Louis' Restaurant San Francisco

Louis', the perfect NorCal diner

Most San Franciscans habitually eschew the city's tourist traps. That's fine, provided you're content with missing the best patty-melt-with-a-view this town has to offer.

At the 75-year-old Louis' Restaurant, which reopened two weeks ago after an eight-month hiatus, the giant wraparound windows frame a postcard view of Sutro Baths and the Pacific beyond, and 10 bucks buys you a classic melt: a Niman Ranch beef patty, American cheese and grilled red onions on buttery griddled rye bread.

The owners of the restaurant, which is on National Park property, recently beat out other bidders to win a 10-year-contract, allowing the family-owned spot to continue to operate as it has for generations.

The new contract came with conditions. The restaurant closed for renovations (using green and sustainable materials) and the menu now has more organic ingredients (which are neither name-dropped nor particularly in evidence).

But Louis' still has snug booths under which knees touch, the deeply bronzed crinkle-cut fries remain, and the diner standards (omelets, steaks) are absolutely intact.

Come at sunset, order an Anchor Steam, and appreciate that a quintessential San Francisco experience can be had for the price of a burger.

Louis', 902 Point Lobos Ave. (at 48th Ave.); 415-387-6330 or louissf.com