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Heading to SF - where to hit?

Kerry Beal

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Heading out to SF next week for a little under a week. It's a get together for the 10th anniversary of Ecole Chocolate so a few meals will be covered - but it's been 18 years or so since I was there last and I suspect things have changed a bit.

In researching a bit I realize I need to make my way to Tartine, and I believe that it was SF where I had the worlds largest burrito. But other than that I've been working so hard I haven't had time to do the amount of research I would usually do before a trip so I'm asking for suggestions.

We'll be staying downtown at the Intercontinental and won't have a vehicle but no hesitation to jump on public transit.

One of the bonuses this trip - I get to meet eG's Divina in real life. http://www.divinacucina.com

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One of my patients this morning mentioned an old pub that was apparently brought over from Great Britain and rebuilt - called the Pelican. He says the food is great. Anyone have any info on that?

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It's been at least 3 years since my last trip, but I remember having an underwhelming lunch at Canteen (super casual), and a fabulous dinner at La Folie on Russian Hill (more like a special-occasion type of restaurant). One place I want to try is Baker & Banker - we are friends with the family of the chef and it looks like our kind of place.

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One of my patients this morning mentioned an old pub that was apparently brought over from Great Britain and rebuilt - called the Pelican. He says the food is great. Anyone have any info on that?

The Pelican Inn is in Muir Beach, near(ish) to Muir Woods. A very interesting structure; I visited last December and had a nice ploughman's lunch. Better half had a burger, IIRC. Dunno that I would drive all the way out there just for the food, but it's a decent bite and not too far out of the way from Muir Woods.


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Lucky you - SF is one of my favourite cities, wish I was going too!

Head over to the Ferry Building in the morning on a farmers market day and check out Roli Roti. It's a rotisserie truck specializing in rotisserie chicken and porchetta sandwiches. Those - with the potatoes roasted in chicken/pork fat - were one of the best breakfasts I've ever had.

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if you can get in (some tables are walk in only, but you have to get in line by 5pm or so) or are lucky to snag a reservation, State Bird Provisions on Fillmore near Geary is supposed to be fantastic. Got a lot of coverage lately, including best restaurant 2012 in Bon Appetit (I think) and it's small, but from what I hear it's awesome. Bounce around North Beach a bit if you are with bar hopping people, always fun. Slanted Door is great, check out the Ferry Building in general, farmers market if you're in town (I think it's on Sat).

Dive into Chinatown (check yelp.com for reviews), that's always fun too.

I'm in the far east bay, rarely go to SF for food, too many places that are great and yet to be explored in between, but those are the things I'd like to do this year.

Oh, Beach Chalet at the bottom of Golden Gate Park is neat. Nothing spectacular but good brewery, good brewery food, and a great view. And the beach is right there to walk it off afterwards.

Zuni Cafe would also be on my list.

Watch your wallet!

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Commonwealth was wonderful. Second it. Bar Tartine. We had breakfast/lunch twice at Plow we enjoyed it so much.

State Bird Provisions.

I always enjoy a Crab Louis at Swan Oyster Depot. Oysters at the Ferry Market Plaza. For that matter drinks, at the gorgeous-view bar of Slanted Door in same. Or, for old-times sake, and a buzz with caffeine, you can't do any better than the Buena Vista, where the Irish Coffee was "invented."

For down & dirty, we've always enjoyed Brandy Ho's on Columbus and Yuet Lee for great seafood with zero decor.

And we still love the dim sum at Yank Sing.

Walk the Filbert Steps. For amazing views and just because maybe you'll see a flock of parrots.

Cocktails - since I know you might like a drink every now and then and there are a number of good places in SF to get your drink on. Comstock, which is really close to Brandy Ho's, btw.

Bar Agricole




Beretta good, crowded scene

Slanted Door as mentioned abovea

Bourbon & Branch

Smuggler's Cove


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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If you're in North Beach, I will second the recommendation for the Comstock. The bartenders are all fantastic there. I suggest trying a "barkeep's whimsy" and see what magic they make for you. Two other places in North Beach I really like are Park Tavern (the Brussels sprout chips are fantastic) and Don Pisto's (fantastic tacos in a pretty much unmarked store front).

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In North Beach, at the edge of the Financial District, I recommend Cotogna (Italian food). The next time my brother visits from the East Coast, I'm taking him there. http://www.cotognasf.com/

The neighborhood around Tartine is one of the liveliest food scenes in SF right now. Bi-Rite Creamery's ice cream and Delfina restaurant are perennial favorites. Several months ago some friends and I tried Regalito, and we liked that restaurant, too.

Below, from the SF Chronicle, lists of restaurants in this neighborhood (Dolores, Valencia, Guerrero Sts in the Mission). You can reach this neighborhood easily by hopping on BART and getting off at 16th Street Mission.



Also in the Mission, a couple places that were reviewed by the SF Chronicle and piqued my interest for bargain eats. Unfortunately I haven't been able to check them out myself. They sound good, though.



Another very lively food area is the Marina District. I've eaten recently at Chotto and A16, and I can recommend them. At Chotto I especially liked the flight of sakes I ordered with my dinner (so did my friend, with whom I shared it). A foodie friend likes Bistro Aix, though I haven't tried it myself.


A foodie friend recommended Lers Ros for Thai food, saying that the food is like real Thai food, rather than Americanized Thai food, and then the SF Chronicle came out with this review: http://www.sfgate.com/food/article/Lers-Ros-review-Loud-spot-with-bright-flavors-2639260.php

And don't forget Acme Bakery and Cowgirl Creamery in the SF Ferry Building.

hope you enjoy your visit to SF!

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Here are a few of my recommendations.

Head over to the Ferry Building at some point and sample all of the food they have to offer there with just a few being Cowgirl creamery, Boccalone, Hog Island Oyster Co., Acme bread, Blue Bottle Coffee, and The Slanted Door. If you can, go on a Saturday when they have their farmers market then get in line for the porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti.

Down there in that same area around the Embarcadero is a wonderful Greek restaurant called Kokkari, but you will absolutely need reservations.

Around the Hayes Valley and Castro area I'd recommend Sushi Zone (get the baked bass), Absinthe, and if you want a quick sandwich to go or just to look at some provisions head to Fatted Calf. Blue Bottle Coffee is also just around the corner in case you need another pick me up.

State Bird Provisions is a great new place - tapas style almost served both by ordering on a menu and dim sum style with coming around to your table with platters of food. Good luck resisting ordering half the food!

In the Inner Richmond you could head out for some Burmese food at Burma Super Star.

If you're in the mood for other Asian food you could go to the Inner Sunset district and try some soup dumplings at Kingdom of Dumpling (make sure not to head to their little grocery store a few blocks away - to the actual restaurant) or to Thanh Long for some dungeness crab and garlic noodles.

Or, you could be hip and go over to the Mission for some Mission Street Chinese food.

Over in the Mission you will also find a plethora of great coffee with Four Barrel and Ritual - to just name a few. If you're looking to eat in the Mission you could get some sausage and beer at Rosamunde Sausage Grill, some Roman Italian food at Locanda, some Mission-style burritos at El Farolito, a sandwich to go at Rhea's deli (it looks look a dive - but don't be deceived), or head over to Bar Tartine or Tartine Bakery.

I could go on, but here are just a few more recommendations: for Italian (and offal) at Incanto in Noe Valley, upscale Moroccan at Aziza in the Outer Richmond (they have fantastic cocktails as well), or in Nopa you could go for Chicago-style deep dish pizza at Little Star.

You could also go to my absolute favorite sandwich place in the city right now for lunch at Deli Board in SOMA. Also in that area is Darwin Cafe, which is also one of my favorites.

For bars: Smuggler's Cover or Bourbon & Branch. You could also go way out there in the Mission and head to a quirky place called the Royal Cuckoo.

Hope you enjoy your trip back! There's a lot of great food in SF!

*edit* forgot to mention Bi-rite (as posted above) and Humphrey Slocombe! Both make fantastic ice cream and, if you're in their area, would be something you shouldn't miss. Also, if for some reason you find yourself in Marin and have a taste for beer you could head to Mill Valley Beerworks, which is a fantastic new brew pub that has a number of great beers both on tap and in the bottle. They recently expanded and have a full kitchen now - I haven't had a chance to try their food, though.

Edited by Pilori (log)
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Though I haven't been back for over 1 year, SF is still home. So, here are some old favorites:

Little Yangon - if you're looking for the real deal in Burmese food. It's in Daly City, borderline of SF. You can catch BART and walk a couple blocks to get there. If you're looking for Americanized Burmese food, then go with Burma Superstar.

A16, SPQR, Cotogna, Farina - beautiful Italian food.

Arizmendi - great bakery, the cheese roll is a must.

PIQ - I so miss the mushroom bread there! A divine Italian bakery. In Berkeley, but right by the BART station.

Il Cane Rosso - my pick for the Ferry Building. You can get Blue Bottle coffee there without standing in the ridiculous long line. And then an old fashion cupcake from Miette and some chocolate sables for later. And Recchiuti for some of the best chocolates around. Which reminds me, Recchiuti now has a cafe - Chocolate Lab. Recently opened so I haven't been. I can imagine that it's great though.

Bisou - my go to French place. Great food and very affordable. We just love Nick.

Amelie - favorite wine bar. Great food, great wine, great people and all very affordable.

Kappou Gomi - great Japanese place. Dinner only, no bento, no sushi. The salmon hot pot is what you want. Then ask for ramen to be cooked in the broth at the end. OMG!

Some more casual places: Frances, Prospect (maybe not as casual as the others), Hard Knox Cafe, Ike's Place, Baker and Banker, Wayfare Tavern, Kokkari, Art's Cafe (go for a hashbrown sandwich), Marlowe, Tony's Pizza Napoletana, Zero Zero, Zuni's, La Mar, Tataki, Contigo, Woodhouse Fish Company, Nettie's Crab Shack....

If you're into food trucks, get to one of the Off the Grid events.

If I go back now, I would want to try M.Y. China, Martin Yan's new place.

All this talk is making me miss SF. Well, at least the food scene....

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i grew up on the Peninsula and when I get back to SF I always try to go here:

Tadich Grill | San Francisco, CA

it hasn't changed a bit. it does not take reservations. it has some of the best fish Ive ever had. it's very Old School SF.

Yum !

they also have some killer 'Speak-Easy' booths!

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Then there's Delfino's pizza in the mission, and the Bi-Rite ice cream store across the street for dessert. If you are an ice cream freak you could try Humphrey Slocombe, also in the mission. I hear the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream is great. My nephew is a major fan. Check out their website. Most of my info about Mission bars and restaurants comes from 20-somethings, although I can second Tartine from experience, especially the croissants and fruit/bread pudding.

Oh, and if you find yourself in the inner sunset near 9th Ave just south of Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens try Marnee Thai. It's just a little modest place with very good food.

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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I also can use some ideas. Have three business dinners to host in march. We are staying at the Palace hotel and would like the restaurants to be in close proximity. We don't necessarily need private rooms but will be around 20 people each evening. Money is not a problem. Thanks

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For a nice dinner for a large group by the Palace hotel, I would recommend Prospect that was recommended above on this thread. My favorite meal there was the duck. It was prepared 3 ways and very good. The menu is different every time I go back and always tasty.

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I also can use some ideas. Have three business dinners to host in march. We are staying at the Palace hotel and would like the restaurants to be in close proximity. We don't necessarily need private rooms but will be around 20 people each evening. Money is not a problem. Thanks

Prospect definitely. Other places that may work: Waterbar, La Mar, Ozumo, Boulevard, Quince, Farallon, 5A5 Steak Lounge, B44, Wayfare Tavern, Kokkari....

If I had to pick three: Quince, Prospect and La Mar

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