Downtown between The Financial District and Union Square is a blended zone along Kearny Street, its side streets and alleys, that is the 'canteen' for workers, visitors, and expense-account executives alike. No other part of town's restaurant scene is really as diverse as this one. New restaurants pop up like mushrooms and disappear like cherry blossoms, but some -- like Sam's Grill -- are venerable dining institutions with loyal clientele; like California oaks, well established and perennial. Belden Place, the restaurant-packed alley to the right of the neon sign here, twinkles with European cafe culture well into the evening. Most corners of San Francisco have their culinary attractions, but few have the concentration and quality of this particular downtown quarter.
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