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Jan 24, 2007 10:58 AM

Help! I work in a culinary black hole!

Does anyone have some recommendations for a lunch spot in the Civic Center area? To be more precise, in the area around the intersection of Van Ness and Market, which has to be one of the very few places in SF where there is NO good food. Aside from Zuni, which is a bit much for lunch every day.

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I was misinformed, Gyro King is still Gyro King.

    2. Tough spot..

      there is-

      Citizen Cake
      Vietnamese sandwich place on Larken -560 Larken
      If you venture towards the TL there are several good ethnic food options, like
      Turtle Tower Restaurant, etc.
      Morty's Delicatessen
      Stelline- towards Hayes Valley (I think they are open for lunch)
      Delissio- on Market

      3 Replies
      1. re: Lori SF

        Oh yeah, DeLessio. That's a great lunch place. Has the second branch done anything to the quality of the original?

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          All seemed the same to me last week when I was there. Although there seemed to be some fresh faces so I wonder if some of the staff from the original is at the new one to get it running smoothly.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            thank you for my spell check.. The second location is trying hard. I tried it once in December and the polenta, mac and cheese was too oily I mean I had to drain it. The chicken did not taste right, it was greasy and fatty as well.

            I have never had an issue with the on on Market.

        2. Nordsroms and Neiman Marcus are good spots for lunch and not far.

          1. I beg to differ. Within one block of Market & Van Ness there is a pretty good Cantonese lunch place on the south side of Market between Gough and Van Ness (Sunrise something?).

            And if your appetite is up for the task, there is Espetus Cheroscaria across the street.

            Also, Quncy’s on the North Side of Market between Van Ness and Polk has good pastrami sandwiches.

            At Mission & Van Ness, Home Menu is serviceable and has a large selection of Chinese & Vietnamese, and the Japanese restaurant next door isn't bad either (sorry, I can't remember the name).

            12 Replies
            1. re: Civil Bear

              I haven't been to Quincy's but I have heard the sandwiches are good. I will try that soon.

              I have definitely noticed Sun Rise Restaurant and New Home Menu restaurant and have never been inclined to enter either of them. Have you been to them recently? What should I order? I will definitely try them, but based on appearances (and a few negative Yelp reviews), I am not getting my hopes up....

              Dave MP

              1. re: Dave MP

                I no longer work in the area, so it has been awhile since I have been to Sun Rise or Home Menu. Neither are places I would make a special trip to visit, but of the two, Sun Rise was definitely better. Their specialty is the crispy flounder, but I have found all their lunch specials to be pretty good. For some reason Home Menu used to be better when they were located near Quincy's, but I still found it to be serviceable when it moved to Mission Street.

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  Sunrise has changed hands twice since they were good. They've since morphed into a Japanese/Chinese place which now looks as if it's closed. Home Menu on Mission has been closed for quite some time. All the seating is still in there, but it hasn't been open for at least a year. I would recommend Ted's on Howard & Lafayette for sandwiches or Taqueria Reyna for a veggie burrito. Their meat ones are less than stellar though.

                  1. re: semifredocorleone

                    Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear that about Sun Rise.

                    1. re: semifredocorleone

                      Holy Smokes, I once got a double charge on credit card after ordering take-out at Home Menu! I returned with my statement and they happily credited it back to me, and I was convinced that it was mistake. I'm glad that bastard has been caught!

                2. re: Dave MP

                  I went to Quincy's today. I got a pastrami sandwich, which I ate half of (split it w/ co-worker). It was good pastrami. I got it on an onion roll, which was not the best idea, and while the spicy mustard was good, they put a bit too much on. So next time I'll ask for less mustard. The woman behind me got avocado on her pastami sandwich! I think my family back east would disown me if I ever did that. But I guess this is California. Avocado costs extra, but add-ons like cheese and veggies are included. So was a banana. Thanks Civil Bear for writing about this place, I will definitely be back, both for more pastrami and to try the corned beef.

                  Dave MP

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Thanks Dave. I am glad I was able to help.

                3. re: Civil Bear

                  I pass by Home Menu every day and I've never noticed a Japanese restaurant next door, but maybe I should look harder. What I have noticed is a restaurant called Shanghai something, which I've tried and found to be absolutely awful.

                  1. re: JoyM

                    Just went by there today.....on Mission St, to the east of Home Menu, there is the Shanghai something or other, and then a few more doors down, there is indeed a Japanese place. I already forget the name, but it's 4 letters long. I'll definitely check it out soon

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      The Japanese place is called Zaoh. I just finished eating a Canada roll (smoked salmon and avocado, 8 pieces, $4.20 w/ tax) that I got take-out. It was good, nothing too special.

                      Zaoh itself looked great though, and I'm excited to go back. The place was full at 12:30 today, lots of people w/ sushi, tempura and teriyaki dishes, and I noticed several specials on the whiteboard too. Everyone there (30 people?) seemed to be enjoying their meal, so there must be some good stuff....thanks for this tip Civil Bear.

                      Zaoh is at 1555 Mission St. (at S. Van Ness)
                      415 431 3930

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        We use to order Zaoh for lunch when I worked downtown because they delivered and my options were few. They are fair to good, depending on your order. I distinctly remember liking the gyoza and tempura. The sushi was hit and miss, sometimes even great but once in a great while bad! Udon was ok. Zaoh probably seemed better to me than it is because of my limitations at the time (chained to desk) but I would try them again.

                  2. re: Civil Bear

                    Definitely try the Pastrami at Quincy's.

                  3. Hi kchowder,

                    I also work right by the intersection of VanNess and Market, and you're right that there's not a ton of great food nearby. For me, a trip to Tenderloin is a bit too far for lunch, though I have hopped on muni and eaten a banh mi at Latte Express, which is super close to the Powell Muni Station.

                    My coworker and I often order out from Mandarin Villa, which is on the corner of Oak and Franklin. I've also eaten at the restaurant once. Chicken w/ basil is very good, potstickers are pretty good, singapore noodles are pretty good. I wasn't a fan of the chow fun. The place is always packed at lunch. When we ate in the restaurant the one time, they gave us complimentary egg rolls which had a nice curry flavor. You should definitely give this place a try. Standard but good Chinese.

                    I ate once at Canto do Brasil, also on Franklin, between Oak and Market. I had a pork dish that was pretty unexciting, but my coworker had a great fish dish. Fish seems to be a specialty there, definitely worth a try. This place is also really popular at lunch.

                    I recently tried Flipper's, on Hayes @ Octavia, and I thought my burger was pretty good (though it was well done when I asked for medium). ON my way there, I noticed a new Middle Eastern place that seemed maybe a bit expensive but potentially good, also on Hayes St.

                    For pizza slices, Go Getters Pizza at Gough and Market is OK, but certainly not anything special. My coworker sometimes gets bbq chicken burritos from Las Estrellas, which is on Gough @ Hayes. This place gets very mixed reviews on Yelp, and I've never tried it. I like DeLessio a lot, but it gets expensive pretty fast.

                    That's about all I can think of right now, I'll be curious to hear what other people say.

                    Dave MP