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Authentic San Francisco dining

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I'm an east-coast gal traveling out to the west coast this weekend to visit one of my best friends from high school. It's a broad question, but what are some good restaurants in San Francisco??
Here are my preferences --
Food: Seafood, American Grill, or Mexican.....
Scene: Thinking probably a casual scene with outdoor seating perhaps? If not that, it's more important that the scene be vibrant/social enough for two gals who have lots of catching up to do! Just nothing too tourist-ish (in other words, no Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., thanks). But off that, looking for something authentically San Francisco without being too trendy (i.e., I'm going to wear flip flops all weekend long).
Price: mid-range. Entrees $20-30 or so
Any help is much appreciated!

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  1. Two suggestions:
    1. You'll get better results by posting this on the San Francisco board.
    2. Wearing flip-flops might limit you a bit. For example, I would have recommended Sam's Grill or Tadich Grill for fish, but shoes would be more appropriate for those (and many other SF) places.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Steve Green

      While SF is nothing like Manhattan when it comes to clothing standards, your $20-30 price range makes flip-flops questionable. Also, because of the weather out here, your alfresco dining options are limited.

      The ferry building has some nice food options, you can take it to go and sit outside eat by the waterfront. Taylors has fantastic burgers and shakes and a huge patio. Plus there's a great oyster bar, bakery, chocolate shop, gelato stand and a wine bar among many other things.

      Tadich grill is definetly authentic san franciscan, it's sf's oldest restaurant and is still as crowded as ever.

      Limon is a modern Peruvian restaurant, it's in a fun neighborhood and the food is great. I love their ceviche and lomo saltado.

      www.limon-sf.com

      In terms of Americam food, two places that I think really helped to shape san francisco's current restaurant scene are foreign cinema and Zuni Cafe, while the latter is usually well-recieved by SF CHers, the former seems to draw mixed reviews. Both are better choices for lunch based on your budget.

      www.foreigncinema.com
      www.zunicafe.com

      Slow Club is a fun place to hang out and has great food. Pretty casual.

      www.slowclub.com

      Maverick is a tiny spot that serves good american food. Same area as Limon, it's actually the spot where limon started before upgrading to the bigger place they're in now.

      3316 17th Street (415) 863-3061

      For mexican, there are tons of good taquerias all over town and everyone seems to have their own favorite. You should do CH search on best taquerias in SF. For the record, my favs are Pancho Villa (3071 16th St) and the truck in front of Best Buy on Bryant.

      San francisco also has a number of good Indian/Pakistani restaurants. This also is a popular CH topic and a search should show you what some of the favs are.

    2. B44 - in Beldon Alley is a fun outdoor casual place to eat- Spanish but have some seafood dishes
      44 Belden Place (between Montgomery and Kearny) (downtown)

      Foreign Cinema- very unique and you could get by with flip flops, a younger crowd so probably not a problem, great outdoor patio that shows movies in the courtyard. Bistro style food and good drinks- on Mission Street at 18th street in the Mission
      www.foreigncinema.com

      Slow Club- great spot good food, fun semi hip, american grill style
      good for brunch or dinner
      2501 Mariposa

      Mavericks- on 17th street in the Mission, Excellent food, great brunch, dinner and fun vibe.

      Universal Cafe- brunch, dinner great spot very SF a timeless classic

      Bar Crudo- my favorite seafood for raw, crudo cozy small spot.. fun bar next door called Tunnel Top.

      Tadich Grill is wonderful very old school but no flip flops.

      Ferry Plaza has a seafood place that has a good view and an outdoor place to sit, very crowded.. I think the seafood is pretty good not super great, nice place to hang.

      There are a ton of Mexican places in the Mission, do a search and see what sounds appealing. have a great time.. bring layers.

      Pescheria- casual good seafood, outdoor seating. Church and 29th street outter Noe Valley area

      2 Replies
      1. re: Lori SF

        Clearly we have similar taste, I guess I started my post right before you posted yours.

        1. re: Fussy Foodie

          wow very much the same!

      2. I'm a native San Franciscan gal and so I hope to make it simple while knowing you can google these places:
        Zazi - a total must. cute neighborhood. outside seating!!! amazing food. Bring your own wine Tuesday's, no corkage
        The best burrito (and tacos, get the double decker one!) - La Taqueria on Mission between 24th and 25th
        Belden Lane - I agree...perfect for the girls....
        Ferry Building - daytime fun
        Best pizza - just kidding, i fly to NYC for that
        Limon - yes.

        hope you make it to some of these!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mynameisolivia

          Zazi is in my neighborhood and it's just not a must, sorry.. cute for pooch night though.

          I think Limon has gone downhill IMO.

          I agree La Taqueria would be a good spot for you east coast girls.