straits' off-the-eaten-path Inner Richmond location also means that it's usually pretty easy to get seated.


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