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Sausalito and SF Vietnamese Help

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Hi all.

I am planning a four day trip to SF in celebration of my father's 70th birthday, and was hoping you guys could give me some advice on the following:

- We are staying at the Hyatt in (on? at?) Embarcadero, so we thought it would be fun to take the ferry to Sausalito. We were hoping to eat somewhere with a water view, but it needs to be less than a 10 minute walk from the ferry. Alternatively, we could take a taxi if they're available. I've never been to Sausalito so I really don't know what to expect. I've read that Sushi Ran is good. How accessible is it?

- I am making reservations for dinner at Cafe Zuni and Chez Panisse Cafe, and would prefer to eat more casually the other two nights. I understand you have great Vietnamese in San Francisco, and my dad loves Vietnamese. We would need a restaurant with decent service (so my dad can torture the waiter by asking for no cilantro, chiles, etc), but nothing too hip or loud. Maybe this kind of place doesn't exist, but if it does, I'm sure one of you will know.

Any additional input would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hi, littleguy,

    Like your reports I occasionally catch on other boards. Looking forward to your trip report.

    Sushi Ran is walkable but not on the water. Here's the website. The map is useless so use yahoo for a map with the address from this link
    http://www.sushiran.com/contact.html

    Probably the best fish in Sausalito with a view is at Fish
    http://www.331fish.com/

    This would require a cab. It is super casual ... you order at a counter and sit outside. Be warned that this is top-quality seafood and while the restaurant is casual, there is nothing casual about the prices ... $$$.

    There IS Scoma's on the water. While I will swear to the freshness of the fish at the restuarant at Fisherman's Wharf (though $$$$ & everthing else but the fish is average) .... I have never been to the Sausalito location. Killer view though and not all that far from the Ferry with a nice walk along the water.
    http://www.scomassausalito.com/review...

    Man, I just glanced at the prices on that sample menu and someone should arrest them for robbery. Ok ... stragegy here. The portions are HUGE ... huge, huge, huge. Split an entree. If you get the cioppino, that is totally splitable. I was really impressed with the fish in the cioppino at Scomas, but it comes in a thick soup that is almost like tomato sauce. It is very difficult for one person to finish this and would make an excellent lunch split by two.

    And really, if you go there, stick to the fish. That is their thing. Don't get fancy. That is not their thing.

    You are staying practically across the street from Slanted Door in the Ferry Building. While it doens't meet your requirements for inexpensive or quiet, the food is good Cal-Vietnamese and your father could certainly harrass the wait staff to get what he wants ... at those prices they better bring out the food the way he wants it.

    Also, highly suggest going to the Saturday Morning Farmers Market at the Ferry Building.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Thanks so much for the advice, rworange. Belive it or not, I have planned my trip around the Saturday Morning Farmers Market. I plan to stock up on Rancho Gordo beans, June Taylor jams, and more.

      I have seen some reports on this board that seemed unenthused about the Slanted Door. However, it is close to our hotel.

      1. re: littleguy

        Slanted Door's definitely worth trying once.

    2. The thing with Slanted Door is that in previous locations they were smaller and had more control, if you want to call it that, over the kitchen. So when you compare to the previous location it is not EXACTLY the same. Then there was a while while they got used to the new larger kitchen. Also there is the camp that says you can get tastier, cheaper and more authentic at holes in the wall.

      Well, yes and no. The thing is you are getting top-quality ingrediants, most of which is from those Saturday Market farmers. So the premium is for quality. And to use a comparison, you can get a great burger at a little mom and pop or you can get a burger at a place like Zuni. One will be a few bucks and the other will be $$$. Doesn't make Zuni better than the joint, but just different.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Okay, you guys have convinced me. I think I would regret it if I didn't try the Slanted Door. However, I am going to try and go for lunch- they have more noodles and soups, so we can keep it a little lighter. I am a big eater, but Dad's appetite has decreased over the years.

        While I have your attention, what do you think of Tadich's, Sam's Grill, etc...? Are they unforgivably touristy, or do they have redeeming qualities? My dad likes traditional, older places in New York, so I am trying to find something analagous.

        1. re: littleguy

          Sam's is not touristy at all. Tadich is about equally popular with locals and tourists. Very similar menus:

          http://www.belden-place.com/view/menu...
          http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/res...

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Tadich is closer to your hotel. Sand dabs are good at Tadich and they have the best cioppino I've had so far. Scoma's fish was better, but Tadich had better broth and bread. I personally think Tadich's is cheerier. Sam's just seemed too, dark for me.

            Also, Sam's is not open on Saturday and Sunday, so if that matters. if you look at that link above to the Sam's menu, there are pictures
            http://www.belden-place.com/view/phot...

            Here's a reliable Bay Area blogger who has some nice pictures of Tadich's ... though I personally wouldn't order anything with a sauce on it. Nice pictures of the food too. He doesn't write about it but the last picture is an excellent photo of the cioppino.
            http://www.jatbar.com/detail.asp?num=504

            Tadich's doesn't take reservations so if you go at prime time for lunch or dinner there is a line though that can often be avoided by sitting at the bar. I think Sam's takes reservations, but not sure. It is usually not as crowded as Tadich. Never saw a line there in the ten years I worked nearby.

          2. re: littleguy

            >what do you think of Tadich's, Sam's Grill, etc...?<

            I think Tadich's or Sam's (I prefer Tadich's) is a must-do at least once for the old-time San Francisco atmosphere and quite good food (fish and seafood of course).

        2. Sushi Ran is not open for lunch on weekends. Poggio is across the street from the ferry, with only people-watching, I'm afraid. More scenic viewing at the Spinnaker, a short walk from the ferry -- heard the food's OK -- maybe the vista will make up for it.