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Excelsior Report

pantagruel1 Nov 2, 2007 05:53 PM

One of the great pleasures of living in San Francisco is the ability to walk from your house to find good food. You would think that this rule would apply throughout the city, particularly in such a diverse community as the Excelsior (Salvadoran, Filipino, Italian and Pacific Islander). The sad reality is that the majority of restaurants here are mediocre greasy spoon Chinese, Filipino and Hawaiian take out joints, with a smattering of sub-par pupuserias and taquerias. There are some bright spots, however. Hilda’s bake shop, on Persia, a few blocks up from Mission, has very nice Filipino baked goods (putos, cucinta and hopia). Get there early, they usually sell out quickly. There is a newish Japanese restaurant called Raw, on Mission, near Excelsior (across from the library), which had decent ramon and pork tonkatsu (and gave out free bottles of sake during their opening month). Joe’s Cable Car (Mission) has put out consistently good (though expensive) burgers for decades. If you get there at the right time, you can watch Joe “grind his own chuck.” Plus, Joe’s serves pitchers of Anchor. Sorrento Deli, on Mission, between Persia and Russia, has some very nice San Francisco made deli meats, including a fantastic pistachio mortadella and good copa and sopresata. You can also get bulk dried porcini and moscato d’asti. If you want to drink cheaply, there are an abundance of gloomy bars, often empty on Fri. and Sat. nights, that serve Bud and MIller, usually Jameson and perhaps a quality tequila. I go bar hopping once a year, each time getting most of my drinks comped by bartenders hoping to buy my loyalty.

  1. n
    Nancy Berry Nov 3, 2007 10:55 AM

    I've lived in the Excelsior for almost 20 years and have lamented the lack of good restaurants in the neighborhood for almost 20 years. I think that you are being a bit harsh re the taquerias in the area -- Guadalajara and El Farolito (both on Mission near Onondaga) serve good burritos, tacos, etc., and offer a number of salsas and pickled vegetables for free with your order.

    Also Costa del Sol, on Mission near Avalon, is a very good Salvadorean seafood restaurant and papuseria. Their seafood sopas and their pupusas are really good as are their house-made tortillas.

    I agree totally that Sorrento is a wonderful deli. I particularly like their small but good cheese section that includes both Italian and California-made Italian-style cheeses. The Teleme, dry jack and fresh ricotta are particularly good. Their salumi is mostly made by Molinari, but I think that the pistachio mortadella is Italian-made. They also sell really good olives (particularly the green ones) and excellent fresh Italian sausage from two suppliers, Molinari and the folks who used to own Gloria Delicatessen in North Beach. And they now make excellent sandwiches, many pre-designed and offered on a blackboard at the counter. Of course, you can also design your own sandwich.

    As to the rest, I don't go to Joe's Cable Car anymore because the only good things there are the over-priced hamburgers and milkshakes. The sides are all mediocre and there are other places outside of the Excelsior where I can get an excellent hamburger along with very good french fries, onion rings, etc. -- Tower Burger, Lakeside Cafe, Boulevard Cafe -- worth the drive for a complete meal that's really good and less expensive than just the hamburger at Joe's.

    And, finally, your geography re Sushi Raw is a bit off. It's on Mission between Cotter and Avalon. We haven't been there yet, but I've read some good things about it.

    Sorrento Delicatessen
    4763 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Sushi Raw
    4435 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Costa Del Sol
    4423 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Taqueria Guadalajara
    4798 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    El Farolito
    4817 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Hilda's Mart & Bake Shop
    145 Persia Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Joe's Cable Car
    4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nancy Berry
      pantagruel1 Nov 3, 2007 06:20 PM

      Thanks for the corrections, Nancy, especially the additions to Sorrento. I'm looking forward to trying the Salvadoran place. I have to disagree, however, with your comments on the taquerias. I do not think that either Guadalajara or Farolito compare with their Mission brethren. Meats are bland, burritos are so-so.

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