Thai. A lofty San Francisco restaurant with tall windows and exposed brick, Basil Canteen has the chic appeal of a gallery loft, yet all the aromatic sensibilities of a true Thai restaurant. The long, communal table adds a different element to the traditional San Francisco dining scene, seating patrons together to sup on the flavorful cuisine in a way thats not uncommon in Bangkok. Great cocktails make the unavoidable socializing a little easier for shier types.
On the corner of 11th and Folsom, in the historic Jackson Brewery building, is Basil Canteen. Exposed iron I beams, and rustic brickwork give it an urban vibe. The large communal table, which represents half of the seating capacity, lends itself to a convivial environment and that will be helpful as the location is smack dab in the middle of SOMA "clubville", with the Holy Cow and Slim's a stone's throw away. It's a Thai joint from the owners of nearby Basil Thai with a noodle-centric menu with most dishes in and around the $10 range. One thing that is unique is the under $10 selection of "gap klaem," which translates roughly to Thai drinking snacks: skewers, sausages, rolls, breaded oysters, etc. Open nightly for dinner; weekdays for lunch. Basil Canteen also provides dessert, beer, sake, wine, and special cocktails.