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May 17, 2007 12:05 PM

Tips for lunch, dinner solo near Palace Hotel

Hi all,
I'll be at a 2 day conference in SF in early June, staying at the Palace Hotel at Market and New Montgomery. I would love some recs on places within about 5 blocks walking distance that have quality food where I would feel comfortable dining solo (and where I could get to without walking through in relative safety). Anything from cheap ethnic to moderately $$ upscale. Preference for a place that takes credit. Sushi would be ideal, because I could sit at the bar, and I love sushi. But not ruling out any other great places.

I'll have only about an hour for lunch, including walking there and back. Dinner can be a more relaxed affair. If your recs would benefit from a reservation or are only open for lunch or dinner, please alert me. The dinner I have will be a Monday night, in case some places are closed Mondays.

Thank you!

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  1. Kyo-Ya, which is in the hotel (also has a street entrance), is expensive but very good.

    Nearby, open Mondays, and good for solo dining at the bar:


    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thank you. I was just browsing Kyo-Ya's sushi menu, and it looks more like $$$$ to fill up than $$. Are there other good, but more affortable sushi options in this area?

    2. osha thai (on 2nd) is pretty good.. they have 2 tops so you can eat at a smaller table.. i dont remember if there is a bar though 'cause i was there for lunch and didn't really pay attention. roy's on mission has a bar but it might be a bit pricey... you are also close to thirsty bear and zebulon which has sweet potato fries... =)

      also, you can also take muni or bart or cabs to other spots in the city as the city i believe is only approximately 49 square acres (???)

      the bay is one of my many "homes" but i'm more east bay/south bay.... so for me, i find muni a bit confusing and unreliable... i prefer to take bart. that's my preference, but if you come from a place with a great underground (london, ny), then you'll be fine. i mention this because you can always bart one stop to the embarcadero and go the ferry building for dinner and visit slanted door for vietnamese. they also have cheese shops and chocolate shops there... once i went there an afternoon and just did free sample tasting =) it was fun =)

      or you can take the bart the other way one stop to union square and eat in that area... i believe first crush on cyril magnin is not a popular spot here on CH, but i personally like it.. maybe i went with the right group of friends, plus i'm not that picky... anyway, i think it may be closed on mondays though... you may want to check.

      karroki (sp?) by embacadero is a greek restaurant that is pretty cool too. i like their lamb there. i think they have a bar area but it escapes me. i also like frisson, which has an austin powers type of vibe inside, and i think they have a bar too. i would think that you can order from the full menu from the different bars, but i'm not too sure.

      you can also cab it to north beach (known for it's italian) but for reason i haven't quite had good luck there.. i guess i'm either going to the wrong places or don't know what to order.. the place that i enjoy there is cafe jacqueline (sp?) for souffles, but since you'll be dining solo, i would save that for another trip as it can be a bit romantic.

      depending on when you are coming, you can walk down towards (insert your choice of telephone company here) park (aka pac bell park) and check momo's. ive never gone only because it gets crowded whenever there is a giants game.... but some folsk like it there. it doesn't quite strike me as a place i would go to, but you may want to check it out.

      we have good seafood here, folks on CH like scomas, but i found the food lacked flavor for my palatte....

      oh and make sure you dress appropriately =) meaning, bring sweaters =) that sf fog can be quite chilly =) i should know, sometimes it's a 20 degree different from one side of the bay to the other.... ack...

      have fun =)

      6 Replies
        1. re: sasha1

          Heavens, that Scoma's rec probably came from me and it is ONLY for people who insist in eating at Fisherman's Wharf and NOT a destination ... it is the best of the sorry lot in that area.

          Is your conference at the Palace too? Is that your starting base at lunch time?

          For dinner should you go to Boulevard, you might want to have some oysters at Hog Island in the Ferry Building across the street ... nice view of the Bay. There's also Slanted Door there too.

          1. re: rworange

            hahahhaha oh sorry about that rworange!!! =) i hope i wasn't being rude... =) i just had a bad experience when i went there during dine about town... hahaha oops... i've read so many postings on here that i can't quite keep up who wrote what =) hahahha

            what type of food does boulevard serve? and is hog island known for anything else besides the oysters? i've personally always wanted to go there, but i thought all they had were oysters.... =)

            1. re: kinipela

              Just sorry you wasted a DAT dinner there. Need to be sure I am clearer.

              Hog Island has a few soups, salads and a grilled cheese sandwich that I haven't tried yet but gets lots of positive mentions on the board. Here's the menu.

              It is a nice place to stop for a little snack. That clam chowder is more like a bowl of steamed clams since the clams are still in the shell.

              1. re: rworange

                hahahahah no worries! =) and yeah... i DID waste a DAT dinner there... i went with some folks who insisted on going, and were getting irritated with my other options... so they were set at going there, and i was pretty much quiet... my usual thing is that i'll find at least ONE thing on the menu that i liked.... i found the prices to be a bit expensive and i had the mushroom crab risotto... not very yummy.... i was sorely disappointed... luckily my SO and i also had an opportunity to go to fringale when were in the area for DAT, so it sort of made up for scoma... sort of...

                i may have stopped at jack in the box after eating at scoma for a crispy chicken sandwich... hahaha

                one of the recent times i was in the area, i was over in sausalito.. i saw a scoma there and adamently said "NO." is that the same owners as the one at fisherman's wharf?

                1. re: kinipela

                  Yep. Same owner. Never been to the Sausalito restaurant.

                  With Scoma the best thing to do is stick to the fresh simple fish and cioppino ... though, IMO, Tadich has the better and $10 cheapr cioppino. With Scoma it is the lunch special that is worthwile ... 3 courses for $21. The portions are not the humoungous dinner sizes ... honestly I thought they were bringing platters to share by the table rather than single servings. And again, even with the lunch special, only if someone insists on eating there or there's special circumstances ... good if you are disabled as there is at the door free valet parking.

      1. ditto on boulevard (for din din) one of my all time faves!

        1. I work on Hawthorne, right around the corner. There are several relatively inexpensive options on new montgomery between Mission and Howard, including one of the ubiquitous Sam's which in addition to making sandwiches, has a salad bar and hot food. It's nothing to write home about. Then there's Umbria, on 2nd and Howard. On Folsom and 3rd there's Chaat cafe, which does tandoori wraps and dishes. (there's also a thai restaurant on the corner that's mediocre). On 4th between folsom and Harrison there's a whole foods, where people eat alone all the time. Also on 3rd and Folsom is Bong Su, which i have not yet tried. Vietnamese, i think, and it's gotten some good reviews. You can also have tapas and pretty good beer at thirsty bear on hawthorne lane. if you're adventurous, on 5th there's le charme, a nice french bistro. there's also a jamba juice on new montgomery and a cafe trieste. The california academy of art is right there too. there's also the W restaurant inside the hotel at 3rd and Howard. I'm probably forgetting a bunch of them. for more options, you can check out the restaurant reviews in

          1 Reply
          1. re: chuckl

            if you head north, you'll find cafe claude, where folks are friendly. it can be a nice place for a solo meal. tables are close, so you may end up chatting with your tablemates.

            if you are willing to walk 15 minutes north on Montgomery, you'll get to the southeastern edge of North Beach. You can try Cafe Zoetrope right on Columbus, which is yummy. If you stroll a bit further up there are many cafes on Columbus - some OK, some so so. Steps of Rome is lots of fun.

          2. Samovar Tea Lounge in Yerba Buena Gardens is a little oasis in the city. Safe & fine for solo dining.