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San Francisco Restaurant Reviews & Recommendations


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272 replies to this topic

#1 Gil

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Posted 12 August 2001 - 10:21 AM

We'll be in SF two nights in September and have reservations at the Fifth Floor restaurant one night.  Any comments about this restaurant?  Also, any suggestions for a seafood restaurant with a "casual" dress code?

#2 MarkB

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Posted 12 August 2001 - 10:47 AM

For fresh seafood, try Hayes Street Grill. There will be dressed up diners present, but you will not feel out of place or uncomfortable. Many Chinese restaurants, with tanks of live fish, may satisfy your desire for FRESH seafood. Look for Swan Oyster Depot, or Mayes. Explore and enjoy!

#3 Roger McShane

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Posted 14 August 2001 - 08:38 PM

Gil
The Fifth Floor is an interesting restaurant that is producing some good food. It also has an outstanding wine list.
I would recommend that you order dishes that are not too 'tricked up'. A dish of duck done four ways looked good for a magazine shoot but lacked soul. We thought that the chicken baked in clay, however, was a very good dish.
For a food experience, I rate it about the same as Gary Danko which is a bit below Chez Panisse and the French Laundry.

#4 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 26 August 2001 - 06:40 PM

;)

#5 Rosie

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Posted 14 November 2001 - 08:00 AM

The last time we were in SF we took a ride to Half Moon Bay and had dinner in a lovely Italian restaurant. I heard that a large hotel was built in the town. Does anyone have information on this?

#6 cat lancaster

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Posted 12 February 2002 - 04:42 PM

A friend and her husband are going to be in SF for the first time.  She is going to be there for work, and he is tagging along.  It turns out that the trip is going to be on their wedding anniversary, so they are going to Boulevard for the dinner.

Has anyone eaten at this restraurant?  Any thoughts about it?

Thanks bunches,

Cat in Chicago
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#7 NewYorkTexan

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Posted 12 February 2002 - 06:39 PM

I have been to Boulevard once and had an ok meal.  The only memorable course was dessert.  I had one of the finest crème brule I have every had.  

It was worth the trip for the dessert alone.

#8 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 08:01 AM

We have one night open in San Francisco. The other two are given to Roxanne's (Mazal insisted) and the Fifth Floor, where we are looking forward to seeing what Laurent Gras is up to.

We need an idea for a high quality casual place in town. Last time, we enjoyed Fringale. Something along those lines would be great. All suggestions welcomed.
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#9 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 08:04 AM

Tadich Grill for that real San Francisco experience. And if you are up for SERIOUS Chinese, Brandy Ho's.

Also I am partial to Aliottos on the wharf for basic seafood stuff, their cioppino is really good and have pretty much first shot at the best dungeness.
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#10 Toby

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 08:08 AM

Zuni Cafe.

#11 hollywood

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 09:59 AM

Pane e Vino
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#12 Stone

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:21 AM

I would avoid Brandy Ho's (Sorry Jason). I second Pane e Vino. It's a small very unassuming place in the Marina that serves great food. Here's a short list of some of my favorites:

Sunflower (See my other thread on this) -- probably more casual than you want.

Plouf -- In Beldon Alley (A little hard to find, between Bush and Pine/Kearny?) -- best mussels you'll find in SF. The other seafood is also great (but I recently had a slightly overcooked halibut). And the prettiest Tunisian waitress you'll every see. (sigh.)

Russian Hill Area: Baldoria (Northern Italian, specializes in game); Antica Tratoria; I Frascati; Zarzuela (Spanish/Tapas); Luna Rossa (simple, excellent)

Hayes Valley -- Suppenkuche (German beer hall, great food); Absinthe

Hawthorne Lane is great, but I've only been there for lunch. Aqua is excellent. (But in SF, these aren't considered casual. They're pretty high end.)

One more edit -- The Helmand. It's an Afghan restaurant in North Beach (on Broadway, about a block below Columbus, on the left) -- the food is absolutely amazing. Not surprisingly, the food is midway between middle east grilled meats and Moghul curries. Try anything with Kadoo (pumpkin) and the chicken curry is spectacular.

#13 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:47 AM

I would avoid Brandy Ho's (Sorry Jason).

Surely you jest. You have a better suggestion for Hunan style food anywhere else in San Francisco?
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#14 Stone

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:51 AM

Henry's Hunan.

I only went to Brandy Ho's once and had take out once. Both were much too greasy, along with my other usual complaints about SF chinese food (gloppy, overly-soyed brown sauces, over cooked vegetables, greyish chicken with visible gristle).

#15 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:54 AM

Henry's Hunan.

I only went to Brandy Ho's once and had take out once.  Both were much too greasy, along with my other usual complaints about SF chinese food (gloppy, overly-soyed brown sauces, over cooked vegetables, greyish chicken with visible gristle).

Youve had to have gone on a bad day. I've been there like 5 times and it was great every time. Their fried dumplings in the spicy chili oil are really quite phenomenal.

Grease? What the hell is wrong with grease?
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#16 hollywood

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:54 AM

Henry's Hunan.

I only went to Brandy Ho's once and had take out once.  Both were much too greasy, along with my other usual complaints about SF chinese food (gloppy, overly-soyed brown sauces, over cooked vegetables, greyish chicken with visible gristle).

Henry's is good. Has a nice cookbook, too.
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#17 Stone

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 10:58 AM

Grease? What the hell is wrong with grease?

My Chinese friend (Cantonese) criticizes Schezwan and Hunan for being generally too greasy. I explain that this is where the flavor comes from. But there has to be some limits? No?

I'll give Brandy Ho's another shot.

Best Chinese food in the near-Bay area, however, is Shen Hua, on College Avenue in Berkeley. (Of course, there's a whole lot I haven't tried.) Erich's (and the copy-cat Alices) in Noe are very good. Eliza's is incredibly overrated.

#18 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:12 AM

The oils are necessary in order to convey the heat of the chiles in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine.

I like Brandy Ho's because its so unlike any other chinese restaurant in SF in terms of the types of dishes they offer. There are so few Hunan and Sichuan places in the bay area, with all of the Cantonese influence. But I'll give Harry's a whirl next time, for sure.
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#19 Stone

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:16 AM

There are a few Henry's:

Downtown. Soma. Downtown (close to Transamerica Bldg.)

I agree that the dearth of Szechwan/Hunan is the primary cause of the shitty Chinese food to be had in this city.

#20 hollywood

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:18 AM

The oils are necessary in order to convey the heat of the chiles in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine.

I like Brandy Ho's because its so unlike any other chinese restaurant in SF in terms of the types of dishes they offer. There are so few Hunan and Sichuan places in the bay area, with all of the Cantonese influence. But I'll give Harry's a whirl next time, for sure.

Not Harry, Henry.
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#21 Jason Perlow

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:27 AM

There are a few Henry's:

Downtown.  Soma.  Downtown (close to Transamerica Bldg.)

I agree that the dearth of Szechwan/Hunan is the primary cause of the shitty Chinese food to be had in this city.

Thats pertty interesting that you say that. I had a heated argument on Chowhound a few years ago with many San Franciscans who claim Chinese food superiority in every way to New York. Of course, I told them they were full of shit, but they didn't want to hear it. :)
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#22 hollywood

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 11:35 AM

There are a few Henry's:

Downtown.  Soma.  Downtown (close to Transamerica Bldg.)

I agree that the dearth of Szechwan/Hunan is the primary cause of the shitty Chinese food to be had in this city.

Thats pertty interesting that you say that. I had a heated argument on Chowhound a few years ago with many San Franciscans who claim Chinese food superiority in every way to New York. Of course, I told them they were full of shit, but they didn't want to hear it. :)

The shitty dearth situation may be overstated. Of course, there's always the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal for mucho Chinese.
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#23 Toby

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 12:16 PM

Yuet Lee on Stockton and Broadway(?) in San Francisco Chinatown. Cantonese. Their salt and pepper squid is wonderful; also, village style braised duck.

Edit to get back on topic: This place is beyond casual, maybe go for lunch.

#24 Stone

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Posted 13 September 2002 - 12:25 PM

There are a few Henry's:

Downtown.  Soma.  Downtown (close to Transamerica Bldg.)

I agree that the dearth of Szechwan/Hunan is the primary cause of the shitty Chinese food to be had in this city.

Thats pertty interesting that you say that. I had a heated argument on Chowhound a few years ago with many San Franciscans who claim Chinese food superiority in every way to New York. Of course, I told them they were full of shit, but they didn't want to hear it. :)

The shitty dearth situation may be overstated. Of course, there's always the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal for mucho Chinese.

There's a lot of great Asian food to be had down south. There's also a lot of great food out in the Avenues.

The Cantonese/Mandarin v. Hunan/Sichuan debate will rage long after we're gone. The CM crowd will probably never accept that they're wrong.

#25 Beachfan

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Posted 14 September 2002 - 06:44 AM

I'd strongly suggest Boulevard. It's casual, though priced higher than Fringale.

If you don't have a big appetite and you like mussels, go to LuLu's. They have the best oven roasted mussels I've ever had (in a cast iron skillet). The appetizers are better in general than the entrees, but it's a fun place.
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#26 Stone

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Posted 15 September 2002 - 01:01 PM

Boulevard is good, but not casual by SF standards. Ozumi, down the block from Blvd, is supposed to have excellent Japanese food.

LuLus does a good pork loin (if I remember correctly).

#27 Beachfan

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Posted 16 September 2002 - 12:05 AM

Boulevard is good, but not casual by SF standards.  Ozumi, down the block from Blvd, is supposed to have excellent Japanese food.

LuLus does a good pork loin (if I remember correctly).

What's your definition of casual (or SF casual)? Mine is that you wouldn't think of needing a jacket. The service is pretty relaxed at Boulevard (although it's excellent).
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#28 Roger McShane

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Posted 16 September 2002 - 03:23 AM

If you are looking for a serious food place in SFO where you don't have to wear a jacket but you want a meal to remember then Zuni's is the clear choice.
The cooking there is just so assured. The flavours are so real.
If you are looking for a great Chinese meal, however, don't bother. There is no great Chinese restaurant in SFO. Catch a plane to Hong Kong instead.
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#29 dvs

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 05:52 PM

betelnut - pan asian
red herring - californian/seafood
eastside west - american
julia - rustic american
curbside too - french
beaucoup - (just opened) french

#30 Stone

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Posted 18 September 2002 - 05:58 PM

Boulevard is good, but not casual by SF standards.  Ozumi, down the block from Blvd, is supposed to have excellent Japanese food.

LuLus does a good pork loin (if I remember correctly).

What's your definition of casual (or SF casual)? Mine is that you wouldn't think of needing a jacket. The service is pretty relaxed at Boulevard (although it's excellent).

I would be surprised if more than 5 or 6 restaurants in SF required a jacket. I think my post was unclear. I'd consider Boulevard one of the more formal places in town.

McShane is right on about the Chinese food. But if I were you, I'd go to NY.