One of my Top 10 restaurants of all time: NOPA
NOPA is one of my favourite restaurants. They do classic dishes with such precision. The waitstaff here are superb and try to deal with the expected lineups with ease and calm.
If you're alone, try to snag a seat at the big table near the reception desk. Just go and sit because noone will lead you there. It will be easier than getting a seat at the bar.
Their grilled chicken is moist and tender. The salad provides a nice balance. I also was delighted by their grilled corn. Their Bloody Mary is fantastic as well.
I can't say enough about this restaurant. Book a reservation as soon as you can. It's one of the most popular restaurants in North America.
How I researched SF: http://nearafar.com/2011/09/12/how-i-researched-san-francisco/