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FAQ: New to the SF Bay Area Board? Read this first

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Are you new to Chowhound? Or just to the San Francisco board? Perhaps visiting from out of town? We've got some tips to help you get started.

If you're brand new to the site, you should read our Site Etiquette (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/367605) so you don't break any rules or step on any toes.

This board is focused on discussing chow in the greater San Francisco Bay area. This includes San Francisco, San Mateo (inc. Half Moon Bay), Santa Clara (inc. San Jose and "Silicon Valley"), Alameda (inc. Berkeley and Oakland), Contra Costa, Solano, Napa (inc. Wine Country), Sonoma, and Marin (inc. Tiburon, Sausalito, Tomales Bay) counties -- basically all the counties that touch the Bay itself. If you'd like tips on chow in Northern California outside of these counties including Monterey and Carmel, please see our California board: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/3 . For a complete list of boards available, see "Choose a Board' from the menu above.

We've divided up this thread into separate posts, just to make things neater. Please read to the end. The sections are:


    If you've got a great tip or a recommendation for someone, dive right in and post it. It's great if you can include some details of why you like a place, but even those short tips on where to find a great taco or donut are appreciated.

    To start a new thread, use the "Chowhound Discussions" menu in the navigation bar at the top of the page to go to the index of the board, and then choose the "start new thread" button.

      The San Francisco board is a pretty active place, and a lot of questions have been covered recently--the Chowhound archives are a great resource.

      Start your quest for an answer with a search of all the great info that's already out there. The search box is in the top right corner of the screen. If you're searching from this board, it should default to searching San Francisco. Just add your keywords and go. On the search results page, you can change your search criteria to add more keywords, or change your sort order or the dates you're interested in.


        Here are just a few of the subjects that are common on the San Francisco board, and some suggestions on how to find that information:

        Where should I eat near the Airport? Moscone Center? Union Square? Fisherman's Wharf? Other attractions?
        Search terms to try: name of attraction (Moscone, airport (remember though that there is more than one)) or any shorter versions or nicknames (SFO, Wharf). Examples:

        For Union Square, search: Union Square, Financial District, Chinatown, Tenderloin, Belden Alley
        For Moscone Center, search: Moscone Center, SOMA, Westfield Shopping Center
        For the Curran Theater, search: Union Square, Tenderloin

        Where should we eat in Chinatown? The Mission? San Jose? East Bay? The Peninsula? Other neighborhoods?
        Search terms to try: the name of the neighborhood, town or county you want to eat in, add a cuisine for more specific results.

        Where should we go in wine country?
        Search terms to try: Napa, Sonoma, plus towns within the counties. For Napa, also search Calistoga, St. Helena, Yountville, Silverado Trail. For Sonoma, also search Healdsburg, Russian River Valley.
        Napa and Sonoma are the names of both towns and counties, so you will find recommendations for both.

        Where's the best brunch/sushi/burrito/dim sum/seafood/etc?
        Search terms to try: title:best and the type of food you're looking for
        This is another place where the SF Bay Area Places Hub can really help. Choose your cuisine of choice from the list for local Places tagged with that cuisine, then check out the threads to find out more about them.

        Where can we eat well and have a view?
        Search Terms to try: view, scenic

        Where should we go for our special occasion?
        Search terms to try: anniversary, "special occasion", proposal, romantic, birthday
        These might not all apply to your particular occasion, but they generally turn up the same kind of recommendations.

        Where should I plan my group dinner?
        Search terms to try: "private room", "buy out", corporate, group, "holiday party", "large group"

        How do I get reservations for the French Laundry?
        Search terms to try: French Laundry, TFL, reservations, Yountville

          SF chowhounds (don't call them San Fran or Frisco hounds!) are a great resource, but help them help you by including some important details. Tell them:
          - What part of the region you'll be in -- this board covers a very large area.
          - Whether you have a car or will be relying on transit.
          - How far or how long you're willing to travel. With transit options, some places that are quite distant can take less time to get to than places that are physically closer. Some places, like those in wine country are far enough away that you wouldn't go there for an evening out.
          - What your budget is. Descriptions such as 'expensive', 'moderate' and 'cheap' mean different things to different people, so use dollar values.
          - What types of cuisines you're interested in.
          - Which days of the week you're interested in -- lots of restaurants close Mondays, for example.
          - Any other special circumstances (traveling with kids? vegetarians? non-chowhounds?) that will help

          If you've done some of your own research, mention what you found so hounds can help fill in the gaps, rather than rehashing what you already know.

          1. AFTER YOUR MEAL
            Most importantly, after your trip or your meal, thank the San Francisco hounds for their help by reporting back. Tell people which suggestions you used and how the meals turned out, plus add tips about any great places you discovered on your own. This helps make the board more useful for everyone who visits after you.

            1. SF BAY AREA SPECIFICS

              LOCAL VOCABULARY
              Here are some things you might see referred to on the San Francisco board:
              TFL: The French Laundry
              SFO: San Francisco Airport -- unlike some regional boards, this will generally refer only to the airport itself or the immediate area around it.
              XLB: Xia Long Bao or soup dumplings, a particular favorite in this region
              FPFM: Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market
              SOMA: South of Market Street
              DAT: Dine About Town. An annual event in January with fixed price meals at a variety of participating restaurants.

              LOCAL CUSTOMS
              Dress: California restaurants tend to be more casual than other regions of the country
              BYOB: Some restaurants to allow BYOB, but it will almost always be with an added corkage charge.
              Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in most enclosed public spaces including restaurants and bars.

              Digest posts about the Bay Area: http://www.chow.com/digest/san-franci...
              Add a new topic to the SF board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/new?...
              Transit Trip Planner: http://http://tripplanner.transit.511.org A great resource for figuring out if you can get to the perfect restaurant on any Bay Area transit system.

              Hounds love to eat, and they love to eat together. Anyone can plan a chowdown and announce it on the board, (see the Etiquette for more: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36760... ) but there are a some established regional groups of hounds who dine together, so you might want to get on their mailing lists:

              1. FEEDBACK
                If there's something you think is vitally important for new members of the board to know that we've missed, please comment on this Site Talk thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/458603