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LA Hound needs recs

We'll be there one Saturday night in February, staying at the Palace. One dinner and 1 or 2 lunches needed. Is there a breakfast that shouldn't be missed? We like most kinds of food--would Zuni be good for a lunch? I have the cookbook but have never tried the famous chicken...

If you had just one night what would you not want to miss? What is better there than in LA? I've heard something about legendary burritos, but we have some pretty great Mexican food in LA.

Maybe something somewhat upscale but not extremely pricey--I'd appreciate ballpark prices as well. Thanks!

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  1. Really close by is a southern style place called Farmer Brown (on Mason at Market) It has probably one of the best brunches I've had in a long time. as far as Zuni goes it's highly over rated/over priced. You'll be really close to Ame, haven't been, but hear good things. Coming from LA I don't think our burritos are going to "wow" you. One of my favorites for out of towners is Emmy's Spaghetti Shack. It is by no means upscale, the ambiance is VERY laidback/hipster-ish, but the food is always a hit and it's very reasonable. For some amazing basque food, in an upscale environment, try Piperade.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gettinfat

      Zuni's one of the best and most consistent restaurants in town, though not everybody likes its style. If you've been to Campanile, you'd likely feel the same way (pro or con) about Zuni.

    2. dottie's true blue cafe is wonderful, you can't choose wrong for breakfast. it's on jones at o'farrell.

      also, the legendary zuni chicken is good, but the roast chicken and most dishes at range are better. but their roast chicken is amazing!@

      1. If you are here on Saturday morning, then head over to the Ferry Plaza where you can nosh your way through some amazing food. On Sunday morning there is a brunch in the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel. It is mainly about ambiance but the food isn't shoddy ... it's buffet food, but still an overall very pleasant experiance ... and since you are in the hotel.

        Dotties is good and so is Mama's in North Beach. Long lines for both though ... I'd kind of stretch, read my morning paper and then shuffle down to the lobby of the Palace for the brunch.

        Personally I'd go to Zuni. People seem to be either in the love Zuni/hate Zuni camp. The chicken is memorable and I've never taken a visitor there who was unhappy with Zuni. Some of the other dishes can be hit or miss ... but if you are going for chicken, you can't go wrong. Come on ... you have the cookbook ... you know you want to see the place. Also, it is easy to get to from the Palace ... just hop on the street car and it is on the same line.

        Posts on Emmy's have been very mixed with more on the negative side. I haven't been, but from what I've read, it isn't even on my list ... maybe if I lived in the immediate neighborhood and tried everything else ... otherwise no.

        1. Thanks for these suggestions. Does anyone have comments about Octavia Lounge? We will be attending a friend's performance there. I understand they serve meals, but we are intending to dine earlier (still contemplating where). Would any dessert choices there be a good idea? Any comments on the food & drinks there?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Babette

            I've been there -- the food isn't particularly good. The drinks aren't horrible, but they aren't that great either. I'd have a drink there during the performance, and dessert elsewhere.

          2. Any thoughts on what might be edible at the airport (near Alaska Airlines) during the long wait to board? Also, any unique to SF chowish items we should consider picking up to take home?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Babette

              There was a great thread about a month or so ago about items to pick up at the Ferry Building market and marketplace that can be transported, if you do a search, you should find it, it had lots of great ideas.

            2. If you want good chicken try Salthouse's lemon herb marinated chicken, makes zuni's seem bland.

              1. Emmy's has the best meatballs and shaghetti in SF.

                1. I've been lurking on this board & doing searches. I want to make the best possible choices. So little time. I didn't mention that we like to seek out excellent seafood, & our son loves clam chowder. Where is the best seafood in the city?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Babette

                    Fish! in Sausalito, take the ferry over and enjoy all their fresh, sustainably caught and out of this world fish!

                  2. Well, for overall experience ... Tadich.

                    You might have some oysters first at Hog Island and then walk a few blocks to Tadich's and have the sand dabs (if available) or cioppino.

                    Or you could do a seafood crawl ... Start in the Ferry Building and have caviar and champagne at Tzar Nicholi, oysters at Hog Island and on to Tadich.

                    Hog Island has clam chowder but it is different ... more steamed manila clams in the shell.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rworange

                      Tadich Grill is a unique experience. My mom had a yummy plate of crispy petrale sole, a huge fillet that stretched over her plate. I had a scallop saute that featured about eight very large properly cooked scallops in a tasty sauce, but it paled next to that panfried sole. Good sourdough bread, old-time service. No reservations -- we came late in a weekday lunch hour and didn't wait long. Prices may have been as high as the low twenties per entree but we considered the place a good value.

                    2. Thanks for all the responses. If anyone can comment on a good idea for someplace with tasty portable eats (near the Palace Hotel or between Russian Hill & the hotel) to pick up Sunday midafternoon to take with us to the airport, we'd appreciate it. Or is there better than just edible food to be had at SFO near Alaska Airlines?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Babette

                        Ferry Building. You can make a great plane picnic with Acme, Cowgirl Creamery cheese, fruit, etc etc.

                      2. Thanks for all the great suggestions. One last question: can anyone suggest a good wine store in the vicinity of the Palace Hotel? We need to take a good bottle of wine, probably chardonnay, to some friends. Thanks again, & we're looking forward to visiting your fair city.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Babette

                          John Walker & Co is about two blocks away. Limited hours. Great old-school store.

                          Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant is more of a schlep but you'll be going to the Ferry Building anyway.

                          WINE Bar & Shop is also in the neighborhood. Lots of stuff by the glass so you could maybe try before you buy.


                        2. John Walker is close to the Palace and has a lot of good bottles. However you will definitely be paying full price. http://www.johnwalker.com/

                          Or you could take the N Judah Streetcar from the Montgomery station (underground) to K&L: http://www.klwines.com/store_location.... You would go east on Market then down the Embarcadero. You can walk but it's not very scenic.