Chef Melissa Perello's award-winning venture in the Castro district, Frances, is much like its chef: sincere, welcoming, and something of a prodigy. Perello has been on the culinary map since the tender age of 25, where she was the Executive Chef at the upscale Charles restaurant in Nob Hill, and was awarded the prestigious Chronicle Rising Star of 2002. Within 12 months of opening its doors, Frances restaurant was nominated for a James Beard Award for the Best New Restaurant in 2010. Serving a daily menu of globally-inspired yet quintessentially Californian cuisine, Perello’s menu is characterised by fresh, local and seasonal ingredients sourced from local markets and artisanal producers. Don’t miss her signature warm, crispy and creamy applewood smoked bacon beignets, along with the slow roasted suckling pig, and the Watson Farms spring lamb with butter beans and artichoke. Still and sparkling water are made in-house, along with innovative sommelier Paul Einbund's own blend of red and white wines, where customers only have to pay for the amount that they drink. The intimate, casual and vibrant space hosts a modest 37 seats in the dining area for those who book ahead (where the waiting list can be several months long), and another 10 seats are available at the bar for lucky walk-ins --lines are usually reasonable and the attentive staff are generally helpful and honest about wait times.