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Kerry Beal

Heading to SF - where to hit?

52 posts in this topic

For old school SF, similar to Tadich's but more low-key (and closes early, beware), I recommend Sam's Grill downtown. Great crab louie, grilled sand dabs and other Bay Area seafood specialties. Killer martinis too.

There are Depression-era booths with closeable doors.

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this must have been mentioned, but I add it again for Taste Completeness :

Crab Season has started in the Bay Area Im told. re consider some of those old time fish houses.

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Crab prices are high this year, so be prepared. For a slightly different experience you could try PPQ Dungeness Island on Clement St. Really great crab and really fabulous wings. And not cheap. Vietnamese by way of Chinese Outer Richmond. Lots of fun and you need lots of napkins. I think it might be your style. Also walking distance from GG Park.

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http://theicecreambarsf.com

http://www.sfgate.com/style/article/The-Ice-Cream-Bar-2963663.php

They're rebooting the classic soda fountain, with influences from molecular gastronomy and cutting-edge cocktails. A good stop to refresh the palate, it was the hit of the day on one recent food crawl with friends.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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Bump!

 

Heading to SFO tomorrow with @Alleguede and @Chocolotfor the FCIA Elevate Chocolate event and the Fancy Food Show. Only there until Monday - but would welcome an update on places to consider for the few meals we will be around for. 

 

Any of the places suggested above better, worse, the same - anything new we should consider?

 

 

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There's a zillion haute joints in SF.  John's Grille is just a joint, but I like the place. And its a couple blocks from Moscone Center.

http://johnsgrill.com

Don't hold their irritating website against them. Otherwise its a right out of the 40s chop house.

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There are so many new restaurants in the Bay Area right now, I can't keep up. Not all my discretionary income can be spent on food. When I'm looking for a new place, I rely on friends' recs and also consult SF Eater.

 

Best SF restaurants, winter 2016
http://sf.eater.com/maps/best-san-francisco-restaurants-38

 

Heatmap of hottest SF restaurants right now
http://sf.eater.com/maps/best-new-san-francisco-restaurants-heatmap-oakland-berkeley

 

According to SF Eater, 50 new restaurants are about to open in the Bay Area. Whew.

 

I like Marcia Gagliardi's reviews also. Her top 10, right now.
http://www.tablehopper.com/10/

 

Have fun in SF! Pls let us know if you find something new and great--then I can try it!

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@Kerry Beal, would be helpful to provide a guide of the type of places that interest you. Everyone has an opinion of the best burrito place in the city. El Farolito, for example, has been named the best burrito in America by FiveThirtyEight but I like El Castillito, Castro location better. But if you're not interested in low end Mexican, this isn't a helpful recommendation.

 

Are you more looking for places that serve the best X in San Francisco or places which serve something that you can't find anywhere else in the world? For example, Saigon Sandwich has a great Banh Mi and R&G Lounge is still the reliably good Cantonese place in town but I've had better Banh Mi and better Cantonese food elsewhere in the world.

 

On the other hand, the general consensus appears to be that Mission Chinese Food has gone significantly downhill since the opening of MCF NY but it still might be worth a visit as it was one of the progenitor of an entire genre of new Asian food.

 

edit: State Bird Provisions has lost a lot of the hype from when it first opened but I haven't heard anyone say a bad thing about their food yet. It's still difficult to get into but worth a shot if you manage to snag a spot.


Edited by Shalmanese (log)

PS: I am a guy.

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Really just interested in a variety of options to choose from - but nothing in the formal dining for sure! Last trip we hit Zuni Cafe, Slanted door, Tartine, food trucks outside the wharf - should probably do something different this time!

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OK, I can list out a couple of regional Chinese cuisines in case you're interested:

 

Sichaun: Spices in the Richmond is a reliable, authentic representation of Sichuan food and it's where chefs go to eat and drink after they get off work so it has that stamp of approval. Get the lamb hotpot, the chicken knuckles in chilli and the garlic eggplant. You can order a stinky tofu if you want a definitive answer to whether you will ever like stinky tofu or not. 

 

Xian: Terracotta Warrior in the Sunset. Amazingly delicious Shaanxi food, anything with a star on their menu is safe to order. I don't think I've had a bad dish in the 4 times I've gone there. 

 

Dongbei: Dongbei Mama slightly further out in the Richmond. It's one of the few Dongbei restaurants in America and it's an accurate representation of the cuisine. Get the chicken with shiitake mushrooms and the pork with sour cabbage. Both are classic Dongbei dishes for a reason.

 

Dim Sum: Most people will tell you to go to City View but I like Great Eastern in Chinatown slightly better. Both will get you a great Dim Sum lunch but City View feels far more expensive for a marginal increase in quality to me.

 

Cantonese: R&G Lounge is where Chinese people take other Chinese people they want to impress and the prices match the expectation. I'm not a huge Cantonese fan so I'm not really sure if there's any cheaper, equally good places. But if you go, the salt and pepper crab is their specialty dish for a reason.

 

New Asian: Mission Chinese Food. As I mentioned above, there have been a lot of duds in the times I've gone but the standouts remain standout. Get the Chongqing Chicken Wings, the Veal Rib and the Lamb Face noodle soup if they still have it.

 

Hot Pot: I really like The Pots in the Sunset. It's all you can eat hotpot for something like $35 a person. The selection of ingredients is wide and the quality is good. The sauces, unfortunately, are a bit lacking. We went to another hotpot place down in Taraval that I forgot the name of which had better sauces but worse everything else. Cest la vie.

 

A quick hits of other cuisines that are also worth checking out:

 

Thai: Lers Ros Thai is great, authentic Thai food with an expansive menu (boar, alligator, frog and venison are all on the menu if you're interested in trying). The Tenderloin location is the original and the best but they also have a Hayes Valley and Mission location.

 

Vietnamese: Little Saigon is just south of the Tenderloin and has a lot of great spots. Saigon Sandwich for Banh mi, Turtle Tower for Northern style Pho (chicken and wide noodles instead of beef and thin noodles). Hai Ky Mi Gia & Pho Tan Hoa, also great.

 

Burmese: Burmese is definitely something SF specializes in. Burma Superstar is the most popular place but the Burmese people I've met are kind of indifferent to it. I've not yet found what's the definitive Burmese place in the city but it's worth asking around for a strong recommendation.

 

Taqueria: It's hard to go really wrong. El Farolito, Taqueria Cancun, El Castillito, La Taqueria are all reliably good though.

 

Korean/Mexican Fusion: HRD Coffee Shop in SOMA is a great lunchtime spot with lines out the doors most days. If you were ever curious what a bulgolgi burrito tasted like, this is the spot to try.

 

Pizza: There's a huge pizza geek scene that I have utterly no interest in. New, great pizza spots are popping up all the time and it's worth tapping a pizza geek to see what's happening in the pizza world here.

 

Hope this helps whet your appetite at least :).

 

edit: You also just have to accept that there's really no great places within short walking distance of the Moscone Center. Downtown and SOMA is a black hole for good food. When I used to work around there, my foodie friends and I found ourselves ending up at the buffet counter of the Whole Foods as our most frequent haunt, that's how dire the food options are. Fortunately, Lyft and Uber are both ubiquitous in SF and you should use at least one of them religiously (I prefer Lyft). Because both started in SF, rides are heavily subsidized and you can get anywhere you want to go in the city for less than $10 usually. Download it onto your phone before you get here because a ride from the airport will be something like $15 vs $40+ for a taxi.


Edited by Shalmanese (log)
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PS: I am a guy.

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I kept this list of great sandwiches in SF, also from SF Eater. I can vouch for Deli Board and Roli Roti. The rest of the places are on my List. Don't the sandwiches look good?
http://sf.eater.com/maps/best-sandwiches-san-francisco

 

If you haven't been to B Patisserie or Dandelion Chocolate, I strongly recommend both of them.
http://bpatisserie.com/ specialty is kouign amann

https://www.dandelionchocolate.com/

 

I was at Rich Table in Hayes Valley not that long ago, with a group of friends, and we all liked it. It is upscale, and I know you said you wanted to try something different, but in case you change your mind...this is one of the best trendy-type restaurants in SF, IMO.
http://richtablesf.com/index.html

 

I strongly recommend the Russian Honey Cake at 20th Century Cafe, also in Hayes Valley. A unique dessert. Actually, I've liked all the desserts I've tried there.
http://www.7x7.com/eat-drink/big-eat-2014-photos#/38
20th Century Cafe's website
http://20thcenturycafe.com/

 

Not far from Hayes Valley, on the other side of Van Ness Ave, is Littlejohn's Candies. The best English toffee I've ever tried.
https://littlejohnscandies.com/

 

Do you want to try out something really new and tell us about it? This BBQ restaurant was supposed to open today. I kept the article from SF Eater and I want to try it. Warning: there may be long lines. It's a new place for the restaurant mavens.
http://sf.eater.com/2016/1/11/10738958/black-bark-bbq-david-lawrence-fillmore-san-francisco
I noticed lots of cozy restaurants and nice shops the last time I was on Fillmore St, places I haven't checked out, and I told myself I should do some serious exploring there someday. It's still on my ever-longer List.

 

I've heard about Dongbei Mama in the Richmond, but haven't tried it. Thanks for the rec, Shalmanese.


Edited by djyee100 (log)
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I don't know what's going on w Crab these days in the Bat Area :

 

http://www.sanfrancisco.com/crab-season/

 

then there is this :

 

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Don-t-eat-Dungeness-crab-California-health-6608939.php

 

and this 

 

http://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Hopes-for-crab-season-run-low-slight-prospect-6736479.php

 

Id at least ask about it while there.

 

of course, you have to like crab.

 

5697a9dbc8540_surprised.gif.57d74f532bcb

 

PS :

 

I always try to go here :

 

http://www.tadichgrill.com/

 

its old, you have to wait, but its got what it takes every time.

 

sand dabs. etc


Edited by rotuts (log)

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11 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

@Kerry Beal,

edit: State Bird Provisions has lost a lot of the hype from when it first opened but I haven't heard anyone say a bad thing about their food yet. It's still difficult to get into but worth a shot if you manage to snag a spot.

We quite liked The Progress, its sister restaurant (we liked State Bird on another visit too).

 

And Kin Khao, which has gotten recent great reports.


Edited by weinoo Adding stuff (log)

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14 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

Dim Sum: Most people will tell you to go to City View but I like Great Eastern in Chinatown slightly better. Both will get you a great Dim Sum lunch but City View feels far more expensive for a marginal increase in quality to me.

 

 

What about Yank Sing for Cantonese-style dim-sum? The one on Stevenson is close to the Moscone Center... (the one at the Rincon Center is probably too far away to be easily walkable) The place gets both hate and love, depending on whom one asks...what's your opinion?


Edited by huiray (log)

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1 hour ago, huiray said:

 

What about Yank Sing for Cantonese-style dim-sum? The one on Stevenson is close to the Moscone Center... (the one at the Rincon Center is probably too far away to be easily walkable) The place gets both hate and love, depending on whom one asks...what's your opinion?

 

 

I totally forgot about Yank Sing! I've had catered Dim Sum from Yank Sing but never eaten in the actual dining room. I remember it was fine but as anyone will tell you, Dim Sum that's been sitting in a tray for half an hour isn't exactly representative of a restaurant's best work. What I've been told is that it's quite a step up in price from anywhere else. Seeing as I was never a huge fan of Cantonese food in the first place, I think I'm going to wait until someone with an expense account invites me before I give it a serious shot.

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PS: I am a guy.

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We will be dining with friends Sunday evening at the place linked below. The friend who picked it out is a life-long resident of the bay area, a very accomplished cook and a great asset in the Northern Ren Faire kitchen.

 

Will you be at the Fancy Food Show on Sunday? The Fancy Food Show is why we will be up there. If you're going to be there on SundayI will keep an eye open for you.

 

www.johnsgrill.com.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

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Cockscomb which was on Eater's heatmap last year. I've been to Chris Cosentino's previous restaurant, Incanto, a few times and absolutely loved it (also his small place Boccalone at the ferry building market). Casual atmosphere, nose to tail eating, amazing charcuterie, a black board with interesting specials that change everyday. The new place has seafood as well and I am absolutely dying to go.

 

Then for cocktails you have to visit Martin Cate's new place Whitechapel which is devoted to gin...


Edited by FrogPrincesse formatting (log)
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Really glad this thread got bumped - I'll be in the area mid- March. I'm thinking of a day trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If that is close enough to SF to include in this thread I would love some ideas for eats and things to do and see on the road. 


Edited by cyalexa (log)

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18 hours ago, Shalmanese said:

...You also just have to accept that there's really no great places within short walking distance of the Moscone Center...

 

I agree with you about the Moscone Center area. I noticed a Super Duper Burger around there. I like their burgers and can recommend them, though I go to another location regularly. Wise Sons Deli at the Jewish Museum is open for lunch and worth checking out.

 

Super Duper Burgers
http://superduperburgers.com/

 

Wise Sons
http://wisesonsdeli.com/contemporary-jewish-museum-menu

 

The SF Ferry Bldg is also possible for Sat lunch, with food trucks and other vendors at the farmers mkt (Sat 8-2).

 

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5 hours ago, FrogPrincesse said:
Well, Cockscomb is actually only 10 min away from the Moscone Center. Just saying... :) 

 

I was thinking of places where you could walk out of the Moscone Center, circle the block a bit, and find something to eat.

 

That walk down Fourth St from the Moscone Center goes into the gritty now gentrifying area of SOMA. I feel OK walking down there from Market during the day. Not so enthused about that adventure at night. It's not a pleasant city walk, either, especially when you go under the freeway.


Edited by djyee100 (log)

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