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Best neighborhood for restaurant hopping

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I posed this same type of request for suggestions on the Los Angeles board a few months back and got some great feedback. My husband and I will be in SF for only one night (a Monday night) and are hoping to make the most of it. It would be great to hang out in a neighborhood that has several great restaurants all within walking distance of one another so that we could try a dish or two at each place. We love ethnic cuisines, but are open to anything really good with a nice upscale atmosphere (but not pretentious) that would also allow us to casually drop in without doing a whole formal dinner. A nice eat-at-the-bar type of place would work well. We are not into touristy places, but atmosphere is important and we're not looking for hole-in-the-walls during this visit.

We'll probably be staying in the financial district but are open to driving to other areas within the city.

Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  1. One option which is within walking distance of the Financial District is Belden Place or Belden Alley. http://www.belden-place.com/ Eight restaurants on one charming little block.

    1. The Mission. You could drop in at Bar Tartine, Delfina or Pizzeria Delfina, Bi-Rite Ice Cream amongst many others (Andalu, Limon, Dosa). You don't even have to drive, you can just take BART to 16th & Mission and walk up to Valencia for most of this.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JasmineG

        You could also add a taqueria or two, a curry at Pakwan, Foreign Cinema, a cocktail and maybe an appetizer at Range, salbute or other panuchos at Chichen Itza, etc.

        1. re: JasmineG

          A second on the Mission. It offers the best high to low and funky in-between options.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Fourth on the Mission. No other neighborhood has such a concentration of diverse good places to eat. And on a Monday night business might be slow enough at many of them that you could just walk right in.

            A16 and SPQR typically have hour-plus waits for walkins even on Mondays.

          2. You can go to Chestnut St. and hit A16, Laoila (?sp), Bistro Aix, Isa and a bunch of other spots.

            1. FYI many restaurants are closed on Monday night.

              1. I'll tout my neighborhood; Fillmore & Geary...

                Starting down at 1300 Fillmore for creamy grits and BBQ shrimp. Next door is Yoshi's, a great bar with sushi. Wander a bit more and you are next to Japantown with over 30 Asian restaurants. Up Fillmore a little more and you can go to SPQR for some fabulous Roman bites or Vivande for the best fettuccine in the city. We also boast Fresca for Peruvian food and a handful of other Italian joints or Elite Cafe for more haute Southern Food. I'm also fond of the new Kabuki Kitchen. In between it all is Jubili yogurt, Tango Gelato, and Bittersweet Cafe for incomparable chocolate treats. At the top of Fillmore is a Creperie for a different type of sweet.

                1. I'll stick it out there for North Beach/Chinatown, with the highest density and variety of cuisines and the least reliance on trendiness.

                  - Chinese (including several regional cuisines)
                  - Italian (including regional cuisines)
                  - Vietnamese
                  - Thai
                  - Japanese
                  - Sing/Malay
                  - Argentinian
                  - Basque
                  - Mexican
                  - Indian
                  - Irish
                  - Persian
                  - Bolivian

                  You can also get yer best lobster Roll, primante Bros.-style sandwich, souffle, focaccia, sacripantina, chocolate truffle and roasted coffee beans in No. Beach.

                  (Parenthetically, I'll say that anybody who jumps to his feet to tell you there is no good Chinese food in Chinatown has never been to Jai Yun.)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    Love a progressive dinner in North beach ending up with dessert and cocktails at Mooses.

                    1. re: AzDumpling

                      BTW, do not drive, take the bus.

                    2. re: Xiao Yang

                      For Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, or Mexican, that's a pretty dubious neighborhood, but as you note there's lots of other stuff.

                      Indian, Naan n Curry's okay, but Kennedy's aka India Curry House, unless things have changed the food's best avoided.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I'd say Golden Flower on Jackson St. has one of the best bowls of pho in town, broth wise, and Little Paris on Stockton has some decent Vietnamese small plates and banh mi. Tuk Tuk Thai on Union is from the same people as the Berkeley Tuk Tuk, so you can judge from that (I've yet to try it). You are probably right about Japanese and Mexican, though some people like Parilla and I've gotten a decent taco or two at Zorro.

                        I didn't mention the new La Trappe (Belgian with an awesome beer selection) or the eclectic American places like Rogue Pub (good beer and a good "Kobe", a.k.a.Wagyu, Burger with Maytag Blue Cheese) and Burger Meister, beloved by some for its burgers.

                        1. re: Xiao Yang

                          Tuk Tuk in Berkeley is average at best. I eat there sometimes because they're open till 1am.