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Looking for good eateries in the Castro area

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I will be visiting SF next month and will be staying the in Castro area. Looking for suggestions for great places to eat in the area. I really love ethnic food but also want suggestions for good local places for breakfast. Thanks!

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  1. I don't think it gets any better than 2223.

    Their website:http://www.2223restaurant.com/

    9 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      Agreed about 2223 my friends call it No Name, good for brunch or dinner and they make good cocktails.

      New just opened- Vietnamese-Zadin, 4029 18th Street, between Castro and Noe
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/409136- I have not been here just pointing it out.

      Frisee- on Market is good for simple healty, salads, chicken, a piece of fish.

      La Méditerranée- on Noe pretty good

      Tangerine Café - a recent report said it was pretty good

      Woodhouse Fish Company - on Market gets good reviews here I don't care for it.

      I had breakfast with my friend at Squat and Gobble, this was not my choice, but they sponser his softball team...anyway I had a pretty good breakfast, much better than I thought it would be.
      3600-16th Street @
      Market and Noe

      1. re: Lori SF

        Forgot about Woodhouse -- I love their clams. But despise La Méditerranée. We have one up here on Fillmore that is atrocious and close to being some of the most mediocre Middle Eastern food imaginable.

        1. re: Carrie 218

          really La Méditerranée was that bad? I had some food catered from there for a party last year and it was good, not great but served the purpose.

          I only had the Lobster Roll at Woodhouse and it was so diappointing but they all have been on this coast. I will give it another try, for I find myself at that corner mid day.

          Also, juniper1508 if you want a pretty good burrito go over to Church Street up towards the Safeway, across the street is El Castillo they make a pretty good carnitas, green sauce, I get it with no rice and good pinto beans.

          1. re: Lori SF

            I had to eat La Méditerranée twice -- I have found the greens to be several days old and limp, the dolmades pasty, the hummus watery, and the flatbread stale. I have heard rumors they were good years ago and considering there are more than one now, it is probably true; multiples are generally built upon a good thing so I am lead to believe that they got too big for their britches.

            1. re: Lori SF

              I too think La Med is terrible at all locations. I'd much rather eat Costco Spaikopita than go there.

              How is Catch??? I send many guests there but haven't been in a while. Seafood on Market at Castro

              1. re: laurenb

                I have been a a fan of Catch for the last several years, although it's probably been a year since I was last there. Just got back from dinner there tonight. Not so much anymore. There was a new owner circulating around the tables. (This was his day #12.)

                Two things really concerned me:
                1) Some of the food was excellent, & some was just kinda weird. Not so much badly prepared as just ill-conceived. The scallop in my starter soup was impeccable, & the sea bass main itself was very well handled. The parsnip-potato soup was very tasty, but it wasn't really the right companion for the scallop. The risotto with the sea bass was ... interesting. It had white corn & asparagus. Good texture throughout, but the overall effect somehow tasted like somebody had added a splash of Amaretto. (Yeah, I know, tell me about it.) I still don't know whether that was an odd chemical artifact of the veggies, or if somebody just thought Amaretto would be interesting. Just came out weird. Orange scented panna cotta with "seasonal fruit" came out with little lumps of strawberry slices that had been macerated in orange liqueur to death. The taste was fine, but it'd'a sure looked better if they'd just strained out the pallid, dead strawberries, & just used the maceration liqueur as a sauce.

                2) Although the new manager was cruising tables & inrtoducing himself, he didn't seem to be really listening or making people-connections. On top of the main they serve a pile of long thin strips of red stuff & yellow stuff. While it certainly looks festive, it doesn't taste of anything. Could have been food coloured jicama for all the taste it had -- certainly didn't add to the flavour of the dish. Since the manager was cruising & asking, I mentioned that didn't do much for me -- I'd just shoved it aside on the plate. "Oh, those are beets." (Coulda fooled me. I tasted them again, knowing what they were -- nope, nothin;. No flavour at all.) He continues, "I like beets. Well, it's one way to get you to eat your veggies." Uhhh... I like beets too, dude, as I like most veggies. These ain't rockin' the beetiness. Mostly, I just didn't like the tone of the interaction: I told you what I thought, & you told me why I was wrong. OK then.

                As I said, I've been away for a while. Maybe new management is going to get things straightened back out, & this is just a bumpy section in the road. I hope so. In the meanwhile though, I wouldn't recommend it.
                --------------

                I'm on board with the 2223 recs as above. I've also been spending a lot of time at Eureka Restaurant on 18th St. Don't think I've ever had a thing there that wasn't really well done, & very good, attentive staff.

              2. re: Lori SF

                I wanted to point out that Woodhouse has $1.00 oysters and discounted draft beers on Tuesday.

                1. re: Lori SF

                  last time I was there for Tuesday dinner, the oysters were blue points, and at $1 each I liked them about as much as the $2 to $2.5 oysters of higher quality I typically get at Anchor Oyster bar or Zuni. Fresh and well shucked, just not as much interest for me in terms of flavor. You can't beat the draft Anchor for a song though! Their fried food has been somewhat hit or miss for me lately, probably depending on who's working the fryer but considering the freshness of the seafood, the prices are quite reasonable and it's still in our rotation.

          2. re: Carrie 218

            We recently rediscovered 2223 and have been enjoying it again, with the caveat that we don't order wine, only beer or cocktails. Brunch is especially nice, since it is well prepared, has good cocktail service, and the restaurant is big enough that there isn't a gigantic line. The food also has a sensibility to it that includes a decent serving of vegetables that are actually appealing, so you don't feel like you've had too much of an indulgent brunch unless you try hard for the least healthy things on the menu. Not a destination, but if you're in the neighborhood with friends trying to think of a place to go that's a step up from Chow, it's a good option.

          3. A favorite for long-time locals is Anchor Oyster Bar. It's on Castro between 18th and 19th. They have their standard menu, which is always good, but their most inspired plates come from their daily menu board. Their claim chowder is some of the best I've had, and they always have it. Their regular crabcakes are also good, and their fresh dungeness crab cocktail is delicious. But check the daily specials! Some delicious specials that are frequently offered -- oven-roasted, breaded scallops; spicy seafood stew with garlic toast; and their daily pasta with corn, spinach, red onions, and the freshest shellfish- or fish-of-the-day in a delicious garlic cream sauce. The pasta isn't always on the menu, but regulars know to ask for it.

            The bottom line -- I've never had a bad meal at Anchor. Among all the mediocre food, and trendy trying-way-too-hard spots in the Castro, Anchor is a local favorite that never disappoints. It's crowded, and sometimes you'll have to wait outside in the cold and wind, but it's worth the wait.

            As for breakfast, Cafe Flore has a pretty good breakfast and they have for decades. It's located at the intersection of Market and Noe, right on the corner. They use high-quality ingredients, their food is consistently good, plus you can sit outside in the sun and read the paper or hang out with friends. I know people who love their frittatas and their coffee. Their eggs benedict are unique and good (with trumpet mushrooms) and so is there turkey hash with poached eggs. The downside is the service, which can be indifferent and cold. But the setting is perfect for a sunny day breakfast.

            Good luck...and eat well!

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiesf

              Second Anchor Oyster bar, and also want to pass along a tip that if you order anything with crab, prawns, shrimp, etc. they'll add extra protein based on price per pound, so you can take a shrimp salad that by itself might not satisfy for a whole meal and add another 1/4 lb of shrimp to round it out nicely.

              I think their prawns are fresh, but I've noticed their shrimp are always the same brand of pre-cooked frozen shrimp. They seem to have found a brand with consistent high quality and do a good job defrosting them. Not for fresh shrimp purists, but they're good enough I always peek around the kitchen trying to read the label on the bag if it's out, but so far my eyesight isn't good enough to catch it.

            2. I like Chow.

              1. I dont think Thai House Express on Castro's bad. Also, check out Tartine/Bi-rite Creamery/Delfina/Pizzaria Delfina--they're close.

                1. In addition to the above suggestion of Thai House Express, I also like Eiji, a Japanese place known for tofu made tableside.

                  -----
                  Restaurant Eiji
                  317 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                  Thai House Express On Castro
                  599 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: david kaplan

                    Really? When Eiji first opened, we had both good sushi there and a good fresh soft tofu in a claypot type thing, but we went back maybe a year ago and the quality was much lower, the prices much higher, and the interior still just as tired. We haven't been back.

                    1. re: SteveG

                      That's sad. I was there last a while ago. I wouldn't have guessed my last visit was long ago, but it might have been before your year-ago visit.

                  2. Best thing to hit the Castro in years is the new(ish) Vietnamese place, Zadin. It's on 18th, about a block below Castro. The grilled pork rolls will make your toes curl...SO good. It's a style-y sort of spot--not a down-home pho joint--but don't hold that against it.

                    Also, (not ethnic, but) Eureka on 18th is a sweet spot to go for a drink and appetizer, if you can get a table upstairs by the fireplace. In general, the food won't blow you away (which is sad, since these are the folks behind Chenery Park, which I quite like), but the wild mushroom ravioli is pretty decadent...I like to start a night out with an appetizer portion of that and a glass of wine.

                    -----
                    Eureka Restaurant & Lounge
                    4063 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114

                    Zadin
                    4039 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

                    1. I don't know if it's still there, but there used to be a halfway decent Thai fast food place across from the Castro Theater. And hey, Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai ate there in a movie called "Sausalito."

                      I'n not a Brando Ho's fan, but they were to have opened a branch there by now. It might (gasp) be the best option in the Castro for Chinese.