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Help? Friends for dinner in SF this wknd...Atkins & vegetarian needs! Opposites attract?!

  • m

Hi guys! We're vegetarians but our friends are
fairly strictly into Atkins style eating.

We'll be doing a show near Union Square in the afternoon,
so could do dinner near there, or possibly travel across town (maybe by cable car?) ;-) to places like Pier 39 or Ghiradelli,
if you can think of a recommendation that might meet both our needs.
Being tourists in a way, they might enjoy that area too. (to see the lights)

They *are* fairly limited in their likes besides doing Atkins.
Not much into ethnic foods (unlike us!!), altho'Atkins probably would have limited that way, anyway. They *will* eat a little seafood, like Halibut. Something mild.

Any thoughts? Could really use help! Haven't tried Aqua yet.
Is that worthwhile? Old seafood places I can think of are:
Neptune's on Pier 39 or Dante's. (for local 'color')
Scoma's in Sausalito? Too far probably this time around.
Any other? Tadich's?

Ghiradelli? No idea what's there now...a Vietnamese place?
Is McKormick & Kuleto's still, or something named like that?

Anything near Nob Hill or Union Square?
What about the French 'district' near Plouf, etc.?
We've never checked that alley out.

Most of what we've seen are pasta places or pizza near Union Square. We, of course like Millennium but that won't suit them! Sigh....Help? :-)
Anyone tried the Grand Cafe?

Anything fun at Ghiradelli? Would love it if we *could* take Cable Car somewhere. Thanks so much! We're honestly WIDE open for ideas.

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  1. Espetus


    1686 Market St
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 552-8792

    Brazilian Style Churrascaria. It will probably be a touch pricey (say, around 45 per person, perhaps more), fixed price though - alcohol not included. Here's why it's perfect for atkins and vegetarians - although I have never been to Espetus, Churrascarias usually have immense salad bars with quite a selection, including veggies and starches. For the Atkins diet folks, the primary attraction is all-you-can eat meat, which is brought to and sliced at your table.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Gotta disagree - an Atkins persons would love Espetus but a vegetarian would find it very limiting. Yes, there are veggies, but it not overtly friendly towards vegetarian dining and there would be little else than a few salads to entice.

      1. A couple of quick thoughts in rather random order....first, I wouldn't eat at Pier 39 or really Fisherman's Wharf. Yes, McCormick & Kuleto is still in Ghirardelli Sq. - the view is beautiful, food is ok. Aqua is very good, but very pricey. I think I'd be inclined to go to Tadich and then buzz around town a bit looking at lights, sights. You can go out to Ghirardelli/Wharf after dinner and get an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista and stroll around out there. Ana Mandara is a Vietnamese place now in Ghirardelli Sq. - the interior is very pretty but no view. I've only been once and found the food over-priced and average. You can walk to Tadich from Union Sq. - you can also walk to Belden Alley (Plouf, et al.) or even Myth - I've not been but many people love it.

        1. You might consider Farmer Brown which is near Union Square, has had some positive mentions on this board and has some veggie items on the website's sample menu like Vegetable Jambalaya. Looking at the menu you might be able to make requests to make it Atkins-friendly ... but skip the fried chicken.

          The Pier 39 restaurants are expensive and really not that great. Yeah, McKormick is still there, but view aside, it doesn't really show off SF food to its best advantage.

          I'm not a fan of Aqua and unless you are a pescatarian, there doesn't seem much on Aqua's menu for you.

          How about something like this

          Eat in the Union Square area and then take the cable car over to Fisherman's Wharf and have drinks at Buena Vista ... though I'm not sure how booze does or doesn't fit into Atkins. If you are up to drinks and it is the weekend you could also stop by Ana Mandara which is a pretty stunning looking restaurant and has live music on the weekend.

          Or just do the tourist thing. Catch the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf and at the Wharf catch the street car and go to the Ferry Building and eat at Boulevard or someplace like that ... the scenic route, so to speak ... really, don't do Pier 39 ... don't encourage those types of restaurants by throwing money at them.

          However, if you do decide that for your guests something like McKormick or the Pier 39 restaurants are just the ticket, I hope you will report back ... good or bad ... as we don't get many reports from that part of SF. Either we'll hear from you about great new eats or know what to avoid.

          1. I was on Atkins for quite a while, and the great glory of this being able to eat great piles of steak, as long as I avoided the baked potato and texas toast. SF has some really great steak places, therefore:

            Harris Steak House
            Ruth's Chris
            House of Prime Rib
            I think all are on Geary Ave. (take a cab)

            Since you are vegan, you will go hungry at these places. One very trendy, newsworthy spot is Lark Creek Steak in the new Westfield Center on Market. Since everything is a la carte, you can easily avoid the meat and order multiple vegetarian type things, but make sure your credit card can handle this over-priced assault.

            1. Fair enough Carrie. As I posted, I haven't been to Espetus - just going off my general experiences at Churrascarias.

              1. I know that you said that they aren't into ethnic foods, but would they be able to do Slanted Door? That's a place that works for vegetarian and meat eater alike (their tofu dish is really excellent, and the vegetarian appetizers and vegetable dishes are good), and they have plenty of meat and chicken dishes that are relatively simple for your friends. It's a good place to take tourists, too.

                I am also not a fan of Aqua, and I agree that there's not much there for the vegetarian.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JasmineG

                  Yeah, the menu looks more exotic than it is.

                  That shaken beef is just large chunks of beef with any sauce on the side. The spinach, for example is just plain old sauteed spinach really. The baked lamb is just that. Nice view too.

                2. I suggest Lulu, just south of Moscone and so not too far from Union Square. There are great vegetable dishes -- both mains, appetizers and great sides (love the roasted root vegetables when available) -- as well as all sorts of rotisserie and oven-roasted meats. Superb wine list too. Some complaints have occasionally been voiced on this board about service, but that has NEVER been our experience. One of our favorite restaurants overall and visitors we've taken there have loved it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Joan Kureczka

                    LuLu would be perfect for your food requirements, but you should only go there if you don't mind a LOT of noise. It's the loudest restaurant we've ever been to--impossible to have a normal conversation. Service was attitudinal the one time we were there, but it was a while ago and that may have changed.

                    That's a tough one. Sorry I can't come up with a suggestion.

                    1. re: Joan Kureczka

                      I agree that Lulu's is the place. I was just there with a vegetarian who was made very happy by numerous great dishes, and the grilled meats -- particularly a pork loin and a duck -- were delicious and satisfying. We went at 5:30 on a Saturday evening; it was a bit loud but not too noisy for conversation. And service was good.

                      1. re: Joan Kureczka

                        I agree w/this rec also. Lots of choices for both vegetarian and Atkins, but you have to know that everything is served family style, so be prepared to share. Ask for a table away from the kitchen, or else you'll leave smelling like a wood-burning stove.

                        I was there with a work group of 10 pp (lunch) and the service was excellent. I've never been disappointed there.

                      2. How about Korean BBQ? Lots of meat and veggies with hardly any carbs (just skip the rice). I don't know of any good ones near Union Square or FW though...

                        1. Try Le Colonial near Union Square. They have a nice variety of dishes. It's on Cosmo Lane.

                          1. Thank you ALL so very, very much! This board rocks! :-)

                              1. re: PateBriseej

                                Where's the Atkins stuff on Greens dinner menu? 'cause I'm not seeing it.

                              2. I agree Greens is beautiful but might work best for them at brunch. (and I love the views then)
                                Also they might have fixed price Sat nights...
                                will check into. (also not as liked by them I'm guessing)

                                Appreciated the info on Pier 39, the Wharf & Ghiradelli. I just wasn't sure if perhaps things had changed since we ate there years & years ago. Or, if some seafood gem existed. (which might still 'cover' us) We're not vegan, btw, so pretty easy. Just regular vegetarians.

                                Is walking to LuLu's out of the question from Union Square? Safety? Distance?

                                Will look into the Farmer restaurant & Le Colonial too...good to know about them!
                                And Belden place is definitely still worth considering. I'm guessing we would eat early...by 6pm so maybe noise not so awful at some of these destinations?

                                Again, many thanks! I'll also check into the Brazilian spot. Great suggestions, all,
                                you guys! Thanks! :-)

                                Oh..and somehow despite a long time wanting to try it...have not yet tried Boulevard. I wonder if that would be pretty now...near the Embarcadero, etc? Hmmm...I doubt they want to ice skate. Any views from there? Thanks!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mtm

                                  Boulevard is great - there is a view from part of the restaurant, but you can't bet on being seated there, so for practical purposes I'd call it a "no view" place, but excellent. I'm interested to hear of so many LuLu fans - I have a friend who is crazy about it but the last few times we've been I've found the food rather bland and oversalted. My entree was virtually inedible last time and I continue my quest to get my friend to find someplace new to favor!

                                2. We don't find noise a problem at LuLu early in the evening and we often go around 6:30 (and sit at the bar, which is easily done with 2 people). As for walking from Union Square, we'd do it easily but we also like to walk. Just head down 4th, past Moscone to Folsom and it's around the corner to the right.

                                  1. Thanks so much!! Will check it out then, too.
                                    (see if openings for 4)

                                    Boulevard also calls if close to holiday lights, too.

                                    And lastly, the great German debate. ;-)
                                    Used to be off-limits to them when they went low carb/low sugar. Hasn't been too friendly to us, either, as vegetarians. BUT...they used to love the stuff, being nostalgic. So...we still have that to ponder.

                                    But, main concern is...most seem like they are located in dicey areas. (even for parking?) So, not sure what to do.
                                    Walzwerk, Schnitzel Haus & others have been mentioned, but I'm not sure any are in nice area. Just got a recommendation for Schroeder's too, which I guess is in a nicer area.
                                    We did try Suppenkuche in the past. Seemed alright, but we weren't floored by it. Thanks again everyone!! :-)