Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Heading to SF - where to hit?

Kerry Beal

Recommended Posts

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

Yeah, we liked Cockscomb a great deal = Uber-ed it back to our rental apartment.


Trou Normand is even closer, without having to go under any stinkin' freeways. As is Kin Khao.



Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
On 1/14/2016 at 10:08 AM, Shalmanese said:


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.


We had a work lunch there (Rincon Center location) a couple of months ago.  Great dim sum, and certainly different compared to my experiences at similar places in New York.  I could see myself going again but not anytime soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
On 14/01/2016 at 2:22 PM, Shalmanese said:

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.



Thanks for this, @Shalmanese! I'll be in SF next month and this list is perfect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rarerollingobject said:


Thanks for this, @Shalmanese! I'll be in SF next month and this list is perfect.


In an ironic reversal, I'm now in Sydney. I'd say Sydney's regional Chinese scene is so much incomparable better than San Francisco's that it's not worth trying any of the SF Chinese places I listed above. If I were you, I'd focus on Mexican, Latin American, BBQ, Indian and Bakeries. Whereas Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Portuguese & Middle Eastern Food, Sydney is so far ahead of SF it's beyond compare. Italian, Japanese, Seafood, French, Spanish and Coffee are about on par. I've not found fantastic sushi in SF but there are a couple of ramen geek places that have opened in the last few years that are worth checking out (Mensho and Orenchi are the two I like).


I'd say the two restaurants which I'd put in the "hard pressed to get that sort of experience outside of the US" category would be Brenda's French Soul Food and House of Prime Rib. I try and take all of my out of town guests to both of those at least once when they're in town.

Edited by Shalmanese (log)
  • Like 2

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ill add an old and Icoic place :


Tadich Grill 




odd : they picture a Steak !




hopefully the Sand Dabs are in season.


I grew up on the peninsula and this would be the first place Id go to


no reservation , so you might have to wait.   you can order a nice Chabis and sip on it while you wait !


I guess the SD's have no real season :



Edited by rotuts (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On my trip a few weeks ago I enjoyed my meal at Flores, Petit Crenn, Namu Gaji &  Frena bakery. All are really good. Crenn of course was spectacular doing the chef's extended menu at the bar. I ate at Flores for the tortillas. Namu was all about the okonmiyaki. And Frena was a great breakfast for shakshuka basket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the recommendations, all (particularly @Shalmanese) - in a whirlwind three days in SF, ate at:


El Farolito in the Mission - strawberry and pineapple aguas frescas and carnitas, al pastor, carne asada and chorizo tacos (and nachos for my friend in background):





Dynamo Donuts - passionfruit and chocolate, and bacon, apple and maple:





Mission Chinese - tiki pork belly, lamb dumplings, chicken fat and ginger fried rice, thrice cooked pork and Chongqing chicken wings. It was OK. Shalmanese is right, even hipster Chinese food is better in Sydney.










Chez Panisse, for the most disappointing and overpriced meal I've had in years - I've always wanted to go there, but while the quality of the produce and the atmosphere was nice and all, I seriously feel like I cook more interesting food on a bog-standard Tuesday night. I would call this quality of cooking 'medium level wedding catering food.' o.O

AND it was all too salty. Bah.













Brenda's French Soul Food - a GREAT recommendation. Hangtown Fry with a biscuit and hash, crawfish beignets, and pork belly with grits (and strawberry mimosas):






Kazan sushi in the mission - the nigiri set was excellent:




Excellent roasted crab and garlic butter noodles from Thanh Long:




A strange dish I don't really understand - biscuits and gravy - from the Dipsea Cafe in Marin:




And then, in a hat tip to the eG Baking threads, I lugged all my piping tips and food colours and lustre dusts and glitters to San Francisco to teach my friends' kids how to make my floral cupcakes - not a bad effort for kiddlios and a very jetlagged RRO:





Then straight after SF, it was on to Golden, BC in Canada, where I didn't eat a single thing of interest or note! xD











Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing, great pictures and making cupcakes with the kids had to be great fun.


Biscuits and gravy are in my top 5 favorites, the ones in your picture look pretty good to me.


They're best eaten late at night after a few, or the next morning as a cure. 

That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I'm heading to SF area for work in a couple of weeks - So thanks for all of those who posted suggestions in this thread! 

I'm going to be staying a couple of nights in the city, within a walking distance from Chinatown. If someone have specific recommendations for good vegetarian food, I'd sure like to hear them. 

~ Shai N.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a lovely meal a few years back at Restaurant Gary Danko (http://garydanko.com). We didn't book but were able to get a seat at the bar with access to the full menu rather than being restricted to degustation. Delicious. Plus you can go down the road afterwards and get an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe.



I want to note that I didn't eat the whole cheese trolley (although it was tempting).

  • Like 1

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, shain said:

I'm heading to SF area for work in a couple of weeks - So thanks for all of those who posted suggestions in this thread! 

I'm going to be staying a couple of nights in the city, within a walking distance from Chinatown. If someone have specific recommendations for good vegetarian food, I'd sure like to hear them. 


San Francisco is very vegetarian friendly so even most regular restaurants should have plenty of exciting veggie options. If you want vegetarian only options, Greens in the Marina is probably the most famous and a local institution, it was Steve Jobs' favorite restaurant. In the Mission, there's Gracias Madres which is an upscale vegan Mexican place, Udupi Palace which is vegetarian North Indian food and Shizen which is vegan sushi. All are beloved local neighbourhood spots where even omnivores frequent regularly. Enjoy Vegetarian would probably be closest to you inside of Chinatown and is quite good. Also, a number of places in SF have started serving the Impossible Burger (the new faux meat startup) so that might be a fun thing to try if it's not available where you are yet.


But honestly, I feel like you're going to have a much more exciting time dining focusing on great vegetarian dishes at non-vegetarian restaurants. 

PS: I am a guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It doesn't look like it's been mentioned in this thread, but if anyone is into vintage old-school dining like I am, then Original Joe's in the North Beach neighborhood is great. Sometimes a plate of Joe's Special just hits the spot. Theirs tastes a bit citrus-y, as if a splash of orange juice is used in the recipe. The cocktails are good, too.

Edited by LivingMCM (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...