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A Cote isn't necessarily a secret: It's been known as one of the best restaurants in the Bay Area for years,collecting accolades from Bon Appentit, Esquire, and The New York Times for its exquisite small plates. If the danger of visiting tapas restaurants is that your bill fills up long before your stomach, the secret is to visit A Cote for late drinks and order a couple of iteams a la carte, like the famous mussels or the pommes frites.

This cozy restaurant pretends to serve modest little plates of French- and Italian-inspired food. Like risotto balls (saffron-flavored and stuffed with braised veal). Or pizza (otherwise known as "asparagus and crescenza cheese flatbread with spring onions"). For a small-plates restaurant the portions are humongous, and so are the flavors. Except when it comes to the french fries. There are never enough french fries.

Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5:30pm-11 p.m.

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Price: $$$

Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, cash

Extra Info: 75% organic, including poultry, wine, and biodynamic cheese; gives preference to local purveyors; incorporating more heritage foods. Participates in the Community Alliance for Family Farmers' "Buy Fresh, Buy Local" campaign.

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