Union square for locals?
Just moved to union square and am trying to find good places to eat, but there are so many restuarants sustained by tourists, it's hard to separate the good from the bad. Looking for all price ranges. Union aquare, nob hill, tendernob, and why not, north beach.
Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant - in the Hotel Carlton
1075 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109
3 course dinner for $30
25 Mason @Turk/Market streets
...Tajine, Little Delhi, Sultan, A la Turca, Dottie's True Blue, Canteen
Another nice choice for Indian in that area is Little Delhi, at Mason/Eddy, right next to Hallidie Plaza and Powell BART/Muni Metro station. Little Delhi isn't open 24 hours a day like the Naan 'n Curry on O'Farrell (also nearby), but their curries are more complex and delicious.
For sushi, Ryoko's and Sanraku have already been mentioned, but I've generally found Sakana (on Post, near Taylor) to be somewhat more consistent in terms of fish quality than Sanraku. If you do omakase, there is often a pretty interesting selection of fish at Ryoko's.
There's tons of good eats near by! I live on Geary and in the Union Sq area I'd recommend cafe Mocca for lunch. It's pricey (15.00 for a sandwich and a fizzy water) but really good. I think you have to get away from the square and into the Tenderloin to find the real chow!
I definitely second Ryoko's for sushi and I also really enjoyed the sushi at Katana-Ya on Geary across from the ACT.
There's also Tagine on Jones at Geary, and a bunch of Indian places that way. I like Pakwan for take out and Lahore Karahi for eat it (they are good for takeout too but I enjoy eating there). Dottie's True Blue is also right there on Jones for breakfast of lunch...if you can deal with the line.
On Post near Leavenworth, you have Pearl's burgers and Cafe Eura.
A la Turca for Turkish/Middle eastern is at Geary and Larkin.
There are a ton of places on Larkin for Vietnamese, plus Thai House Express is there (at Geary). Bodega, Pagolac, Baguette Express and Wrap Delight all on Larkin.
There's a new Shwarma place called Sahara that's about to open on Larkin as well. Near O'Farrell, I think. AND a new Salvadoran place just open at Larkin and Sutter. It's called Olivo's. If you try it before me, please post about it.
re: fine wino
That's a fantastic list. I would add The Hidden Vine for drinks and cheese/salami plates.
Tajine, Pearl's, EURA, Canteen, Bang San Thai, and Dottie's were on my short list when I lived in the area. I ate at at least one of those places every week.
I don't know how the food is, but Blue Nile has okay coffee in the morning and some FANTASTIC hookah. The smooth fruit flavors of their product really come out more than at any other lounge I've ever been to. They serve sandwiches and some other Mediterranean type food.
It's actually a great neighborhood, food-wise. Most of the restaurants are owned by small families, so if you go a few times they'll know your face and your name. And everyone is super friendly. I once took my friend on a TenderNob Day Of Eating, and every single restauranteur knew my name. My friend thought it was hilarious, and it was tons of fun. Welcome to my old neighborhood!
I live at Bush and Mason, so I feel your pain. Sushi-wise, Ryoko's on Taylor near Post is fun and tasty, and Sanraku is great sushi, although I recommend takeout since it's usually pretty crowded in the restaurant. There are loads of places in the Tenderloin, and if you head a bit downtown, Belden Place has some fun places (although also always packed). I recently went to Cafe Claude, down an alley off Bush near Kearny, and a lovely three-hour meal (although avoid the escargots).
It's actually a pretty good place to be--centrally located, easy access to a lot of neighborhoods. The problem is when you want to go out to eat and don't want to leave the neighborhood. :)