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First time in San Fran

Going to San Francisco end of August. Staying in the financial district.
Would like to get some suggestions for places to...
a) take advantage of fresh seafood (including sushi places or not)
b) Restaurants with amazing food in a COMFORTABLE atmosphere (nothing too stuffy or snooty please)
c) Any good Shanghai restaurants in china town (looking for some fresh siu lung bao--> steamed pork dumplings mmmmm)
d) DESSERTS DESSERTS DESSERTS including bakeries, and ice cream !!!!! i have a crazy sweet tooth

Thanks!!! If anyone is coming up to montreal id be happy to help them out!

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  1. Bocadillos in the FiDi for a casual, small plates dinner

    Tartine Bakery for desserts


    1. I'd go to Taddich Grill for seafood, sand dabs, cioppino; and Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown for egg custard tarts, coconut macaroons. Dim sum at Gold Mountain.

      1. a) take advantage of fresh seafood (including sushi places or not)
        The best fresh seafood in SF is Hog Island Oyster Bar in the Ferry building. Another off-the-beaten-path place you can have a fine seafood meal is Pesce (on Polk), here's a review from last fall:

        b) Restaurants with amazing food in a COMFORTABLE atmosphere (nothing too stuffy or snooty please
        )Could you please expand a bit on what you regard as amazing food, and stuffy/snooty? Generally the most amazing food is found in the more formal places, c.f. The French Laundry. Also some guidance on budget would be helpful in crafting recommendations.

        c) Any good Shanghai restaurants in china town (looking for some fresh siu lung bao--> steamed pork dumplings mmmmm)
        There are no good Shanghai restaurants in Chinatown.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Paul H

          Re the amazing food in comfortable atmosphere. Im just thinking of some places i love here in montreal which are known for excellent cuisine, expensive yes but you pay for what you get. One of my favorites here Au pied du cochon is very well known but the environment is quite boisterous and relaxed. You can go in formal attire but also in jeans if you like and no one will turn their nose up at you. Me and my boyfriend look quite young despite our age and sometimes feel a bit of discrimation when we go to places which are extremely formal.
          Thanks for your other suggestions

          1. re: Stephkwong

            As Ruth notes below, San Francisco is not a stuffy place, and few restaurants require (and less enforce) a jacket rule these days.

            If you can go $200 USD for a meal for two, consider Quince (Cal-Ital), Myth (French-Cal-modern), Winterland (slightly avant garde), and Boulevard (American).

        2. Yank Sing for dim sum in the financial district.

          Isa's for comfortable amazing food.

          1. For dim sum, I'd recommend Ton Kiang in the Richmond district. Less oily than Yank Sing. Definitely a long wait on a weekend, unless you get there early.

            1 Reply
            1. re: melinna

              Yank Sing oily? Expensive, yes. Oily, no. Ton Kiang is not worth either the trip out to the outer Richmond or the wait. You can do much better.

              If you're in the Financial district probably the most accessible Shanghainese dumplings are at Shanghai in Oakland Chinatown -- just a 15 minute BART ride to 12th St. station and a five minute walk to Shanghai on Webster near 9th.

              You'll find SF to be a very casual city, and I wouldn't worry about being snubbed anywhere (especially after the dot-com boom when the city's restaurants were filled with affluent 20 somethings).

            2. There are almost no Shanghainese restaurants in Chinatown, and very few non-Cantonese spots period except on the outskirts. Only Jai Yun ($$$) and House of Nanking ($), neither of which serve xiaolong bao, come to mind. Most of the prime commercial real esate in Chinatown is owned by Family Asssociations rooted in Guangdong, and by and large restaurant owners are well-connected to the family associations.

              One exception might be The Pot Sticker on Waverly Place which makes barely passable xiaolong bao, good-looking but bland guo tie, and decent congyou bing.

              The best Shanghainese in the City proper would be at Shanghai Dumpling King on Balboa and 35th (cheap and the best XLB in the immediate Bay Area) and Old Shanghai on Geary (slightly pricy, and more of a formal dinner place).

              1. Aqua, imho, is one of the most consistently amazing and delicious fish/seafood spots in the City. Pricey, and the atmosphere (tho not the service) can feel a bit stuffy at times, but the food makes it all worth it. I've frequently gone in jeans with no problem, tho most of the diners will be wearing suits/business attire. Its also right in the middle of FiDi, on California (next to Tadich -- another good rec), so ez to get to from where you will be.

                Second the rec for Yank Sing ... it gets a lot of grief on the board for some reason, but I have never been disappointed there.

                1. Boulevard http://www.boulevardrestaurant.com

                  I just went to Piperade, upon recs from this board, and really liked it...http://www.piperade.com. Great food, very comfortable decor - modernish, without being "too cool for school" and the best part is that you could actually hear the people you were eating with. Very mixed crowd.

                  I like Aqua, but I like it even better on an expense account ;).