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Newcomer looking for food near Daly City BART

I just moved to the city in December from Kansas, but largely due to very little money have ended up at the extreme south end of San Francisco (yes, technically, we're still across the line...) near the Daly City BART station. This means that trips into the city for food are surprisingly problematic. Either we drive and spend forever trying to find a place to park or we take the bus and spend at least an hour and a half plus transfers just to get there. While we plan to move ASAP for the moment we're trying to find decent places to eat that are at least reasonably close by.

Since we live here I'm more concerned with finding new staples to add to our standard dining out rotation than spending forever just to try out the best place in city. Likewise we're still poor with only one entry-level job between two post-grads and want to keep things on a bit of a budget (i.e. under $20 for two teetotalers, although coming from Kansas City we're still trying to get a good fix on what constitutes a reasonable price).

From my excursions around the neighborhood (such as it is) there doesn't really seem to be anything out here. Just a bunch of run-down houses and a strip mall or two, but for the meantime while we're stuck out in this end of town we'd like to try getting a bit of a clue about what might be worth our while.

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  1. You are missing a couple of good places right under your nose. And don't forget that some of the tastiest chowhound type places life in strip malls where the rent is cheap.

    I don't know the names of the streets around there, but on the street that has the freeway overpass right next to the BART, John Daley Blvd, I think, is a place called Boulevard Cafe. It's a redone 50's coffee shop fitted out in an upscale retro way that is very cool. It is nice. The food is a mix of upscale diner and a smattering of Italian and other international stuff with some Asian too. I think they are going for international comfort food but it works. Some dishes are a exceedingly good, while others are for the more pedestrian eater. They are super nice there about splitting dishes and only ordering appetizers and if you really want to be casual there is a very comfortable counter to sit at. The service has been so kind and accommodating on my few visits. The portions are huge so I've often split. They have a huge and amazing shrimp cocktail that is big enough for 2. 6 or so big prawns on a bed of bay shrimp mixed with lime juice, tomato and avocado. The mac and cheese is rich and sharp and comes with a little salad.

    Banana Island restaurant (311 Lake Merced Blvd) is a little further down the street in a shopping complex. Delicious. Order the roti (fried bread with curry sauce) and you can watch the guy make in at the center counter, and then just be adventurous and pick a couple of items to share. I can't remember what I got except that one dish had fantastic house made tofu in it.

    There are tons of restaurants near the BART stations so you don't need to transfer. 16th Street especially has tons of places if you walk a block to the 16th and Valencia intersection. Ti Couz crepe place is a particular favorite for brunch, lunch or dinner. The food scene in this area is hopping both hi and low end pricewise.

    3 Replies
    1. re: coconutz

      I've seen Boulevard Cafe a million times, but felt it looked more expensive than I wanted to try. I'll do a bit more research though. Not a big fan of taking basic food and making it upscale though. It always struck me as a way to increase the price and make it seem more "adult" and "refined" rather than getting at the core of what makes it good. Case in point: macaroni and cheese. If I want some then I'll just make it at home for a fraction of the price of going out.

      As far as dining near any of the other BART stations... well, we live really, really close to the BART station here and it has become the bane of my existence. Basically it really irks me that they stuck it just barely on the other side of the border and won't accept a Muni pass. As a result I almost never, ever use it even though I catch buses there all the time and have to meander through the damn thing just to get onto my street. I just can't justify actually paying to use BART for in-city transit.

      Banana Island sounds excellent. I'll definitely have to try them out.

      1. re: coconutz

        Thanks for the info on Boulevard. They've remodeled nicely... used to be a Lyon's right? and it looks expensive but good to know that it isn't. That'll be the next restaurant I want to try. Can you name some of the "exceedingly good" dishes, so I know?

      2. Patio Espanol on the San Francisco side of the border has gotten good reviews on Chowhound for their Spanish food.

        Boulevard is pretty good - I gave it a good review when they first opened. Generally their food is better than most places making the same dish. It's not a destination restaurant, but they do their thing well.

        I haven't been to the Fuddruckers on Junipero Serra, but generally they do a good burger, cooked to a nice medium (make sure you ask).

        1. Mr. Chan's on Mission across from the Albertson's. It really, really cheap Chinese food and surprisingly good. $2.50 for an order of chicken fried rice loaded with chicken and enough for two. It has one of the best beef chow fun around. There are also lots of rice plates to choose from and has recently added 3 $2.50 specials. The chicken wings, fried tofu and general's chicken are all really good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: anna

            Thanks for the rec. I stopped in tonight and it was exactly what I was looking for. My only quibble was that I wasn't that impressed with the general's chicken. Still, I'm willing to cut them some slack in food quality for cheapness. It is definitely better than it has any right to be at those prices though.

          2. Aren't there dozens of restaurants along Mission Street heading into town?

            There are lots of good cheap places on Taraval and parking's not difficult.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I just moved from out of state and since the BART and the freeway dominate most of the area and streets upon streets of houses occupy the rest I haven't really found much just walking around and I've never really been able to explore by driving. At the moment I've felt sort of penned-in unless I have a specific destination in mind so I haven't really ever been over to Mission and barely even ventured into Daly City proper.

              In a weird way I feel more lost out here than I actually do when I'm in the city.

              1. re: belgand

                Mission is a major, major commercial street and has been for close to a century. Take a drive down it and scout out where the restaurants are. Then you can take the 14 trolley there.

                There's a well-stocked Greek deli at 6524 Mission St.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Either Mission Bart stop will yield many treasures without the parking headache. I guess I just don't really understand the OP's dislike of Bart. Good food is worth the couple of backs in fare.

                  1. re: chaddict

                    It costs $2.30 for a one way ticket from Daly City to 24th St. And that's just to 24th Street! So it's almost 5 dollars round trip. I'm sure the OP wouldn't mind using BART sometimes, but I can definitely understand the frustration of not being able to use the muni pass.....with my muni pass I can hop on BART anytime within the city, so it's no big deal for me to go, for example, to Glen Park for good food. But if it were 5 dollars round trip every time, I would hardly ever do it. Hence the need for good food right near OP's house.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      Exactly. If it was on a FastPass I wouldn't mind in the slightest, but paying $5-6 round trip is something I try to avoid.

            2. Two or three spots...

              1. Westlake Shopping Center
              2. Ranch 99 complex in Daly City (highway 35 and king?)
              3. There are many mom and pop small restaurants along Mission and John Daly...

              5 Replies
              1. re: badbatzmaru

                I honestly haven't found anything really that interesting at Westlake center foodwise (well, aside from Trader Joe's). I was a bit cold on Burgermeister feeling that my burger was overdone (asked for medium, got a dry well-done burger with no trace of pink at all) and there was some pho place that was ok, but nothing special. Am I missing something there?

                I've read a bunch of good things about Ranch 99 and keep meaning to take a trip out there to check it out.

                1. re: belgand

                  I'm into Asian food and you live in an area where there are many Asian GEMS ! Here are a few that I frequent:

                  Don't dismiss the Westlake yet. Heard good things about Tani's kitchen below but never got a chance to visit. Their hours are sporadic I heard. It's one of those obscure places I guess.

                  Also, the dimsum place close to the complex (on Southgate IIRC) is quite good. Close to the public library. Usually served at lunch hour only and reasonable price if you make sure you do not pick the expensive items. They have carts running around so you can see the food.

                  Pacific Super is a worthy place for at least several things. The fried squid and fried smelts are probably the best in the world (not kidding). You can ask for a sample. And if you buy a sweet plum sauce for dipping, it is perfect. The roast pork is also good but you must eat them right away and you must order at least 1 lb to experience the freshly cut pieces - this is the salty kind. But most of their other dishes are not that good, so avoid the non-recommended items !

                  Also, in the same Pacific Super complex is the TC Dimsum which looked rundown but that is deceitful because it has some of the best dimsum takeouts in the area. Many Asian locals know this secret. The best things there:
                  -baked bbq pork bun
                  -chicken sticky rice
                  -shrimp cilantro dumpling
                  -an eggy pork dumpling
                  -stuffed tofu

                  Again, stay with the recs !

                  1. re: Han

                    Is it just the baked char siu bao that's good or is the steamed (which I prefer) worth ordering as well?

                    1. re: belgand

                      IIRC, the steamed char siu is not as good. Definitely the baked one is very good.

                  2. re: belgand

                    in the ranch 99 shopping center there are quite a few very decent asian restaurants. there's dim sum king, porridge king, and a pho joint. dim sum king is not cart service, but you order off a menu, but it's solid dim sum.