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Jul 18, 2007 12:28 PM

Dinner near Sutter and Van Ness?

We are two Boston chowhounds with an intrepid seven year old daughter visiting for a week. We are planning dinners at Nopa, Delfina, Aziza and the Slanted Door but we're looking for something interesting but easy for an early dinner close to our hotel, the Queen Anne, for our first night (a Monday). Any suggestions?

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    1. Perhaps Brick? I have never been, but my wife works near there and ends up there frequently and has had almost all good things to say. If nothing else, I can at least say that the owner is involved and supportive of the local community.

      1. The Cafe Majestic is in the Majestic Hotel, which is on the same block as the Queen Anne Hotel, where you are staying.

        The Cafe Majestic got a nice review in the SF Chronicle just a few days ago. You can find it at

        The Queen Anne is only 1 or 2 blocks from Quince, a VERY highly regarded restaurant.

        Walking west on Sutter Street, you are only 3 or 4 blocks from Japantown, where there are a number of Japanese restaurants. If you do a search, you may be able to find some recommendations on this board.

        1. You could try the new (and to my knowledge, un-Chowhound tested) Cafe Ya-Bon, a coffee shop on Polk and Sutter that serves Tunisian and Moroccan foods. It got great reviews from my Moroccan cabdriver yesterday--he eats there every day. Owners were lovely when I went in before they opened their kitchen.

          7 Replies
          1. re: pane

            Ya gotta go to O'Reilly's Holy Grail just around the corner off Sutter on Polk...great room, ambience, oysters and all around good food...fell in there after a hellish 10 hour drive South from Oregon and it took all of our orad stress away...

            1. re: pane

              I just biked past Ya Bon today...a special advertised outside was lamb stew with white beans for $8.95....I will be trying this place very soon. But this sounds perfect for a light meal on Monday night, and very close to the hotel.

              1. re: pane

                Any updates on Alborz?

                I had a light supper at Cafe Ya-Bon recently. Here's the m'laoui (thick whole wheat blini-like crepe) topped with zaalook.

                The chunks of eggplant in the zaalook were perfectly cooked, tender to the bite but still holding onto their integrity and not mushy. The seasoning were a little flat, not sure what it would take to give it more spark. I also had the soup of the day, lentil, which was a big bowl served with a couple hunks of fresh baguette. Nicely done with many colors of lentils, lacking a bit of depth, but still tasty especially after I added a couple spoonfuls of the excellent harissa.

                Bear in mind that this is a small cafe with counter service. The menu on a Saturday night was quite limited, just the soup and the loubia (lamb with white beans) as specials, and the rest are sandwiches, salads, and the m'laoui. So not that many hot items to choose from.

                The owner is indeed lovely. He was most apologetic to not have any of the homemade desserts as the oven had been out. The briq (phyllo dough) for the baklawa is handpulled. Next time!

                1245 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  My cab driver (because it seems I'm always talking to cab drivers about food), who was Moroccan, eats their lentil soup for breakfast every day, stops by later for dinner, and swears it is the best Moroccan in SF.

                  He was told that their menu would expand in a month or two when they get another piece of kitchen equipment--they are lacking an exhaust fan or some other vital operational component.

                  I was impressed with the baked items when I went a few months ago:

                  1. re: pane

                    Please keep us posted on your eatings there. Prices are rock-bottom, and the 24-hour aspect is attractive too.

                    Cafe Zitouna
                    1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Anyone try the restaurant up the block on Sutter btwn Van Ness & Polk? It was a Benihana-style place but has changed names a month or two ago. I think the menu is still Japanese though.

                      1. re: baron45

                        I've been to that teppanyaki place in its former configuration/name. It's been around for a while. A notch above Benihana, nice environment (minimalist) and food/prep although not memorable...but then the prices reflected that. A pleasant place and you could bring just about anyone and not be embarrassed. Nothing like offal served as I recall but then I'm not into that.

                        BTW, I believe the Queen Anne is 4 blocks from Van Ness...i.e., closer to Japantown. If you need some more casual lunch places near by, you might check out Japantown and Polk St. (Swan's Oyster Depot).