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May 31, 2007 04:42 PM

Best CH 'hood in SF. Might be moving...

I know this is a broad question, but I may be moving to SF and giving up my SUV in favor of a good pair of shoes. Where would one want to move? I like ALL food. A typical week includes: sushi, mexican, burger, tacos, pizza, pho, mexican etc... but that is due to where I live now. (Orange County) In an ideal world, I would eat chinese, japanese, mexican, lebanese and vietnamese in a steady rotation. So then, I must also add that I will be on foot most of the time, and I also have this thing about living in a nice area... where to start my search?

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  1. Well, you might want to consider living close to a muni train line so you can get around to some neighborhoods easily. The muni trains run through areas that have really great eats such as Noe Valley, Mission, Inner Sunset, Lower Haight to name a few. As for living in a nicer area, Noe Valley would be a good pick. But any of the other areas could have some decent places to live within walking distance of the trains, it's just hit and miss block by block in some spots. As for the wide range on your list, you probably won't find one neighborhood with all of those in one place. So go for transportation access and enjoy SF!

    1. Inner Clement Street pretty much has that mix. No lebanese that I know of, though. Just make sure you buy a monthly bus pass, SF is a good transit city and there are good eats all over town.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gary Soup

        I'm not sure about Lebanese (there is Israeli in the neighborhood) and Chinese is iffy, but everything else you want can be found at or near the intersection of Valencia and Mission in the Outer Mission district. We also have excellent access to public transportation so the rest of the city is easy to get to.

        1. re: Euonymous

          That is just what I was thinking! The nice thing about that area is that it is walkable from Outer Noe or Inner Glen Park, both of which I like as nice neighborhoods.

          Edited to add: I just read further down and it seems most of the responses also were thinking this. That shows me not to reply until I get to the bottom of the post!

        2. re: Gary Soup

          Is that an area or just a street?

        3. Does it hav to be SF? Could it be Berkeley

          16 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              I live in Berkeley and love it, but it is not nearly as much of a paradise of diverse ethnic delights as SF's most chowish neighborhoods.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yeah, but a more likely target for a nice neighborhood with good eats nearby.

                I'd move to the Marina given those requirements. Not as great as other ethinic eats places but enough interesting stuff like the Italian deli (Lucca?), A16, etc. Also the Presidio seems to be developing. Probably in terms of better neighborhoods with good food nearby, amoung the best areas ... buy earthquake insurance though ... if you can.

                1. re: rworange

                  In SF, the east side of Noe Valley offers a high-rent residential environment a few blocks up the hill from the Mission, which has a very high concentration of board favorites.

                  If you're on foot most of the time in a nice neighborhood in Berkeley, your food options are limited. You need a car or a lot of time on BART and buses to get to many of the board's favorite ethnic joints in Richmond and Oakland.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Noe Valley was actually going to be my suggestion...

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      What do you consider high rent residential? And are you telling me its a downhill walk to a CH heaven? It keeps getting better!

                      1. re: Mr. S

                        Noe Valley's one of the more expensive neighborhoods, and it's up the hill from the Mission, where there are 30 or 40 of the best places to eat in town.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          And that includes both high and low end food, which is the brilliance of the Mission/Valencia area. The lack of Chinese offerings, however, is an issue I hadn't stopped to consider. Have you considered joining City CarShare?

                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I also think east side of Noe Valley is a good choice....even parts of the Mission. I drew on this map:


                        an approximate box of where I would want to live. However, I generally agree with the sentiment that it doesn't matter too much if you have Muni pass, since you can get anywhere in the city pretty easily. For example, I eat a ton of Chinese food but live in Mission/Potrero Hill, so when I want Chinese, I go tto a different neighborhood. It's not too big a deal.

                        The map I drew is my favorite area due to niceness of the area, sunshine, closeness to downtown/bart/muni, proximity to food, and central location in general.

                        Dave MP

                        1. re: Dave MP

                          I tried to open your map without success... I will try later from home computer, thank you!

                          1. re: Mr. S

                            Hmm, too bad. Did it work for anyone?

                            Dave MP

                                1. re: Dave MP

                                  yes, worked for me, and I can see that I am only a block or so outside your preferred nabe. :-) However, there are some nice parks near me too (Bernal Heights/Outer Mission)..AND, a new Salvadorean bakery just opened up on Mission near College Hill (called Pan Rico). I am going to check it out this weekend, I hope, so look for a report back!

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    Haha, the map is only a rough outline. I actually think that living further south into Bernal Heights/Outer Mission area would be great, although it's not *as* good without a car and it's farther from other areas (Haight, Richmond, downtown, etc)....I live WAY outside my 'preferred neighborhood' and I'm perfectly happy there too (near Potrero Hill)....good chow is never far away when you live in San Francisco.

                                    1. re: Dave MP

                                      It is true that we are sometimes deterred from going to the Sunset and Richmond from our house even though we own a car (and a garage too, lucky us)...which I am fully aware makes me a chow wimp! However, I do love walking to some of my favorite places...La Ciccia, Lotus Garden, just to name two...lots of CH favorites within walking distance,actually...

                    2. Food and nice are highly subjective. Some of the best food 'hoods (Mission) wouldn't necessarily be considered "nice" although not bad either...the character of neighborhoods literally change block to block. OTOH, some of the "nice" 'hoods are bad food areas. Also, do you want to see the sun? Sounds weird but half the city (western part) is covered in fog 60% of the year and yet some of these areas have great food (Inner Sunset, Inner Richmond).

                      The suggestion to live near a Muni Metro line is a very good one.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ML8000

                        I will keep all of this in mind for my search, thank you very much!

                      2. Mission District is Chowhound heaven. You can find Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Vietnamese within a couple of blocks of the 16th St. BART station, along with restaurants of a dozen or more other ethnicities.

                        Inner Richmond is great but not quite as diverse.

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I don't know where there is good chinese in the Mission though. I occasionally eat at Yum Yum or Firecracker but there are just ok. Where do you go, Robert?

                          1. re: finchycocoa

                            Not the best neighborhood for Chinese, no. There are a bunch of Chinese places but I don't know if any are currently good. Burmese and Cambodian are better bets.

                            1. re: finchycocoa

                              I agree. If there is really good Chinese in the Mission someone please tell me where to find it....

                              1. re: finchycocoa

                                There's really no decent Chinese food in the Mission. It's an overstatement. There are some "down home" Chinese deli's on Mission St...but people go there to get char siu, etc., not to dine. The last decent Chinese place was Yuet Lee's 2nd branch that left a long time ago.

                                If the original poster wants decent Asian food in the rotation, the Mission isn't the place.

                                1. re: ML8000

                                  I think you can get decent to very good Asian, particularly Vietnamese (ie Lotus Garden) and Cambodian (ie Angkor Borei), (I am counting the Outer Mission here) and overall I think the Mission has appeal from a chow perspective, but Chinese, no.

                                  However, San Bruno Ave in SF (as opposed to the town of San Bruno) *does* have some good Chinese options (ie Wing Hing and Zone 88), and is very close by. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the buses from the Mission heads down there....

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    There is good Chinese food on San Bruno Ave but the public transportation is sort of a hassle and it's not really the Outer Mission.

                                    The reality of the SF is some 'hoods have been representation then others with particular foods. The Inner Richmond and Sunset will out do any other neighborhood for overall Asian availablity and quality...but taqueria-wise...meh...

                                    The lucky thing is everything in SF is a half hour away.

                                    Frankly, if it were me, I'd live near a Muni Metro line and buy a cheapo car to drive around on weekends and evenings to get to the other 'hoods. Then you could head all over the Bay Area. I just wouldn't use it as the primary transpo.

                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      Thanks for all of the great info. As for cheapo car, wouldnt I have to pay to park it? And with a 600$ car payment now.... I could rent a new one every weekend to suit any activity AND still come out ahead....

                                      1. re: Mr. S

                                        There are several hourly-rental car companies in SF. Best of both worlds.

                                        1. re: Mr. S

                                          Depends on which neighborhood you live in. Noe, Potrero Hill, Glen Park and some parts of the Richmond and the Sunset have "okay" (a relative term) street parking. You will have to move it for street cleaning.

                                          The hourly rental cars are a good option and the congested neighborhoods have a few services (City Ride, Zap Car, etc.). I have one near me but I did the math...cheapo car is less and more convenient.

                                          1. re: ML8000

                                            I wouldn't call Noe Valley's street parking okay. It's not too hard to find a spot if you're going to a restaurant there at dinnertime, but coming home at 11pm or later ... many's the time I drove around for half an hour.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Up in the 'hood where houses and people live it's okay and before 9 p.m. On the main drag or when people come home definitely not...but that's 95% of SF. Any way, it's better then most 'hoods that's for sure.

                                              1. re: ML8000

                                                There are worse (e.g. Inner Richmond), but I wouldn't live there with a car and no garage again.

                                  2. re: finchycocoa

                                    It's true that there isn't very good Chinese food in the Mission, but within walking distance (a good walk, not terrible) from the Glen Park Bart Station is Lucky River, a very good inexpensive Cantonese restaurant with lots of fabulous set menu (Wo Choy) deals as well as excellent rice plates and claypots. And the San Bruno Ave. area that has excellent Chinese restaurants (Zone 88, Red House Bakery, Wing Hing, Imperial Teahouse) is only a 44 bus ride from the Glen Park Bart Station. With a Muni FastPass, you have unlimited rides on all Muni buses, streetcars, etc. and all Bart routes within the city of SF for one month -- $45..

                                    1. re: Nancy Berry

                                      That is what I thought: Unlike ML8000 I don't consider San Bruno Ave to be that much of a hassle by public transportation.

                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                        Also, now that Bart goes all the way to Millbrae, many, many great Chinese restaurants are within a Bart ride from the Mission.