Bix is one of my favorite places in San Francisco. I was actually planning to go there for dinner tonight but couldn't reserve a seat.. It is tucked away in a tiny alley in the historic Barbary coast district near the Transamerica pyramid and the Embarcadero. the decoration is 1920s style, but not raffish as the term "speakeasy" would suggest, more like a very relaxed jazz club. There is often a live pianist playing.
At its best, California cuisine, like French Nouvelle Cuisine, is all about top-notch ingredients highlighted, rather than overwhelmed by the preparation. The chef at Bix clearly spends a lot of time sourcing the freshest produce and meats from local organic suppliers. Obviously, the menu changes frequently to accomodate what's available on the markets. You can check it online at www.bixrestaurant.com (annoyingly, Flash is required).
One of my favorites there is the local farm-grown caviar, served on crisp yet melt-in-the-mouth potato pillows and creme fraiche. And the pastry chef is no slouch, his chocolate semifreddo with toffee tiles was to die for, easily the best dessert I've had in San Francisco.