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Dining Deals on Stylish Fillmore

On a foggy summer night, in the quaint few blocks of upper Fillmore, there's no shortage of places to sip on cool cocktails, nosh on steaming plates of savories, and blow some serious cash. But great food, be it Italian, French, or Japanese, can certainly be had in this sophisticated neighborhood on a San Francisco dime.

Francophiles can dream of Brittany while savoring the wonderful crepes at the charming, Pascal Rigo-owned Galette. However, the real deal is the moules et frites, a heaping bowl of mussels cooked in your choice of four different broths from the classic Meuniere with shallots and white wine, to the zingier Provencale with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil, accompanied by thick, crisp frites, for a deal at $11.50. For the perfect accompaniment to this steamy dish, try the dry French apple cider - the hard kind.

Steps away, in true classic Parisian brasserie form, Florio is the swank spot for a very dirty martini and a great prix fixe 3-course dinner that includes a salad, choice of two entrees (recently they were delectable short ribs and wild king salmon), and a dessert all for $23.

For a taste of the Mediterranean, head to the tiny and quaint La Mediterranee. The sliver-sized cafe offers a Mediterranean Mezza, a great deal for two or more people, consisting of an enticing assortment of ten delicate little dishes including dolmas, baba ghanoush and hummus, all for $11.95 per person.

If you're craving sake and sushi, check out Toraya Grill. Lounge awhile in the modest bar area before moving on to the sushi bar or a table. A slew of great appetizers like udon noodles with seared spicy tuna ($10.25), agedashi (fried) tofu ($5.75), and, of course, the great traditional sushi are perfect complements to the sake sampler ($9.95) that offers healthy servings of three different sakes (dry, medium-dry, and sweet).

25-year-old Ten-Ichi prides itself on home style Japanese fare. Here, you'll want to try the flavorful chicken kara-age dinner ($11.75), a hefty portion of fried teriyaki chicken, miso soup, rice and a creamy potato salad. Another option is the sukiyaki ($13.50) with beef or chicken, served in a steamy clay pot in a light, flavorful broth of vegetables, tofu, and clear noodles.

For the dependable pizza and pasta, Dino's is the way to go. You might even catch sight of the burly Dino himself greeting the neighborhood patrons. The Mountain Pizza (small $9.45, medium $15.25, large $20.25) literally consists of a heaping mound of ingredients -- mozzarella, salami, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and the list goes on and on!

For the last course, roll yourself down to Tango Gelato. It would be hard to resist any of the 31 homemade gelatos and sorbets here. Even a spoonful of the banana cream or giandiusa (chocolate hazelnut) gelato will send you soaring! The chico (small) cup is $2.50, mediano (medium) is $3.75, and grande (large) is $4.75.

With so many deals and dining options in a four-block radius, it's possible to dine out often and get big bang, or a nice, hazy food coma, for your buck.