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New Westfield San Francisco Centre


PamelaF
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In late September, the new Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall opened.

Its main draw is the Bloomingdale's department store, which is new to San Francisco. The mall is located on Market Street directly across from the tourist area that centers around the Powell Street cable car turn-around.

The food-related news is that the new mall has an extensive lower level food court with many vendors offering different styles of food. These are not the typical vendors that show up in every shopping mall, but seem to be independent operations that are offering interesting menus.

Also in the food court, is Bristol Farms Market, a high end grocery with fresh meat, seafood, produce, "gourmet" items, and prepared foods.

I am starting this topic to invite everyone to comment on the food and the experiences that they have had at this new San Francisco destination.

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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I was totally disapointed with Bristol Farms Market. I went to pick up some prepared meals, and was actually grossed out by what I saw. Some items looked like they had been out for a week! Pair that with all the union members protesting Bristol Farms Market's labor practices, and I doubt I will ever be back. Oh, and the prices were really steep (especially for such seemingly low quality).

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I guess I am on the opposite end of the Bristol Farms disgust (not only Coda's, but the Chronicle's as well). I used to work in the same building as their corporate offices in El Segundo and shopped frequently at their Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach stores. Consequently, this was like going home for me as there were so many things I missed that I have been unable to find at either Whole Foods or Mollie Stones.

This Bay Area edition is significantly more geared towards the pre-prepared foods and I was pleasantly surprised by the bounty at what was offered. I just returned from a jaunt through the store, buying groceries but no pre-prepared foods at this time. I was surprised by a full crepe bar, a teriyaki bar, and more.

Price-wise... well, I'm a splurger when it comes to food so I tend to not really look at prices.

~~~

Having already eaten during my jaunt, I was intrigued by a number of the other food-court offerings but not hungry. Instead, I went to Teaz Me and asked the girl behind the counter what her favorite was. Frosty Peach was her recommendation and $4.29 later, I had a ice-blended concoction which tasted nice and peachy but was just plain too sweet for me (I know some people can drink Starbucks ice-blendeds, but I cannot). Eight or ten sips later, it hit the trash...

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Thanks, for posting your impressions. I hope more people will add their input.

I started this thread for two reasons, first because the Westfield Centre food court has the potential to become a "foodie" destination, almost like the Ferry Building.

There is an item in the SF Chronicle food section today about Slanted Door's plans to open an outlet there (Out the Door), for casual dining, takeout and also retail.

My second reason is that when I visited the Centre, the food court was so crowded that I was discouraged from staying and having a meal. Every vendor had a long line waiting for service and the seating areas were full.

Also, it was not clear to me whether there was common seating for all the vendors, or if some areas were reserved for table service.

I had a look around Bristol Farms market (noting the pickets outside on Market Street). I did notice the high prices. One thing that stands out is 28.99/lb for crab meat. I know that this is a luxury item, but that's almost a third more than I have seen in other high end markets.

I did like the looks of Bristol Farms crepe bar, the prices seem reasonable, about 5.95 per filled crepe, that would make a nice lunch.

If the new center is this busy now, I guess I will just have to wait until after the holidays to try it again.

I hope this topic will grow as more people who have visited the new Westfield Centre add their comments.

Best,

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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I was totally disapointed with Bristol Farms Market. I went to pick up some prepared meals, and was actually grossed out by what I saw. Some items looked like they had been out for a week! Pair that with all the union members protesting  Bristol Farms Market's labor practices, and I doubt I will ever be back. Oh, and the prices were really steep (especially for such seemingly low quality).

I made it out to the new mall the day after it opened. The Bristol Farms food looked fairly fresh and eye-pleasing. Maybe it was still the same food by the time you got there? It would make sense, since the prices were so high there couldn't have been much turnover.

What the city needs is a Berkeley Bowl, preferably three blocks away from my house.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I am starting this topic to invite everyone to comment on the food and the experiences that they have had at this new San Francisco destination.

I've now tried a couple of the food court options (and 2 of the 3 new full-service restaurants), and have found them mostly mediocre. The Bristol Farms sushi I had was as bad as the prepared stuff in Safeway. The Thai was ok. Most places will run about $10 for a basic lunch of one item or plate.

There is a common area in the center for you to carry your food to -- I don't think there's any table service. (I saw people being buzzed to pick up their food by pagers, so I think that's the only option.)

Out the Door (Slanted Door's casual option) wasn't open as of last week.

One plus compared to suburban mall food courts is you can get an adult beverage at many of the stands. And the choices are above the Pizza Hut level, at least in terms of variety. I'm not sure if the quality is actually any better.

As for the restaurants, Straits is hopelessly disorganized and just ok; Zazil is horribly overpriced. Quality at both is ok. I haven't been to Lark Creek Steak yet.

All in all, eh.

Susan

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I ate at Straits earlier in the week and was shocked -- ordered a $23.00 Ginger Sea Bass that was served in a folded, square box. Once opened, I saw a relatively small piece of fish with the garnish of two pieces of shiitake, three lychee, and a few slivers of bell pepper and ginger. Rice had to be ordered extra ($2.00 or $3.00) and service was very, very slow. With a glass of wine, lunch for one came to $50.00.

Today, however, I stopped in at Mr. Hana, downstairs. The Tuna Poke Salad at $10.99 was a great bargain -- white rice, chopped, seasoned tuna, sliced spicy cucumber, ginger, apples, shredded seaweed, a few avocado, and some arugula spears. Quite filling and very savory. They were offering five gyoza with any entree for $1.99 and a small bottle of chilled sake had me at one of the communal tables for lunch for under $20.00.

The most annoying part (besides the crowds) was than when you enter the centre, the aroma of Beard Papa fills the nostrils and tempts enticingly -- annoying because the line is too long...

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  • 3 weeks later...
Somewhat related - I went to Lark Creek Steak upstairs and was not impressed. Normally I like Bradley Ogden's restaurants (Lark Creek, One Market, Yankee Pier), but this was not the same quality. The food was tasteless and greasy.

Not necessarily tasteless and greasy for me, my report is in this thread.

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Somewhat related - I went to Lark Creek Steak upstairs and was not impressed. Normally I like Bradley Ogden's restaurants (Lark Creek, One Market, Yankee Pier), but this was not the same quality. The food was tasteless and greasy.

Not necessarily tasteless and greasy for me, my report is in this thread.

That's good to hear, I went when it was really new, so maybe they've worked the kinks out. I'm doing DAT at One Market for lunch tomorrow.

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A quick stop by Westfield and I opted for lunch at Amoura -- being as I don't get nearly as much Mediterranean as I'd like, I skipped their standard sandwiches for the sampler plate; hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, and I ordered a side of dolmas.

Bottom line? Mildly worse than the same dishes that Trader Joe's sells in bulk. The hummus had barely any garlic, the dolmas were pasty, and the falafel incredibly mediocre.

I suppose I could try one of their sandwiches, but I can't see any reason to bother...

Edited to fix the name of the eating establishment...

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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  • 1 month later...

We were downtown for drinks at Bourbon and Branch the other night. Friends were in the mood for Mexican. I have wanted to try Colibri Mexican Bistro for a while now. Unfortunately, they were booked solid.

In a brainstorm, we decided to try the new restaurant owned by the same folks in the Westfield center, Zazil.

We started with some very tasty (and pricey) Margaritas. The guacamole made tableside was quite good, as were the fresh tortillas and assorted salsas.

Unfortunately, the mains were not as successful. I didn't take detailed notes, but, I had a chicken thing that was served on mashed potatoes and then had an enormous shredded fried potato "nest" on top of it. It was bigger than the chicken and not very tasty! I really had absolutely no idea what it was doing on my plate or why anyone would think to include it. I guess it was just vertical decoration.

On the whole, what was good were the basics. When the kitchen tried to stretch and be more modern, it largely failed.

The prices, though, are definitely what you would expect to pay for "modern" food, not basic, well prepared, Latin cuisine.

The space is somewhat industrial in style, a bit dark, and lit by indirect blue light from the walls. Kind of felt like we were dining underwater. The front of the restaurant opens into the 4th floor of the mall. Conveniently, it is only an escalator ride (or three) away from the Powell BART station.

---

Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 1 month later...

Attending a week-long jewelry intensive, I am spending the entire week in downtown. Half the class and I headed to Out the Door for lunch today; three of us ordered to go and ate in the court and five of us sat for waiter service. Sadly, a couple visiting from Toronto who were part of the waiter-service group, waited over a half-hour for their lunch while others around them were being served. When they finally got a waiter to look into it, they offered to comp the lunch but at that point, only had ten minutes to eat before getting back to class.

I was one who ordered to go, ordering the grilled Yellowfish. I asked what accompanied the dish and was told rice and a pickled fennel dish. The to-go package arrived with only sliced grilled fish and some mandarin-dressed greens. I asked about the rice and the counter person sighed as he turned to dish me up some rice for the fish. For $16.00 (including a glass of tea), I was underwhelmed. Way too expensive for what I got -- realizing after I sat down there WERE a few slivers of fennel in the greens.

All in all, not worth the money.

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