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Dinner in the Mission District?

Hey all,

Will be traveling to San Francisco in a couple weeks. Have most reservations and recommendations in place, (thanks to you SF Chowhounds).

Any Mission District restaurant recommendations for dinner? Any type of food is great - price not a problem.

Many thanks in advance. Kat

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  1. Bar Bambino is a cute new place getting a lot of good mentions. It is just around the corner from 16th Street & Mission BART station.

    Delfina and its sister restaurant Pizzeria Delfina next door are a standard recommendation that can be quite difficult to get into. That said, they are a good bet for interesting and imaginatively cooked Italian cuisine.

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    Delfina Restaurant
    3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Bar Bambino
    2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Pizzeria Delfina
    3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    1 Reply
    1. re: grishnackh

      Delfina and Bar Bambino both look great, but I'm already doing Italian one night. I will definitely try Delfina next time I'm in town - many thanks for your time and great suggestions!

      1. re: bernalman

        Thanks for the recs bernalman. I've heard great thinks about Range, and I like the idea of a neighborhood restaurant, tried and true, which Range seems to be. I will try and beg for a reservation! :)

        1. re: sbkat

          Range is on Open Table and not too awful to get a reservation at..although be aware that if you book through OT they will ask for a credit card to hold the reservation.

          1. re: susancinsf

            range seems pretty pricey. what are some highlight dishes to get there?

            thanks

            1. re: inmandarin

              If they have the halibut in the little Staub pot then order that. I think that have an entree presented in the little pot frequently. Also, the cocktails are some of the best in SF. It's definitely not super expensive considering the quality of the food, but the entrees are above the $18 range. It does get rather loud though.

        2. re: bernalman

          I'd also second Foreign Cinema. We took an English friend there last week, and it was the perfect choice. The room is lovely, especially with the big fireplace and tables not too crowded together, the service was friendly and flawless and the food very good. FC and Zuni, in my mind, offer the best fruites de mer in the city. We were also able to find some excellent wines at not exorbitant prices and especially loved the Rolly Gassman pinot blanc.

        3. My favorites are Range, Pizzeria Delfina, and Delfina; I also like Slow Club a lot.

          I don't think Slow Club takes reservations, except for large parties. Pizzeria Delfina does not, so you will wait in line if you're there during prime hours. Delfina and Range you will have to reserve.

          Of the four, Delfina, Slow Club and Range are all around the same price range. Pizzeria Delfina is more casual and less expensive. The food at each of them ranges from very good to great, but if I had to choose one, it would probably be Delfina.

          -----
          Slow Club
          2501 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1 Reply
          1. re: pane

            Hi Pane,

            Range gets my vote - great vibe, good, solid reviews from fellow Chowhounds, and I was lucky enough to snag a reservation during my stay. Woo hoo! Many thanks for your great suggestions all.

          2. The Blue Plate on Mission a couple of blocks south of Cezar Chavez. It's small and popular so you would want to make reservations.

            For good Spanish tapas, try Esperanto (did I spell that right?) on 22nd between Misson and Valencia.

            For upscale, pseudo Chinese there is Firecracker on Valencia near 21st Street.

            If you are up for a raucous good time try Cha Cha Cha - a bar/restaurant on Mission around 19th or 20th Streets.

            5 Replies
            1. re: JockY

              it's Esperpento.

              blue plate is (deservedly) popular, but i've never had a problem with walk-ins. at least in small groups.

              1. re: JockY

                Hey Jock,

                Blue Plate looks great, but we're going to be looking for a Sunday meal, and it appears they are closed on Sundays according to their site - perhaps that is no longer the case? The menu looks great - apps especially, which is a way I love to eat; I can order a couple for a meal, although the mac and cheese is strongly tugging at my comfort food heart strings..... Tapas... well, we've had the best abroad, so I'd have to pass on that.

                1. re: sbkat

                  If Blueplate is closed you might consider the Front Porch as a similar type place in the same area.

                  -----
                  The Front Porch
                  65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                2. re: JockY

                  I love Firecracker but have not been there in about 3 years, so can't say how it is lately.

                  I have been to Delfina 4 times; twice were ok and twice blew me away. I had marrow risotto there and one of my DC tasted it and said "I want this to be my last meal" it was that good. And I just had this unbelievable lamb on Sunday night, I just wish there were more of it, it was sort of a small portion, but it was incredible. What a sauce!

                  1. re: atjsfo

                    I was at Firecracker three months ago and had an all-around excellent meal. None of the five people at our table failed to clean their plates.

                    I can also sympathize with Delfina being uneven. One evening there I was served both the wrong bottle of champagne and a completely petrified [and miniscule] portion of duck.

                3. Wow! Not one recommendation for a Mexican/Latin American restaurant in the Mission!!!!

                  How about El Delfin, especially for the shrimp dishes.

                  -----
                  El Delfin
                  3066 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Hi Ruth,
                    Do you know if El Delfin is open for lunch? I grew up in LA/So Cal and now live in Santa Barbara, where I can still get get great Mexican, but I could eat it every day! Many thanks - Kat

                    1. re: sbkat

                      They are open for lunch, but not on Tuesdays. For a quick and cheap lunch, I would also suggest Torta Gorda on 24th for good tortas in a 1950's soda fountain.

                      1. re: pane

                        Oooh, yumba, I love a good torta. Thanks again Pane.

                  2. My top choices would be Delfina (I realize you've already said no Italian) and Chez Spencer. I like Range and actually had dinner there last week, but I can't say I think it's great. I could not get a cocktail to save my life (very spotty service). For a mom of a small child who *rarely ever* gets a night out in a nice restaurant, that is supremely frustrating. I was very frustrated by the choices on the menu as well. Two people got the vegetarian entree and did not like it one bit. I liked my chicken (that was the most exciting thing I could find, seriously). There was a pork dish that looked good and a daube (I don't order daubes/stews in restaurants--I am usually very disappointed).

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Atomica

                      I'd be pretty annoyed if I couldn't get a cocktail at Range, especially on a rare night out. The drinks are the best part of dining there, IMO.

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        That's what I've heard as well, regarding the cocktails, which was a strong contender for us - we love a good, creative drink. Atomica also mentioned Chez Spencer - don't know anything about the place. Worth a try? Would appreciate any feed back... thanks again!

                        1. re: sbkat

                          by the way, it is on the opposite side of town from the Mission, but if you love good, creative drinks, Aziza is one place that does them even better than Range...

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            And Aziza does so much else that's wonderful! (See my recent posting on the spreads and the lamb dishes . . . )

                      2. re: Atomica

                        Wow - that was indeed an unfortunate evening out for you, sorry to hear that, especially as a Mom, I can definitely relate! I have read so many positive reviews from CH and others, so I'm hoping this was just a glitch situation? Still, sorry to hear it happened on your rare night out.

                      3. There are so many places to choose from in the Mission that I'm sure you'll have fun eating out. Some places not mentioned that I consider strong candidates:

                        1) Spork, a new funky American upscale diner-like place where an old KFC used to be. It's fun and lively and the food is well done. They don't take reservations though. It does get hopping starting at 7:30 p.m. on most nights. (They're closed Sundays.)

                        2) Maverick, nice American-Southern flavors and good service. They're popular for a fancy Sunday brunch.

                        3) Bar Tartine, from the people behind Tartine Bakery. Cozy setting and interesting food.

                        4) Limon, a classic and still popular after all these years. Peruvian cuisine. I love the ceviche.

                        -----
                        Spork
                        1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        Maverick Restaurant
                        3316 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        Bar Tartine
                        561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        Limon Restaurant
                        524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: singleguychef

                          I second the Maverick rec and will note that Bar Bambino has been on the "Try it Soon" list for about a month.

                        2. I ate at Range on Saturday night. Here is a review pasted from my longer trip report:

                          Range
                          This meal was top-notch from start to finish. The service, the food, and the atmosphere were great and I could certainly see why Range has a Michelin star. (My DC ate at Chez Panisse earlier in the week and felt that Range was superior.)
                          We started with a cauliflower soup with pancetta and gruyere toasts (which were floated in the bowl). The soup was not cream-based, but a savory broth with many small chunks to cauliflower. The sweetness of the cauliflower with the saltiness of the cubes of pancetta were beautiful together.
                          Next, I had the roasted chicken with fennel sausage, radicchio, pecan bread salad and sherry jus. To be clear, I almost never order roast chicken in restaurants because most of them do not make the dish as well as I can in my home. Range’s chicken is certainly the exception- moist meat with a crisp golden skin. The fennel sausage was in ground clusters and the pecan bread salad, was cubed. Great flavor and texture combinations, especially for a chilly night.
                          My DC had the braised daube of beef with horseradish cream, spaetzle, bacon, and broccoli rabe. The beef was fork tender and the sauce had a mild, rather than pungent , horseradish sauce. The little clusters of spaetzle provided a nice carb potato alternative that absorbed the flavor of the juices from the beef and were excellent paired with the beef or bacon. Both entrees were top-notch.
                          We could not decide which entrée we liked better. Every time I would start to lean one way, I would change my mind. Both dishes were items that I would happily eat again.
                          For dessert we ate the ginger cake with cranberries and vanilla cream. The ginger cake was very moist with a robust ginger flavor, but I found the cranberries a little too tart (disclosure: I am not a huge cranberry fan in the first place). My DC thought the cranberries were a nice balance to the sweet cake.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Honey Bee

                            high praise, indeed. what was the tab?

                            1. re: steve h.

                              For 1 app, 1 soup, 2 entrees, 1 bottle of wine (low-to-mid price), 1 dessert, and a 22% tip our tab was $145.

                            2. re: Honey Bee

                              Hi Honey Bee,
                              I am thrilled to hear about your dinner successes, as I am going to be in SF in two weeks and am dining at Bar Crudo and Range as well, per many Chowhound's recommendations. Although Pane did mention in your review thread some CH folks were mixed on Range.

                              1. re: sbkat

                                I have not seen any negative posts on Range, but have seen references to "mixed reviews". Since I only ate there one time, I can't rule out the possibility that I got lucky in my experience. However, it was good enough that I would happily go back for another try.

                                At Bar Crudo, we enjoyed a bottle of their Pouilly Fume, Domaine Alain Cailbourdin, Les Cris, Vallee De La Loire 03. I am not a big white wine drinker, but found it to be a great complement to the kitchen's offerings.

                                Please report back on your trip. I hope you are as pleased as we were.

                              2. re: Honey Bee

                                I agree. I had the best roast chicken at range. i too almost never order roast chicken because i make it almost once every week at home but lately when i go out i just want comfort food. so i had the roast chicken at delfina which i thought was amazing but range just blew them away. perfectly cooked and flavored. my husband was annoyed i didn't share more of it with him.

                              3. In addition to some great recs here (the only one I didn't like was El Delfin, though I wanted to, and I haven't tried Spork or the Front Porch yet), I really liked Lolo, billed as Mediterranean/Latin American (chefs are Turkish and Mexican, with the interior hipster furnishings designed by the chef's wife, also from Mexico). I thought it was classic Mission, interesting, inventive, maybe not perfect, but you don't care because it's stretching. Slow Club is one of my favorites, period. And I liked the others, too.

                                Query: does anyone on this board know the name of the brand new restaurant that is opening or has opened across the street from Lolo? so 3200 block of Mission, odd-numbered side of block? I'm trying to figure out on line what it is, and I'm not having luck!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: lbc2

                                  I loved Lolo and I love lbc2's description. There are other reports on Lolo on the board. The service was fantastic and friendly and most of the food was delicious (some semi-misses, but mostly great flavor combinations) and I am crazy about the interior.

                                  Since Front Porch has been bandied about, I'll just fess up that I absolutely can't stand the place. Every single time I've been there, I've had horrible luck with service. Never once has everyone gotten their food at the same time. Every single time, someone has had to wait for their main for so long that everyone else was finished by the time the one unlucky person got their food. That's EVERY time. And their fried chicken? Hey, hand me a magnifying glass. Oh yes, there it is! Cute and very, very tiny. And flavorless. Their burgers are crap. Yes, everyone there is perfectly pleasant and nice, but organization and coordination are just not happening.

                                  I really wish I loved it since it takes me 3 minutes to walk there from home.

                                  I feel that Blue Plate is much better if one is venturing that far south.

                                  1. re: lbc2

                                    The restaurant opening across the street from Lolo on 22nd st, is called Cav22. More detail here:

                                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                  2. If you're planning on eating in the Mission, you should plan an evening around the
                                    native cuisine: burritos. Almost everything else mentioned in this thread has been
                                    parachuted in from the Marina district within the last couple of years. Except for the
                                    Slow Club which is about 15 years old but way off in a desolate, office-building-laden
                                    corner of almost-out-of-the-mission.

                                    Among the traditional burrito joints are Pancho Villa and La Cumbre near 16th and
                                    Valencia, Can-Cun on Mission at both 19th and up near 30th. Taqueria San Jose
                                    and El Farolito on Mission at 24th, and La Taqueria on Mission near 25th.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                      Burritos really are a natural of the Mission. There's also a few places that are unique and pre-trendy, like Ti Couz and El Zocalo (papusas). I really like Ti Couz but I always think brunch date. I also like Atlas Cafe...still has that pre-dot com/grubby Mission feel although it's not old (the food is good but nothing special).

                                      Speaking of trendiness and the Mission, it's been a long time coming but the past 3-4 has really sort of stunned me, esp. on 18th St between Valencia and Dolores. Most of it fits (sorta)...but the place that went in where Anna's bakery (across from the Women's Bldg) just struck me as weird and out of place -- that place really did seem to be pulled from the Marina. I use to work in that 'hood and had friends who lived on 18th and that place totally changed the character. Oh well life moves on.

                                      1. re: ML8000

                                        I'll throw in Mi Lindo Peru on Mission at roughly 29th too. They seem to have
                                        survived their expansion (and subsequent contraction) into and back out of
                                        the Marina ... Their bistec a lo pobre (steak, potatoes, onions, fried eggs,
                                        fried banana) is SO good.

                                        I never thought of Atlas for anything past breakfast, and haven't been there
                                        in a few years, but if they're still serving that scrambled-eggs-made-with-the-cappuchino-steamer-served-on-a-croissant thing, man is that tasty.

                                        El Zocalo has one of the best bowls of chicken soup I know. Especially at 2:30am after a hard night at the local bars.

                                      2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                        Tartine has been in its current location for 5 years. Limon, also 5 years. Chez Spencer, 5 years. Delfina just celebrated its 9th anniversary. Foreign Cinema has been open for 8 years. Blue Plate has been open for 8 years. I see your point (glaring example: Medjool opened in 2004), but there are plenty of places that have been around for a while.

                                        1. re: Atomica

                                          I can't believe Limon has been in that spot for 5 years. It hasn't been that long, has it?

                                          1. re: Frosty Melon

                                            It used to be where Mavericks is before moving to Valencia St.

                                            1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                              I know, and I've been to both locations, but I can't believe the move happened 5 years ago. I'm thinking two, three max.

                                              1. re: Frosty Melon

                                                No one said the move happened 5 years ago. It's been in business, in the Mission, for 5 years.

                                                Here's a Chron article from 2004:
                                                http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                "Limon added a new dimension to San Francisco dining when it opened in 2002. Even the bare-bones storefront surroundings in a frayed part of the Mission couldn't diminish the impact or enthusiasm for the Peruvian-inspired food crafted by Martin Castillo."

                                                1. re: Atomica

                                                  "Tartine has been in its current location for 5 years. Limon, also 5 years."

                                                  Obviously, the "current location" part is what threw me.

                                      3. I like dosa and el perol

                                        1. Maverick & Cafe Universal and Delfina are all top choices. I am from Santa Barbara too so these will be different from SB and very SF. Enjoy.