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5 days in August: I've done my research, will you look over my itinerary?

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I'm going to be in SF in August for a convention. I've put away a little stash of money so that when my boyfriend and I will be in town (from New York) we can have our own little culinary adventure. We don't get to go out too often so we plan to make this a big splurge of a week but want to make sure that we get it right. As of now this is what we have planned, if there is any glaring omission or something that shouldn't be there, please let me know. Also, I haven't looked at anything for breakfast, but if there is any "don't miss" place, I'd love to know. Thanks so much for any suggestions (and also for your incredibly comprehensive boards!).

Friday:
Lunch- Yank Sing
Dinner- Kokkari

Saturday:
Breakfast/Lunch- Farmers Market
Dinner- Azziza

Sunday:
Lunch- Mission (La Cumbre/La Tacqueria...), Bi-Rite Ice Cream
Dinner- Bar Tartine? Myth? Quince? Canteen? (Something Cal-ingredient driven)

Monday:
Lunch- Burma Superstar
(happy hour Hog Island)
Dinner- Slanted Door

Tuesday:
Lunch- Chez Panisse
Dinner-Tadich? Zuni???

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  1. That looks like a great itinerary...nice work on the research! For your last dinner, if you can get a reservation at Zuni, I'd choose that personally. I think the food is somewhat better than at Tadich, though both really are major parts of what I think of when I think of San Francisco restaurants.

    On the previous question mark, the Sunday night dinner, I'd vote for Quince because it is the finest meal we've had in San Francisco since we moved to town a couple of years ago. The pastas are creative and perfectly executed.

    Have a great trip and be sure to let everyone know how all of these wonderful places were!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ccbweb

      I agree, Quince (skips the entrees and have xtra pasta courses) and Zuni (must order the chicken)!

      Glad you've got Canteen and Bi-Rite Creamery. I also agree w/ the poster below who suggests you collect ingredients for breakfast/picnic...there are some really amazing items you can get just on their own (Acme bread, Bellweather Ricotta, Miette Macaron, etc.)

    2. I personally would scratch Slanted Door and go to Foreign Cinema in the Mission. or do it Tuesday night. it's to me the quintessential San Francisco experience - MORE SO than Zuni. excellent food, soothing yet fun setting, maybe a movie playing in the background (sit outside under a heat lamp.) you won't be disappointed! http://www.foreigncinemasf.com/
      their brunch is also killer - amazing things they do with eggs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mariacarmen

        Your list looks great! Brunch at Foreign Cinema is the way to go; especially if the weather is nice and you can sit outdoors. You can also find a great breakfast at Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building (I believe every morning except Saturdays). It never disappoints.

        1. re: mariacarmen

          I agree with the Foreign Cinema brunch. The food and the dining space are wonderful. I also enjoy the weekend brunch at Pomelo on Church Street. Unique flavor combinations.

        2. zuni is pretty good. not fancy. give it a shot.

          1. Not to make things harder but try to get both Bar Tartine and Canteen for dinner. Maybe replace Slanted Door with one of them. Plenty of asian fusion places in NYC.

            Given that it's summer in SF you want to hit as many market driven restaurants as you can. The bread at Bar Tartine is reason enough to go. The heirloom tomato and watermelon salad I had last summer was enlightening as was a winter dish of pork belly and seppia.

            The pea soup with mint and dungeness crab at Canteen last year was another highlight. His brioche dinner rolls are also reason enough to go.

            1. You are going to have a great time at Chez Panisse this time of year. Everything is so delicious right now. If you go to La Taqueria, my personal fave, hope you try the steak tacos, an order of guacamole and chips, and an agua fresca. Yum yum.

              1. also as far as breakfast goes is just plain Tartine Bakery at 18th Guerrero - great breads, pastries, nice sidewalk seating. . . another cute breakfast place is Boogaloos, on Valencia and 22nd, i believe - always a wait but worth it. also nice sidewalk seating available.

                but again - brunch at Foreign Cinema. I'm torn however - i want you to have the nigthtime experience because that's when they play the movie. and if it sounds cheesy it isn't a bit. it's a very elegant place, but not stuffy. i've been in the mode of thinking of these thing lately because i have a guest coming in from Italy next week who has never been to the States at all, and i can't wait to wow him with all the food choices!

                report back when you're home, let us know your faves!

                1. Nice list...that would be a very nice week for anyone in the Bay Area.

                  Personally, I'd separate similar cuisines on a given day. Example: Kokkari and Yang Sing on the same day...nice. On that thought, I'd have Burma Superstar and Slanted Door on separate days. Palette-wise, variation keeps things fresher.

                  Given you're coming from NYC, I'd pick Slanted Door over another Cal-Ital choice and others have suggested. I'd also pick Zuni over Tadich...or put another choice like Myth there...although Tadich might be the way to end an SF trip...old school style.

                  Another note: Chez Panisse dinner (downstairs) on Monday is "bargain" night...$50 prix fixe. Lunch wouldn't be bad however.

                  1. Wow, you have certainly done your research! A couple of observations...I would put Myth or Quince on my list. Personally, I would strike Kokkari and put one of them in its place. I'd definitely try to get into Canteen - if you can't get in for dinner, you can try breakfast or lunch. On Monday I would break up Burma Superstar and Slanted Door, only because the cuisines are quite similar. I prefer Zuni to Tadich, but I am addicted to the chicken at Zuni. Enjoy your visit!

                    1. Great list! I'd definitely go for Zuni, and either Bar Tartine or Canteen for dinner. I like Slanted Door a lot, but I agree that it might be a good idea to switch it from the same day as Burma Superstar. Also, I love Hog Island, but the happy hour is often a mad house, so I'd switch Hog Island to another day, because you can always stop in and share a dozen oysters in the mid afternoon/early evening before dinner. For breakfast, definitely try to get some pastries from Tartine. I hope you have a great visit!

                      1. Nicely done! I vote for both Bar Tartine and Canteen as well... Quince is very good, but I think it's similar to but not superior to Babbo (and more expensive, too).

                        I don't think it's necessary to split Burma Superstar and Slanted Door... I actually like having similar but not identical flavor profiles in one day... it's like one meal sets you up for the other. I will say that I'm not a fan of Slanted Door, but a lot of people like it, and most visitors from NYC seem to like it.

                        You mentioned on another thread that you'll have an apartment that week... I'd collect pastries, fruit, and coffee and have breakfast every morning in the apartment. A couple of good sources at the Ferry Building - a food writer friend of mine swears by the canneles at Boulette's Larder (I have yet to see them there, and I will say that they seem to get mixed reviews here) - Frog Hollow has beautiful pastries, and really good preserves. Oh, and amazing fruit, too. You could get jams and preserves from June Taylor (available at Boulette's Larder and Cowgirl Creamery every day, and they have a stand on Saturday) and Frog Hollow, fresh peaches from Frog Hollow, Acme bread, Cowgirl Creamery cheese, and have a little feast every morning. On Saturday, pick up some Blue Bottle Coffee (if your apartment has a coffee grinder). Also look for Andante Cheese, Della Fattoria bread, and Achadina for Capricious (goat cheese) and goat sausage. On your day in the Mission, definitely get pastries from Bar Tartine, and on the day you go to Chez Panisse, go next door to Cheeseboard afterwards, do some tasting (if you're not too stuffed from lunch) and pick up some scones for the next day (I especially ike the oatmeal, but they're all good).

                        Make sure you get foccacia from Liguria Bakery one day... get there in the morning because they run out. And get truffles from XOX (my faves are cognac and caramel, although I recently heard a report of inconsistency with the caramel).

                        Have a great trip! Looking forward to hearing your report...

                        1. As already has ben said, great selection. You are not going to go wrong with any of your options. However, I would offer a minority opinion for Tadich's. It is classic San Francisco, with a long history. The seafood is great but you need to be a bit careful - nothing fancy. Stick with petrale sole, sand dabs (if they have them), but my choice would be the cioppino-as long as you like garlic. Also, remember that they don't take reservations and it will be very crowded from about 6:30-8.

                          1. Looks great.

                            The idea of Chez Panisse and Zuni on the same day is nuts. But nuts in a
                            really good way. You know CP is way out of the city across the bay? Figure
                            a 30 minute drive from downtown or 45 minute subway ride + 15 minute walk.

                            I haven't been to Myth so can't comment on the food, but one thing it has going
                            for it on your itinerary is location. See, after a carne asada burrito at La Taqueria
                            (lighter, meatier, less bloating than La Cumbre and even though I love La Cumbre
                            dearly it's currently in a bit of a downturn) you're going to want a nice long walk
                            and nothing beats a crosstown hike down Mission, past City Hall, up to O'Farrell,
                            to Grant, through Chinatown. And then you're hungry and in North Beach. As is Myth
                            (and to a lesser extent, Kokkari).

                            What I think I might be inclined to do would be Quince (which is in an entirely boring
                            part of town, hike-destination wise) on Friday and move Kokkari to Sunday.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                              Isn't Kokkari closed Sunday?
                              If you go to Zuni, be sure to get the caesar salad - best I've ever had. Also, they take reservations and Tadich does not.

                              1. re: walker

                                Yup, looks like Kokkari is closed on Sunday. So scratch that.

                            2. Excellent. Keep flexible if you want to do last minute cancellations due to your touring, add a list of runner ups like TWO, Scalas, Jack Falstaff, Piperade, Allegro Romano and my personal substitute for Slanted Door ( due to $) Koh Samui on 4th and Brannan

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Giselle

                                Wow-- thanks for all of your detailed responses! I'm glad to hear that this is a good start. I think that we might take off Kokkari-- although it sounds like it's supposed to be good, I think we'd rather do things that are distinctly SF. I'm going to try and work in Foreign Cinema, figure out Canteen/Bar Tartine/Quince (?), also where/if Zuni & Tadich fit. Also will try and switch around days and meals and then might come back with a final product :)

                                Keep the advice coming. And yes, I promise a detailed response when we return!

                              2. Tadich is fun, but judged solely on the food, it's not one of SF's best meals, though it's priced as if it were.

                                1. I've never had Bi-Rite, but if you're open to something a bit more casual and already in the Mission, give Mitchell's ice cream (on San Jose) a try. Delicious ice cream and quite a few off-the-wall flavors to try (I recommend the avocado).

                                  1. Zuni over Tadich. Be sure to go to Cav Wine Bar which is next door before dinner and do a little wine tasting.

                                    www.cavwinebar.com

                                    -----
                                    Cav Wine Bar
                                    1666 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    1. Since your coming to the Eastbay for lunch at Chez Panisse.

                                      You might as well have dinner at Pizzaiolo in Oakland.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Mission

                                        yeah. squid pizza and the heirloom tomato salad. yum.

                                      2. Sunday night you should do Range

                                        1. zuni over tadich
                                          i'm a huge fan of asian food and slanted door and burma superstar are not in the same category. BS is funky, down home burmese; SD is fine, fresh, elegantly prepared and makes me swoon with delight. i think about crossing the bay just to get any one of their dishes.
                                          chez panisse has a huge rep, but is not consistently wonderful or worth the price tag.
                                          bi-rite creamery is to die for. mitchell's has a longer list of flavors.
                                          PLEASE, most of all, skip yank sing and go to ton kiang on 22nd and geary for the best dim sum.
                                          and add delfina to your list for a fabulous dinner.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: lacerise

                                            I think about and have crossed the bay to get Burma Superstar's samusa soup. For other Burmese dishes, I've switched my loyalty to Larkin Express.

                                            I used to love Slanted Door. Now I don't recally care if I never eat there again, though it's worth a try. I think the food's as good as ever and if you don't have the old Valencia St. location to compare the sterile airport-terminal atmosphere might not be as depressing.

                                            1. re: lacerise

                                              We stopped going to Ton Kiang over a year ago. It had gone seriously downhill.

                                              1. re: lacerise

                                                I don't know...Chez Panisse, in my view, is a relative bargain given the others in that same category. From a visitors POV, I think it's certainly worth a stop, especially as reference and given it won't be "the big meal" on the visit.

                                                For that same reason, I'd put Slanted Door on the list too (besides the good eats), esp. coming from the East Coast.

                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                  Personally, the $85 fixed-price weekend dinner is in my "special occasion only" column and even then only occasionally.

                                                  But here we're talking lunch in the café. Which is cheap bordering on
                                                  crazyfree. Entrees top out at about $20. And it's all just one perfect thing
                                                  after another.

                                                  CP is the one thing on your list I'd say you absolutely must do. If you're
                                                  coming out here to figure out a thing or two about how we eat, you need
                                                  to contend with CP at some point. Lunch upstairs is a perfectly cost
                                                  effective way to do that.

                                                  1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                    Okay, $85 is getting up there...but given the whole package and compared to other places in the category, it's a bargain...and like true Berkeleyites, the menu pricing is pro-rated for the day, Mon the least, Tue and Weds a little more and Thur, Fri and Sat - $85. Any way, I agree it's a must go.

                                              2. add Nopa on your list if you're into late night eats.

                                                1. I'll second your Monday dinner idea. Monday happy hour at Hog Island is a mad-house, so get there early, but they have the $1 oysters, so it'll be a great way to start the meal. Make sure to save a little room for one more app at Slanted Door; the sashimi was outstanding. We did Slanted Door on Sunday night recently, then on Monday we hit the Hog Island happy hour before walking over to Boulevard.

                                                  -Kevin

                                                  1. I really can't recommend Le Cumbre. The last time I was there my carnitas burrito was almost flavorless, and as Chuckles wrote, leaden. Heaping on the salsa helped, but then it was just salsa with extra calories. Once upon a time it was apparently pretty good, but there are better tacquerias in the Mission these days, and not far away.

                                                    I greatly prefer El Toro (corner of Valencia and 17th, less than a block from Le Cumbre), though I confess it's been a while since I've been there. Currently I go to Azteca (Church below Market, 4-5 blocks from Le Cumbre), which is quite good, and much closer to my house.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Alderete

                                                      La Cumbre is good for the carne asada (fresh) and pollo asada. The carnitas is better elsewhere. Most taquerias have one or two particulars that they do well...and the rest sort of is only okay...and of course everyone has their personal favs.

                                                    2. You guys are amazing-- thank you so much for such thoughtful responses!

                                                      Ok, so due to reservation availability and lots of your suggestions, I've moved things around a bit. Friday dinner at Azziza, Sunday at Zuni (that was a tough reservation to get!), and Tuesday dinner at Slanted Door-- everything else has remained the same. Of the last two dinners (Saturday and Monday), I THINK that we are going to do Bar Tartine and Foreign Cinema. Saturday is a particularly celebratory night for us-- is either of those places more conducive to that? Or does either one have a particular nice bar/wine nearby for an after dinner drink (like Cav and Zuni, thank you!)?

                                                      Lunches will pretty much stay the same, going to do Yank Sing, if only for convenience of location. Decided to leave out Tadich. Ok, thanks again. I just need to figure out those last two dinners!

                                                      Oops: So it looks like Bar Tartine is closed Mondays so I just made that reservation for Saturday. That leaves Monday dinner left, should we do Foreign Cinema? Or maybe something else? Also any bar suggestions near Bar Tartine for before or after?

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: jdream

                                                        You know what's kind of fun? Swan Oyster Depot for lunch. It's old San Francisco all right. It's a lunch counter. They have odd hours (close at 3) and it can be horribly crowded. I've had the clam chowder, crab cocktail, and sourdough french bread, which were all very tasty. Also, I've heard complaints about the dining room at Chez Panisse (prix fixe with a set menu) but I've always had a marvelous time at the Cafe upstairs and highly recommend it -- in the summer and fall when the produce is at its best. I'm a lover of the inconsistent and fun Zuni too -- definitely prefer it over Tadich.

                                                        1. re: KateC.

                                                          Swan's clam chowder is canned. Dungeness crab is very out of season.

                                                        2. re: jdream

                                                          Why wouldn't you do Slanted Door on Monday, right after happy hour at Hog Island? (did I miss something in the many responses?) I may be wrong, but I believe the dollar-oysters for happy hour at Hog Island are only on Monday and Thursdays.

                                                          Go to happy hour, sit outside and watch the sunset, then go inside for dinner. Can't ask for a better evening.

                                                          -Kevin

                                                          1. re: UptownKevin

                                                            That was the plan but there are no reservations available for Slanted Door monday :(
                                                            I think we are leaning toward Quince for Monday. Is that do-able proximitywise with Hog Island? Also, we have Swan on our auxiliary list and we do plan to do the Cafe at Chef Panisse (for lunch).

                                                            1. re: jdream

                                                              Yes, Quince is easily doable from the Ferry Building in a cab or Muni. If you can get the reservation, absolutely do it. And get lots of pastas.

                                                          2. re: jdream

                                                            You must do Foreign Cinema! You must make sure, however, that you sit outside. the experience is totally different inside. As for bars, Valencia is rife with them, but they're not "nice" bars - they're sort of hipstery-funky, young - not sure how old you are, i frequent most of them from time to time and i'm 46, but if you're looking for a more upscale bar in that area you might check out the bar at Andalu (a restaurant - tapas, very nearby) at 16th and Guerrero.

                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                              We really want to try Foreign Cinema-- but I'm just not sure that there is any place to fit it in this trip...

                                                              1. re: jdream

                                                                I'm a fan of Foreign Cinema, but I wouldn't put them in place of any of your current selections for this trip, personally. Definitely a good one for the list for your next visit though!

                                                          3. So here is what it is looking like. Secured some reservations and am VERY excited (I promise to report back):

                                                            Friday:
                                                            Lunch- Yank Sing
                                                            Dinner- Aziza

                                                            Saturday:
                                                            Breakfast/Lunch- Farmers Market
                                                            Dinner- Bar Tartine

                                                            Sunday:
                                                            Lunch- Mission (La Cumbre/La Tacqueria...), Bi-Rite Ice Cream
                                                            Dinner- Zuni

                                                            Monday:
                                                            Lunch- Burma Superstar
                                                            (happy hour Hog Island)
                                                            Dinner- Quince

                                                            Tuesday:
                                                            Lunch- Chez Panisse
                                                            Dinner- Slanted Door

                                                            As I said, I'm really looking forward to all of this. Just wanted to make sure that this isn't too many "rich" meals or that there is not too much similarity (ie. Zuni, Quince, Bar Tartine?). Thanks again for all the help!!

                                                            9 Replies
                                                            1. re: jdream

                                                              I think Zuni, Quince, and Bar Tartine are different enough. Chicken at Zuni, pasta at Quince (pass on the Entrees or share 1), and salads and fish preps at Bar Tartine. I'm usually not a salad guy but Bar Tartine makes wonderful dressings.

                                                              Your Saturday itinerary is awesome. I've done the same lineup many times and it always makes my week.

                                                              1. re: jdream

                                                                I think Zuni, Quince, and Bar Tartine are similar in philosophy, but different enough in execution that you won't actually find much overlap between menus.

                                                                Looks like a fantastic trip!

                                                                1. re: jdream

                                                                  Get the caesar salad at Zuni, at Slanted Door, fish is VERY fresh and I love the shaking beef and imperial rolls, I LOVE Yank Sing: if you don't see something on the carts ASK for it and they'll bring it to you special. I always get the shrimp dumplings, soup dumplings, minced chicken in lettuce cups, peking duck, don tarts (little egg custard tarts). I only get about 1 thing at a time so the table is not overwhelmed and better to get fresh. Be sure to arrive HUNGRY. Yank Sing takes reservations. At La Taqueria, I request crispy tacos (called dorado in Spanish), excellent quality.

                                                                  1. re: jdream

                                                                    The great thing about the places you've chosen is that you'll be able to navigate amongst "rich" dishes and other dishes that are lighter but still exceptional. Well, except at Bi-Rite...but you won't care. One thing to keep in mind is that Yank Sing can get very expensive, very quickly. I think its worth it, but its definitely more expensive than other dim sum.

                                                                    1. re: jdream

                                                                      Sounds great. Most of those places have lighter dishes so you won't be feeling overfed.

                                                                      I'd do Incanto instead of Quince but some people feel the opposite.

                                                                      1. re: jdream

                                                                        Sounds great to me, too bad I can't join you! I don't think you have places that are too similar to each other - and you can always control that with your menu selections! Have fun!

                                                                        1. re: jdream

                                                                          Wow! Can't wait to hear your report! I'll have to borrow your lineup for my next trip to SF. I did Zuni, Chez Panisse, Slanted Door (among others) on my last trip. I wouldn't mind going back to those 3 again. Have a delicious trip!

                                                                          1. re: jdream

                                                                            Yank Yank Sing. They believe in MSG. How embarassing. Go to R&G Lounge for some classical Cantonese food. You can ask them to not add MSG.

                                                                            1. re: sfwtchris

                                                                              R&G doesn't serve dim sum. Besides, there's nothing untraditional about using MSG in Chinese cuisine, and the "dangers" of MSG are grossly overstated.

                                                                          2. I've been following this post from the beginning and have to thank everyone (including the original poster!) - it has been amazingly helpful in organizing our trip to SF next week.

                                                                            One question - while everyone here seems to give Burma Superstar positive reviews, I've read mixed reviews elsewhere which seem to indicate that it may have gone a bit downhill in the last 6 months or so...have any of you been recently? We have very little time (technically 5 days, but two of them we are adrift in Palo Alto for a wedding) and I don't want to make a mistake!

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: drblock

                                                                              I haven't read anything that suggested anything has changed. However, I think the food at Larkin Express Deli is better, and they don't clutter up the menu with Chinese and Indian dishes.

                                                                              On the other hand, only Burma Superstar makes samusa soup, and Larkin Express closes early.

                                                                              1. re: drblock

                                                                                I haven't read anything about BS's decline. Any way, if you only have 3 real days in SF, and you're unsure, I'd skip Burma Superstar. There's more then enough off the OP's list to keep you busy. If you can afford the risk and have the time, perhaps do lunch, which is lighter and affords you dinner to erase a bad experience.

                                                                                If you're in Palo Alto, might look into Straits Cafe, Singaporean cuisine...although it gets mixed reviews...but then PA isn't quite SF.

                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                  The time I went to Straits in Palo Alto, the food was pretty abysmal. Their Santana Row restaurant was much better, but it has multiple hour long waits and conversation is often drowned out by live music performers/DJs.

                                                                                  1. re: ML8000

                                                                                    If you're in Palo Alto you might try Evvia. It's the peninsula version of Kokkari. Not as grand but reliably good.

                                                                                  2. re: drblock

                                                                                    Adrift in Palo Alto for a wedding! You poor thing. If you have some extra time there during the weekday, I highly recommend a roast beef sandwich at The Cheese House in Town & Country Village. I posted about them elsewhere, but basically they are three ultra-thin pieces of white bread, some special sauce made of mayo and mustard, lots of very fine roast beef, and pickles. Nothing else, no cheese, no lettuce, no tomato. They are divine.

                                                                                  3. Good list. I do like Tadich's, but really for lunch. Eating a Dungeness Crab Salad with a great cold glass of chardonnay and maybe some clam chowder is a great quintessential SF meal, but I wouldn't schedule a whole dinner around it. If you don't find lunch at the Farmers Market on Saturday (and you might just eat a ton of great fruit for breakfast, especially since you're heading back to the Ferry Building), Tadich's is really not that far.

                                                                                    1. Your itinerary looks yummy and diverse, but I did notice one glaring oversight: Restaurant Delfina in the Mission is not on your list.

                                                                                      Delfina is one of the best foodie restaurants in the city. As I long time Zuni devotee, been eating there since day-one, I would still recommend Defina over Zuni to a visitor if they had to make the choice. http://www.delfinasf.com/
                                                                                      In any case, have fun!

                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: gloryous

                                                                                        I'd go to Zuni before Delifina. I'd consider Delfina in place of Bar Tartine. Though I'd pick Incanto over Delfina.

                                                                                        jdream, I see you post on the Manhattan board a lot, do you live there? If so you might skip Kokkari. It's not likely better than NY's upscale Greek places.

                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                          Thanks for the suggestions. We have decided to skip Kokkari, with such great Greek food in Astoria (as well as Molyvos, et al) we decided to do something more "San Francisco". I posted the final itinerary on Aug 3, above Porthos' post. Thanks for the Delfina suggestion, though I think we're going to leave it as is. It's been a lot of deliberation and we're really excited for the reservations we have. Though if something changes (or we decide to stay!) Delfina and Incanto it is.

                                                                                          1. re: jdream

                                                                                            Careful with the prices at Quince; a friend went with his parents and the bill for the 3 of them was $500 and they did not think it was worth that kind of $$, they won't be returning.

                                                                                            1. re: walker

                                                                                              Judging by everyone's recommendations, I think we're only going to do apps and pastas (which general hover around $20), so I wasn't too worried. Unless the wine list is absurdly high I think we'll get out ok. Though thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                To get to that price per person at Quince would require plenty of wine. Based on the sample menu online, and from what I recall from our meals there, ordering the most expensive of all three courses and dessert would make the food about $75 per person. If you skipped a starter and got two pasta courses instead, you could bump that to about $82 per person. The rest would have to be wine. So, as always, keep an eye on wine prices.....but in my opinion, the food is definitely worth the money.

                                                                                                I also didn't find the wine list to be absurd, and they have a nice selection of half-bottles, which helps.

                                                                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                  The wine list is skewed towards the higher end. Not absurd but definitely higher.

                                                                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                    I think that's a totally accurate way of describing it.

                                                                                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              Uh oh-- a seed of indecisiveness has been planted... Should I replace Bar Tartine with Incanto? With Delfina? Or should I leave it....? help!

                                                                                              1. re: jdream

                                                                                                If you're seriously into Italian food, pork, or innards, Incanto's a must.

                                                                                                We ate there with friends from New York who've been to all of Batali's restaurants etc. and they were very impressed, especially by the relatively low prices compared with Manhattan.

                                                                                                http://incanto.biz/sample_menu.html (note: "duck fries" are testicles)

                                                                                                1. re: jdream

                                                                                                  Naw, stick with Bar Tartine. As good as Incanto is, I still like Babbo better for pasta. But if you are into organ meats you can call ahead and order a whole beast meal in advance. Definitely not worth switching Bar Tartine with Delifina.

                                                                                            3. Gary Danko is AMAZING FOOD!!!! It is pricey but sooo worth it.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: minnie

                                                                                                I agree, the finest meals I've had in SF were at Gary Danko and The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton (not at all what you'd expect from a hotel restuarant.) Both were totally worth the price for the fabulous food and amazing service. Spring for one, you won't be disappointed.

                                                                                                1. re: donali

                                                                                                  Thanks for the suggestions and though they do sound fantastic they are somewhat outside of our budget. We've decided to do a number of great meals that, albeit, are still somewhat expensive but not SUPER expensive. If we do a meal like GD or the Ritz it will really slim down what we can do on other nights. In the future, hopefully a wealthier one, I'll have to try those!

                                                                                                  1. re: jdream

                                                                                                    Jdream, your choices are excellent, and you've chosen the kind of food that SF excels at. Honestly, I thought GD paled in comparison to Bouley, Daniel, Jean-Georges, and Le Bernardin, and none of the SF restaurants in that price-range offer the kind of lunch prix-fixe that their (superior) NYC counterparts do. On a budget, you're much better off going to those places in NYC. Even with an unlimited budget, I'd still eat at the places you chose - I don't think you're compromising your experience in any way by choosing mid-range restaurants.

                                                                                                    Oh, and weighing in on the Incanto v. Delfina. v. Bar Tartine debate above - I'm solidly in the Bar Tartine camp, even though I love Incanto - but one of the reasons I love Incanto is because it's the only Italian restaurant I've been to in the Bay Area that feels like Lupa. Bar Tartine has no NYC correlate as far as I know. Have a great trip!

                                                                                                    1. re: daveena

                                                                                                      Thanks so much for that weigh-in, providing NY comparisons really helps. We are SOO excited and so grateful for all of your excellent (and again, thoughtful) advice. Look forward to a lengthy and detailed report!

                                                                                                      1. re: jdream

                                                                                                        So when are your five days, anyway? And when you report, can you start a new thread, and link back to this one? I'm looking forward to it!

                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                          I'm flying out Thursday night and the eating starts this Friday and I return to NY Wednesday the 22nd. And yes, I'll take that suggestion and start a new thread that links back to this one.

                                                                                              2. I would skip Zuni. Its been there 25 years and it shows! I mean come-on..Roasted Chicken has come and gone for most us. Its sold off of trucks at Farmers Markets here. Last time I ordered it there it was pink and was quickly sent back. We have so much more to offer. Don't get caught in trying to get to the "label" places. You'll find the most satisfaction in local neighborhood establishments.

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: SFguy

                                                                                                  chicken at zuni still works. as do the oysters and the vodka gimlets. at the end of the day, a mighty comfortable place.

                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                    Don't forget the caesar salad; best I've ever had.

                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                      ...and must have the espresso granita...mmmmmm!!!

                                                                                                    2. re: steve h.

                                                                                                      So where should we recommend they sit at Zuni? My most memorable meals there have been when walking in on a Sunday night, no reservation, hanging at the bar for an hour or so, and then getting that precious corner seat at the peak of the triangle. Next best is on the ground floor way off in the back corner on the Market St. side. Worst has always been upstairs which is like some other, different less-interesting restaurant that could be anywhere.

                                                                                                      I mentioned this once before and got furious disagreement, but I forget what
                                                                                                      the consensus was? So I'll just throw this into the mix: try for that non-traditional
                                                                                                      corner seat in the bar area just to your left when you come in the door. Upstairs is eating in somebody's tiny little quiet art gallery. Downstairs is all in the thick of things.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                        I was seated upstairs right by the stairs on my first visit. Didn't know I was missing all the actions until finished my meal and walked along Market St to discover the back corner. I thoroughly enjoyed my meals nonetheless. Will know to request downstairs on my next visit.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                          Downstairs is often too noisy. My favorite tables are the two four-tops on the little balcony overlooking the kitchen, and the ones in the back of the upstairs room.

                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            I love sitting on that little balcony, or right at the top of the stairs.

                                                                                                      2. re: SFguy

                                                                                                        The roast chicken at Zuni is on an entirely different level than the roast chicken at the Farmer's Market. Frankly, the one at the Farmer's Market is dry and I don't get what the hype is about.

                                                                                                        The chicken at Zuni though, is moist, and wonderfully flavored and the bread salad is a perfect accompaniment. For someone coming from the east coast, the OP should give it a try.

                                                                                                        The "pinkness" of the chicken at Zuni has been discussed ad nauseum. Bascially, pink and moist good. Bloody, not good. Zuni chicken= pink and moist.

                                                                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                          Zuni's chicken is salted one to three days ahead, which like brining means that the meat retains more of its color when done.

                                                                                                      3. Another details question... I noticed that there were two Yank Sings, the one on Stevenson is more convenient from the Moscone center (it seems). Is there any major difference between the two? The one on Mission and Spear is THAT much farther (again, it seems) so if it is much better I'd make the trip... Should I make reservations (for Friday around 12:15)?

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jdream

                                                                                                          The one at Mission and Spear is much larger, and I have been told that the kitchen is bigger and better, but I've eaten at the Stevenson location more often (it was closer to my office) and enjoyed it. And yes, make reservations (but they won't be hard to get); otherwise you'll have to wait, but not that long.

                                                                                                          1. re: jdream

                                                                                                            I just go to whichever one is closer. Haven't noticed any difference in the food except that since Stevenson's smaller they're less likely to run out of things before the cart reaches my table.

                                                                                                          2. Another thing that's gone mostly unresolved is what to do about a drink before/after
                                                                                                            Saturday dinner. Couple of suggestions:

                                                                                                            As mentioned, you're in a pretty dense bar area. Valencia and Mission in fact are something
                                                                                                            of a world-class drinking zone. Beforehand, one good bet for a decent, non-surprising
                                                                                                            place would be Dalva, around the corner from Bar Tartine on 16th St. Standard dark
                                                                                                            tunnel of a place. Not likely to be overly crowded in the early evening.

                                                                                                            Afterwards, the choices are endless. For the most quintessential SF experience,
                                                                                                            there's Zeitgeist north on Valencia a couple of blocks. Absolutely not a romantic sort
                                                                                                            of place if that's what you're looking for (unless of course tattoos and chaingrease in
                                                                                                            a biergarten are a turn on -- which is true for a lot of us ...). Possibly a little intimidating
                                                                                                            at first but like everything out here, under all the inky musculature there's just a fuzzy
                                                                                                            teddybear.

                                                                                                            While I hate hate hate Medjool up on Mission at 21st, they've got one very significant
                                                                                                            thing in their favor: a rooftop, outdoor bar. About 6 storeys up, fantastic view of the
                                                                                                            east side of the city. SF in August at night is crazy cold. Dress for NY in October.

                                                                                                            Finally, you seem to have a gift for explaining what you're looking for in a way that
                                                                                                            makes people want to help. The staff at Bar Tartine are going to be experts in the
                                                                                                            local alcohol geography. I'd suggest inquiring while you're there.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                              Zeitgeist has good burgers:

                                                                                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/401256

                                                                                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                                Wow, thanks! That's fantastic information.

                                                                                                                1. re: jdream

                                                                                                                  I can't wait to see your impressions! What a great list. I'm glad you dropped Kokkari; it's a fine place but I like Molyvos better.

                                                                                                                  My one suggestion (don't you love these?) would be to go to Incanto instead of Quince. Quince seems more New-Yorky to me, the prices are higher than Incanto, and the portions are smaller. I think portions at most restaurants are too large, especially at Italian places, but Quince overdoes it for my taste. I just checked and Monday night reservations are still available.

                                                                                                                  Whatever you choose you have a fabulous itinerary, and I'm looking forward to seeing your report back.

                                                                                                                  Michael

                                                                                                              2. My report is posted under "Our love affair with Tartine...."

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: jdream

                                                                                                                  Here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434109

                                                                                                                2. You must go to Ella's for breakfast/brunch...but go on the weekends when the menu is a little more daring.

                                                                                                                  1. You're not missing a thing by skipping Gary Danko. So boring. (Supremely love Chez Panisse Cafe at this time of year and the steak tacos at La Taqueria, though.) It's really funny that someone is recommending Dalva, Zeitgeist, etc. There are a million hipster bars in the Mission. You'll like them if you like Williamsburg. Dalva has a back room.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: KateC.

                                                                                                                      Dalva because it's about 50 yards from Bar Tartine and easy to find and might save our guest from a sadly mistaken visit to the horrors of Blondie's. Zeitgeist because of the legend. I'm not sure I'm catching the humor? Do you have other specific recommendations?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                                        We made a sadly mistaken visit to the horrors of Blondies! eek.