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Oct 26, 2006 10:13 PM

Quintessential San Francisco restaurants

I am visiting SF with my wife, who has never been there. Besides the Tadich Grill, what other restaurants might qualify as a quintessential SF restaurant? I'm looking for a bit of architecture as well as good chow, if possible, and would like to get out for $70 pp or less without tax, tip, and alcohol.

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  1. Can't think of anything more iconic SF than Zuni.

    1. Zuni. Tommaso's.

      This topic from the Not About Food board might be helpful:


      1. Boulevard. Try to get a table with a view of the bridge.

        Aside from the highest of high end establishments, you can get out of most SF restaurants for less than $70 pp w/o tax, tip and alcohol.


        1. Delfina- Mission area cal italian. Great SF vibe and california food. Think very knowledgeable waitresses in clean white t-shirt and tattoos.

          Boulevard- Great location in classy building. Great food, wine. Does great meat from a wood oven.

          Chez Panisse- Its in Berkeley, but I'm pretty sure its in the dictionary under Quintessential. Upstairs or down.

          Zuni Cafe- Great raw bar and ingredient driven menu. Less pricey than Boulevard

          2 Replies
            1. re: pikawicca

              Corrected. It like the old New Yorker illustration. Everything east of me tends to run together.

          1. For taverns with chow, there's the Buena Vista and Tommy's Joynt.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Sharuf

              Is the food at Buena Vista any good? I don't think I've read a word about it ever.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                It's pub grub. I've had a perfectly fine grilled ham-and-cheese with a side of fries. Nothing too spectacular.

                And I LOVE me some Tommy's Joynt sandwiches. I always take out-of-towners there for lunch--always fun, good beer, big sandwiches. Along with Rosamunde/Toronado for lunch.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  One of the most memorably bad meals I had was at Buena Vista. You've missed my past rants on the place. Stick to the drinks.

                  1. re: rworange

                    Buena Vista's only barely hanging on to the "local" thing. From 1979 to 2001 it
                    was owned, through a group of subsidiaries including the Houlihan's chain, by
                    W.R.Grace, an international conglomerate that makes most of its money in the
                    petroleum cracking industry.

                    It's back in local hands (Bob Freeman who also owns the Water Street Grille in
                    Sausalito) so maybe things have improved a bit? Last time I ate anything there
                    was probably 1997 and that was too long ago for how terrible it was to matter.

                    The Irish Coffee is a perfectly respectable reason to drop in if you happen to
                    be in that part of the city.

                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                      Hmmm ... will have to try it again then. The last time was a few years ago, though not as far back as 2001, maybe two years ago.