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Nov 28, 2006 07:48 PM

Christmas in San Francisco

My family and I will be visiting San Franciso this Christmas from Los Angeles. Any recommendations on restaurants that will be open Christmas Day, that has good food that I can't find elsewhere (i.e. non-chain), reasonably priced, and will tolerate a well behaved 8 year old?

I was thinking of going to the Ferry Building on Saturday and check out Hog Island. Other restaurants we will go to is Ino at Japantown and Da Flora. Would also like to check out the take out dim sum places in Chinatown - what streets there should we look for (want to do some comparisons before going in)?

We like pretty much any cuisine (ok - maybe not Ethopian).


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  1. For take out dim sum, check out Jackson St. between Grant and Stockton (Garden Bakery, Dick Lee, Delicious Dim Sum), Broadway between Grant and Stockton (Mon Kiang, You's, Broadway), and most of all Stockton St. from Broadway south (too many to mention--mostly on the west side of the street except for Louie at 1242 Stockton and AA at 1068 Stockton).

    1. By all means stop at Golden Gate Bakery and pick up some of their wonderful egg custard tarts, the best in town.

      1. according to, here's whats available for a group of 4. minus the 'not so kid friendly' places as far as I know.

        > Ame SF - SOMA Contemporary American $$$
        > Americano Restaurant - Hotel Vitale SF - Financial Dist/Embarc California $$$
        > ANZU SF - Downtown/Union Sq Steak $$$
        > Ararat SF - Castro/ Noe/ Mission Mediterranean $$
        > Asia de Cuba - San Francisco SF - Downtown/Union Sq Asian $$$
        > Bistro Boudin SF - Fisherman's Wharf American $$
        > Bobo's SF - Marina Steak $$$
        > Cafe de la Presse SF - Downtown/Union Sq French $$
        > Campton Place SF - Downtown/Union Sq California $$$$
        > Chic's Seafood SF - Fisherman's Wharf Seafood $$
        > Daily Grill - San Francisco SF - Downtown/Union Sq American $$
        > Figaro Ristorante Italiano SF - North Beach Italian $$
        > Fior d'Italia SF - North Beach Italian $$
        > Franciscan Crab Restaurant SF - Fisherman's Wharf Seafood $$$
        > Hyde Street Bistro SF - Russian Hill French $$
        > Iluna Basque SF - North Beach French $$
        > La Scene - Warwick Regis Hotel San Francisco SF - Downtown/Union Sq California $$$
        > L'Olivier SF - Financial Dist/Embarc French $$$
        > Maharani SF - Civic Center/Van Ness Indian $$
        > Malacca SF - Castro/ Noe/ Mission Asian $$
        > Pacific Restaurant SF - Downtown/Union Sq California $$$
        > Park Grill - Le Meridien San Francisco SF - Financial Dist/Embarc California $$$
        > Restaurant Seven Fifty SF - Financial Dist/Embarc Mediterranean $$$
        > The Oak Room - The Westin St. Francis SF - Downtown/Union Sq American $$
        > The Stinking Rose - SF SF - North Beach California $$$
        > Vignette SF - Downtown/Union Sq American $$
        > Zingari Ristorante SF - Downtown/Union Sq Italian $$

        1. Chandavkl - thanks for the chinatown suggestions!

          sfsand - that's clever! I usually use opentable to book a restaurant, but never for searching if they open at a holiday.

          I'll check them out. Some questions - does any one know of any special Xmas menus at the restaurants? Preferably not more than $40 a person?

          The Italian restaurants on the list above sounded good, but not sure how they compare with Da Flora? I can't find the Da Flora menu online anywhere, so the only thing I know is that they have killer gnocchi and is northern Italian food. Don't really want to do 2 similar Italian style restaurants.


          1 Reply
          1. re: notmartha

            Opentable will print the restaurant menus in these links as it gets closer to Christmas
            Christmas Day
            Christmas Eve

            It will look like this New Year's Eve list

            Just keep checking the above links for updates.

          2. You can always have your Chinese meal(s) on Christmas day -- most places should be open and bustling. You could go to R&G Lounge for the traditional (in the Bay Area) Christmas crab.

            With a couple of exceptions, the restaurants on that list are pretty touristy and not that great.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Here's my recent post on the salt and pepper crab at R&G Lounge with photos. I'd advise getting a res for Christmas Day. This place is packed on holidays, and even when we dropped in on a Tuesday night, there was a long line.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Here's the actual link to that great post on the R&G post

                I agree with Ruth that most of those restaurants are really tourist and not food oriented and I wouldn't want to spend my Christmas at many of them. I'd wait until the opentable link gets updated.

                Of the restaurants listed, the ones that are probably in your $40 price range and not just for tourists and even some of these are marginal, IMO:

                > Fior d'Italia SF - North Beach Italian $$
                > Hyde Street Bistro SF - Russian Hill French $$
                > Iluna Basque SF - North Beach French $$
                > L'Olivier SF - Financial Dist/Embarc French $$$
                > Maharani SF - Civic Center/Van Ness Indian $$

                Here was mainly the Opentable link for Thanksgiving restaurants that might give you an idea of prices. Not all restaurants open on Thanksgiving are open on Christmas.

                1. re: rworange

                  How's the food at L'Olivier? When I worked nearby I walked by there often and would look at the menu, which seemed kind of old fashioned. More like classic American French restaurant dishes than real French cuisine. Also, I can't imagine that neighborhood would be very festive for Christmas, although it is walking distance from the Embarcadero ice skating rink.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Yeah, never been there. Just pruning the list down based on price and whether it was a restaurant I wouldn't be caught dead in on Christmas or any time. Given the menu for Thanksgiving, I'd probably splurge the extra $25 and give the Americano a try. If I had any clue that Roberto was going to be sick on Thanksgiving and just was unconcious most of the day (as in sleeping), I would have snuck down to Americano to try it out. As soon as opentable updates, there should be some better options.

                  2. re: rworange

                    I'd add Zingari to your list: not including wine, should be within the $40 p/p range, and I think the food is good.

                    That said, I'd probably choose R&G myself, and I suspect the 8 year old would enjoy it more.

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      My 8 year old has the strangest taste. Part of the reason I was considering Figaro was because they have fried calamari and also bucatini Amatriciana on the menu. That pasta was all he ordered when we went to Italy. He complained bitterly if we have Chinese too much (except for chinese style seafood, like steamed fresh fish).

                      Sounds like R&L is a must do, even if it's not for christmas dinner.

                      1. re: notmartha

                        Ristorante Ideale's a very good restaurant that makes bucatini and other Roman specialties, that's where the chef's from. Probably won't be open this Xmas, since it's closed Mondays.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Thanks for the tip! We're in town for several days, so that will be one of our italian nights.

                        2. re: notmartha

                          I thought the fried calamari at Zingari was excellent...

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            Oh - but he had me at 'Roman'. I don't see many restaurants with Amatriciana sauce in LA and I still can't cook a decent enough version (carbonara, however, I mastered).