best (lower cost) vietnamese in/around SF?
my boyfriend & i just moved from atlanta and are sure there's great vietnamese cuisine out here, just haven't found it yet. we're looking for cheap(er) stuff, not open door-type restaurants (though we love that too!)
i'm a pescetarian, and LOVE the wrap-it-yourself shrimp/salmon dishes (don't know what they're called! help!), and my boyfriend is looking for really good bun.
so far we've tried:
tao cafe (1 block from our apartment)- we were really bored by the food, though it's cute.
pagolac - good, but perhaps more beef-oriented than we're typically into. it was also cheap & cute, so we're willing to try it again.
sunflower cafe (also close to our place)- we were told the catfish hot & sour soup was amazing, but after ordering it, thought it was too sweet, and not 'hot'/spicy enough... the rest of our meal was good but again, not amazing.
any suggestions!?!?? we like spicy, we like fresh. if there's any other posts that relate to this, too, please let me know (have searched without much luck). we'll leave the city if anyone has suggestions about places that serve great versions of the particular dishes we're craving.
hey all! thanks so much for the suggestions!! after much debate (and a lloooooong time of no vietnamese food due to people in town, busy work schedules, blah blah blah), the boyf and i ventured up to bodega bistron on sunday night. YUMMM is what we have to say. delish! he was super happy with his bun, me with my hot dish of panfried fish (cod? can't remember) to wrap with plenty of fresh herbs and rice noodles. we liked the addition of shiso and some other soapy-tasting herbs we're not familiar with. also, the fish was pan fried with a ton of dill, which i thought was tasty, yet different than what i expect from vietnamese... there's some other discussions on chowhound about this that i'll try to remember to link to here. oh, also, we really loved the papaya salad- i asked them to put the beef jerky on the side so carniverous boyfriend could eat it and i didn't have to pick it out; they gladly obliged. actually, i would say the staff was really friendly and our service was fast, in contrast to what i've read here and on yelp. all in all, two thumbs up!
but we'll keep exploring some of these other recs & i'll keep reporting back as to what we think. might be able to get the boyfriend to add a review of his bun as he's even more of a foodie than me.
thanks again for the recs!
For bun, my favorite is Loi's out in Sunset, which has amazing meats, but you won't find any 'pescatarian' options there.
My favorite cheap-er Vietnamese restaurants with larger menus are:
-Turtle Tower for pho ga
-Golden Flower for bun, particularly the pork and shrimp version
-Golden Star for beef pho with a lovely broth
-Lotus Garden for bahn xeo
They probably have large enough menus for you to find something that fits within your diet and budget.
Lam Hoa Thuan
2337 Irving Street @25th Avenue
(415) 661-1688/ (415) 661-8078
Open daily 9am-9pm
1015 Irving Street @ 12th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
Hours: * Mon 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
* Wed-Sun 10:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
btw, what is "open door-type restaurants "?
Welcome to SF!
Try the cha ca Hanoi at Turtle Tower - really great fish dish. Also great is the pho (although this is not good for pescetarians)
Another good choice is Lotus Garden, which is in Mission/Bernal Heights. This place is a tad nicer (good service and decor) and cost can vary depending on what you order, but overall it's pretty inexpensive.
There are lots of posts on both of these places.
There are tons more Vietnamese restaurants to try. I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys like best, since I am always looking out for new, good Vietnamese restaurants (especially ones to visit with non-meat eating friends)
3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Turtle Tower Restaurant
631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109