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San Francisco Restaurant Reviews & Recommendations

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at the more affordable and casual end of things what do people in frissy make of north beach restaurant (or is it north beach cafe?)?

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It would be tough to pick between the two, but another awesome place to eat on Hwy 1 is "3 Amigos" Mexican Restaurant (just south of junction w/Hwy 92). Incredible carnitas burritos, creamy horchatas to drink....

Just a note: Tres Amigos is in Half Moon Bay, on the ocean side of Highway 1. There is always a line but it moves really quickly. These are some of the best burritos I've had in sixteen years in the Bay Area. I prefer the roasted chicken ones, myself, but that's just me.

Also in Half Moon Bay, on the northern side of town just off the highway on a little frontage road (to the left at a light, I can't remember the name of the intersection but there's a big Chinese restaurant there) is a little place that smokes fish. The smoked trout is like something from God's picnic basket: I go up there (50 miles) twice a year to score the trout and salmon.

Pescadero is so incredibly tiny, I don't know that it justifies a separate road trip, though.

If you're traveling down Highway 1, stop in Santa Cruz. (I live in SC county.) You will find many many sweet little bistros that serve the Holy Trinity (local, seasonal, organic), the best of those being Oswald, Gabriella Café, and Ristorante Avanti. We've got two fabulous farmer's markets: one downtown on Wednesdays between 2-6 p.m., and one on Saturday morning at Cabrillo College in Aptos. They're fun! (I'm headed there this morning to score oysters from Bill the Oyster Man for our Oscar party tomorrow.)

Santa Cruz also has a boardwalk that might be open when you visit: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a mile-long beach with all kinds of rides (including the Giant Dipper, a huge wooden rollercoaster). The food is terribly addicting and bad for you. Your teenagers will love it. :biggrin:

Also worth a stop on your way south to Monterey (one "r"; "Monterrey" is in Mexico) is at Moss Landing (across from the PG&E plant with the two huge smokestacks) is Phil's Fresh Fish. It's a well-named joint: the fish is FRESH. They've got absolutely fantastic clam chowder, and you can eat in the little café. I love that place.

As mentioned in the Carmel/Monterey thread linked above, there's a place in Monterey right on Cannery Row about two blocks before the aquarium called A Taste of Monterey, with a splendid view of the Monterey Bay. They offer wine tastings of all-Monterey wineries at a very affordable price. You can sip while you watch sea otters and kayakers. The aquarium is worth every penny of the admission: I recommend it with all my heart.

Enjoy!

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Definitely, go to Zuni Cafe and order the roast chicken. It sounds trite, but it is oh so good. I make it at home now. We spent our Honeymoon in San Franciscao and went to many wonderful spots. The 2 that stand out are Zuni (can recreate sort of) and Chez Panisse (cannot). Enjoy.

I recommend Rose Pistola as well. Touristy, but still quite wonderful.


Well, butter my b--- and call me a biscuit!

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Pescadero is so incredibly tiny, I don't know that it justifies a separate road trip, though.

nice suggestions, tanabutler and thanks for mentioning that Tres Amigos is in Half Moon Bay.

I mentioned Duartes in Pescadero if one is traveling between SF and Monterrey; not as a separate road trip. It is not out of the way; just about 2 miles off of Hwy 1. All people from outside the area (and also in the bay area) have been really happy with the visit there; it has a lot of charm of the 'old West' and great regional food. Can you tell I like the place? :smile:

Anyway, there are a lot of good choices between SF and Monterrey, and nice to have the additional suggestions in Santa Cruz also.

edited to add: another great reason to go to Zuni is if you like oysters. They always have a great selection of local and other west coast oysters.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I love Boulevard but I have NEVER gotten out of there for $40 a head!

I just ate at Luna park last night and it's as good as ever. Fun place to take out-of-towners. The entrees are all under about $15 and they have terrific appetizers and desserts. Very San Francisco and not in a touristy area.

You can check out the menu and make reservations at www.lunaparksf.com

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I love Boulevard but I have NEVER gotten out of there for $40 a head!

I just ate at Luna park last night and it's as good as ever. Fun place to take out-of-towners. The entrees are all under about $15 and they have terrific appetizers and desserts. Very San Francisco and not in a touristy area.

You can check out the menu and make reservations at www.lunaparksf.com

You can do lunch at Boulevard and get out for far less than $40/head.

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at the more affordable and casual end of things what do people in frissy make of north beach restaurant (or is it north beach cafe?)?

i've had really fabulous food at north beach restaurant,very authentic tuscan food. if you speak with the owner and or waiter about having special dishes, i think you'll be happiest.

they have a room downstairs that you can book for events, but small events, such as dinner for about 10....its a ham room, ie a room that they hang and age their homemade prosciutto! its wonderful!

also, sgroppino, a whipped up mixture of sorbetto, proscecco and i think a bit of grappa is divine, they make it deliciously, but you might have to ask ahead, i don't know if its on the menu.

and if you tell the owner, lorenzo, that i said hello, i'm sure he'll take good care of you, and you know......its been too long since i've been there (about a year or so). its very nice.

:wub:


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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No shortage of reasonably priced great places to recommend!

Mine are:

Clementine on Clement btwn 2nd and 3rd Ave. -- southern French, unfussy, wonderful service.

Chow or Park Cow -- on Church at Sanchez, or 9th Ave at Lincoln -- Cal-Italian, casual, fresh, simple, great for price, families

Zazie on Cole at Parnassus -- weekday breakfast, lunch, patio out back, nice prices

Mitchell's Ice Cream - 668 San Jose Avenue right off Mission -- killer ice cream (I know you didn't ask but you gotta have dessert, don't you?")

Slow Club -- Mariposa at Hampshire -- a tad loud but plate-licking good and a different cocktail of the day is part of the menu, which also changes daily. California/Med food.


My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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My wife and I are taking a 4 day trip to San Francisco in early November. She is French and has never been beyond the East Coast. I want to show her San Francisco but I have set aside one day to head out of town and spend the night. My goal is to show her some of the breathtaking beauty of the West, something different than what Europe offers.

I need some suggestions of where to go, more for the scenery and nature than for the fine food or hotel. We will get plenty of that in SF.

Ideas are?

1. Go north to Marin, stay in Mill Valley and see Muir Woods, Stinson beach, etc.

2. Go south to Big Sur

3. Go to Napa. I am leaning against this as she is from the Rhone Valley and wine tours are not a priority.

Any ideas and suggestions? Also, do you think this trip is better done on a Thursday or Saturday? I would think the traffic is less on a weekday.

Thanks!


Edited by DCMark (log)

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I don't think you can beat a drive south down Highway 1 to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur...maybe stop at Point Lobos, too. You could go as far as Big Sur and then come back to overnight in Carmel at one of the many charming properties there, and also enjoy a nice meal.

That would be my choice for showing off the sheer beauty of Northern California, aside from San Francisco.

And yes, I'd definitely do it on a weekday if you have that option.


"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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Just to make your decision more difficult, a drive north would be unforgettable too. I personally prefer it because you get gorgeous scenery right off the bat, whereas a southern drive takes a while to get to the good stuff (although it is DARN good stuff...this is one gorgeous state).

Drive across the Golden Gate bridge to 1, where you'll hug the winding coast -- dramatic cliffs to your left, rolling golden (or green, depending on the time of year) hills to your right. Note: NOT good for people who get car sick easily. No joke.

You'll drive through the occassional "cute" town and around every bend an amazing view will great you.

Like oysters? The finest (in my opinion of course) local oysters are right on your route in Tomales Bay---The Hog Island Oyster company: http://www.hogislandoyster.com/Section1/Home.html

From their site: "Open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 to 5, all year long. Live, farm-raised oysters and clams may be purchased to take home or to eat on site. Though a working farm, and not a restaurant, shucking knives, waterfront picnic tables & BBQ kettles are provided for a small fee for the enjoyment of visitors. Bring a picnic, and enjoy oysters plucked fresh from their nearby beds! "

If you option to head east toward Santa Rosa or Healdsburg, there are tons of dining and lodging options I won't go into here as they are more thoroughly covered elsewhere.

But if you continue as north into Mendocino county, drive 128 through some *amazing* scenery and back toward the coast to very east coast-looking towns of Albion and Mendocino. (Exteriors for Murder, She Wrote were filmed in this area, to give you an idea of how uniquely Maine-ish it feels). Also great food throughout this area.

All in all, the downside of this trip is that you're on 1 for a looooong time, and it's very twisty. Upside is it's gorgeous 95% of the time. And gorgeous in different ways...no monotonous scenery. Always something new to appreciate. Also, the food, wine and lodging options are top notch along the way.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have a great trip!

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I think if you have four days, there is no reason why you can't do it all.

Arrive in San Francisco and haul butt up the 101 to Forth Bragg -- then have the leisurely drive down the 1 through Bodega Bay and Marin, through the city, and on down to Big Sur.

It would make for a beautiful drive and we could then give you eating recommendations along the way...

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It certainly is a tough decision; both drives are so beautiful. I have to say that one of my absolute favorite stretches is from Bodega Bay down to SF driving past Tomales Bay, etc. (if you have time; the coast north of that is incredible too and Caroline Tillie and Absonot mention and certainly worth it). There are very high cliffs on this part and also north of Bodega Bay--a different feel than Big Sur but very spectacular. If you get up to Mendocino it is incredibly lovely.

A big hit with all my "East Coast" family has been the trip to Muir Woods (a little north of SF off of Hwy 1). Even coming from places with beautiful forests and trees they were very impressed with the redwoods. There is a very easy walk (paved and can do it with sandals) thru the redwoods if you don't have lots of time.

And as mentioned, if you narrow down your itinerary, let us know and we can recommend food stops and watering holes! :smile:


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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whereas a southern drive takes a while to get to the good stuff (although it is DARN good stuff...this is one gorgeous state).

Are you kidding me? He can bring his wife to Santa Cruz (down Highway One, a gorgeous drive) and see not only the dramatic California coastline, but enormous redwoods, as well...less than an hour and a half from San Francisco. There are two redwood parks in the county, and one is only 15 minutes from the ocean. That would be Henry Cowell State Park (that is a clickable map that opens up QTVR scenes): the tallest tree is nearly 300 feet tall and 16 feet wide. The oldest trees are 1400-1800 years old.

You could stop in Pescadero (two miles inland, about 40 miles south of San Francisco), which is the town that time forgot. A visit to Archangeli grocery store nets you artichoke bread and Harley Farms Goat Cheese, which just won six national prizes. (You could tour the farm, as I did last week, but a European might have already seen more goats in her lifetime than she wants to.) If it sounds quaint, it is. Pescadero is lovely.

Santa Cruz is relaxing and casual, though you can dress for dinner if you like. "Relaxing" as opposed to Carmel, which I find unbearably stuffy, if not downright haughty. There are so many good little bistros serving the best of California's seasonal/organic produce. (Oswald, Ristorante Avanti, Gabriella Cafe, Sestri...and now I am told that the new chef at Soif, Chris Avila, is kicking butt, too. So sayeth chef David Kinch, who frequents Soif now.)

Downtown Santa Cruz is a shopper's mecca: it's got galleries, one of the best kitchen stores I know, bookstores, coffee shops, movie theaters, tons of clothing stores: everything.

There are so many beaches, and so many places for exquisite views....like up at UCSC, which has a view to Monterey. There are sloughs filled with egrets and water fowl, rivers and creeks, and the rolling golden hills.

While there is plenty to do, there is also plenty of nothing to do. Plenty of spacious beaches, plenty of trails to hike or bike, plenty of places to spread a blanket and have a picnic overlooking the Monterey Bay.

Should you come on Thursday afternoon, there is a sweet little farmers market down in the village in Capitola-by-the-Sea, and it is by the sea. It's also just down the hill from Gayle's Bakery and Rosticceria, which any eGulleteer who's been there will praise.

Well, that's my two cents. Come to Santa Cruz, just over an hour away. Who wants to spend all day in a car?

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If you don't want to spend the entire day in the car I would go North to Stinson Beach, Muir Woods etc. There are several charming inns in the Point Reyes area as well as some excellent dining. The Olema Inn comes to mind for some of the freshest seafood. Last time we were there was for lunch and they were just bringing in the salmon from the fishing boats - it was divine. The area is very laidback and lacks the hussle of the city.

If you don't mind doing all the driving then go south. Stop in Santa Cruz then continue on down the coast. Lunch at Phil's in Moss Landing. Monterey Bay Aquarium should be a must see. Dinner at Fresh Cream in Monterey or someplace small in Carmel. I hear that Clint is in town, but don't know about November.

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If you explore the Stinson Beach/Muir Woods area, you can drive down the coast and end up at the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach. It's been a while since I've been there, but I had a great time there. It's in a beautiful setting, you can walk to the beach or take longer hikes; plus there's a pretty good restaurant there and a great pub.

Pelican Inn

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If you do decide to go north along the coast (Muir Woods has redwoods, too, and is about half an hour from the City), you might consider eating/staying at the Pelican Inn. It's charming without being cloyingly cutesy, and the restaurant does a bang-up job on Brit-style pub/comfort food, as well.

Cheers,

Squeat

Jinx, Janet!


Edited by Squeat Mungry (log)

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I grew up in Maryland, which has lots of forests, but I was still blown away by Muir Woods, despite the large numbers of people. The coast to the north and south can be stunning (Point Lobos is incredible) but nothing beats the forest, and you won't be in the car all day. If you actually like being in the car, you might make it to see sequoias...

Walt


Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA

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Thank you all so much. And shame on California for so many options.

Sorry if my first message was not clear but we only have one day (and overnight) for this trip. The other two nights will be in SF at the Fairmont.

I decided to head south since I think the scenery there is the most un-European. Plus we land late Wed. night at the SF airport so we can make a quick getaway Thurs AM.

I actually do like driving so the Route 1 trip should be a blast. I did it once from LA to SF, but on a motorcycle. WOW!

I am making a new post to ask advice re hotels in Big Sur. THanks

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Well, I'm glad you picked. It is impossible to choose a favorite, it's like asking you which child you love the most! If you drive down Highway One, do drive back up through the road that will take you through Henry Cowell or Big Basin. I think the redwoods at Muir Woods are a little more spectacular (especially if you go beyond the paved path), but the redwood trees in the south are also beautiful. You cannot come to California without walking through a redwood grove.

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Hi,

i'm coming down from Vancouver BC to the San Fransisco area at the end of June. I am a chef up here and i am particularly interested in:

-casual and affordable restaurants that feature the very best produce available, prepared simply.

-bakeries with good pastry and artisan sourdough breads.

-also Farmers' markets worth a visit.

If i have to try just a handful of places, on a rather small budget, where should i go?

Thanks a lot for your help!


Edited by edm (log)

Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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Eddy, I hope you enjoy your visit!

I'm sure some San Fran regulars will be dropping by with hints soon, but for starters, I suggest the following threads:

Ferry Plaza Market, San Francisco

SF's Local Scene

San Francisco Casual

More information on the local dining scene can be found in the Best Dining in San Francisco index.

Also, Manresa is a huge favorite with our members.


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Solid Communications

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2323 market. Great food, great prices.

sorry, i just went to look up for further info. The place is actually called 2223 market.

clickity for more info.

edited for corrections to name/address and to add link.


Edited by CaliPoutine (log)

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Incanto is a reasonably priced Italian place with good food and an interesting wine list. The chef uses fresh seasonal ingredients, sustainably and organically raised whenever possible.

Click here for a thread, which includes a link to the restaurant's website.

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thx for the link, JAZ. That's exactly the kind of place i'm interested in.

It's good to see restauranteurs walking the walk!


Eddy M., Chef & Owner

Se.ed Artisan Foods, Vancouver BC

Follow Se.ed's growth at: http://spaces.msn.com/members/fromseedtofood/

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