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Jan 23, 2008 10:18 PM

Visiting SF: new in the last year?

Hi all,

I'm visiting SF for four days next week, and a friend who's never been to the city will be joining me for two of those days. So I'm all set for her visit, having been lucky enough to live in SF for two years. I'll be taking her to all my favorites: Peet's, Tartine, Delessio, Indian food in the Tenderloin, the Ferry Building on Saturday morning, Delfina if we can get in, The Hidden Vine, etc.

But for my other two days, I'd love to see what's new and happening in the city. I'll be a solo diner, or maybe have one friend with me at most. My favorites are many, but generally I like casual but nice places where I'd have the option of either an entree or a few appetizers: Bocadillo's, Jeanty at Jack's, Mezes, Coco500, Fresca, Pesce, Zuni, Mangosteen, Mochica, Kokkari, just to give you a sense of my likes. Bonus points for great cocktails made with fresh fruit and good liquor. Last "new" bar I explored was Rye, so you know it's been awhile. TIA, really looking forward to this visit!

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  1. Here are some ideas of places you'd probably like --

    --SPQR (new Roman trattoria from the folks at A16, in Pac Heights)
    --Spruce (Italian in Laurel Heights)
    --Serpentine (in Dogpatch, from the Slow Club folks - I'm going there tonight, will report)
    --Conduit (in the Mission, Valencia & 14th)
    --Bar Jules (tiny, very personal, Hayes Valley)
    --Fish & Farm (food within 100 miles, near Union Square)
    --Monk's Kettle (beer oriented, 16th between Valencia & Guerrero)

    Here's a link to Michael Bauer's favorite new restaurants in 2007:

    Enjoy the trip and welcome back!

    P.S. As I think some more, Canteen isn't brand new, but if you haven't been you will definitely like it and it's great for solo diners, as is Incanto.

    1. For a bar check out Cantina. It's new and run by the former mixologist of Frisson, Duggan McDonnel. Here's blurb about him in Food and Wine.

      580 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108

      1. Hey,welcome back.

        In addition to Monk's Kettle, some new beer bars that opened recently are La Trappe, The Trappist and Wunder Brew.

        There are mixed reports about the food at Monk's Kettle. I hesitate to mention Mexican because you are from LA, but there has been a few new Yucatan places that opened. Chichen Itza is near Monk's Kettle and might be worth considering if you are up that way.

        It seems like it would have been within your time in SF, but did you go to Aziza which has a combination of great food and cocktails?

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Hi Pei,

          Chichen Itza's definitely worth a visit. Closed Sunday dinner, but otherwise open for lunch and dinner.

          I'd recommend breakfast or lunch at Brenda's French Soul Food on Polk. (closed Sundays).

          I've also become a big fan of the Irish brown bread and Belfast baps at John Campbell's Irish Bakery, out on Geary near 21st.

          I just had a lovely lunch at Modern Tea in Hayes Valley. The menu is mostly vegetarian, and their teas are pricey. But the man I think of as the tea master is a sincere and dedicated practitioner, and I enjoyed just watching him boil the water and steep the teas. My winter vegetable risotto was delicious and warming on a cool, damp day. Service is slow, but it's a pretty place to sit.

          The pastry case at Mission Beach Cafe is worth a stop for breakfast or a snack.

          Good bars: Bar Drake in the lobby of the Sir Francis Drake mixes a mean cocktail. Cantina, as mentioned, is in the old Lucid space. And the guys behind the bar at 83 Proof know what they're doing. Truck is also fun, when it's not screaming loud.

          You might also check out Lolo on 22nd St, which is mostly a restaurant but has a good bar for wine and beer.

          Coffee Bar's kind of a fun new scene/wifi cafe. They have happy hour beer and wine, and pastries. I didn't like my coffee much though.

          Mangosteen had a change of ownership over the summer, and I haven't been there since to find out if the food's the same.

        2. Thanks everyone! Those suggestions sound lovely, and are definitely enough to keep me busy. And yes, I have been to both Canteen and Aziza, and love both.

          Any word on the most popular Indian these days? Lahore Karahi and New Delhi's lunch specials were on my short list, but I'm open to ideas. My friend's only had good Indian curry once in her life, and that was vegetarian so she's missing out on a whole category of food!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pei

            The new Sultan on O Farrell is great. Lunch buffet or full menu at night. (Lots of recent reviews).

            1. re: Pei

              I recommend Dosa in the Mission district. It's trendy, but the food is good. Just don't stick solely to dosas, but also get regular entrees or it gets a little monotonous. And careful! I got a mouthful of spices in a single bite that nearly felled me!