HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Bernal Heights, SF

I'll be visiting a friend who just moved to Bernal Heights. What's good to eat around there?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Blue Plate is supposed to be quite good- let me know if you go, I've been meaining to check it out.

    Emmy's Spaghetti Shack is a pass.

    Yo's Sushi is tasty and the people are nice.

    1. I would try Emmy's Spaghetti Shack and see what you think. They have a new (for about the last year or so) chef there who is very creative-she uses unexpected ingredients and combinations in her apps and always does a great job. Just a heads up, the atmosphere is a bit hipsterish. There is also a new wine bar on Cortland that is a nice place to go to get meat and cheese plates-they have pasta but I haven't tried it.

      1. I recently moved to Bernal and I've been checking out the options. Yes, Blue Plate is definitely great, and the wine bar on Cortland is quite pleasant (but only ever had the wine and cheese there). People seem to rave about Moki's for sushi, but while I found the cooked food tasty, the sashimi was sub-par. Little Nepal also has a good buzz, but I've been disappointed each time I've eaten there. Believe it or not, Zante's for Indian Pizza (corner of Cortland and Mission) is delicious. Liberty Cafe on Cortland is, in my opinion, a bit pricey for what you get, but it is good and consistent. I also liked Angkor Borei for Cambodian. And, make sure you and your friends spend some time in the amazing beer garden at the Wild Side West--it's unlike any other!

        There are tons of places along Mission that I haven't tried yet--lots of Salvadoran, Peruvian, etc. Let me know what you think.

        Enjoy your time in Bernal.

        1. I am happy with Liberty Cafe (went last week, thought it was excellent and didnt find it overpriced, because I am more used to eating out in central san francisco which is more expensive)
          The salads were in particular, excellent. The pastry on the rhubarb tart was the only poor part of the meal, so we just ate the rhubarb.

          I havent been for a while but I have also enjoyed Emmys and The Blue Plate in the past.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sixy

            I'm not a fan of Liberty Cafe myself, though yes, I've had some good salads there. It is interesting that you didn't like the pastry on the tart, since they pride themselves on their baked goods (with a bakery attached).

            For the OP: you've already gotten some good suggestions. One more to add to the list: La Ciccia (on 30th and Church and thus it may technically be in Noe Valley, but is very close to anywhere in Bernal).

            1. re: susancinsf

              I find the output from Liberty Cafe's bakery to be completely subpar. I've been there over and over and the place is a joke. I've had breakfast there and would never go back, it was that bad. They have that nice bakery that I understand was extremely expensive to build, and they serve Thomas' english muffins. Huh?? Dinner is definitely better.

              I like Blue Plate quite a bit and don't find it to be boring at all. My better half doesn't like their signature meatloaf, though. I think they're an asset to the neighborhood.

              Lotus Garden is excellent. I enjoy certain things at Angkor Borei and the people working there are so nice that it's a pleasure to hang out there. The pupusas at Nena's are good and inexpensive -- the rest of their menu is really overpriced.

              Yo has given me crap end pieces of hamachi one too many times and I think I'm done with him. Moki is okay for some cooked items, but their sushi is a travesty.

              I have an active dislike of Emmy's Spaghetti Shack. I usually find their menu (I always check it when it changes) very unbalanced and way too heavy on the pasta dishes, and I think their ambitions are far too lofty for their skills. Flavor combos and execution that just don't work. Plus I hate cash-only for a dinner joint.

              Several items at Pastores are really good. I love the Chilaquiles. I love the Chicken Mole Enchiladas. Chicken with Peppers is good. Stay away from the dinners involving "steak."

              Dusit Thai is okay. Pad Thai isn't as good but will do in a pinch.

              San Miguel is really festive. You look at their interior and it just cheers you up. They're very nice and the food is really pretty good.

              1. re: Atomica

                I'll second San Miguel. i really love the interior and everyone is just so happy when your there, that you can't help but smile. i usually order the steak and it comes with a great chimichurri sauce, love it.

          2. I'd recommend Blue Plate (American), Angkor Borei (Cambodian), Lotus Garden (Vietnamese), Mi Lindo Peru (Peruvian), Liberty Cafe (American), and Progressive Grounds (Middle Eastern burger place/cafe).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Euonymous

              All the places you mention were in existence when I lived in Noe Valley (for Berkeley and more greenery/less grime) more than three years ago--a good sign! Mi Lindo Peru was very good but incredibly salty. And I like salt. Liberty was over-priced. Angkor Borei had some delicious and unusual dishes and Blue Plate was great.

              Have things changed much?

              1. re: lintygmom

                Lotus Garden closed for a while and moved from Mission at Cortland to Mission at Valencia. The food is still great and Kathy has made banh khot at our request even though they're not on the menu anymore. Angkor Borei and Blue Plate are still marvelous; at Angkor Borei I always get the make it yourself spinach appetizer and at Blue Plate I always get the grilled romaine salad. Liberty Cafe gets a split vote on this board; I've always been very happy with their food but some believe it's overpriced and subpar. I've always found it to be well-executed simple food. I haven't been to Mi Lindo Peru for a while so I can't tell you about the salt content. Interestingly enough, I learned this week that they opened another restaurant in the Marina.


              2. re: Euonymous

                Mi Lindo Peru uses quite a bit of MSG unless you ask them not to.

                Liberty is boring "comfort" food.

                I've liked Emmy's the last few times I went.

              3. Try Pastores on Mission for great Mexican food. Plate.Zante's Indian pizza is delcious.Progressive Grounds does have good middle eastern food.Yo's is a sweet place with excellent sushi-skip Moki. There are also several Thai restaurants if you walk towards mission that are good- Dusit Thai and I forget the name of the other. I like the Jasmin Tea House for chinese food. For a wierd and interesting dining experience try the European Bistro on mission street in the Excelcior-run by gypsies.

                2 Replies
                1. re: usheroff

                  Stop by The Nervous Dog for coffee - it's just a few doors away from Pastores on Mission Street...at Cortland, I think. It's across the street from Zante.

                  1. re: usheroff

                    European Bistro has been closed for years

                  2. Good frickin chicken is very tastey.

                    1. although it is out of Bernal Heights a little, but since it IS National Ice Cream Month, the most delicious ice cream sits at the intersection of san jose avenue and 29th street. it is a little outer-mission gem with far reaching tenticles and many awards, mitchell's ice cream. don't let the crawds deter you from this rich, creamy delight. just get a number and try to stay out of the way.

                      1. We has crab at Lotus Garden a week ago. One Black Bean, one Roasted. Both were very good.

                        This is still one of the better alternatives in that Mission corridor. Although I would never turn down a meal at Blue Plate, which to me is the best spot down there.

                        1. OK, at the recommendation up the thread, I insisted that my dining companion humor me and go with me to Emmy's Spaghetti Shack. One word... ugh. I got a dish that I'm shocked was even allowed on the menu. It was supposed to be penne with riccotta, artchoke hearts, a few other items. It was the driest penne I've ever had in my life with no discernable cheese or moisture, two or three of those nasty jarred artichoke hearts topped with tasteless bread crumbs. In order to even make it palatable, I had to top it with the marninara green beans we'd ordered on the side. These were oK for one or two bites until the overpowering tang and salt of the marinara overcame me. No thanks. The interior of the place was cute though.

                          I had a fantastic dinner at Blue Plate on Friday, though! Definitly hope to go back there at some point!

                          1. I'll second Angkor Borei (delivery), Zante's for Indian pizza, would warn against Dusit Thai, love Blue Plate, don't like Goood Frickin Chicken, really like the pulpo tostados and some of the raw stuff at Playa Azul (and full bar!), and was very pleased with my recent meal at Lotus Garden. I would also warn against Emmy's although my manfriend likes their basic spaghetti and meatballs, everything I had there was either too greasy or salty (does not happen often for me), bland, or something I could whip up at home. I am looking forward to Front Porch opening up on 29th btw. Mission and San Jose and adding another option to the hood, even if it's the old chef from Emmy's, it may be good or at the very least lighten the crowd at Blue Plate so I can go there more often.

                            If you want to walk over to Church St., I like Regent Thai (at 29th, good for cheap lunch special 7 days a week and for basic Thai) and La Ciccia (at 30th) has been getting good reviews. You can read my reviews at http://candice.yelp.com

                            1. just wrote about the great salvadorean breakfast at nena's on mission nr cortland. check it out. (i don't know how to provide the link but you can search by writing in nena's). enjoy.