Boston hound needs lots of Bay area advice
Forgive me in advance if this post gets a little long but I have lots of questions and don't really know where to begin. I will be visiting California at the end of August for 8 nights and will be in San Fran for about half that time. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations or suggestions that SF hounds feel are appropriate for the following categories.
Mexican: cheap to moderate taquerias, roadside stands, etc.
Chinese: dim sum, I have read mixed reviews of the food in chinatown, is it all touristy or are there some really great spots.
Seafood: oysters, dungeness crab, looking to the west coast equivalent of a New England seafood shack.
San Fran/Bay area originals: any kind of food that is local to the area and not something I could easily get in Massachusetts. Looking for both budget and mid range choices here.
Fine Dining: I am going to be on somewhat of a limited budget but will probably break the bank for one meal. I can't afford French Laundry levels, but anything I could do for $300 or so for two people all inclusive. Is Manresa doable for that price? I know it has multiple menus, how do they compare value wise?
Specialty stores: anywhere with great or unusual cheeses, olive oils, wines, local produce, etc.
and finally a couple of really cool or interesting bars/lounges with good cocktails and happening scenes.
Sorry again for the long post and thanks in advance for any and all suggestions, I will reciprocate for Boston/New England visitors if I can. Thanks hounds.
Mexican: La Taqueria between 24th and 25th on Mission, get the carnitas burritos and El MEtate on 22nd and Bryant for Fish Tacos and bistec (marinated steak) tacos.
Dim Sum: In Chinatown, New Asia and Dol Ho (both around the corner of Pacific and Stockton) and pretty cheap. Lichee Garden on powell just north of broadway.
Seafood: Hog Island in the ferry plaza was a good suggestion, I would personally suggest Bar Crudo (its a bit nicer but in no way overly expensive). Bar Crudo has a full range of seafood option from raw to cooked.
Fine Dining: I know people will suggest Gary Danko, MAsa's Boulevard and so on. So I will venture to say Foreign Cinema, which is always good and quite unique and should run you no more than $200 for 2 people with wine included. ITs also great easier to get a table and you would want one in the patio area cause the weather is nice right now and also the movie will be shown out there too.
Speacialty Shops: Stonehouse Olive oil (there's at least one in the City and another one in Berkeley on 4th street). All the stuff in the Ferry Building in SF also works (Tzar nikolai for caviar, hog island for oysters, boulette's larder on sunday for beignets, miette cakes for macaroons....etc.)
Bars and lounges: Swig and Cortez in union sqaure/tenderloin, Savoy tivoli in North Beach, Medjool top floor (you get a view of the city) in the mission, Le Bar Rouge in Supperclub in the SOMA. That's just a couple of places. I'm assuming you don't do clubs, but if you happen to feel like one, I like Suite one8one.
good luck. Hope this was somewhat helpful.
Mexican-- the little taco window at Shotwell and 21st or 22nd in the Mission in SF. another take: Mijita in the Ferry Building. I like the jicama salad and fish tacos.
Chinese Dim Sum-- I like the places in Millbrae but other Chowhounders will be able to give you specifics. save room for the mango custard!
Having just returned from The Cape I would suggest trying out our oysters at Hog Island Oyster co. The sweetwater oyster is a hog isle favorite, but all are great here.
fine dining I suggest Manresa, Masa's, Gary Danko.
Stores: The Cheeseboard in Berkeley, Bi Rite in SF, The Pasta Shop in Oakland, Cowgirl Creamery and/or Boulettes Larder in the ferry building.
Try not to miss Out The Door in the Ferry Building and get at least one French macaroon at Miette.
Here's a good walk-through of the farmer's market in berkeley and SF:
and don't forget to post what you did, ate and loved!