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Jun 18, 2007 10:26 AM

Memphis Chowhounds coming to SF

I'm looking for some breakfast,lunch, and dinner recommendations for a family of six( three teens, three adults) in SF. Nothing too pretentious, just great food and a casual setting! (mid-level price) We're definitely breakfast people, so breakfast recommendations would be greatly appreciated! As far as cuisine goes, we are not looking for anything specific, just a solid meal! Thanks :)

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  1. I'm partial to the Grubstake on Pine & Polk. It's diner-ey, not pretentious. Great food, good prices. I think it opens up in the late afternoon though, so don't know how that fits into your plans (though I think they serve breakfast all day). Keep in mind I'm from a small town in CT (not a ritzy part of CT either). When I go out to SF I tend to get overwhelmed with the "culture" if you will, so I look forward to a good meal (I don't need the foofy food). I don't care if a spot is the place to be seen this week or not, I'm in it to eat.
    Other places I've been to in the Bay Area are Mona Lisa on the north shore (it was OK for italian, but they completely messed up one of the orders so I can't recommend it) and Asia SF (this was a shock for me - a drag show place with tapas - again, I'm more Mayberry than big city). Once I got over that the food was pretty good, just really expensive (for my tastes).

    1. J's Pots of Soul at Octavia & Page gives a solid breakfast/lunch in a cozy, unique setting. It's kind of a soul food type place, but run by an asian family who treats diners like family. Really, really good fried chicken wings that you can get at breakfast or lunch. And good coffee served in mismatched mugs like you'd have at home. D-Jay and Skinny Black would approve.

      1. A fun spot and has been around for a long time is Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack (Mission)
        18 Virginia St. funky, vintage aprons hanging off the walls, dj spins on the weekends.. fun spot for the teens.

        Maverick is one of the best breakfast, on 17th street in the Mission. Sorta SF style meets the South.

        Bluejay Café- (NoPa) 919 Divisadero St - quaint breakfast spot.

        Ella's-Ella's (Presidio) 500 Presidio Ave.-great chicken hash and other very good homely style food.

        Mission Beach Cafe-(Mission) 198 Guerrero, nice lunch spot or dinner, good attention to deal.

        Little Star Pizza on Divisadero St great pizza and kinda a hip little neighborhood joint.

        1. It would help us a lot if you told us where you're staying and if you were a bit more specific about your likes and dislikes.

          Given that, I think that you might like to try some Mexican and Asian food while you're in SF.

          Dim Sum is a good bet -- small dishes, lots of choices. Some good places include Gold Mountain in Chinatown and South Sea Seafood Village on Irving St. in the Sunset district of the city. (


          If you're going to be near Golden Gate Park, then the area around 9th Ave and Irving St. just south of the park near one of the entrances has lots and lots of good inexpensive to moderately priced restaurants including Park Chow for an very good eclectic menu, Pasta Pomodoro (part of a small chain -- for Italian, San Tung ( for Chinese dumplings and pulled noodle dishes, dry fried chicken wings and other excellent dishes, and Yummy Yummy ( for Vietnamese food.

          If you want to try tacos, burritos, and other Mexican snack foods, then you should try some places in the Mission district, very easily reached via Bart. Some favorite taquerias include Panchito's, La Taqueria, La Corneta, Can Cun, and Guadalajara. There are some websites devoted to burrito reviews -- here's one of them:

          For breakfast, some good places are Ella's (, Dotty's True Blue Cafe, and Town's End (near the ballpark) . Here's a place that reviews breakfasts in SF:

          Hope these help.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nancy Berry

            Thanks so much for the help! We're staying around Fisherman's Wharf, but from what I've read the food around there is not great. We'd really like to get a feel for the city and the people. We're definitely not conservative types, so places that are offbeat or interesting would be great. Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean, Italian, American....we're open to the cuisine as long as it gives us solid food, good service, and a feel for SF. And fair prices, but it doesn't have to be cheap. (particularly for dinner) thanks again :)

            1. re: cpeyton

              "We're definitely not conservative types, so places that are offbeat or interesting would be great"

              Good because the places I mentioned are not conservation and a bit interesting.

          2. Universal Cafe has a nice, industrial casual feel to it. The food is excellent. It's kind of on the small side though.

            Absinthe is slightly pretentious but their breakfast is delicious.

            If you want to get a view of the water, head out to the Ferry Building and grab some pastries from Acme and coffee from Peets and hang out on the pier. I think there's also a sit-down restaurant there but I can't remember what it's called.