WHERE TO EAT:
Tallulah, 4230 18th St.; (415) 437-6722, http://www.tallulah sf.com. The atmosphere in this restaurant's multistory warren of rooms is as exotic as the sake cocktails served in the bar. And the food is as diverse as the neighborhood — Indian spices meet California ingredients meet French techniques. The menu includes tamarind consommé, tilapia and coconut ceviche, and tea-smoked game hen with pomegranate. Dinner for two about $60.
Thirsty Bear, 661 Howard St.; (415) 974-0905, http://www.thirstybear.com . This restaurant and brewery, named for a real bear that forced its way into a Siberian bar, is an excellent place to go after you've worked up an appetite dancing along to Tchaikovsky. The Thirsty Bear serves its own ale, as well as sherry and Rioja wine, and a large selection of Spanish tapas — sautéed prawns in garlic, spinach with pine nuts and currants, and fish cheeks in sherry and garlic. Dinner for two about $35.
Here are some of San Francisco's more traditional holiday pursuits.
San Francisco Symphony puts on several classic Christmas concerts, including a children's version of "Peter and the Wolf," this year narrated by actress Diane Baker. (415) 864-6000, http://www.sfsymphony.org .
San Francisco Ballet performs a stunningly beautiful, traditional "Nutcracker." (415) 865-2000 for tickets, http://www.sfballet.org .
San Francisco Conservatory of Music gives everyone the opportunity to test out their vocal cords in the "Sing-It-Yourself 'Messiah.' " (415) 564-8086, http://www.sfcm.edu .
ODC/San Francisco and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts performs "The Velveteen Rabbit" for starry-eyed kids (and their parents). (415) 978-2787, http://www.yerbabuenaarts.org .
TO LEARN MORE:
San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau; (415) 391-2000, fax (415) 227-2602, http://www.sfvisitor.org .
— Janis Cooke Newman