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Aug 22, 2007 07:46 AM

Unique, Moderate & Comfortable in S.F.

I'm looking for suggestions for a dinner place in S.F. that either has a unique spin on a cuisine or represents an under-represented cuisine, is moderately priced (less than $60 pp with moderate wine & tip), and comfortable for a leisurely dinner. Neighborhood is open. I have La Ciccia planned, so I'm not looking for Italian. I was originally leaning toward Yaya, but have learned that they'll be closed by the time I get to town. I'm wondering about Karamanduka--it seems to get mixed reviews. Then again, I may end up at a Vietnamese roast crab place if all else fails.

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  1. Coming from New York, you will be hard pressed to find a cuisine here that you can't find at home, but you seem to be already aware that we are much stronger in Vietnamese. If you haven't tried it, maybe a good "Beef Seven Ways" would be interesting. I'm not much of a beef fan, so I'll leave it to others to suggest the best place for that.

    Jai Yun is not a unique spin on Chinese food, but probably a unique presentation with its prix fixe tasting menus and all items personally executed by the Chef-owner. Probably couldn't sneak it under $60/pp, though.

    Speaking of crustaceans, crab cioppino is unique to SF and may be worthwhile if you haven't tried it already.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gary Soup

      I've already been to Jai Yun (shortly after they opened, with Robert Lauriston). I usually catch Vietnamese lunches on my own in Little Saigon, but thanks for the suggestions.

    2. Have you gone to Aziza yet? Definitely a unique spin on Moroccan cuisine. No damn belly dancers.

      For Peruvian, Mochica. Haven't been to Karamaduka to compare.

      Maykadeh (Persian) has some great tongue and brains as well as less challenging dishes.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I went to Maykadeh many years ago and it was quite good.

        1. re: Peter Cherches


          Maykadeh Persian Cuisine
          470 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          Second Aziza - for $50 there is a great prix fixe for upwards of five courses so it is perfectly within your budget and will impress.

          1. re: Carrie 218

            Aziza definitely makes the short list. Thanks.

            1. re: Peter Cherches


              5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

        3. I'm a big fan of Saha. The food is fresh, wonderfully spiced and, while filling, its not heavy.

          Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant
          1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

          2 Replies
          1. re: larochelle

            Funny you should mention that. I stumbled upon it last time I was in town and had a nice breakfast there after discovering that Canteen doesn't do weekday breakfast. The online menu only lists dinner hours, but I think they do breakfast for the hotel it's in.

            1. re: Peter Cherches

              Yes, the last time I checked, they do breakfast every day. I think its part of their lease deal since they're in a hotel.

              I really like it as a leisurely Sunday paper-reading place - no line, its quiet, they don't rush you and the food is tasty.

          2. Piperade for Basque.

            1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

            1 Reply
            1. re: Husky

              I had a great meal there last week. Really enjoyed the ham and cheese terrine, piquillo pepper and crad salad starters, and the fish dishes looked great and my lamb was outstanding.