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Aug 2, 2006 04:28 PM

Looking for the best and cheapest....please help!

Hi there!

We will be in SF for 5 days the week after next and are hoping to get some suggestions on the best and not over the top expensive places to eat. this is our third trip to SF so we have some old faves we will return to and we have loked at the past topics for new ideas but wanted some more specific ideas...hoping someone can help us out. We are staying on Bush Street near union Square but dont mind taking transit to areas howver we cant get out to the suburbs. In particular we are looking for:

- the best place to get our dearly loved Mission burrito.
- a good sit down place for Mexican (not tex mex!)
-an over the top dessert place 9we always go and have a 'meal" of cake) looking for "meal" size portions- not sure if citizen cake is worth it?
- good and cheap dim sum in Chinatown
- good Italian place in North Beach thats not too touristy
-cheap Vitenamese

Any other suggestions for really good/unique/ can't be missed places are greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much,
Meghan in Vancouver

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  1. For cheap Vietnamese, I would go to Hung Ky. And no, Citizen Cake is so not worth it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chaddict

      Maybe just pop into Citizen Cupcake (upstairs in Virgin) instead at some point for one of their lemon sandwich cookies - just as a snack whilst you are shopping or something. I have cravings for these every now and again. the cookie part is a little on the soft side but the explosion of lemon and sugar that follows is a mouth-watering experience.

      1. re: Sixy

        that cookie is so good, plus a bowl of their latte and life is good.

    2. For sit-down Mexican, forget San Francisco, take BART to Fruitvale (Oakland). Here's a long recent thread on the subject:

      For a meal of cake, take BART to Ashby and go to Crixa. If you go on Tuesday you could also visit the excellent farmers market and famous Berkeley Bowl, both a block or two away.

      Best cheap Italian in North Beach is L'Osteria del Forno. Like any decent place in that neighborhood it's popular with both tourists and locals.

      My favorite Vietnamese place is Bodega Bistro. Can be cheap or expensive depending on what you order.

      1. Bodega Bistro for Vietnamese, definitely.

        Gold Mountain for dim sum in that area (border of chinatown).

        Check out for ideas. My personal favorite is El Castillito in the Golden Gate Street location, but others have definite alternative opinions...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Maya

          I don't consider Bodega Bistro cheap. Moderate, yes. Cheap, no. But tasty all the same.

          1. re: chaddict

            If you order dishes like bun, com, pho, or papaya salad, Bodega Bistro is only a few bucks more than the cheapest Vietnamese places.

          2. re: Maya

            i got a pollo asado burrito from the castellito there last friday and was not impressed. even if it's a block from work/school, i won't be going back. boring rice, bland meat, eh all around.

            on the plus side, they are generous with the avocado given the paltry $.90 they charge for it.

            re: dim sum. not in chinatown, but try golden river (the place next door to ton kiang, geary and ~23rd ave), which has been impressing people (myself included) with the quality:cost ratio. a little more expensive than good luck dim sum, but you get a table, and cloth napkins, and service! hmmm... i think i'll go this weekend :).

            and re: vietnamese. up the block from bodega bistro is pagolac, delicious, varied (not just pho/bun), and inexpensive. wonderful family-run place.

          3. It may help to tell us where you have already eaten and/or where you already plan to go. But without that info, here are some thoughts...

            Best burrito: my favorite right now is AlteƱa's al pastor burrito. I also really like a mole and black bean burrito from Casa Mexicana and a grilled chicken and/or carnitas burrito from La Corneta.
            Sit-Down Mexican: there is no tex-mex in SF so no need to worry about avoiding that. Although it's primarily an order-at-the-burrito-line taqueria, La Corneta does occasionally have a waitress to take orders from the table. Probably not really what you are thinking of for "sit-down" Mexican, but it's the only place in SF that comes close for me AND has good food. If you're really serious about this, drive down to Estrellita in Los Altos.
            Dessert: definitely go to Ti Couz and order nothing but dessert. Their specialty is crepes, which you should not miss (and definitely get at least one with their amazing chocolate sauce), but they also have Sundae-like items with really good fruit and ice cream.
            Dim sum in Chinatown: if you must, Kan's is the best I have had down there. But if you can, get out to Hong Kong Flower Lounge in Millbrae instead.
            Italian in North Beach: Osteria del Forno or Da Flora
            Cheap Vietnamese: for simple noodle-house dishes, PPQ on Irving (not the one on Clement). Don't miss the five spice chicken. Stick to the bun, pho, and/or salads as I've not had much luck with other parts of the menu. If you are willing to spend a little more and want a wider variety of dishes, definitely go to Lotus Garden.

            All of the places I've mentioned have been discussed a lot on these boards, so you will find more details on them via the search engine.

            Enjoy your trip

            1. Wow- these are some great suggestions..thank you all so much. I have eaten at Gold Mountain before and it was great and also at L'oserio, but that was at least 5 years ago so i am glad it is still great. Robert-thanks espcially for the BerkleyBowl link- never heard of it before as I havent done Berkley but that place looks amazing!

              Thank you for the excellent suggestions- much appreciated!