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Gil

San Francisco Restaurant Reviews & Recommendations

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I'll be going to SF later this year. Only my second time, sadly. Why did I wait so long to go there in the first place, I'll never know.

On my first trip, my favorite places ended up being:

Liguria Bakery on Stockton St. (1700?) for their focaccia. Wow. Just wow.

Molinari's Deli -- Santa Maria! What a great Italian deli. As good, if not better, than the delis on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. I'm bringing a freakin' backpack next time so I can load up with salami. Best prices I've seen on dried porcini outside of Italy.

Some obscure all-you-can-eat dim sum joint in Chinatown that tried to drum up business with a megaphone and a looped cassette tape. "Delicious Chinee food. Five dollah." My wife and I still laugh about that. As mentioned earlier in this thread, it was definitely "Jewish" Chinese food as opposed to authentic Chinese. But I don't have a problem with Jewish-Chinese any more than I have a problem with Italian-American cuisine. (Some times spaghetti with two big horkin' meatballs and a zippy red zinfandel is exactly the right meal.)

What I couldn't find was a decent place for cioppino. Is it that cioppino is only for the tourists? Or was I just looking in the wrong places? (I spent five minutes total at Fisherman's Wharf. I know a tourist trap when I see one.) The restaurants in the North Beach area either 1) Didn't have it on the menu; or 2) Were filled with mostly tourists.

Any ideas?

Also -- and I know this is asking a lot -- any advice on other places to try based on my new-found love of Liguria, Molinari's and that dim-sum joint? Or have I already found the best stuff?

Thanks!


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Cioppino is hardly for tourists, but Fisherman's Wharf IS, so that is not where you would want to go for it...

In North Beach, I recommend Rose Pistola if you have an unlimited budget (it is about $35, I think for theirs). Less expensive but equally as good (although without a giant crab leg) is Sotto Mare on Green Street. It is not a tourist place because it is off the main drag in North Beach.

The other famous Cioppino place in the city is Tadich Grill, which will require a wait but is an institution.

San Francisco is not known for its Italian delis, so I won't even go there.

Bakery-wise, you might want to consider a visit to Tartine in the Mission or La Boulange on Pine & Fillmore.

For Dim Sum, if you have a car than you cannot do better than to drive to Daly City's Koi Palace. In the city, I prefer Ton Kiang way out on Geary (not in Chinatown).

Hope that helps.

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San Francisco is not known for its Italian delis, so I won't even go there.

Thanks for the cioppino leads. I'll likely try Tadich next time. I've seen many good reviews.

What didn't you like about Molinari's? I thought their salume selection was boffo and inexpensive.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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What didn't you like about Molinari's? I thought their salume selection was boffo and inexpensive.

I guess it is because I am spoiled on Boccalone's salume. There are so many restaurants in the city that are making their own fabulous, house-made charcuteries that when I am in North Beach, going for deli food is just not something I bother with.

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I guess it is because I am spoiled on Boccalone's salume. There are so many restaurants in the city that are making their own fabulous, house-made charcuteries that when I am in North Beach, going for deli food is just not something I bother with.

Ahhh....

If I lived there, I'd probably have some favorites. Unfortunately, I live in the wasteland that is Las Vegas. I only have three markets that are worth the effort. None of them has salume that is any better than the megamarts.

I travel to NorCal to lay in supplies and see raindrops as much as anything else. Buying food is as important to me when I'm there as eating it.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Boy & Girl from Toronto will be popping through San Fran during Honey Moon Aug 09' - - Would love suggestions on:

2 'high end' places for dinner - show me what you got San Fran!

Possibly accommodations (central aka walking distance) for 2 nights

cioppino - what exactly is that / where do I get some? :)

Mexican food - one thing we lack in Toronto is great Mexicana...any spots for lunch that will quench our desire?

I have been there once before, first time for the SO...any suggestions on must try's/do's (things to eat, places to see)

Many thanks.

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Since it is your honeymoon, I would highly recommend Acquerello. It is the most romantic restaurant in San Francisco. The food is outstanding. The service will be perfect, especially if you tell Giancarlo it is your honeymoon when you make the reservation. Fantastic Italian wine list, and he will pick the perfect wines if you ask. It is a short cab ride from any central hotel.

Cioppino is a fisherman's stew with a tomato and fish stock base with fish, crab, clams, shrimp and other shellfish. I second the suggestion that Tadich Grill, which represents the old San Francisco, and Rose Pistola, which is more youthful, are perfect places to have it.

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Thanks for the response Carls -

Still looking for a few more restaurant suggestions for our SF stay - we will be there 2 nights 3 days..

I really want to indulge on the dinners, so price is not a big concern, food is though!

More suggestions (current ones at least) are much appreciated!

Cheers!

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Thanks for the response Carls -

Still looking for a few more restaurant suggestions for our SF stay - we will be there 2 nights 3 days..

I really want to indulge on the dinners, so price is not a big concern, food is though!

More suggestions (current ones at least) are much appreciated!

Cheers!

Aziza -- there is nothing else like it anywhere.

After that, my favorites in the city are Ame, Piperade, Koo Sushi, Bar Crudo, Anchor & Hope, and Canteen.

For cioppino, I would recommend Sotto Mare, Rose Pistola, or Tadich.

The standards that I believe get continually over-rated include Bouelvard, Gary Danko, Slanted Door, and Michael Mina.

I'm afraid I don't eat Mexican food in the Bay Area, but that's only because I was a San Diego girl and the further away from the border I moved, the less I liked it (I will eat it in Los Angeles, though).

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Thanks for the response Carls -

Still looking for a few more restaurant suggestions for our SF stay - we will be there 2 nights 3 days..

I really want to indulge on the dinners, so price is not a big concern, food is though!

More suggestions (current ones at least) are much appreciated!

Cheers!

Aziza -- there is nothing else like it anywhere.

After that, my favorites in the city are Ame, Piperade, Koo Sushi, Bar Crudo, Anchor & Hope, and Canteen.

For cioppino, I would recommend Sotto Mare, Rose Pistola, or Tadich.

The standards that I believe get continually over-rated include Bouelvard, Gary Danko, Slanted Door, and Michael Mina.

I'm afraid I don't eat Mexican food in the Bay Area, but that's only because I was a San Diego girl and the further away from the border I moved, the less I liked it (I will eat it in Los Angeles, though).

How about Coi, or Aqua for example?

Also heard some good things about Mission St Food?

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So I have booked Coi for one night - -

2 nights left -

I may leave Thurs night open for possibly Mission St Food - but am not sold on it.

Not really interested in Italian food, as we have Plenty of that here...

Struggling with either the Ritz Dining Room, possibly Koo Sushi (Is Lunch there not a good idea, rather than using up a dinner slot?) amongst others...

Help!

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So I have booked Coi for one night - -

2 nights left -

I may leave Thurs night open for possibly Mission St Food - but am not sold on it.

Not really interested in Italian food, as we have Plenty of that here...

Struggling with either the Ritz Dining Room, possibly Koo Sushi (Is Lunch there not a good idea, rather than using up a dinner slot?) amongst others...

Help!

Unless you want to experience Asian fusion circa 1990 served by an attentive staff, I cannot recommend The Dining Room at the Ritz. It will certainly feel like a time warp after coi.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I agree with U.E.

And I would take four orders of Koo's Spoonfuls of Happiness over a full tasting (with wine) over the Ritz any day of the week...

Koo Sushi is on my list, I was thinking to drop in on the Wed night we arrive (leaving that night open w/o reservations) - or are reservations needed? spoon fulls of happiness?!

As well, what is Ame like?


Edited by sadistick (log)

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What is Ame like?

Others will probably have a more accurate description than I.

ame struck me as Asian meets Italian. But not necessarily on one plate.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I agree with U.E.

And I would take four orders of Koo's Spoonfuls of Happiness over a full tasting (with wine) over the Ritz any day of the week...

Carolyn has some great suggestions , I would add Silks under new chef Orlando Pagan for a more elaborate dinner and Shalimar for pakisatni, and the Korean BBQ on Geary I have always had great meals. Have a great visit

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I agree with U.E.

And I would take four orders of Koo's Spoonfuls of Happiness over a full tasting (with wine) over the Ritz any day of the week...

Koo Sushi is on my list, I was thinking to drop in on the Wed night we arrive (leaving that night open w/o reservations) - or are reservations needed? spoon fulls of happiness?!

As well, what is Ame like?

My recent review of Koo describes Spoonfuls of Happiness.

I would see if you could reservations and sit at the bar, if at all possible. I have no idea what it is like to drop in without reservations.

I really like Ame, but have found I am much happier with just their crudo. Once I get to their meat dishes, I'm full and not nearly as impressed.

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Thanks Carolyn,

Would you visit Koo over Ame?

Depends on what you are looking for; Koo is sushi and Ame is crudo -- both restaurants serving amazing examples of raw fish but with different options at each. Ame has the advantage of providing other additional flavors (like Lissa's Staff Meal which is AMAZING!) and other California Haute offerings in meat and wine pairings. Koo provides sushi and Japanese flavors in way that is unexpected and enthralling. I really love Ame's crudo offerings but they also do lots of really stunning dishes beyond raw fish.

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Thanks Carolyn,

Would you visit Koo over Ame?

Depends on what you are looking for; Koo is sushi and Ame is crudo -- both restaurants serving amazing examples of raw fish but with different options at each. Ame has the advantage of providing other additional flavors (like Lissa's Staff Meal which is AMAZING!) and other California Haute offerings in meat and wine pairings. Koo provides sushi and Japanese flavors in way that is unexpected and enthralling. I really love Ame's crudo offerings but they also do lots of really stunning dishes beyond raw fish.

Well, we have sushi here in Toronto - although I am not sure how it would compare to SF's - - If it is greater quality, I would maybe lean towards sushi...so far I have Coi and Canteen booked for SF - one more night to go - where would you book!? :raz:

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Thanks Carolyn,

Would you visit Koo over Ame?

Depends on what you are looking for; Koo is sushi and Ame is crudo -- both restaurants serving amazing examples of raw fish but with different options at each. Ame has the advantage of providing other additional flavors (like Lissa's Staff Meal which is AMAZING!) and other California Haute offerings in meat and wine pairings. Koo provides sushi and Japanese flavors in way that is unexpected and enthralling. I really love Ame's crudo offerings but they also do lots of really stunning dishes beyond raw fish.

Well, we have sushi here in Toronto - although I am not sure how it would compare to SF's - - If it is greater quality, I would maybe lean towards sushi...so far I have Coi and Canteen booked for SF - one more night to go - where would you book!? :raz:

If you have access to wheels, then either Manresa or ubuntu would be top on my list.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Thanks Carolyn,

Would you visit Koo over Ame?

Depends on what you are looking for; Koo is sushi and Ame is crudo -- both restaurants serving amazing examples of raw fish but with different options at each. Ame has the advantage of providing other additional flavors (like Lissa's Staff Meal which is AMAZING!) and other California Haute offerings in meat and wine pairings. Koo provides sushi and Japanese flavors in way that is unexpected and enthralling. I really love Ame's crudo offerings but they also do lots of really stunning dishes beyond raw fish.

Well, we have sushi here in Toronto - although I am not sure how it would compare to SF's - - If it is greater quality, I would maybe lean towards sushi...so far I have Coi and Canteen booked for SF - one more night to go - where would you book!? :raz:

Aziza. But I would take Aziza over Coi (the recent visit with U.E. did not thrill me as much as it did him...)

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Aziza. But I would take Aziza over Coi (the recent visit with U.E. did not thrill me as much as it did him...)

...And it really didn't thrill me.

While I don't regret my experience at coi, I do regret not having gone to Aziza.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I do regret not having gone to Aziza.

Next time!

Hopefully you will return to San Francisco before Chef Lahlou's upcoming book and T.V. show have brought him wider attention... :raz:

Shameless tease. :wink:


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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