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3 Days in San Francisco

What's up fellow hounds. I'll be in town for 3 days for the Emerald Bowl. Can you please recommend places for breakfast lunch and dinner. I'm thinking of the following places, what are your thoughts of these restaurants. Also please feel free to recommend other restaurants too. We would like to have a really nice dinner one night possibly steaks or something. We will be staying in the Embarcadero area and will not have a car so the restaurants must be in the city and accessible by public transportation. Go Bruins!

Harbor Village for Dim Sum
City View for Dim Sum
Acme Chophouse for Steaks
Swan Oyster Depot for Clam Chowder
Slanted Door

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  1. Harbor Village closed.

    Swan Oyster Depot's chowder comes from a can.

    1. Second the Slanted door; a real winner.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sherry f

        I think Bong Su is better than the Slanted Door. I went to the original Slanted Door on Valencia, the one at the Ferry Plaza is not as good and lost all the charm it once had.
        Swan's is great for crab and oysters..
        Zuni maybe
        Boulevard as someone mentioned
        Bar Tartine
        Bar Crudo- hope they opened again, sad story

        Skip Acme

        1. re: Lori SF

          I think Bar Crudo was only closed for a week.

      2. Acme's kind of generic in my opinion.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Maya

          I agree. Acme definitely does not match the price. But it is located in the ball park.

        2. Perbacco and Tadich Grill are right next to each other, close to the Embarcadero. Would recommend both (although they are very different). Tadich would fill that old-time SF seafood spot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Calvinist

            I'll second Tadich. They do a nice hangar steak too. The mesquite grilled halibut steak is my favorite though...

          2. What about Mama's for breakfast on Washington Square, or Mamacita's for nuevo Mexican?

            1. For your nice dinner out, you might want to consider Boulevard.... it's right in the Embarcadero area and it's got a great "San Francisco" flavor. There's always a steak on the menu, but you might be tempted by the other offerings as well. I just think it's be a better SF experience for you than Acme.


              1. I'm a huge Slanted Door fan. As mentioned above, Harbor Village closed.

                1. Hands down what's the best steakhouse in San Francisco? No chains please.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I second El Raigon... best grass-fed beef in town, plus North Beach is a fun neighborhood and not far from the Embarcadero.


                  1. I would skip the Slanted Door (I did on my last trip to SF) and go to Bong Su as mentioned above. Much better. Boulevard is good suggestion for a special night and I would go to the Zuni Cafe - it can be very good, and less frenetic at lunch. I have had a few really nice dinners at Farrallon - mostly seafood - up by Union Square, it is quite walkable.

                    If you want to vary from Dim Sum for Chinese I am a big fan of Brandy Ho's - not very fancy but I love their hot and sour chicken and hunan ham with garlic.

                    1. bong su sounds intriguing, what do dishes do you recommend?

                      1 Reply
                      1. Places I really love and some are a little more off the beaten path which is nice.

                        Weird Fish:

                        A new fish place in the Mission--it's at 17th and mission. Cute little place with really good cheap stuff--kinda small portions but really lovely. Fried pickles, great almond dijon trout, great clam chowder, great ambiance. yummy oyster po'boys.

                        Oysters and beer at Hog Island in the Ferry Building. It's on the embarcadero and they have $1 oyster night on Mondays. The Ferry Building has great little fancy stores, a good pastry shop. and I love Hog island's oysters even when they're not $1. I'd go there over Slanted Door.

                        I'd second Zuni just because it's so SF.

                        DEFINITELY Tartine:

                        The bakery on the corner of 18th and Guerrero--awesome coffee. They make amazing pastries and yummy sandwiches. WONDERFUL GREAT FAB WARM bread (olive loaf with lemon zest and thyme! sesame country loaf! walnt date bread! YUMMMM) after 5pm and you can go to Bi-Rite (the grocery store two doors down) to get really good cheese to put on it. And you can watch the boys at Pizzeria Dlefina making pizzas (one of whom is my lovely bf)

                        Definitely Mama's in North Beach for tasty french toast made with bananna bread and eggs benedict with salmon or spinach. Also in North Beach--Cafe Divine. Love their little snacky things and pizza. Palermo's Delicatessen's arancini--big tasty saffron rice balls with sauce, a cube of melty cheese and meat in the middle then rolled in bread crumbs and fried. Italian "fast" food.

                        A taqueria in the Mission--any recomendations y'all?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: misti

                          I like all those places, totally agree.

                          I would add Myth to the mix, good food and wine list and a nice room to dine.

                          For taqueria and I have not been to these places in the last 8 months, putting on the pounds- My suggestions are Pancho Villa
                          3071 16th St and Papalote’s 3409 24th St both make good burritos
                          cross street: Valencia and La Taqueria
                          2889 Mission St for tacos.

                          1. re: Lori SF

                            Papalote also has an outlet on Fulton, just east of Masonic across from the Albertsons grocery store. My go-to burrito joint.

                        2. I love the camaraderie of fellow chow hounds, thank you so much for all your recommendations, now I just have to do a little more research on all your recommendations. I want every meal in SF to be memorable, I don't want to waste precious stomach space and time on mediocre food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: xlargela

                            I hate to say this, but your choices are in danger of vearing you exactly in the direction that you don't want to go (mediocrity), with some exceptions perhaps, particularly since the best of them is long closed. Since a search of postings within the last year on this board would have revealed that fact (that Harbor Village is closed), I think you need to do more searching specifically on this board to complete your research, rather than just relying on the replies to this post or other sources.

                            I do like Acme, but I wouldn't choose it for one of three or so dinners on a short trip, unless I specifically wanted to be in the ball park (isn't the Emerald Bowl played at ATT?).

                            But then, I wouldn't choose steak either. Assuming you are coming from LA, I think you can do better on that down there. Ditto on Mexican food: don't bother.

                            For my nicer dinner, given your parameters, I'd choose Perbacco, Myth, Piperade, or Boulevard. I might go to Swan, but not for clam chowder, and I would probably instead go to Hog Island and try both their clam 'chowder' and their oysters.

                            There are lots and lots of dim sum discussions on the board; City View gets relatively few mentions, though I haven't been.

                            A recent dim sum discussion, with links to more:


                            A discussion of the 'chowder' at Hog Island, indicating why I put quotes around the word:


                          2. I moved here too late to go to the original Slanted Door but I really love its current incarnation. I like the Tadich because the place is so San Fran, but I disagree on Tartine because it's quite a trek from the Embarcadero only to land in a tiny place that's so crowded that you can barely squeeze in on the line (it's a self serve bakery), let alone get a table. It's good, but not that good.

                            1. You're being led dangerously close to foodie territory here. Tadich is good pretty much
                              only because it is old. You can get sand dabs there, which you mostly can't get anywhere
                              else so that's good. But otherwise, it's just grown-up irony.

                              Swans closes too early and besides, oysters are a dime a dozen around here. Well, sorta.
                              Best in the city are at Ebisu out at 9th and Irving. Served six to a plate with a very light
                              splash of rice vinegar/ginger and a sprinkling of flying fish roe. Stunning. Hog Island
                              is good too, but you're forced to enter the Ferry Building which is like the Epcot Center
                              of effetery.

                              For dim sum, why not Gold Mountain? An acre of tables and an unending supply
                              of carts of steamy goodness. On Broadway between Powell and Grant.

                              The steak scene is not good here. More adult irony. Acme is stunningly expensive and
                              you're eating in a baseball stadium. For meat, it's hard to beat the roast pork at La Osteria on
                              Columbus just south of Union. Which is perfect. And comes with various roasted roots.
                              And costs $13. Plus you're in North Beach so you can follow it up with an espresso
                              at the Trieste and guzzle the night away at Specs, which you'll pass on your way back
                              to the hotel.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                I've done my research about Tadich, it reminds me of Musso and Franks down here in Los Angeles, it's a place that's been around for longer than I can remember with gruffy old waiters that have been around just as long as the restaurant, but the food doesn't seem to impress. I think people only go to these restaurants because they have been around for ever and because they have become a fixture of the city. I want to avoid the tourist traps.

                                1. re: xlargela

                                  Well sortof. I was maybe a bit too harsh about Tadich. If you were coming for more
                                  than a short time, I'd absolutely suggest going there. iI's not a tourist trap at all and it's
                                  definitely maintainied a sense of integrity. Plus they have sand dabs which are like
                                  our only interesting unique local seafood. It's a nice link to the past done better than
                                  most places that serve that purpose. Also the cioppino is great.

                              2. Chuckles,

                                by La Osteria, do you mean l'Osteria del Forno? If so I agree -- and it is one of the best values in SF. But there is a serious table hassle...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: whiner

                                  Yes, l'Osteria del Forno. It is late and I am hungry :)

                                  It's a tiny place and can get pretty crowded and remember to dress warm
                                  because all seven tables are right next to the door. But man is it good.

                                2. My favortie Frisco eats is Straits Cafe on Geary. I always make it a point to go there when I'm up north. when I was last there in March they told me they're planning to move Downtown.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                                    They moved to the new mall in the old Emporium building. Reports have I think all been bad so far:


                                    1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                                      The Geary Straits is now a tapas place. Hopefully the food has improved with the move because it was absolutey dismal last time I was there.