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Union Square Tips?

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Hi there,

A bunch of us Orange County-ers are going up to the City for the weekend and need some good tips. We know there are about a million great places, so we need a a little guidance.

Any recs for a good lunch (or brunch) place near Union Square in SF? Looking for a combo of good food and fun ambience.

Not too expensive, but not too cheap either. Wanna avoid the tourist-y places.

Also, any hip (but not too trendy) bar/restaurant places for a fun Sat. night out?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Union Square is tourist central, so it's pretty hard to avoid the overpriced mediocre places - but it's not as bad as Fisherman's Wharf. What is your price range?

    You could do one of the restaurants in Belden Place - it's an alley in the Financial District with about four good, solid restos in one block.

    If you don't mind a little bit of a hike, you could go into Chinatown and get dim sum - that's a great San Francisco experience.

    1. This question gets asked pretty often on this board. You might try doing a search for Union Square. You should be able to pull up a good number of prior posts with recommendations for the Union Square area. The good news is that you are not that far from Chinatown, the Financial District, South of Market(SoMa) or North Beach. You can reach most of those areas in a brisk 20- minute walk or a 5-10 minute cab ride from Union Square.

      1. Heard good things about the Belden Place, er, places. Thanks.

        1. Not hip but fun is the Gold Dust bar. Dixieland Jazz live. Victorian brothel look. Or Harry Denton's Starlight Room.

            1. Try:

              Cafe de la Presse at Grant and Bush for great, casual lunch.

              Postrio does excellent lunch and dinner.

              Farallon is fantastic but bring some extra cash.

              Le Colonial has a great setting for drinks including some outside spaces and decent French Vietnamese food.

              1. If you are foodies, don't miss the SF Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Go early (opens a 0800), it gets packed. Lots of tasting to do as the farmers present their products. Drop by Pete's Coffee in the Ferry Terminal building, then wander around with your cup of java.

                Like oysters? Fun place in the building is Hog Island Oyster Company. They shuck the little things (and big ones, too) right in front of you. Some are local, some are from Washington State and other far away places, but fresh.

                Slanted Door is also located in the building (north end). Reservation required on a Saturday night, or prepare for a long wait. Hip, but not too trendy. Cuisine is great.

                For drinks - Asia de Cuba - just take a look and have a drink. It is interesting.

                Chinatown - R&G lounge. Don't dine upstairs; venture down to where the locals go. The ambiance is classis Chinese (in the very casual sense), but the food is wonderful. Salt and Pepper crab is not to be missed. They use Dungeness.

                Dungeness Crab - avoid Fisherman's Wharf unless you want overcooked, oversalted, possibly frozen crab. But DO try a fun little spot formerly and currently known to be a bikers' hangout - PIER 23 CAFE. I think the bikers of yesteryear are different than the guys that rumble up in their Harleys today. It is super casual, and the food is great. My favourite dish - garlic roasted Dungeness Crab - a whole, fresh crab oven roasted in an olive oil, garlic, herb, and lemon mixture, dressed and re-assembled for presentation, served with a generous (abundant) supply of SF sourdough bread (you need it to ensure you don't miss a drop of the nectar in which the crab was cooked). Order a garden salad and a micro brew and it is a deliciously casual meal that will sustain you until the evening repast.