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San Francisco to San Diego


Al_Dente
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Thank you all for those great reccomendations...especially in the San Diego area.

Now two more questions regarding Santa Monica and especially San Francicso: Where would you go for fine dining? (I have mentioned some options for SF in my first 2 posts, but have to pick one or two...)

Thanks

kai-m

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Should you be hungry driving between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, I would recommend a stop in the tiny town of Los Olivos. It is maybe 3 km east of hwy 101 in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley. If you take hwy 154 going north from Santa Barbara you will pass through Los Olivos. 154 is also a beautiful drive and is shorter than sticking with 101. There are four restaurants there and you can't go wrong with any of them. I like to stop for lunch at Patrick's Side Street Cafe. If you saw the movie Sideways,it was filmed in Los Olivos and in the surrounding wine country. I concur with the Firestone Grill here in SLO and the Taco Temple Morro Bay now located alongside hwy 1 in the parking lot of Spencer's Supermarket. You'll see it on your right as you drive north. Dorn's Original Breakers in Morro Bay overlooking the waterfront is one of my favorite breakfast places. Martin's Tortilla Soup on Main St. in Cayucos is also great for breakfast, especially if you like huevos rancheros, and sometimes they have excellent menudo on weekends. Cayucos is about 10 km north of Morro Bay and is the last funky beach town in California. Have a great trip!

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San Francisco has so many good restaurants, finding the right one is really a matter of individual taste. A good resource is The SF Chronicle's Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants, which was recently updated. I'll give my very opinionated opinions for what they are worth. My favorite "fine" dining places would be:

Acquerello, which I think is very romantic. I believe it has the best upscale Italian food in the city, and a very fine wine list. Giancarlo gives great advice on wine, and the service is tops. A favorite for anniversary dinners over the years. The tabs are not as high here either.

Chez Panisse, which is really still quite unique after all these years. I also love the cafe for a long lunch. As I have said many times, some people don't get get what Chez Panisse is about though. I like it more than ever.

Fleur de Lys, which I think is still the best French restaurant in the city, despite what you hear on here. The prices have become a little more gentle lately, too. I do admit that it might not appeal to younger people.

La Folie, although I haven't been since the remodel. The food has always been excellent, and it doesn't look quite as playful as before, but this is a class act.

I like Jardiniere, but not quite as much. I haven't tried Gary Danko, although only because it never quite worked out. I think it would be great. I wouldn't be caught dead at Michael Mina, although a lot of that has to do with the fact he took over the Compass Rose Space and ruined the frnt lobby of the St. Francis. I would try the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, but for various reasons never have.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks again for all those reccomendations! In 10 days our trip begins...

...not easy to get a table at the good places, though, even 6 weeks in advance...seems like Fleur de Lys, La Folie and/or Gary Danko will have to wait until my next trip to SF...(is the Campton a worthy alternative, or is it rather a "tourist place", since it is located in a hotel? I was surprised that it is not on the SF-top-100 list...)

One more thing: Do they have that "multiple seating"-policy in california restaurants/bistros as well (meaning that you get rushed through your 3-4 course dinner within two hours max. and then get the check even if you didn't ask for it, because the next customers are already waiting...)?

I remember that from NYC and found it really, how should I put it, bothering (and unthinkable in europe).

What I want to ask with that is: is it better to reserve a table later in the evening so as not to be rushed out to make place for the next paying customers?

Thanks

kai

PS: Not really a "food question", but are SoMa, the Tenderloin and the Western Addition areas in San Francisco really as "bad" and "dangerous" as the guidebooks say? Or are they just the usual red-light-districts or something like that?

Because especially the Western addition seems to lie within an area -The Haights- that would interest me...

Thanks alot!

Edited by kai-m (log)
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This may be an overgeneralization, but most of the popular, chain restaurants will probably "rush" you and your party, sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtlely.

And it also depends on each restaurant and where it's located. If you have dinner at 6:00 p.m. and the restuarant is near the concert hall or a sporting event that begins at 8:00 p.m., the service will probably be rushed, unless you tell the staff that you don't have to be at an event. Mind you, if you schedule your dinner at 8:00 p.m. during a concert event, you won't have to worry about "being rushed." Again, this is a generalization. Your restaurants may vary ... Verstehen Sie es?

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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[...]

PS: Not really a "food question", but are SoMa, the Tenderloin and the Western Addition areas in San Francisco really as "bad" and "dangerous" as the guidebooks say? Or are they just the usual red-light-districts or something like that?

Because especially the Western addition seems to lie within an area -The Haights- that would interest me...

Thanks alot!

kai-m,

On the whole, San Francisco is a pretty safe city. Recent newsworthy random crimes have included things like laptops stolen from patrons in internet cafes and iPod theft on public transport.

I wouldn't walk alone down a dark alley at bartime carrying a laptop or leave anything desireable sitting on the seat of a parked car in any of the neighborhoods you mention.

In other words, reasonable big city precautions, and you will be fine. Watch out for pickpockets downtown, though.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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