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Sep 12, 2007 08:19 AM

SF for one week—how are my choices?

Hey, all—

I'll be in SF visiting friends the 18th - 24th. Food is going to be the highlight of the trip, so I hoped some of you might be willing to edit my list for me. You can probably discern from the spots I've picked what kind of food I'm after, so I'm mainly wanting to make sure I'm not missing anything obvious, since I have one or two more meals to fill. I am planning to do El Farolito, because my friends love Mexican, and we have none of that worth eating in D.C. Otherwise, I just want stellar ingredients, relatively simple preparations with French or Italian accents.

Chez Panisse Cafe (have reservations)
Delfina (would Pizzeria Delfina be a better choice?)
Cafe Fanny
Tartine (I have a few days on my own for lunch when I planned to eat here, but should we also hit Bar Tartine one night for dinner?)
Greens (my friend has been wanting to try this spot, plus the cookbooks were my veg. bibles for years)
Bi*Rite Market
Quince (should I replace this with Michael Mina or Gary Danko?)

Ferry Building market on Sat. (any food in particular we should try for brunch/lunch?)

Let me know what you think. Thanks!

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  1. Great list! The two others I would consider are Canteen and Incanto.

    I'd definitely keep Quince over MM and GD.

    I'd also definitely go to Bar Tartine for dinner one night - totally different menu from the bakery.

    I've had two really disappointing meals at Greens, most recently a few months ago (really dated veg preps - seriously, they have vegetable kabobs on the menu). Worth it to take a look at the menu online to see what I'm talking about. You have so many other restaurants on your list that do such a better job at using local, seasonal produce that it would be a shame to waste a meal at Greens.

      1. re: sgwood415

        Yeah, given the style of places on that list, I'd say Incanto rather than Greens, or if you must go to Greens, rather than Quince.

      2. I think that's a good list, but I'm curious about your pick of Cafe Fanny. I think Cafe Fanny's great, but if you're already headed to Tartine, not sure why you'd trek all the way to Berkeley for another cafe meal. Also, Cafe Fanny is pretty small and standing room only inside, so if you luck out with good Indian Summer weather while you're here, sitting outside might be too cold.

        But given what I said, if you do end up going to Cafe Fanny, be sure to check out Kermit Lynch Wine next door for some unique French wines.

        8 Replies
        1. re: singleguychef

          i agree about Cafe Fanny - good food, but only if you happen to be there on a lazy weekend morning.

          1. re: singleguychef

            I agree about Cafe Fanny -- if you're going to be in Berkeley one morning for breakfast, I'd head to 900 Grayson or La Farine. And I also agree with what people are saying about Greens.

            1. re: singleguychef

              Hmm... good question. First, I am of the mind that one cannot easily overdo cafe meals, particularly when good ones are not easily found at home. I was actually thinking of going to Tartine twice. ;)
              Also, I have lots of time to kill during the week, and since I've never been to Berkeley thought there would be plenty for me to do. No?
              I would be really appreciative of other relatively casual lunch spots, though. I'm sort of short on those.

              1. re: greens

                There definitely is plenty to do in Berkeley, I would just pick a number of other lunch spots above Cafe Fanny. First, are you going to be driving? Because if not, that will limit your choices some (but there's plenty of good walking around to do, so you'll still get to see a lot of good stuff). This relatively recent thread: has lots of good food related stuff to do on a weekday in Berkeeley.

                1. re: greens

                  I think if you want to experience food on the East Bay, it would be fun to go somewhere where there's other options afterwards to walk around. Cafe Fanny, like I mentioned, is good but doesn't have anything much really around it unless you're going to get in your car and then drive down to Fourth Street area to visit Sketch. (BTW, I would visit Ici in Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley before Sketch, but that's another debate on another string, I believe.)

                  Jasmine's recommendation for La Farine is good mostly because there's a lot of other things around that area to check out, like a really interesting neighborhood meat market, the popular Wood Tavern restaurant, and another new restaurant called Noodle Theory. So it's in an area with options.

                  Also, Gourmet Ghetto close to Chez Panisse has a lot of food options such as Cesars for drinks and tapas, CheeseBoard for pizza and stuff, and Gregoire. So again, I'm mostly thinking as a visitor it's nice to hit a spot and then explore as opposed to driving from one destination eatery to another.

                  1. re: singleguychef

                    There are two branches of La Farine. I think College Avenue is a more interesting neighborhood and a longer shopping district. Also has a BART station. Rockridge Market Hall is worth a visit though it's no big deal compared with the Ferry Plaza.

                    La Farine
                    1820 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                    La Farine
                    3411 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Yeah, I always forget that there's a La Farine on Solano, I was talking about the College Ave location.

                    2. re: singleguychef

                      Excellent point. Both 4th St and the Gourmet Ghetto offer a multitude of food shopping, quick bites, formal dining, good drinks, etc. Great for food exploring.

                      I would opt for Sketch over Ici mainly because BiRite Creamery makes ice cream that is similar in style to Ici, whereas Sketch's style is more one-of-a-kind. I also feel that Sketch's non-ice cream treats (toffee, caramels, cakes, cookies, marshmallows) are superior to Ici's.

                2. Definitely add Canteen. i'd get rid of Zuni, honestly. Try Range in the Mission instead - IMO, a better roast chicken. Bar Tartine also a must!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    I normally recommend Range over Bar Tartine.

                  2. as for ferry building - try Out the Door - as opposed to Slanted Door. Also, if you want a high-end lunch, the caviar counter at Tsar Nicolas is great - try the soft scrambled truffled egg in its own shell with caviar, with some bubbly! very decadent. Or sit outside of Hog Island Oyster Co. and slosh down some fresh oysters with a bay view.