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Sep 1, 2006 08:50 PM

LA girl is homesick for SF-where must I eat while visiting?

I lived in SF for six years and moved to LA a couple years ago. I'm homesick for SF and am planning a trip up to see my hometeam SF Symphony, visit old stomping grounds, and hopefully make new ones with some great eats. What can I not miss? I'm sure there are a myriad of new, wonderful restaurants that I've never heard of--so help point me in the right direction!
I really didn't get around to any of the more higher-end stuff while I lived there as I was a student. I sure ate plenty of El Farolito though!
I've never even been to Zuni, though I have the cookbook now so I feel like I know it. I went to Delfina on my last trip up and really liked it.

I probably wouldn't be Gary Danko-level of splurging, so what are some of the manageably-priced places that are really stellar and interesting? I'm more into rustic than foams and microdots of sauces on plates, if that helps. Oh, and can I crash on your couches? (kidding!)


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  1. I would definetly check out Blue Plate (deep mission, mysterious, dark, and so comforting)
    Aziza, a board favorite for Moroccan inspired California cuisine (affordable 5 course pre-fixe for $42)
    Dotties' for breakfast in the Tenderloin
    Delfina you can always get a seat at the bar, if you are prepared to wait a bit with a nice glass of wine
    Chou Chou is a lovely little French place up on Laguna Honda, kind of hidden but so wonderful

    1 Reply
    1. re: Doodleboomer

      The reports on Chou Chou are mixed. While I MIGHT give it another try based on some enthusiastic reviews, it is so out of the way and, for me, the food so medicore, that I wouldn't put it in a destination place.

      If you were ever at Bizou, it re-incarnated as Coco500. Same great food, some of the original menu, better prices, better drinks, livlier & noisier ambiance, questionable service, but the food is worth it.

      Have to been to the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building on Saturday morning. It is the one must-do.

    2. Canteen is new since youve been gone and the chowhound darling. go there for lunch for sure...

      i love Zuni. if you never went to Zuni when you lived here, go to Zuni now. such great exacting food.

      i second the Aziza rec. im not sure how long Aziza has been around but its great food, great ambiance, and great drinks. another board fav as doodleboomer pointed out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lord Griffin

        I second the Canteen rec. Brunch, lunch, and/or dinner.

        Bar Tartine was excellent the night I tried.

        Incanto since italian up here is better than LA.

        Swing by and say hi to the Ferry Building on Saturday.

        Finally, Koi Palace for knock-out dim sum for lunch and high end cantonese seafood for dinner.

      2. * Definite confirmation on Aziza on Geary
        * If you wander through the Ferry Building it would be a shame to not grab a bite at Slanted Door or Pancho Villa (Pier 1)
        * Jeanty at Jack's on Sacramento
        * I'm also a fan of the comfort food small plates and fun vibe at Lime

        3 Replies
        1. re: ae1011

          i'd have to disagree with the pancho villa/slanted door recs. thats about the least interesting of all the things in the ferry building if your there on a saturday for the farmers market. slanted door is over-priced and just ok, and that pancho villa location really isnt much to write home about.

          1. re: Lord Griffin

            I haven't been able to make it down that way, but have you noticed anything remotely Brazilian at pancho villa?

            They keep advertising in the local Brazilian magazines that there is a 'little touch of Brazil'. I keep wondering what that is. Maybe someone who gets over there could ask if they have anything Brazilian.

          2. re: ae1011

            I also definitely recommend Aziza. The spreads are AMAZING -- the best I've had anywhere. I could eat the spreads alone for dinner. The lamb entree is also amazing -- really tender and flavorful, though on the sweet side (which is fine with me!).

            Incanto and Delfina are also great and reasonable.

            I've been to Jeanty at Jack's several times, and I've had some pretty bad experiences there. Once my friend ordered the lemon tart -- and the crust was revolting. I tried one crumb and spit it out! It tasted as if it had been stored in a freezer for several months without careful wrapping, absorbing rancid and other odiforous smells. Another time we had a large crowd for lunch, and they seated us on the top floor under the skylight. It got so hot -- like sitting under a magnifying glass -- that sweat was pouring off some of us. It was impossible to escape the heat. This incident doesn't reflect on the food, of course (though it did detract from our enjoyment), but the restaurant should really be more careful about seating.

          3. Thanks for the replies! What have you all heard or experienced with Quince or R23?

            5 Replies
            1. re: cookgirl

              ive never even heard of R23 and nothing comes up in a search. Quince is an older crowd with a formal atmosphere, great Cal-italian food, and top notch-service. its a little more expensive than the other italian favorites Incanto and Delfina. Delfina is more hip and young, Incanto a little more subdued but still relaxed.

              Of the 3 I like Incanto the most. its pasta's and entress are first rate.

              1. re: Lord Griffin

                H! I was thinking of A16..don't know where I made up R23 from (I think its a restaurant somewhere out there).

                1. re: cookgirl

                  r23 is a trendy sushi joint in los angeles.

              2. re: cookgirl

                I've posted a lot about A16 and Incanto.

                Pizzaiolo in Oakland is less expensive and (at least later in the evening) a younger scene.

              3. Zuni's food is somewhat similar to Campanile's.