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Visiting SF Jan 25-27: Help with food itinerary

  • t

Hello Chowhounders,

My wife and I will be visiting San Francisco for a weekend getaway. We are from Orange County and wanted some help with a food itinerary. We will have a car so driving anywhere is no problem. We have been up to San Francisco a few times now and eaten at Aziza, Zuni, Delfina, Tong Kiang, House of Prime Rib, and Ferry Market building, liked all of them with the exception of Delfina.

Our budget is about $80 for dinners. I don't drink alcohol but my wife does.

Wanted to see what the chowhounders thought about this food itinerary.

January 25: Friday

Lunch: Chez Panisse Cafe
Check out Cheeseboard
Sketch Ice Cream
Pick up some XOX truffles
Dinner: Bar Tartine

Is Bar Tartine a good option? What are must haves there? Other dinner options?

January 26: Saturday

Go to Farmers Market in the morning: Hog Island, etc..
Lunch: Fish in Sausalito for Fish and Chips ( I heard they were great )
Dinner: Foreign Cinema for dinner and a movie
Bi-Rite Ice Cream

Is Foreign Cinema worth going to? How is the food and atmosphere. I thought it would be fun to go there.
Any other lunch or dinner options that would be recommended?

January 27: Sunday

Breakfast at Tartine Bakery
Brunch at Canteen

Thanks for your help in advance,

Tony

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  1. Great start to an itinerary! I'd make a few changes, though. First, I think that Sketch will still be closed when you are here (though I'm sure a Sketch devotee will have more information about when they come back from their vacation), so you might want to either save up your ice cream appetite for Bi Rite, or head to Ici, also in Berkeley. Bar Tartine is a great option for dinner! The farmer's market in the morning on Saturday will be great, and while I haven't been to Fish, there have been good reports. But I'd suggest somewhere other than Foreign Cinema for dinner that night -- I've had perfectly fine meals there, but I wouldn't make it one of my few dinners for a weekend in San Francisco. Other options that I'd suggest, given your previous likes, are Incanto, A16, and the new SPQR (which I haven't been to, but has gotten great reports), though I'm sure others will have good ideas too. Breakfast at Tartine and brunch at Canteen are great ideas, and you can get some goodies at Tartine for your trip home. I hope you have a great trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: JasmineG

      Yes, Sketch is closed through the end of January. We went by this weekend and were disappointed.

    2. Adding place links:

      -----
      Ici Ice Cream
      2948 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

      Tartine Bakery
      600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

      Bi-Rite Market
      3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      A16
      2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

      Canteen
      817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      Foreign Cinema
      2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

      Fish
      350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

      Sketch Ice Cream
      1809 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

      Bar Tartine
      561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      SPQR
      1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

      1 Reply
      1. re: JasmineG

        Hmm ... wierd

        Do you see the word duplicate when you add place links?

        JasmineG, I think there might be a linking problem. I posted on Technical Help. Would you please reply to this link
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/482662

        -----
        Bi-Rite Market
        3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Bi-Rite Creamery
        3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        A16
        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

      2. This looks great - you've listed almost all my Bay Area faves!

        I love Bar Tartine - they do amazing things with pork belly - I also really love their very simple Portugese soup with kale and poached egg and their gnocchi (both seem to be on the menu with some regularity). I've also had a really excellent braised Moroccan lamb tongue app, but I've only seen that once.

        I haven't been to Foreign Cinema for dinner, so can't comment on that - other options in that price range (and my other two favorite restaurants in SF proper) are Incanto (Italian, Noe Valley, probably highest-yield if you're open to trying offal dishes, amazing spaghettini with cured tuna heart), and Bar Crudo (inventive crudo dishes with Italian, Japanese, and Peruvian influences, Union Square).

        Note on Tartine Bakery and Canteen - both have huge lines on Sunday - consider picking up pastries from Tartine Saturday afternoon, since you'll be in the Mission anyway... then you'll have something to tide you over while you're waiting to get into Canteen Sunday morning.

        1. I agree with the other posters - you have made some really good decisions, and Foreign Cinema is OK but given your limited time you can do better. I noticed that you don't have any French restaurants on the list. I don't know if it is because you don't care for the cuisine or you think it would be too expensive. However, Chapeau! (they include the exclamation point in the name) is a great traditional French restaurant with amazingly good prices.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mc2

            JasmineG - Thank you for informing me that Sketch is indeed closed until February ( I called to confirm). I really appreciate you linking all those restaurants too. Very helpful.

            Daveena - those dishes you mentioned sound tasty. I am excited to try out Bar Tartine and think I will keep this one on my itinerary.

            Hmm seems as though Foreign Cinema isn't getting much love from you San Franciscans. I might have to change this one. I thought the concept of the movie and restaurant was a fun thing to explore, but doesn't seem like the food is all that great.

            I have heard many great things about Incanto on this board, but the menu looks a bit toooo offal to me. I don't know if I am ready for that kind of stuff yet. I have a tough time eating chicken feet.

            mc2 - I took a look a Chapeau! The menu looks great and very reasonable prices as mentioned.

            Thanks again to everyone.

            1. re: Tony

              Count my in as another against Foreign Cinema. The quality of the food is not on par with the price, and unless you sit outside you don't really notice the movie anyway. I don't recall, but do they even play the sound?

              1. re: Civil Bear

                The sound comes through individual table speakers, which are optional, if I recall.

              2. re: Tony

                Foriegn Cinema is fine, but the movie is more in the background than anything else (and even then, only outside), and while I liked my food there, there are too many places where I loved my food to send you there. And I know what you mean about Incanto, but I took my mom and sister there, both who are not into offal at all, and they both loved it, so you might give it a shot. There are definitely a number of more traditional dishes as well, and the presentation is pretty subtle. Daveena's suggestion of Bar Crudo was also a great one, really excellent food in a tiny space.

                1. re: Tony

                  If you are thinking French, I will toss in another name - Clementine. It is on Clement St. and is going to be taken over by Chapeau!, so you may want to try it while you can. I like it very much!

              3. For Ice Cream we love Mitchell's.

                Our two favorites in SF are Aziza and Limon.

                13 Replies
                1. re: StuartHMB

                  I was thinking about Bar Crudo but unfortunately, I don't eat seafood. My wife loves it. Hence, we have to satisfy her seafood cravings at Hog Island Oysters and Fish in Sausalito. I took a look at their online menu and didn't see any other forms of meat. I wouldn't mind eat there if they had at least a dish or two.

                  We might give Incanto a try, hundreds of Chowhounders can't be wrong.

                  StuartHMB - thanks for the Micthell's rec, we have been there and enjoyed it and are looking forward to Bi-Rite this time around. I really enjoyed Aziza as well and have yet to try Limon.

                  1. re: Tony

                    You might consider Sea Salt in Berkeley. They recently started to add meat to the menu. Haven't tried the meat dishes yet, but the seafood has always been excellet.

                    1. re: Tony

                      I think Fish is WAY overpriced. $21 for 3 very small pieces of halibut (delicious but not worth $21.)

                      1. re: walker

                        Alright, so I have been sold on Incanto for dinner on Saturday night.

                        Here is my updated Itinerary:

                        January 25: Friday

                        Lunch: Chez Panisse Cafe
                        Check out Cheeseboard
                        Pick up some XOX truffles
                        Dinner: Bar Tartine
                        Bi-Rite Creamery

                        January 26: Saturday

                        Go to Farmers Market in the morning: Hog Island, etc..
                        Lunch: Fish in Sausalito for Fish and Chips ( I heard they were great )
                        Dinner: Foreign Cinema for dinner and a movie

                        January 27: Sunday

                        Breakfast at Tartine Bakery
                        Brunch at Canteen

                        rworange - I'll have to try out Sea Salt on another trip, don't plan to go back into Berkeley after spending time there on Friday. Thank you though.

                        Are there any other highly recommended places for lunch on Saturday, in case we end up not going to Fish in Sausalito? I agree $21 for some fish and chips seems a bit pricey, but still a possibility.

                        Thanks again to everyone.

                        1. re: Tony

                          You can drive up to Larkspur's Yankee Pier for their f&c -- and they take cc's.
                          http://yankeepier.com/larkspur/larksp...

                          1. re: Tony

                            No question fish. is overpriced. Still, if the weather is nice enough to let you sit outside, go anyway. It's lovely. On the other hand, if the weather is cold and blustery you might want to skip it.

                            1. re: Tony

                              Again re: Fish: the fries were average and not even hot and did not come with cole slaw even, just not worth $21. The fish and chips at Beach Chalet at Ocean Beach was great, $15.95 and you get a nice view of water. If you're up for a drive, go down Hwy 1 coast to Pescadero and eat at Duarte's. They have wonderful soups, (artichoke or green chile -- I choose the 1/2 of each) fresh fish and ollieberry pie - delish. Very reasonable, open all day every day. No view inside restaurant but great views down and back.

                              1. re: Tony

                                don't give up on fish. the fish and chips are very good, beer comes in a mason jar and the view over the marina is pretty cool. little known fact is that fish makes an excellent burger.

                                1. re: Tony

                                  I think you mean Incanto Saturday night? :-) (all this planning gets confusing, I know).

                                  I am not an offal fan, and find plenty to enjoy at Incanto (though I like La Ciccia down the street better, but part of that is a style difference). The clams and sausage dish at Incanto is quite good!

                                  1. re: Tony

                                    Oops error in my itinerary!

                                    Thank you susancinsf for pointing that out.

                                    January 25: Friday

                                    Lunch: Chez Panisse Cafe
                                    Check out Cheeseboard
                                    Pick up some XOX truffles
                                    Dinner: Bar Tartine
                                    Bi-Rite Creamery

                                    January 26: Saturday

                                    Go to Farmers Market in the morning: Hog Island, etc..
                                    Lunch: Fish in Sausalito for Fish and Chips
                                    Dinner: Incanto

                                    January 27: Sunday

                                    Breakfast at Tartine Bakery
                                    Brunch at Canteen

                                    Thank you joan and ccbweb for your opinions on Foreign Cinema, but I might have to try it on another trip.

                                    1. re: Tony

                                      If you end up not going to Fish, you could stay right in the Ferry Building and go to Hog Island for oysters and chowder (they have a great grilled cheese sandwich also), or head to Swan's Oyster Depot.

                                    2. re: Tony

                                      I think that you can have a very good lunch right at the Saturday Farmer's market. You'll have lots of choices, both inside and outside. I would just eat there.

                                      1. re: Nancy Berry

                                        I tend to agree but I think the real reason to go to Fish would be for the excuse of a ferry ride (ferry leaves from right at the Farmer's Market basically) on the bay. Either do that or skip it, I wouldn't bother driving over just for lunch...

                              2. I absolutely LOVE Foreign Cinema and if you liked Zuni, you are likely to enjoy it too. Food is at least comparable and frankly my last meal there was MUCH better than my last meal at the Cafe at Chez Panisse, as great as that place generally is. Foreign Cinema and Zuni are also my faves for fruits de mer, which may be of interest to you too given you have Hog Island on your list. But all the dinners I've had there have been excellent, service has been great and I love the room, especially this time of year with the big fireplace. Don't write it off just based on the couple of comments here. Also -- you won't really get to watch the movie much unless you are outside -- it is heated and tented, but it's more a cute gimick than "dinner and a movie".

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Joan Kureczka

                                  I liked Foreign Cinema when I was there with a group of 13 and we had the courtyard area/room more or less to ourselves. The food was solid, but I wouldn't send someone there above many other options and, personally, I wouldn't put it in the same class as Zuni Cafe. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Zuni; it was quite excellent. Presuming that the OP's updated itinerary swaps Incanto for Foreign Cinema I think you've got a slam dunk of a trip put together. Have a great trip!

                                2. I like your revised itinerary
                                  I recommend the Croque Monsieur at Tartine Bakery, and their tarts
                                  At Bar Tartine,
                                  the portuguese bread and cilantro soup with beans, chard, poached egg was good
                                  also the squid and pork belly over egg and potato cubes was divine
                                  try the salty caramel at Bi Rite

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: ankimo

                                    ankimo - I LOVE the croque monsieur at Tartine Bakery, actually a huge part of the reason we are going back there. Those pastries are fantastic too. Thanks for the tips on Bar Tartine and I was definately going to try the salty caramel at Bi-Rite.

                                    Thanks to all for recommending Ferry Market Building for lunch, but we would like to try something new and probably would be there for a couple hours in the morning, so change of scenery would be nice.

                                    Made reservations to Chez Panisse, Bar Tartine, and Incanto. Can't Wait!!!! Still deciding on whether or not we will go to Fish.

                                    I am still open to any other suggestions. Maybe even a restaurant with a scenic drive and good food. Some suggestions so far were Yankee Pier and Duarte's.

                                    Thanks again to everyone for your posts, it is very much appreciated.

                                    1. re: Tony

                                      I'll be in your beautiful city in a few days.

                                      Any last minute thoughts or recommendations?

                                      Thank you.

                                      1. re: Tony

                                        Consider the gnocchi at Myth (nicely seared), since Sean O Brien is leaving in Feb.

                                        1. re: Tony

                                          I recommend bringing a big appetite. I can't wait to read your report after your visit!

                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                            My Wife and I will be driving from Orange County to San Francisco and I just found out part of the grapevine have been closed due to the weather. Snowing!!

                                            I looked on weather.com and the forecast shows rain the whole weekend. I believe the whole drove from Orange County to San Francisco will be a wet one. It'll take us 12 hours at that rate.

                                            This trip might have to be postponed for another date. But, when we do go, I will definitely post a report.

                                            This is one sad chowhounder. Really been looking forward to this trip.

                                            Thanks again to everyone.

                                            1. re: Tony

                                              I'd much rather be here when it's not raining. If you do drive, take 101. Once I took 5 and the trucks, etc. drove me crazy. 101 is longer but prettier and less monotonous than 5. Might be nice to stop in Santa Barbara for lunch.