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Sep 7, 2006 10:45 PM

San Francisco?

I need a kosher restaurant for a visitor - have read CH posts on Sabra Grill and Lotus Garden, but not recent. Anyone know either of those or another option? The general Bay Area board thinks that the presence of pastrami means kosher, but I need truly kosher not just kosher style. thanks.

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  1. BS"D

    Well, we ate at Sabra because it was the only game in town, not because it's quality is wonderful or its service is excellent. Indeed, the service is generally poor and the quality of food is mediocre- not terrible, but certainly not particularly good, especially when value is factored in. With a large family, and especially when we have guests with us as well, we inevitably decide we won't eat there again, only to find that we're there again on our next trip to SF. Again, there's no other kosher fleishig restaurant in SF that's universally found to be acceptable from a kashrus perspective. There was another Israeli-style grill, "this is it", but we don't personally know anyone who eats there because of limited kashrus appeal. Milchig-wise, there's Izzy's Bagels, which also makes Pizza, down near the ball park. There used to be a crepe place as well, but it became nonkosher. And Lotus Garden is no more, though its kashrus was always questionable in the first place. When we ate there in our early years of observance, I was never impressed with their food, but as my wife's family is Chinese, we initially made the decision to eat there so that we could have something close to an authentic Chinese restaurant to take the in-laws to, and indeed,my oldest son had his "red egg and ginger party" there. The best thing on the menu was their spring rolls. The worst things were the "mock" dishes. We eventually stopped eating there as more and more people questioned our doing it, but the fact was that my wife made/makes better food at home. Unfortunately, there just isn't much kashrus in the whole Bay Area.

    Craig Winchell
    GAN EDEN Wines

    2 Replies
    1. re: ganeden

      Lotus Garden reopened a few months back just blocks from its previous location. New: 3216 Mission St

      1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

        That's not the same Lotus Garden -- the one that reopened is a very non-kosher Vietnamese restaurant.

    2. i ate at shangri-la when visiting SF. it is very close to golden gate park, and i enjoyed the food a lot.

      Shangri-La Chinese Vegetarian
      2026 Irving St
      San Francisco, CA 94122

      1. There's a pretty good dairy place in Berkeley. I forgot the name.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LittleWave

          The place in Berkeley is Raphael's. It's great!

        2. BS"D

          Sabra is the only place everyone everyone holds by as far as kashrus. Ristorante Raphael in Berkeley is dairy cholov stam, and I don't currently know the hechsher, or whether people still hold by it. As far as I know,Shangri-la was never under supervision of any sort, but many more modern types (including my wife and I around 20 years ago, when we happened to be in the area and ate ther once) ate there, but although it's advertised, I don't know whether it's kosher supervised, or just vegetarian (as it was when we ate there). I know that Lotus Garden was under ORC, which is not universally accepted, and we stopped eating there 18 years ago, but I don't know who it's under now. It must be mentioned that who the mashgiach is may matter more than under what hechsher it is. I know that Ristoranti Raphael was under ORC, but we knew the original mashgiach/rav hamachshir, and we ate there, but now he lives in New York and we don't have enough info to eat there. So as far as kashrus, caveat emptor. It sounds as if kashrus is important to you, so I'd urge you to check things out for yourself, and figure out what you need out of kashrus, and ascertsin whether each of the restaurants on your list actually meets your standards. As I say, the only one universally accepted is Sabra, under the Vaad of Northern California, a largely Chabad-run organization.

          Craig Winchell

          1. There's a new kosher deli in the Embarcadero Center that was opened by two young Orthodox rabbis from New York. It's called S.F. New York Deli and here's a link to an article about it in J -- the Northern California weekly Jewish magazine: