Boston hound coming to SF
I'll be coming to SF next weekend and will be staying in the Union Square area. I'm looking for a couple of things.
1. Some recommendations for good, reasonable priced food (I'm on a fairly limited budget, the hotel is expensed, the rest is not). I like most things, am an adventurous eater and would like some typical SF experiences. I'll have time for 2-3 dinners, lunches and breakfasts, and maybe some snacking too.
2. Some recommendations for sushi that won't break the bank. Enough people here in Boston have told me that West Coast sushi is substantially better that I've decided I should try it.
I will have a car but like walking, so suggestions nearish Union Square as well as further afield are welcome.
As a recent transplant from Virginia, I'll say don't expect to be too blown away by the differences in sushi quality. Shipping and storage for fish has improved so much that many of the same sorts of ingredients are available nationwide. We have found that some things are better prepared, or are of better quality than at our favorite sushi restaurants in Virginia, but there has been no pattern to it. That is, different restaurants out here and different chefs in those restaurants excel at different things. Some of the items in Virginia were superior to what we've found here.
Now, by no means am I saying to skip the sushi in town. Much of it is quite good. We live toward the Sunset district and so eat at Koo and Ebisu on something of a regular basis. Koo is more of a sit down restaurant than straight ahead sushi bar. They do quite a nice job on cooked food in addition to the excellent sushi. Ebisu is more what I think of as a sushi bar (not a "traditional" sushi bar...but a sort of bar like atmosphere where they serve sushi). Its loud, raucous and pretty fun. The wait for a seat can be quite long but they'll bring you beer and sake while you wait if you like. They tend to have more adventurous items, too (live uni - I almost wrote "fresh, live uni" but...duh).
I'd also reccomend searching for taquerias near your hotel. I don't know of any specifically, but there are many excellent choices all over the city and they are fairly cheap and highly satisfying in my opion. Check out burrittoeater.com for some ideas.
There are tons of good possibilities in/near Union Square and even more if you take your car or public transport some short distances. I definitely suggest going to the Mission for a meal if you have time....just a short BART ride from Union Square. El Delfin (several recent posts) is a great place, I love the shrimp al ajillo there....most things I've tried are good. As far as I know, there is nothing like this place in Boston.
I moved here from MA last summer, and I've really enjoyed eating Burmese food out here (didn't have this in Boston either.) So that's another general suggestion I have. I ate once at Mandalay, haven't been to Burma Superstar yet.
re: Dave MP
Sorry to say, I tried El Delfin once and would never go back. The shrimp did not thrill me and the place seemed shabby and depressing.
Even tho La Taqueria (Mission near 25th St) is more pricey than one would expect, the quality is excellent. Get the chicken or pork tacos with guac & cheese. Ask for "dorado" if you'd like the tortilla crispy.