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Oi vey, not another one of these...

OK, DC Chowhound coming your way.

So, instead of asking you to pick spots for me completely out of the blue, I've created a far-reaching list complied from a wide variety of sources to which I would love your help in whittling down.

Feel free to slash and burn. I trust the consensus majority here. I've rarely been steered wrong by the hounds. I should note that I'll be in town with a group of people, so some nights we'll be expense-happy and others winging it.

One further note before dropping the list, I am originally from L.A. and am craving some good soft tacos, so any comments there are quite welcome. I have a few spots listed that might fit the bill (?).

Thanks! Here's the list:

Burger:
Burger Meister
Zuni's
Barney's
Mega Mouth
Joe's Cable Car

Italian:
Delfina
Incanto
L'Osteria del Forno
Rose Pistola (is this still good?)

Pizza:
Tommaso's
Little Star
Goat Hill
Arnelli

Breakfast:
Mama's
Dottie's
Pork Store Cafe
Campton Place
Canteen
Los Jarritos
Boulange de Polk

Chinese Dim Sum:
Ton Kiang
Dol Ho (no-frills)
Good Luck
Yank Sing

Upscale:
Jardiniere
Postrio
Michael Mina

Atmosphere:
Fog City Diner

Seafood:
Pesce
Hog Island Oyster Company
Farallon
Aqua
Pacific Cafe
Swan Oyster Depot

Moroccan:
Baraka

Steak:
Harris'
C&L
Acme Chophouse
House of Prime Rib

Mexican:
Taqueria Cancun (Burritos)
Pancho Villa Taqueria (Burritos)
El Metate (Tacos)
La Taqueria (Burritos)
Mamacita (Haute Mexican)
Mission Taco Trucks (Cheap!!!)

Late Night:
Sparky's

Coffee:
PEET'S!!! (How I miss the fresh, store-brewed joe!)
Ritual
Farley's

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  1. I think you ought to at least CONSIDER Tadich Grill (for seafood). It's just simply prepared, beautifully cooked food.

    As for soft tacos, I personally like the ones at Taqueria San Jose.

    You ought to toss Aziza on the Moroccan list, it's quite good (I'm a fan of the lamb shank).

    Try branching out the Asian influence beyond just Chinese. There are PLENTY of great places for Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, etc. all over the city. I personally like the CTM at Naan'n Curry the best for Indian, and I'm not too up to date on Vietnamese, Japanese, or Thai in the City.

    Hope this helps, and enjoy your trip!

    1. Burger and fries: Zuni
      Italian: Incanto
      Pizza: Pizzaiolo
      Breakfast: Canteen
      Upscale: DR at the Ritz
      Moroccan: Aziza
      Steak: New York
      Mexican: Southern California

      4 Replies
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        LOL on Steak and Mexican. Just being in the state of California automatically qualifies SF as a worthy destination for Mexican. There's NOTHING here. I had a great burrito in the Mission years ago, can't remember where. And no way does NY have the monopoly on steak. All the diplomats dining here in DC at the 100-odd steak spots will bribe your vote on that one.

        1. re: biscuit

          If you have good steak in DC then youshould definitely not bother with the steak houses here. Instead, go to Incanto AND Delfina.

        2. re: Morton the Mousse

          I'm so tired I was trying to figure out where New York Restaurant was.

          I agree with Morton on all of these except for Italian I'd consider Delfina over Incanto. It's my favorite restaurant; the food is more California focused but really consistently fantastic.

          For pizza, I love Pizzaiolo but if you want to be in SF rather than Oakand (where Pizzaiolo is) I'd suggest Pizzetta 211 or A16 over your other choices.

          For seafood, I think Tadich is the best choice. Very old school but stick with the sand dabs and the cioppino and you can't go wrong. It also meets the "atmosphere" requirement.

          For upscale, The Ritz, or consider La Folie.

          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            >>> Mexican: Southern California

            God bless you for posting that.

            G

          2. Your post cut and pasted, plus my thoughts. I took out the places I don't have an opinion on, and my add-ins are in bold.

            Burger:
            Zuni's--you are aware that it's delicious but non traditional, right? Blue cheese, funny bread, not a round patty...
            Joe's Cable Car--I feel like every city in America must have a burger this good. Don't bother.
            PEARL's: the best rare buffalo burger in the city. So good, and worth a trip as it's just off Union Square. Get the fries, a freshly made shake with real ice cream, and get ready for the food coma. Specify that you want the burger rare and it'll be incredible. It'll make you never want a beef burger again. Their beef burgers are good too, but again it's like any great burger in any city.

            Italian:
            Delfina: the others on your list are fine, but Delfina is a cut above, both unique and satisfyingly familiar.

            Breakfast:
            I would do Dottie's or Canteen, followed distantly by Mama's and Washington Bar and Grill.

            Chinese Dim Sum:
            Ton Kiang--never
            Dol Ho (no-frills):eh, I'm not a fan
            Good Luck
            Yank Sing--never ever

            Upscale:
            Of your list I'd go to Jardiniere, but for upscale in the city I can think of dozens of places I'd go to before any of those. Any particular reason they appealed to you?

            Seafood:
            Pesce--very good. Italian tapas. Unique style, good food, not too $$. Friendly staff.
            Hog Island Oyster Company--fun, lively, of course great oysters.
            Farallon--overhyped, beautifully decorated, $$$$

            Moroccan:
            I'd do Aziza (mid-range) or Tajine (divey) any time. Tajine is an INCREDIBLE value and I've yet to find another place that has such delicious food at such low prices. You can eat for $15 for dinner, easy.

            Mexican:
            Taqueria Cancun (Burritos)
            Pancho Villa Taqueria (Burritos)
            El Metate (Tacos)
            La Taqueria (Burritos)
            Mamacita (Haute Mexican)
            Mission Taco Trucks (Cheap!!!)

            Late Night:
            Sparky's

            Coffee:
            PEET'S!!! (How I miss the fresh, store-brewed joe!)
            Ritual (you MUST MUST MUST go to Ritual Roasters!)
            Farley's
            Consider Blue Bottle if you're in the Hayes Valley or Ferry Building farmers market on Saturday.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Pei

              Thanks for the recs. Now my list is getting longer, instead of shorter! Haha.

              I had a feeling about Zuni's burger. I saw a comparison to L.A.'s Campanile, so I could see that. The upscale spots were ones I found that seem to keep popping up. Probably because they have a lot of buzz around them, but we know that's not always good. If you have more, I'm list-ready.

              1. re: biscuit

                If you're willing to shell out Michael Mina prices ($100+ just for food), go to The Ritz Carlton Dining Room for a four hour eating marathon. The food is of course French, but with a significant Japanese twist.

                Speaking of upscake Japanese, Ame is newish and delicious, but very spendy. I think it's also a fairly new/unique concept, sort of the opposite of The Ritz (Japanese with a slight French twist instead of French with a Japanese twist).

                1. re: Pei

                  Don't think I'll be able to get a group to go for a four-hour marathon, but we will definitely have an expense account meal or two. Ame sounds great.

              2. re: Pei

                I'd go out of my way for Blue Bottle - but that's just me... One of the best lattes I've ever had.

              3. I'd substitute A16 and/or Capannina for Osteria and/or Rose Pistola.

                  1. re: NoeMan

                    is c and L steak gone for good? i heard a lot about it, and did want to try the chicago steak with the new orleans side, sounded like an interesting concept, and sf isn't really much of a great steakhouse town to my knowledge (i'm of course bypassing chain steakkhouses (like chris and mortons), and tad's and house of prime rib).