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Zuni, A16, Foreign Cinema

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After reading various reviews, I made reservation to these 3 restaurants for my 4-day visit to SF with my teen daughter. Will be staying at Union Square (Hotel Rex). My questions are:

1. Any comments on your likes and dislikes of these places?

2. Is it safe to stroll before/after dinner in the areas where these restaurants are located? Any interesting shops or places nearby?

3. What are the best transportation between the restaurants and my hotel?

4. About Zuni--I heard their chicken is excellent but must order for 2. Since my daughter does not eat meat, is there any way to taste the chicken like in a salad or sandwich?

5. I would also like recommendation for North Beach and Chinatown for casual lunch, please.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Zuni.

    1. I loved the roast chicken for two, but you really can't go wrong here.
    2. Not the best area to stroll going south on Market. Head north up market into the Castro if you want to stroll.
    3. Take the street car up Market St., they are old restored street cars from various cities around the world, it's a really great way to arrive for dinner.
    4. Ah, the chicken is for 2, but they have lots of other dishes that you'll both enjoy
    5. North Beach: Rose Pistola for diner. www.rosepistolasf.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: sgwood415

      Have you been to Rose Pistola since the staff change in the last month or so? The reports so far have been negative.

      1. re: rworange

        I haven't been recently. The news I've heard is that they are much improved and recapturing some of the original glory. So, fbd, I guess you could consider Rose Pistola has mixed reviews.

    2. Sounds like good choices for you and a teen. As far as Zuni - love the chicken and Caesar salad (and espresso granita). The chicken is for 2, but there is plenty on the menu for both of you to find something to your liking. I've heard their burgers are great, but I've never had one. This isn't the best area for strolling and there's not much around there for after dinner. You could walk over to Hayes Valley to stroll before dinner. A16 is on Chestnut Street, a major artery in the Marina - there are tons of places to stroll along and look at - shops, boutiques, restaurants and the like. You can take the 30 Stockton bus from Union Square and it runs down Chestnut. Enjoy your visit!

      1. A16 is wonderful. Both you and your daughter will love it. It is absolutely safe to stroll around all over where A16 is located -- at any time of day/night. You can walk up and down the Chestnut strip. You can also go see the Palace of Fine Arts before dinner -- or lit up after dinner. Or walk up and down Union (between Fillmore and Gough) for more post-frat yuppie coolness. I would cab it to/from A16.

        Zuni I'm not absolutely in love with, but it is good. I would not walk there with a teen girl from Union Square. I wouldn't walk there by myself either. The area around it is relatively safe, but not especially great. I don't think there is any way for you to get the chicken, but honestly the reason people rave about the chicken is because it is awesome *for chicken*, I wouldn't say it is noticably better than everything else there.

        North Beach go to L'Osteria del Forno. One of the best values in SF, given the quality. The porcini pizza (available by the pie or slice) is a must. Also, if you are hungry and they have it, you should try to pork roast.

        1. The neighborhood around Foreign Cinema is not the best at night. I would not stroll around there, especially at night. You'll need to take a cab to get there from union square. Of the three on your list, this is third best. It's a good place, but there are better.

          1. 1. From all the reports on the board, the first thing I plan to order at A16 is the burrata

            2. Strolling: A16 - yes (see excellent recs above) The other 2 - no

            3. Cab - It is inexpensive enough. All three are public transportation available but involve transfers.

            4. Is your roast chicken the same thing in a salad or sandwich? The whole point of that chicken is hot from the oven with the stuffing ... especially the stuffing.

            You could always pack up what you don't eat and give it out to the many homeless people on the way back to your hotel. From Zuni to your hotel there will be many. Scope out a likely prospect, ask the cab drive to pull over, ask if the persion would like a dinner you couldn't finish. I've rarely been turned down. Or just leave the container on a bench or the top of a trash bin. Someone will pick it up. If that last sounds harsh to anyone, there are people on that route that pick out food from the trash to eat. A nice clean packaged dinner, even sitting on top of a trash bin is going to make someone's day.

            5. North Beach ... a block from Chinatown ... House.

            Hope you will report back after your trip to keep info fresh on the board. Have a nice trip.

            7 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Just a note on the burrata at A16. It is indeed phenominal. But it is a lot of the same flavor. If your daughter eats cheese you may consider sharing it with her and getting another vegetarian appetizer to share. Or not. Just throwing the suggestion out there...

              1. re: rworange

                another note on the burrata - you can buy the exact same burrata that A16 uses at cowgirl creamery. it's by gioia, made near long beach, and sells for $13 for a 1-lb tub. best to confirm when they recieve their shipments and use within a day or two.

                drizzle with good olive oil and fleur de sel and there you go - plus, a much better value than spending $10 on a tiny portion.

                http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                1. re: rworange

                  House is a great idea! I think of these places only A16 is a straight shot on the bus, but it goes through Chinatown and can be unbelievably slow - as everyone has said, cabs are the way to go. And I totally agree with RWOrange's thoughts above - I have often left food on top of a trash bin - it is certainly better that someone take it from there than having to dig around and it is a shame to have any food go to waste. I also agree that an essentially element of Zuni's chicken is the bread salad.

                    1. re: fdb

                      Hunks of toasted bread with scallions, currants, pine nuts, and garlic dressed with a champagne vinaigrette, baked in oven like stuffing, mixed with fresh greens and tossed with some pan drippings. Yummy!

                  1. re: rworange

                    Just a short note about transpo - both Zuni and Foreign Cinema are pretty easily accessible by public transpo from Powell street station (walkable from your hotel). Take Muni to Van Ness station to get to Zuni, or take Bart to 16th street mission and walk to Foreign Cinema.

                    1. re: gemster

                      Foreign Cinema is actually closer to the 24th Street Mission BART Station and it's a much more pleasant walk from the 24th Street station to FC than it is from 16th Street.