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Sep 20, 2007 04:50 PM

Returning to SF - my old stomping grounds...

I haven't spent much time in San Francisco since I graduated from San Francisco State University in 1995, but I just booked tickets for my wife and I to spend the weekend there to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Here are a couple questions for the Bay Area readers:

1) Two of my favorite places to eat for cheap were El Balazo on Haight for the mole burrito, and a nameless sushi place about one block south of Market Street on Church Street, on the western side of the street (I must have gone there twenty times over four years, and never found out what the name of the place was... we called it No-Name Sushi). Are either of these places still around, and if so, how's the food?

2) Now that I'm older, and have a little more spending cash than in my college days (when Top Ramen was one of my staple foods), I can afford to take my wife out for a nice dinner on Saturday night. Anyone have any suggestions for a nice restaurant that I could get a reservation for in two weeks on a Saturday night? It doesn't have to have Four Stars, but as long as it's on the nicer side.

3) Any popular food trends in San Francisco I should check out? Or odd/interesting.

4) When I took my trip to NY a few months back, I tracked down the only Belgian French Fry shop in the city. Any place in San Francisco that I can go to feed my french fry habit?


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  1. Frjtz is a great place for fries (it might be the Belgian place you visited already). They have more locations now, although I can only vouch for the Hayes Valley spot, and the fried are great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sgwood415

      Frjtz on Hayes is closed for 3 months as it moves next door (new space). They have another (new) location on Valencia..the only one currently open.

    2. Can you give us a little more info regarding item #2? Any areas in particular, types of cuisine, price range, etc.? There are lots of "nice restaurants". That's such an open-ended request it's difficult to know where to steer you beyond the typical recommendations you'll find by searching the Chowhound board.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sgwood415

        Sure. Somewhere in the City, preferably somewhere we can get to easily on Muni. Fancy without being shi-shi; Nice without being outrageously expensive. Somewhere that two of us can get a meal for ~$50 per person, not counting wine.

        As far as cuisine, basically anything goes. Sushi, Italian, French, steaks, etc, not to mention more obscure places.

        1. re: Dr. Confoundo

          Not counting wine (or tip), you could do Range for about $50 per person. My wife and I ate there for the first time last week and really enjoyed it. Definitely a nice night out with some really excellent food. Opentable is showing a table in a couple of weeks on a Saturday right now.

          1. re: Dr. Confoundo

            Incanto is a good option. The J-Church runs right in front of the restaurant. I'd say it is definitely not Chi-Chi, but it's an excellent restaurant with a casual feel.


            Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
            1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

        2. For #2, I recommend you take your wife to Piperade for great Basque inspired food. Upscale feel, quality food, without the massive wallet drain.

          As for trends, the crudo trend was big last year, not sure if it's still around.

          1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

          2 Replies
            1. re: Benny Choi

              Piperade is a good choice, another possibility would be Aziza. You shouldnt have a problem getting a table in two weeks, also on Open Table. More romantic than Piperade, IMO...Cal-Moroccan, lots of mentions on the board.

            2. No Name Sushi does still exist, but i haven't been in about 6 years. there are many better sushi places around, even right in that area. i actually like Miyabe, kind of across the street, but others on here don't. i've heard people like Wakarbune, which is also on Church.

              Frjtz in the Mission is pretty good for belgian-style fries. haven't tried other items on their menu.

              favorite nice spots you may be able to get a table for in two weeks: Foreign Cinema, Canteen, Range, and my new favorite, Cav Wine Bar, next to Zuni Cafe on Market. it may be called a wine bar, but the food is excellent. Spork is good too - well prepared comfort food in a revamped Kentucky Fried Chicken store. Perbacco for Italian . . . or Gialina in Glen Park . . .

              3 Replies
              1. re: mariacarmen

                I'm seeing that a few of these fancier restaurants are in the Mission - has that whole area been gentrified? When I was there, it wasn't the kind of place that I'd want to spend a fancy evening out.

                1. re: Dr. Confoundo

                  Yes and no. The stretch of Valencia between 16th and 24th has many, many restaurants and bars and is hopping at night. Some of those places are pretty upscale. It's the preferred neighborhood for hip young people with good salaries.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    yes, but the no part is: it isn't necessarily gentrified. More hipster.

                    By the way, for the OP: I really don't think Gialina is what you are looking for. Its a neighborhood place, mostly for pizza, lots of families likely to be there, and I'd be a little miffed if my hubby took me there to celebrate an anniversary. If you want Italian, Incanto is a much better choice for your number 2.

                    Reports on Spork have been decidedly mixed, what few there have been.

                    2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

              2. That sushi place is Nippon, 314 Church. Quality has had its ups and downs over the years.

                Nippon Sushi
                314 Church St, San Francisco, CA