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5 days in San Francisco


Chocoholic
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I will be attending the Game Developers Conference next week in SF and will be staying in the Argent Hotel close to the Convention Centre. I am looking for suggestions for good restaurants in that area or within convenient taxi distance. There will be a small group (around 6 people) of us from Vancouver, Canada. We are looking for nice places to eat and unwind after long days of conference attendance and meetings. Money not the greatest obstacle (expense accounts you know :wink: ), relaxed atmosphere and good food (and wine) most important. All cuisines and cooking styles welcome :smile:

Stefan Posthuma

Beer - Chocolate - Cheese

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Chocoholic

I live in Vancouver now - but just left the Bay Area after living there for a number of years. You can PM if want to speak directly. Generally - Taxi rides are very reasonable and everything is very close by.

Here are some of my suggestions for stuff you can't get in Vancouver:

Money no object - these places are a little stuffy and are very french:

Masa's

Relaxed

Delfina's - neighbourhood new style Italian. Great place but reservations are a MUST. Bonus is it is right beside Tartin which has some insanely good baking - Morning Buns, Sandwiches. All in the Mission and very close taxi ride.

Suppenkuche - German food - I know what you are thinking but the place is very relaxed and has got a great selection of beers. No reservations (I think) so get there early.

Ti Couz - Orginal breton style crepes - very relaxed and young crowd. Nice selection of ciders. In a great part of the Mission and lots to look at after dinner.

Emmy's Spaghetti Shack - very funky outer Mission Restaurant. Old school ceaser salads and spaghetti and meatballs are organic, delicous, and cheap served in a tiny little restaraunt. Other choices are generally very good also - pan fried fish on saffron rissotto was very good. DJ on weekends so plan accordingly.

B44 - Spanish Tapas (Belden) - supposed to have a very good paella.

I can't make any recommendations on Mexican as it does not agree with me - but Pancho Villa (cafeteria style) is very popular and the aqua fresca's are always good.

There are alot of place to check out. If you are willing to cross the bridge into Oakland - you can go to Chez Pannise (set course dinners) the creator of the whole California fresh thing. Everett and Jones BBQ is alot of fun and there are a number of locations but the best one is #2 on Telegraph (I only go to this location) It will look scary - but the BBQ is good - the hot sauce is HOT.

I am sure there will be lots of other suggestions. Hope you have a good time. I miss living there.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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be sure you head over to the ferry building for cheeses, gelato, and chocolates! If you're there on the weekend you can munch yourself silly at the farmers' market and watch the boats come in. did i mention chocolates?

trish

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I will be attending the Game Developers Conference next week in SF and will be staying in the Argent Hotel close to the Convention Centre...relaxed atmosphere and good food (and wine) most important. All cuisines and cooking styles welcome  :smile:

For beer, there are two microbreweries within striking range of the Moscone Center, Thirsty Bear and 21st Amendment.

Thirsty Bear is a huge club type place with pretty OK beer and fine tapas. It has the advantage of being a half a block away. Pool upstairs, if you like that sort of thing.

http://www.thirstybear.com/

I haven't been to 21st Amendment; but, I have had their Barleywine elsewhere and quite enjoyed it. It is my understanding the food is quite good, as well.

http://www.21st-amendment.com/

Our best beer bar is Toronado in the lower Haight. The bartenders can be a bit surly; but, the selection is amazing. Plus they don't mind if you bring in take out from the Rosamunde Sausage grill next door or Memphis Minnie's BBQ across the street.

http://www.toronado.com/

At this late date, I doubt you will be able to get in to a tour of the Anchor Brewing Company; but, you might want to call and see. It is certainly worth checking out.

http://www.anchorbrewing.com/about_us/tourinfo.htm

Upscale restaurants in that neighborhood include LuLu, Hawthorne Lane, and Azie. I've been to LuLu and Hawthorne Lane and enjoyed them. To me they are not exactly relaxing, though.

http://www.restaurantlulu.com/restaurants.html

http://www.hawthornelane.com/

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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be sure you head over to the ferry building for cheeses, gelato, and chocolates!  If you're there on the weekend you can munch yourself silly at the farmers' market and watch the boats come in. did i mention chocolates?

trish

There are some restaurants and some small eateries at the Ferry Building as well. Check out this link for what is there: click

If you like oysters, can't beat a seat at Hog Island (in the Ferry Building); especially if you can sneak over for lunch during the day.

"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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If you like oysters, can't beat a seat at Hog Island (in the Ferry Building); especially if you can sneak over for lunch during the day.

And while there, have caviar for dessert at the Tsar Nicholai! How many places can you dine at a Caviar Bar?

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restaurant lulu and its spin off, the name of which escapes me, are two blocks away...very walkable. (axie? is it azie?) have had some nice tapas at the bar at lulu, as well as one lovely, linger-y dinner some time back.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Cheers everyone!

I will be taking my list and am much looking forward to my visit. The last time I was in SF was about 13 years ago. I am sure things have changed since then...

Stefan Posthuma

Beer - Chocolate - Cheese

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The best new spot within walking distance of the Argent is Oola. Hands down. Please go.

I think Thirsty Bear is ho-hum and wouldn't waste my time, but if you're in the mood for casual tapas, hit Bocadillos instead in North Beach. Walkable if you're mildly energetic, easy cab ride if not.

Another fun location that's nearby is Belden Lane - it's a European-style alley tucked away downtown with a hip vodka bar and 5 great restaurants to choose from. Not going to break the bank either. My favorite is Plouf - the mussels are tres bien.

Baraka is fabulous - Moroccan/mediterranean small & large plates. Inconvenient location in Potrero Hill, but well worth it.

As for the go-for-broke spot, I'd skip Masa's. They have a new chef - the old one is over at the Ritz. For my money, I'd go to La Folie. Just got renovated and the food has always rocked. Or you can sit at the bar at Michael Mina, the most talked-about place in town, for a lobster corn dog. Yum. (Don't eat there at the table, though, it's pretentious and exhausting to have to make your way through scallops 6 ways.)

Town Hall is a boisterous place, the food has a sense of fun and is some of the best in town. New Orleans influence on the brothers who cooked at Postrio.

Best steak: C&L.

Most quintessential SF: Zuni Cafe. Great oysters, great martinis, best-looking bar around.

All-around-favorite: Chapeau in the Richmond - long cab ride but the most reasonably priced/high quality bistro food in the Bay Area. The owners, Philippe and Ellen, are the nicest people you could ever meet.

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I will be attending the Game Developers Conference next week in SF and will be staying in the Argent Hotel close to the Convention Centre. I am looking for suggestions for good restaurants in that area or within convenient taxi distance. There will be a small group (around 6 people) of us from Vancouver, Canada. We are looking for nice places to eat and unwind after long days of conference attendance and meetings. Money not the greatest obstacle (expense accounts you know  :wink: ), relaxed atmosphere and good food (and wine) most important. All cuisines and cooking styles welcome  :smile:

If this is the Moscone Center then you are really close to the 5th Floor- one of the best restaurants in SF (its in the hotel Palamor). Also, one block over (depending on what part of the convention center you are at) is Annabelle's (sp?) Bar and Bistro (in the Mosser Hotel.) Simple but good.

In the Meteron (across the street from Moscone) is a great sushi place called Sanraku.

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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I will be attending the Game Developers Conference next week in SF and will be staying in the Argent Hotel close to the Convention Centre. I am looking for suggestions for good restaurants in that area or within convenient taxi distance. There will be a small group (around 6 people) of us from Vancouver, Canada. We are looking for nice places to eat and unwind after long days of conference attendance and meetings. Money not the greatest obstacle (expense accounts you know  :wink: ), relaxed atmosphere and good food (and wine) most important. All cuisines and cooking styles welcome  :smile:

If this is the Moscone Center then you are really close to the 5th Floor- one of the best restaurants in SF (its in the hotel Palamor). Also, one block over (depending on what part of the convention center you are at) is Annabelle's (sp?) Bar and Bistro (in the Mosser Hotel.) Simple but good.

Not sure if you know this, but the chef and sommelier at the Fifth Floor have both recently quit. I don't think I'd eat there at this stage in the game since they were what made it so fabulous.

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I think Thirsty Bear is ho-hum and wouldn't waste my time

I was trying to be fairly faint in my praise of its food and beer. It is, however, only a half a block from the Moscone Center. Which may be a plus, if you are looking at having to sit through a particularly painful Q & A about Game programming or some such.

Forgot to mention beers to try in the Bay Area. I don't think any of these are particularly widely distributed, so worth asking for if you are staring at a bar full of unfamiliar taps.

Speakeasy's Prohibition, Big Daddy IPA, and Untouchable Pale Ale are all worth a try. All are very hoppy west coast style strong ales.

Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard may not have invented the West Coast style Strong Ale; but, it may have perfected it. To me Stone has to be classed among the top 10 Craft brewers in the US.

Anchor Steam is of course well known far and wide; but, their Liberty Ale is less well distributed and a fine light IPA. It is often on tap here.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Beers are very good. To me they are nice West Coast Ale's in the Anchor Steam tradition. Whatever you call that style. Lager style Ale?

Moonlight Brewery makes quite a few good beers that are sometimes on tap. I'm fond of the Death and Taxes Black Beer, and Twist of Fate Bitter.

Lagunitas makes a few beers which are good and some that are very good. I tend to think their seasonals are their best. If you see Gnarlywine, Hairy Eyeball, or Sirius give them a try.

I love all the Bear Republic beers I have tried. Especially the Racer 5 IPA and Hop Rod Rye.

Cheers!

Erik

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I think Thirsty Bear is ho-hum and wouldn't waste my time

I was trying to be fairly faint in my praise of its food and beer. It is, however, only a half a block from the Moscone Center. Which may be a plus, if you are looking at having to sit through a particularly painful Q & A about Game programming or some such.

If immediate proximity to the Moscone Center is an important criteria, Pazzia is just as close and I like the food there a lot better. It's a small little Italian restaurant that serves very good pizzas and pastas. My favorite menu items are the Bresaola and the Penne Puttanesca.

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Are there many Peruvian restaurants in Vancouver? If not, you might want to check one out when you're in town. I like Mochica - it's not too far from the convention center, although it's not as upscale as Limon.

allison

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Chocoholic,

Since you're coming from Vancouver, I'd say you should skip most asian restaurants, especially Japanese and Chinese, as you'll do better in Vancouver for the most part. I'd say the same for French style high end food, I don't think we have anything significantly better than Ouest or Lumiere.

Peruvian is one cuisine we do quite well here which you can't find as readily in Vancouver. There's a very good restaurant a few blocks from Moscone called Mochica (it's at Harrison near 5th), they have excellent ceviches (the ceviche mochica is my favorite) and anticuchos (the beef hearts are the best). Their lomo saltado is not quite as good as Limon's, the other good Peruvian in town, but the ceviches are better and it's a lot closer to you than Limon.

We have good Basque food as well, my choice would be Piperade in the Financial district (it's a short cab ride away), though Bocadillos which was mentioned above is by the same owner and also quite good. I have liked Iluna Basque as well in North Beach, though recent reports on the place have been less than stellar.

California cuisine is also something worth trying. Chez Panisse in Berkeley is the mother ship, but Zuni in San Francisco is also quite good and is a very short cab ride away from your hotel. I second the Delfina recommendation above, it's a very good restaurant serving Californian style Italian food. Try to make a reservation there as soon as possible, as they get quite booked.

I also second the Ti Couz recommendation for crepes, salads and the cheese plate. When my cousin from Vancouver comes down to visit for a weekend, she always insists on going to Ti Couz at least once, occasionally twice. Plus it's in a very interesting neighborhood with lots of bars nearby if you want to get a drink afterwards.

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I second Annabelle's at the Mosser, lunches there saved me at a conference in the fall. Opposite direction from Thirsty Bear is The Chieftain also walkable lunch, nothing fancy.

I see no one has mentioned Bacar, so I will throw that into the mix. Arnold Wong, of Eos fame, is putting forth some very enjoyable food and Debbie Zachareas' wine selection is great.

www.bacarsf.com

If Pacific Heights isn't too far to venture (and if you can get a res...it's tiny), Quince is my sine qua non, currently.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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If you want some pretty good Thai food, check out King of Thai Noodle House -- its dirt cheap too. They make a really mean Pad Kaprow over rice, authentically with a fried egg on top! They've got several locations in San Fran as well, although the main one on Clement is supposed to be the best one. It became a favorite of mine during LinuxWorld.

I've also in the past stated that I am a huge fan of Brandy Ho's Hunan Food (near the Transamerica Pyramid, 217 Columbus), if you want to try some authentic Hunan-Style cuisine. Really spicy stuff. Open kitchen, lots of cacaphony and shouting Chinese chefs, a fun place to go:

http://www.brandyhoshunan.com/

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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If this is the Moscone Center then you are really close to the 5th Floor- one of the best restaurants in SF (its in the hotel Palamor).  Also, one block over (depending on what part of the convention center you are at) is Annabelle's (sp?) Bar and Bistro (in the Mosser Hotel.) Simple but good.

In the Meteron (across the street from Moscone) is a great sushi place called Sanraku.

I would agree about Fifth Floor, but the one time I had a meal there, which was about 3 years ago, and it was one of the most memorable I have had in my life, Laurent Gras was still chef there. I've heard the new young chef Melissa Perello is extremely talented though.

http://www.fifthfloor.citysearch.com/

If you're a wine freak, the list at this restaurant is utterly mind blowing -- they've got over 1400 selections on the list, including bottles going back to the 1930s and older. Heck, they have Pre-WWII Rieslings from Germany, which is no mean feat.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I do not recommend eating at Fifth Floor until Melissa Perello gets a few more miles under her belt. I had her cooking at a farm dinner, and the salmon was neither raw enough to be sushi nor cooked enough to be edible. She'd never grilled in her life, nor heard of mesquite. How is it possible to be twenty-seven years old and never have heard of mesquite? Especially if you are a chef?!

I advise waiting until some spectacular meals are reported there, and don't be a guinea pig. She is not Laurent Gras.

You might peruse this thread; my post #8 specifically asked which of the restaurants in the (now past) Dine Around Town promotion were near Moscone Center, and which were worth eating at. Based on those recs, I'd go to Fringale (I know and love the chef there—he knows HIS way around a grill, let me tell you) and Bizou (where I've not eaten, but have heard many raves at other food boards).

Your mileage may vary.

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I returned last night from a great week in San Francisco. I would like to thank everybody who responded in this thread, my little restaurant list was a big hit!

Sunday evening after flying in I headed to Oola with two colleagues. Since we had no reservations we ate at the bar which was just fine. The food was lovely, the service a bit chaotic at times but overall a good start of a week of eating out.

Monday after a particularly grueling 9 hour meeting marathon our COO took the group to a place called Foreign Cinema. Very interesting setting and since the boss is a bit of a gourmand, copious amounts of wine and oysters started arriving at our table. Many dishes and bottles of wine later we headed back to the hotel. The food was great, details are a bit vague. I blame the wine :biggrin:

Tuesday was a smaller outing, 4 of us headed for Zuni Cafe. Very nice place, great food and service. Another excellent recommendation.

Wednesday we had a group of 8 this time and since the current Most Senior Person (i.e. the one paying) said she wanted to eat well I suggested Hawthorne Lane. Luckily they had a table for us and this was definitely the best meal of the week. The food was simply gorgeous, I remember the veal chop I had, succulent and grilled to perfection.

Thursday was party night, all major players had parties so I had a long procession of finger foods and free drinks. Details are much shrouded in alcoholic amnesia.

Friday I wandered around San Francisco for a while in the afternoon, the weather was gorgeous. I strolled along Polk street, down Lombard street and through little Italy into Chinatown. What a great city you have!

Many, many thanks for the excellent recommendations. I have now thoroughly cemented my reputation as a recommender of restaurants since I managed to impress my colleagues and friends. :smile: It was funny, wandering around SF with a group in tow, peering at a map trying to guide everyone to the next eating destination.

I have already been instructed to start a list for LA for our visit to E3 later this year :raz:

Stefan Posthuma

Beer - Chocolate - Cheese

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I'll be visiting San Francisco from Seattle next weekend, and just found this thread.... These are some great suggestions that'll work well for me, too!

Can anyone recommend a good place for Sunday brunch? I'd love a place with great egg dishes, bloody marys, good coffee and lots of fresh ingredients. I'll be staying at the Westin St. Francis, so something near there would be nice, but a short cab ride is fine, too.

Thanks!

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I'll be visiting San Francisco from Seattle next weekend, and just found this thread....  These are some great suggestions that'll work well for me, too!

Can anyone recommend a good place for Sunday brunch?  I'd love a place with great egg dishes, bloody marys, good coffee and lots of fresh ingredients.  I'll be staying at the Westin St. Francis, so something near there would be nice, but a short cab ride is fine, too.

Thanks!

Absinthe would be my first pick off the top of my head, but it's a cab ride from your hotel or a mile and a half walk. Tartine would work too, but that's more pastries than brunch and you'll be out of luck on the bloody mary front. Zuni is your best bet for bloody marys, and I've never had a bad meal there either so maybe that would work better for ya. Either way, enjoy your trip!

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