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Dinner suggestions for diverse visiting friends in SF near BART route

I am going into Oakland for a conference in October, and plan to meet up with a diverse set of friends (people from Texas, Japan, India etc) for dinner in SF. We'll need to take BART to get in, so it would be great if hounds have suggestions for mid-range dinner places (Mexican or other Latino, Thai, or SE Asian - definitely not Indian or Japanese) with pleasant atmosphere, easy to get to from a station. Preferably a place that takes reservations, or will be possible to get seating without a long wait, around 7 pm on a Friday night.

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  1. I haven't been there lately, but friends recently raved about the food at Platanos in the Mission district. It's four blocks from the 16th and Mission BART station, at the corner of 18th and Guerrero. They take reservations and serve Mexican small plates.

    It's a little pricier, but people also like Limon, a Peruvian place on Valencia near 16th. That's about a block from the 16th Street station. They also take reservations.

      1. There's a passel of Latino restaurants of various stripes that are accessible from BART 16th Street and 24th Street Mission stations. Be aware that the area can be quite "colorful" at night, especially near the 16th street station. Salvadoran and other non-Mexican latino food tend to be strengths here, and probably worth some focused research.

        I just hope your Texas friends aren't among those that come here and complain that you can't get good Tex-Mex food in California (duh...)

        1. I second Limon...but Thristy Bear and Maya both near Moscone could work (2-3 blks from Market).

          2 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Maya's a branch of a New York restaurant.

            Recent reports on Thirsty Bear have been mixed.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              And both are close to BART and Latin. The OP didn't say the diners are from NYC. I agree however about TB. It's location and huge size (always can get in) makes it an easy choice however.

          2. To the list of "Latino" places in the Mission, add Panchita's #3. It's a little off the radar, and should be easier to get a reservation for a large group on a Friday night than Limon or Plantanos. The food is excellent "white tablecloth" Mexican/Salvadoran. Here's a recent report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. Limon is terrific. I would add other midrange reservations-taking restaurants in the Mission:
              - Luna Park
              - Medjool
              - Dosa (parties of 5 or more)
              - Andalu
              - Platanos

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodiegrl

                Sorry - Dosa is Indian (although it's Southern, which is quite different). I forgot about your limitations

                1. re: foodiegrl

                  Toronto's a lot better place for south Indian than SF.

              2. Hey, thanks, everyone for some terrific suggestions. We'll definitely do Mexican one evening - we are from Toronto and that is the one things we lack in a great eating city. I just have another question, not knowing SF at all - I noticed earlir postings about two Burmese places - I think one was Mandalay, and other was Burma Superstar - both in the Richmond District. Are those reachable by Bart please?

                4 Replies
                1. re: js288uk

                  Sorry but no, those are not accessible by Bart. You can find a Bart map pretty easily, then look up the restaurant addresses and use google or any number of other map engines to compare.

                  1. re: Grubbjunkie

                    Yeah, the Richmond District is nowhere near a BART line.

                    There is a little hole-in-the-wall Burmese restaurant called Yamo in the Mission (18th and Valencia, about three blocks from 16th St. BART). But I bet they don't take reservations and they're probably too small for your group.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      The max for Yamo is around 10 people sitting at the counter. The kitchen didn't do well with a group of that size ordering en masse.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Haha...Yamo. It use to be Filipino place that I never got the food but always got the hand-cut and fresh made potato chips.

                2. Esperpento at 3295 22nd St, in the mission (off Valencia) is very good tapas, with larger than average portions, and lower than average prices. they can have a bit of a line but i have never had to wait very long.
                  You should also consider the union square area or the Ferry Building for dinner (on the embarcadero, great views of the bay). It's a better area for "seeing SF" than the mission if your goal is a little tourism combined with dinner. www.sfgate.com lets you search reviews by neighborhood.

                  1. The great Thai House Express is about eight blocks from the Civic Center BART station.

                    Angkor Borei, good Cambodian six blocks from the 24th St. BART station.

                    Since you're going to be in Oakland, you might want to have your friends meet you at the Fruitvale BART station for better Mexican food than in SF.

                    Or at Oakland 12th St. BART for Taiwanese Sichuan at Spices!3.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It is more like 10 blocks, or 3/4 of a mile, from 24th Street BART to Angkor Borei....30th and Mission is NOT just six blocks from 24th and Mission...

                      about four or five or so blocks closer to 24th Street BART, and much better, IMO, is Lotus Garden. (Vietnamese). Although if you are interested in Vietnamese, you could stay in Oakland and go to Binh Minh Quan, 2 blocks from 12th Street/City Center BART. Great food and nice casual atmosphere.

                      Spices3 is quite small (I'd say a group of more than six would be tough at least if you all want to stay together), and the atmosphere is basically non exsistent.

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        I second Binh Minh Quan-- the food there is excellent and authentic.

                        And also, Limon for peruvian cuisine.

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Angkor Borei is a great restaurant, but it is a pretty long shlep from the 24th St. BART station. Remember, 6 city blocks are the same as 12 suburban blocks.

                        You can always catch the 14 or 49 bus at Mission, disembark at Cortland, and just cross the street to get to the restaurant.

                        1. Limon is da bomb... plus you will be right in the heart of the Mission when you are done with dinner... take a walk around and take in the scene.

                          1. If you're interested in Burmese food, why not try Nan Yang in Rockridge instead of coming into SF?

                            1. The original Nan Yang in Oakland Chinatown was great, but when it moved to Rockridge it dumbed down the food and lost its soul. Sad, really.

                              1. How many people in your party, roughly?

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  About 6 or 7 people - and yes, we'll try to avoid South Indian since Toronto is amazing on that front - if anyone comes to Toronto, they should email me for suggestions - at times I've had better South Indian food here at places like Anjappar Chettinad than I did while living in Delhi (admittedly, that was before the cuisine revolution of the last 10 years). But we lack good Mexican, or SE Asian in TO, so all your suggestions are very exciting. We had wonderful Burmese food in London (UK) this summer at a little place called Mandalay (Edgeware Road)! and it is very hard to come by, which is why I was hoping...Oh well, all is not lost - on Thursday we meet two other friends who will have a car with them, so we might be able to go to Richmond with them for Burmese, or otherwise, we will take up the suggestion of Thai or Cambodian - thanks for the tips about the city blocks as opposed to suburban blocks!

                                  1. re: js288uk

                                    As I noted before, for Mexican food you're better off in Oakland.


                                    Burma Super Star has a long waiting list even on weeknights, Mandalay is not as busy.

                                    1. re: js288uk

                                      In the case of Angkor Borei, just to clarify, it isn't just that blocks are long; it is that there are named streets between the numbered streets, so you can't count on it being say, six (long or short) blocks between numbers that are six digits apart!

                                      I wouldn't get your hopes up too high about the Mexican around here, other than just taco places. Personally, I thought Milagro in Toronto was every bit as good as Maya in SF.(not that such is saying much). As for Fruitvale spots in Oakland, they are good, but I don't think they are really that wonderful...Do report back though!


                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        Many of El Huarache Azteca's dishes are as good as I get in Guadalajara. I don't believe Toronto has anything to compare. Certainly they don't have a neighborhood where the majority of residents and shoppers are Mexican immigrants.

                                        Maya is part of Richard Sandoval's mini-empire. It's an SF branch of a New York upscale Mexican fusion place; a third is opening soon in Dubai. It's in the first floor of an office building. It's arguably good for what it is but it is one of the last places I'd send a tourist from a Mexican-deprived area.


                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Probably will be the best Mexican in Dubai, though.....

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            I didn't recommend Maya, was just trying to give OP a reality check....yes, El Huarache is better than what you get in Toronto (though I thought Milagro, which is very new, showed promise for Mexico City style food), but it isn't where I would go for a night in SF with people from all over, and not with folks from Texas! I really think the OP is better off with SE Asian.

                                            Will be in Guadalajara in two weeks and am certainly hoping I find food better than El Huarache's...will report back (on the Mexico boards of course :-))...

                                    2. Huynh is a good, pretty Vietnamese choice in Downtown Oakland on 15th St. between Franklin and Webster (3 blocks from an entrance to the 12th St. Oakland City Center BART station).

                                      There's also a new Mexican "small plates" restaurant in Downtown Oakland--Tamarindo--on 8th St. between Broadway and Washington in Old Oakland (3 blocks from the other end of the 12th St. BART station).

                                      Knowing that opinions are divided and not meaning to start a big discussion of Slanted Door, Slanted Door at the Ferry Building in San Francisco (across from Embarcadero BART) is an option. You'd definitely want to make a reservation for that.

                                      1. I'll just second that there are a few places at the ferry building and it's a real nice area to see if you are in from out of town.