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San Francisco/santa Rosa Suggestions


tetsujustin
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I'll be heading to SF and then up to Sonoma to Santa Rosa with my school this coming week. During my off time a couple of friends and I hope to get both some good fine dining/casual dining in both areas.

In San Francisco, we're very interested in going to A16, Quince, and AME. Can someone give me updates on those restaurants or give me some good suggestions? Money really isn't a big deal, though we really have our hearts set on Quince for sure. As for other things, I want to find something something like Avec in Chicago. Good, hearty food that is well prepared, and a well priced and interesting wine list. We also want to go to Chinatown and Japantown. I think I'll take them to R&G Lounge because I enjoyed it there last time (unless someone has a better option) but I know nothing about Japan town though I'd like to find something like a good Yakitori or something like Yakitori Totto in NYC. Knowing the good quality of fish in SF too, I was wondering if you could give me suggestions on sushi (it doesn't have to be in japantown). Given that we won't have a car, we're going to be taking the BART around, so places that are walking distance would be appreciated from BART stops. Though we will consider a cab if need be.

We will be going all up and down Napa and Sonoma visiting wineries most of the week, but we'll be staying in Santa Rosa. I think we're going to make stop offs at Taylor's Refresher in Helena and also I know we have a trip to Sonoma Square planned which I'm not too excited about so if there's anygood restaraurants there, I could just spend the entire time there eating. Anywhere in Santa Rosa worth going to would also be appreciated.

I know this is asking a lot, but I figured this would be the best place to ask it.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!

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Okay, let's start with your Japanese request as I live across the street from Japantown. And here is my one and only major complaint with San Francisco: NO YAKITORI RESTAURANTS! You have no idea how much it pisses me off as they simply do not exist and I can't figure out why. There are more Japanese restaurants in this city than can be conceived of and yet no Yakitori. So, with that in mind, you had best suffice with sushi. Japantown is off the Muni (versus Bart) on the 38 line. It is also adjacent to Fillmore Street and now, having eaten at every sushi restaurant in the neighborhood, I would recommend Toraya on Fillmore or Kiss on Laguna. Kiss serves more Kaiseki style and is more "traditional" but Toraya has amazing fish and great sake served in Martini glasses.

If you are set on tasting Taylor's Refresher, it will be easier for you to do it at the Ferry Plaza location in San Francisco as the St. Helena location is not really on the way to Santa Rosa. There are great places to eat in Sonoma, especially The General's Daughter and The Girl and The Fig. Unfortunately, for my four years living in wine country, I never really found anything in Santa Rosa very notable. In Napa, it is hard to point to a bad restaurant. My favorites include Pilar, Zuzu, the saffron mussels at Bouchon, and Terra. I wouldn't bother with Tra Vigne.

Hope this helps...

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Just a few off the top of my head, in the Santa Rosa area getways.

Fine Dining- Farm House Inn(River Road) Expensive in recent years.

Casual Dining-Village Inn (Monte Rio) Food is a bit 1970s but always good,and a good value, the deck over the river is awsome. Great after a canoe trip.

Bistro des Copaine(Occidental)- Good value on wine and food, the food is real good. Great town to visit.

Even if I am local, when I go to these places, it feels like I am on vacation as well.

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Unfortunately, for my four years living in wine country, I never really found anything in Santa Rosa very notable. 

well, there is an in-n-out in santa rosa (well, rohnert park, but close enough), so what else does one need??? :smile:

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Unfortunately, for my four years living in wine country, I never really found anything in Santa Rosa very notable. 

well, there is an in-n-out in santa rosa (well, rohnert park, but close enough), so what else does one need??? :smile:

Just about nothing, since you've also got one of the best small breweries on the West Coast:

Russian River Brewing

I'd also easily put them in the top 10 Brewers of Belgian Style ale in the US...

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Santa Rosa has the only really good NY style pizza in the bay area - NY Pie @ 4th & Brookwood. The Generals Daughter in Sonoma is excellent, as everyone has already said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a good meal at the West County Grill (Sebastapol), last night.

Tasty small tapas size fried appetizers, like Arancini and Fried Brandade cakes (like a Bajan fishcake). The entree portions sizes are a bit confusing. My massive sized half chicken vs. my partners 4 oz halibut filet. Next time we know to split the chicken.

Otherwise a great addition to Sonoma County.

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We were in Napa Valley in March and had an amazing lunch at REDD in Yountville. Ad Hoc is also there, right next door and is very good for dinner. St. Helena has Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, really yummy goat cheese raviolis there and stuffed Piquillo peppers.

The General's Daughter is a great suggestion and we have enjoyed several nice lunches at the girl and the fig. Right across the street is the El Dorado Kitchen where I had some really good Steamed Black Mussels for lunch. The Swiss Hotel right across the street is nice for a casual meal out on the back patio. They do really good pastas and pizza there. Enjoy! :)

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I went to A16 about two months ago on a visit to SF and I loved it. Simple food, of course, but good ingredients and good execution always makes for a nice meal. I had the pizza margherita, the burrata, and the tripe. I remember thinking my neighbor's gnocchi looked fabulous as well, but by that point, I was too full for anything else! I'll certainly be back.

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts after your visits to Quince and Ame. I've been interested in both for a while now, especially Quince, which I will certainly check out when I'm back in the bay area next time.

You didn't ask about breakfast, but if you're in search of a good one in SF, I can think of no better place than Tartine. I've been twice and really enjoyed it both times.

Have a great trip!

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The city of Santa Rosa has its fair share of decent family owned restaurants with lower guest check averages, catering mostly to their local frequently visiting clienteles. One that I frequently visit is Riveria.

Owned by a young Italian couple (Rita & Lucca). Both are chefs and trained in Italy. They switch cooking shifts with watching their young children.

One of them is always there. The food is basic Italian and very well executed and consistant.

Otherwise-try pressdemocrat.com , to see what Jeff Cox, the local food critic has to say.

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Michael Bauer reviewed the West County Grill in today's Chronicle Magazine:

Rustic flavors appeal to citified tastes at Sebastopol's West County Grill

Sitting at the counter, watching the chefs work the grill and the waiters ring up checks, I noticed a digital thermometer that registered 749 degrees in the wood-fired oven. The pizza coming from this fiery inferno is stellar -- thin, crisp and lightly blistered around the edges. Chef Darren McRonald knows this is his secret weapon. What comes out of the oven is addictive, and to ensure that everyone will be hooked, the waiters bring freshly baked, salted and herbed pieces of warm flat bread and a small container of olives to each table. One bite -- and one look around the lively room -- and I was sold.

A couple complaints about the cocktails; but, by and large a very positive review from Mr. Bauer.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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