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Ideas needed - good food, fairly casual atmosphere in SF

Will be in SF in a few weeks and was looking for ideas for places with really good food, but not high end. I've been to Firefly and Chapeau! and was looking for something of that ilk.

Thanks for your help

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  1. I really like Restaurant LuLu on Folsom, Azie is also good but a little more trendy. Pier Market on Pier 39 is also a good choice imo.

    however it really depends on what you prefer to eat.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wchane

      The food at LuLu was good on my one visit there, but be prepared for possibly the LOUDEST restaurant you've ever been to. With those acoustics, I won't go back.

      1. re: Steve Green

        Lulu's not so loud if you get seated on the raised platform along the west wall or in the separate room behind the bar (former Lulu Bis).

      2. re: wchane

        Why do you like Pier Market? I haven't had such good luck with Pier 39 restuarants. What do you suggest ordering there?

      3. Blue Plate on Mission around 29th. Excellent food very casual atmosphere but great service.
        Globe on Pacific@Battery is also very casual but cute-awesome food.

        1. Check out this thread:


          might be along the lines you're looking for.

          1. Range on Valencia might do it, especially if you like cocktails.

            1. sometimes I feel like a broken record, but check out La Ciccia, Sardinian on 30th near Church...prices comparable to Firefly, (or even a bit less), less expensive than many of the other options mentioned here, and the food and service are excellent. Only caveat: it just got a favorable review in the Chronicle, and it is small, so make a reservation!

              1. we had a great dinner at Maverick in the Mission last week, and we've also had great recent experiences at The Last Supper Club, Coco500, and Piperade. i feel those are all pretty reasonably priced places for the quality of food/service you receive. The Last Supper Club has quite a bar scene weekend evenings and can get pretty loud, thought i'd mention that in case you wanted something less lively.


                1. One of my favorite undiscovered gems in SF is the Liberty Cafe in Bernal Heights. The place is small and cozy and the food stellar. Quality you'd probably be charged $30 an entree somewhere else but because it's a less traveled neighborhood, prices are lower.

                  Another "neighborhood" joint is the Richmond on Balboa at 6th. A nice wine bar with good food. Plus you can make reservations on OpenTable.

                  1. Second The Richmond - amazing food, very good value.

                    1. I'm writing this assuming - perhaps incorrectly - that you're going to be in SF on business and probably eating alone, so I'm including four places in my old 'hood - the Fillmore/Japantown - where you can eat very well, by yourself (or with friends).

                      Towards the top of the hill, I'd recommend Jackson-Fillmore. Excellent Italian food, strong (but not excellent) wines by the glass. Seating can be painful so come early. If you don't mind eating at the bar, it's usually easier - and that's always been a very positive and friendly experience for me.

                      The risotto's excellent and the homemade bruschetta is perfect. Also, try the zucchini carpaccio. I never knew how much I could love zucchini until this.

                      Other casual but excellent faves in that neck of the woods include Chez Nous (Fillmore near Pine). The pomme frittes are excellent, the service is almost always very good and the wine selection is very strong. This is more a small plates setting so if you're looking for a traditional meal, this wouldn't be the best bet. Can be very noisy.

                      Instead, go next door to Florio for Steak Frittes. Full bar (if you're into that sort of thing) where they serve the full menu - a plus if you're there on business and dining alone.

                      Finally, if you're looking for a different Japanese food experience, you MUST try the wappa meshi at Maki, in the Japantown Center. Steamed rice and meat in a bamboo basket with all the assorted pickles, miso, etc., on the side - your favorite meal you never knew you loved until now. Excellent sake selection, according to my friends (I'm not a sake fan). They also have excellent sushi but go for the wappa meshi - it's something different and delicious. Off the beaten path.

                      1. BTW,I haven't been but have heard EXCELLENT things about La Ciccia - it's on my list of places to try. And I'd second the review of Liberty Cafe. Very familiar and good food - and Cortland's increasingly becoming a great place to stroll post-prandially.

                        1. Luella on Hyde is a neighborhood favorite of many here. Chef owned, menu driven, and you can jump of the cable car right outside the door.

                          1. What about Delfina in the Mission? That is my fave neighborhood spot. Reasonable, sleek and damn good food. I had a homemade gnocchi with fresh english peas, morels and brown butter sauce that still haunts me to this day.

                            1. Delfina is my favorite spot in the City - great, consistent food, excellent wine list, and super knowledgable and friendly servers. Try the calamari and white bean starter. Whatever you have for dinner, save room for their panna cotta. It's insane. Note that it's difficult to get into, though you might have luck eating at the bar (I can't recall).