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Feb 7, 2008 02:06 PM

4 days next week in SF


I have searched & armed w/a list of dimsum, places to eat in Richmond area ( Clement & my favorite dimsum Ton Kiang) but still needs some recommendation for:

1. Good breakfast anywhere betw Holiday Inn SFO and SF city, or in Golden Gate Park, Union Square area?

2. Lunch around Fisherman Warf, Place of Fine Arts?

3. Any good family dinner, kid-friendly?

4. Good Asian-style lobster place?

5. Bakery?

5. Good breakfast nearby Holiday Inn in SFO airport area for the last day.

We have car rental to get around. Please include parking tip.


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  1. Come on, we need some local experts here! Especially some good breakfast to start the day.


    1 Reply
    1. re: kayla8

      jeez, you've already covered most of your criteria, kid-friendly asian lobster is to be found somewhere around Clement if not Ton Kiang itself. Nuthin' much directly around the Palace of Fine Arts (good you have a car) the wharf - amusing, but largely tourist crap - hit Cow Hollow or North Beach for a nearby food-fix.

      Art's Diner was always my fave for breakfast, but parking at 9 and I is a bitch and it's just a counter. with a kid you may have it easier at a place like Mel's.

      remember there are plenty of Denny-Dumps near the airport and if you're going from the Richmond to SFO 19th Ave pretty much turns into 101 with stuff along the way.

    2. You might get better responses if you narrow down what you're looking for in your posting. Just your first item covers 3 suburbs and about half of SF. There are several posts every week like yours, so if you use the search feature on chowhound you can easily find the most popular recommendations. Then try reposting more specific questions to get the Hounds to help.

      It also helps to know if you have a price range and where you're from so we can help recommend things you might not get where you're from.

        1. Sorry for the standard SF CH grumpy crew welcome -- the question, even asked nicely, gets asked 12x a week...okay, that's on the high side but you you the point. The part about half the city is correct however...and it's all subjective. No one wants to point someone to a there's questions.

          For breakfast near GG Park - Park Chow, Howard's or Art's (the last two greasy spoons)...Park Chow and Howard's are both family friendly. I'd pick Park Chow.

          Family/kid friendly...every Chinese restaurant in the City, 50% of all others..if you have a couple of easy kids.

          Asian lobster...crab is currently in season but look at Koi Palace (mucho $$$) or Yuet Lee (dive).

          Breakfast near SFO -- that would be Burlingame or San Mateo

          Parking tips --
          Or take public's very easy, esp if you're staying downtown.

          23 Replies
          1. re: ML8000

            Thank you all for being kind & patient w/ repeated question. Specially thank ML8000 for the recommendation of the parking site.

            After extensive search/reading many long posts & compiling a long list of restaurants, I was not satisfied w/ the findings-- especially for the breakfast places. I don't think we can eat dimsum 4 days in a row. I want more! Give me more! :> No, I think, we are OK w/ the list now. I love to eat in SF! On those BC ( Before Children) days, my husband & I used to fly up there just to hang out, shop, and eat. There are so many choices; there is so little time!

            Our plan is 2 dimsum, 1 Chinese lunch, 2 Chinese dinners. That is good enough of Chinese taste in 4 days.

            We'll skip North Beach this time; parking there is a challenge for dinner. I don't think we have much energy left to search for parking & stand in long line after strolling the 2 young kids ( <4 yrs old) around town all day.

            1. re: kayla8

              Why don't you post the names of the restaurants you are planning on. That usually gets more response. Don't go to Mel's though. It hasn't been good for years.

              1. re: rworange

                Thanks for the note on Mel's; I left it out already after reading many latest reviews about it.

                I think we have on the list more than we can go to now! Here is my latest update of dining plan:

                Dinner: Yaya, Coriya Hotpot City ( w/ the jackets left in the car & a thorough shower after chowing there), Cafe Maritime/Aziza, Cafe Argruello
                Lunch: Tajine, Rainforest/ Chiangmai Thai, Lee Hou (crab)
                Breakfast/Dimsum: Koi Palace, New Asia, Howard's Cafe, Crepevine ( Burlingame)

                I need the tips of avoiding the long line ( beside reservation, dining early @5-5:30PM or peak time of breakfast), good parking site, favorite dishes fr. these places. EX: I heard that Aziza is not really kid-friendly place?

                No North Beach, no Italian food this time. I had enough authentic Italian food fr. a cruise in the Mediterranean 5 months ago. :>)

                Thanks again for all the great suggestion!

                1. re: kayla8

                  At last report, Yaya moved to Burlingame.


                  Helmand Palace, in their old location on Van Ness, is very good Afghan food.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    We fly in Wednesday afternoon so just want to eat nearby the Holiday Inn @ SFO airport; don't want to drive up to SF w/ the traffic on 110 or 280. That is the Yaya in Burlingame we plan to try. :>)

                    Thanks for the location clarification.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Their menu looks good. I wished I could eat here. Oh well, next time.

                    2. re: kayla8

                      Again: more specificity will get more replies: if your slash means you are trying to decide between Cafe Maritime and Aziza, pick Aziza.(IMO). I am not sure what you mean by not kid-friendly but I've certainly seen children there. It isn't exactly sedate, except perhaps the back room, so ask for a table in the front room. I doubt if your children would disturb other diners assuming they are reasonably well-behaved. Whether they have booster seats or high chairs I don't know. Ask me again in a few months when I am a grandmother.

                      Parking tip for Aziza, since you ask: shell out the $10 for the Valet or be prepared to spend a lot of time circling and looking.

                      While I've never tried Lee Hou, I am glad to now see it in your list: Regarding your lobster request, and to perhaps give a bit of insight into the lack on initial response and grumpiness you may have perceived: San Francisco is NOT about lobster. There is virtually no local lobster (certainly nothing commercial), prepared in an Asian style or otherwise. You can get it of course, but it will have been imported (and often disappoints in my experience). San Francisco is about crab, and especially in February. The fact that you asked about lobster may have discouraged some folks from replying to you, because people on the board do get a bit cranky, as you can see, from folks who ask questions before doing a bit of research, and if you ask about lobster, you either don't care about eating locally (and one of the joys of eating in San Francisco is eating locally), or you haven't done any research.

                      Breakfast can be problematic, especially if you don't want to wait and are looking around Union Square. There is a very recent thread on that exact topic, just do a search for Union Square and breakfast.

                      Isn't Rainforest a chain? Best Thai in the City is Thai House Express.

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        Spiny aka rock lobster (French langouste) is native to California and turns up occasionally on menus, but it's not the same fat-clawed delicacy as Maine aka Atlantic lobster (French homard).

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          True enough, but really that is native to Southern California: not Northern: I have never seen it underwater in fifteen years of diving anywhere north of Santa Barbara (but see it on literally just about every dive south of Santa Barbara and in the Channel Islands). When someone claimed on a Monterey divers list serve I belong to to have seen one in Monterey Bay a few years ago, all the other divers demanded a photo as proof, and pooh-poohed the claim without that proof. So, I still wouldn't call it local...besides, when you say occasionally, in my experience you mean 'very occasionally', and even then, it is likely to be imported from the Caribbean, Australia or Mexico, where most of the commercial fisheries for the Spiny lobster are located ...Hint: there is a reason that another name for Spiny lobster is 'warm water lobster'.

                          More about Spiny Lobster:


                        2. re: susancinsf

                          Thanks for taking time to reply. Also, thanks for the Thai's suggestion. I'm considering to try it instead of revisiting Chiangmai. There are so many new choices;it makes my head spin to coordinate dining & location so we don't drive all over town just for eating. We have only 4 days up there to eat all the great food!

                          I couldn't wait with the lobster crave; we went out yesterday to a local Chinese restaurant & had some delicious lobster fresh out fr. the tank cooked w/ garlic & onion as I requested. It made our day!

                          Since I already covered crab in some of the restaurants on my list & thought no need to post the Qs. There is a big thread re. crab on this board. It was very helpful.

                          For breakfast, we can eat anywhere between the places we plan to visit ( tourist places: Golden Gate Park, FW, Place of Fine Arts, Union Square, China town) and Holiday Inn SFO aiprort. We have only 4 days to reintroduce the city to my parents w/ 2 little ones in tow. No plan to take them to the Cliff House, though. My parents prefer Pho instead of a lavish western style breakfast. %>)

                          My husband & my father can live w/ Chinese food for all week. I like varieties.

                          Rainforest is for the kid; there is some thing for them to wander after meal; their lobster rolls are not too bad.

                          I put a "?" on Aziza since I checked out their web site, read their environment description & looked at the mark" Good for Kids: No" on Yelp.

                          You see I'm trying to balance the dining preference of 6 people here. :>)

                        3. re: kayla8

                          We are replacing New Asia ( old school dimsum) w/ Tonkiang for a different cuisine ( Hakah (sp?)) beside the health violation in Nov. I hope I won't get slammed on this fr. New Asia's fans out there. :>)

                          1. re: kayla8

                            I don't think New Asia has any fans under the age of 80.

                          2. re: kayla8

                            I like Howard's but it really is a greasy spoon. It's a short block away to Park Chow. I'd suggest a walk by Howards.

                            For parking near 9th/Irving, park in GG Park, at the 9th St entrance, it's free. At night it's one of the best parking secrets in SF, if you're the area.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              Park Chow's menu sounds more persuasive to me. Hm... There are too many choices, now.

                          3. re: rworange

                            was Mel's ever good? I mentioned it as parking is sort of easy...

                            I always liked Ocean City for dim sum, but if you're bumping North Beach over parking - CTown's worse (but does have garages)

                            1. re: hill food

                              Yeah, when Mel's opened they were very good. As is often the case, once they expanded the quality dived. Back in the day when they opened in about the 80's(?) the staff had 50's uniforms, girls with poodle skirts and that sort of thing. They had really good breakfasts and the daily special, especially the short ribs, were excellent. They still do a decent enough corned beef and cabbage ... tho it has been about 2 years since I had it so who knows.

                              1. re: hill food

                                In Chinatown, Portsmouth Square offers two hours of free validated parking. Most merchants nearby will validate.

                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                  Wow, free parking in prime areas of San Francisco? Thanks a lot for the great parking tip!

                                2. re: hill food

                                  Mel's is good for what it is: Big Greasy Diner Food. Sometimes (late night, for example), there is nothing better than a huge burger, a platter of crisp onion rings (with real onions inside!), and a malt. I'd take Mel's over Lori's for that sort of experience any day of the week.

                                  1. re: Carrie 218

                                    Danming with faint praise. At one time Lori's was good too.

                                  2. re: hill food

                                    Mel's can be good for a Turkey Club...but since most of their food is so bad now it's hard to order anything with confidence. A lot of the safe items (like burgers) aren't so safe anymore. There really was a period when Mel's had pretty darn good food, and really great milkshakes.

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      There's two things I order at Mel's, the BLT and the burger. It use to only be the BLT but I went once and didn't want bacon and the burger turned out surprisingly well -- cooked to order (med rare) and like $6.50, seemed like fresh chuck as well. Everything else, not so sure.

                            2. Re: Aziza on being kid-friendly...

                              I think there are two inherent problems; first, the restaurant is relatively dark (no way to give them a book or crayons to amuse them) and second, what makes Aziza really, really good is the $50 five-course meal which most kids don't have the patience for. You didn't say how old the child is. I have known a 10 year-old who adore Aziza but I would be reluctant to bring one in that is four or five.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Carrie 218

                                Thanks for the clarification on Aziza as I suspcted.

                                The muchkins are 17 month old & almost 4 yrs old. The little one can sit & eat up to only an hr now. She loves to eat; quietly w/ intense focus on chowing down her food. The chef should see her expression when she likes the food "Yummmm.." w/ her head leaning to the back. Life is wonderful! We had no problem w/ her eating in fine French restaurants in our Denver trip last yr when she was 1 yr old. Now she is 17mos , mobility is her favorite thing; she needs to get up, moving around. We may take her to the chain Rainforest in FW ( Fisherman's Wharf).

                                1. re: Carrie 218

                                  I completely disagree that it is the $50 five course meal that makes Aziza so good. I never order that (waay too much food for me, and I am not a light eater), and I absolutely LOVE Aziza. Nor do I think the front room is that dark. It just simply isn't too dark for crayons, in my experience. OTOH, I'd want an hour and a half there, not just an hour. Of course, I would also want an hour and a half at most of the Chinese places in town too. In any event, if OP wants to go to Rainforest for the sake of the kid being able to run around, I'd say food is not the primary criteria here. If it was, the solution would be somewhere with a patio or adjacent outdoor area (especially this weekend since the weather is decent)...certainly not Rainforest. (Further discussions of which belong on the Chains Board).

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    I'm a big eater, and thought the five-course meal was a reasonable amount of food. Though you could eat just as well ordering a la carte.