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Russian Hill

peterboy Feb 15, 2008 01:44 AM

What's the good local scores around Russian Hill, where I will be visiting my daughter. Separately, how about a favorite Italian anywhere within a short drive and Chinese in Chinatown?
While I love to pay good money for great food, right now things are a bit tight so fifty bucks a person would be tops on the Italian dinner.
Thanks ever so much...LA traveler.

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  1. s
    stuckinschool RE: peterboy Feb 15, 2008 11:04 AM

    for the italian place, i highly recommend ristorante milano!

    Ristorante Milano
    1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

    1. d
      dinnerout RE: peterboy Feb 15, 2008 01:55 PM

      I like Luella on Hyde. There is also Antica Trattoria on Polk St. - I've not been but others seem to like it. There are a number of places on Polk in fact!

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinnerout
        peterboy RE: dinnerout Feb 15, 2008 04:38 PM

        Luella would be chinese? just joking.

        1. re: peterboy
          dinnerout RE: peterboy Feb 15, 2008 07:07 PM

          Busted! Well, not really Italian either, but check it out - they have a website and the food is great. Nice ambience also. Only pain is the parking!

      2. p
        petersgirl RE: peterboy Feb 16, 2008 10:49 AM

        What about Fracati?? any input?

        14 Replies
        1. re: petersgirl
          stacyc RE: petersgirl Feb 16, 2008 12:14 PM

          Frascati is my favorite in Russian Hill. Parking sucks, but you can park down on Pacific/Polk in the lot by the paint store and walk up. Frascati is Cal/Ital, the staff is super nice and accomodating, the space is really intimate, and the menu changes all the time, but everything's always been creative and good in that style.

          1. re: petersgirl
            Rich RE: petersgirl Feb 17, 2008 04:35 PM

            It continues to amaze me that people rave about Frascati and Luella. Both are average at best, with surroundings that far outpace the food. I have eaten at both a couple of times as I live half a block away, and will trek to Milano, Pesce or Antica anyday rather than succumb to another disappointment.

            1. re: Rich
              peterboy RE: Rich Feb 17, 2008 04:58 PM

              Rich--do you have places that fit my fun visit to Russian Hil?
              Good food at a local spot and
              Separately, how about a favorite Italian anywhere within a short drive and Chinese in Chinatown?

              1. re: peterboy
                Rich RE: peterboy Feb 19, 2008 01:48 PM

                For solid Italian, both Antica and Ristorante Milano are good local bets. Pesce still impresses me with their take on Venetian small plates, mostly seafood oriented. For a true SF experience House of Prime Rib is down the street and for upscale, delicious Italian influenced food, Acquerello can't be beat.

              2. re: Rich
                dinnerout RE: Rich Feb 17, 2008 08:31 PM

                Sorry to hear that, Rich - I'm also walking distance and very much like Luella - I've been at least 6 times. Never been to Frascati and would try Antica before Frascati - just because I've heard so much about Antica. But I'm also walking distance from A16, so when I want Italian, that is usually where we head. Good thing we don't all like the same thing, no?

                1. re: Rich
                  osho RE: Rich Feb 19, 2008 03:36 PM

                  I have to respectfully disagree here with the reference to Frascati. Eaten here three times, and never been disappointed so far.

                  Do you happen to remember what you had at Frascati ?

                  1. re: Rich
                    gal4giants RE: Rich Feb 21, 2008 05:16 PM

                    It amazes me that some say average at best. Average at best is something I can do in my kitchen. Both of these places are far better than average, Frascati has been around forever & will continue for reason. Luella is a gem for the neighborhood & will hopefully be around just as long as Frascati has. Yes, Antica & Ristorante MIlano are also 'good bets' BUT so are Frascati & Luella & there is no need to trek.

                    1. re: gal4giants
                      Rich RE: gal4giants Feb 25, 2008 09:13 AM

                      You nailed it on the head. For $50.00 without beverages, uninspired chicken, lamb and beef with muddled sides and competing flavors is something I can cook at home. As for Luella, subtlety is just not in their repertoire. Everything is too sweet, too savory, or too buttery. Just my opinion and if you enjoy them, as many do, more power to you.

                      1. re: Rich
                        Robert Lauriston RE: Rich Feb 29, 2008 09:27 AM

                        "Savory" is a synonym for appetizing. Do you mean too salty?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          Rich RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 1, 2008 03:32 PM

                          It also refers to foods that are in the salty/spicy category as opposed to sweet.

                          1. re: Rich
                            Robert Lauriston RE: Rich Mar 2, 2008 09:33 AM

                            I still don't understand what you meant by "too savory." You find Luella's food too salty and spicy and not sweet enough?

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              Rich RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 4, 2008 08:06 AM

                              If the dish is sweet it is too sweet, if it is salty it is too salty etc. my point being that everything is overdone.

                    2. re: Rich
                      christineb RE: Rich Feb 29, 2008 11:25 AM

                      I don't want to get into any wars regarding Frascati, but it happens to be my favorite restaurant in the city. Quaint atmosphere, fantastic food, and great service. I'm a regular, and have never been unimpressed.

                      1. re: christineb
                        Robert Lauriston RE: christineb Feb 29, 2008 12:38 PM

                        You didn't notice any change at Frascati when the owners sold it and took the chef with them to Wood Tavern?

                  2. Xiao Yang RE: peterboy Feb 17, 2008 09:35 PM

                    If you are planning to walk to some venues (and parking is generally a bitch in that part of town) it would be useful to know what part of Russian Hill will you be in. Some of the places mentioned so far are actually in Polk Gulch, which only a deranged realtor would call Russian Hill. On the eastern slope of Russian Hill you'll find the likes of Trattoria Contadina, and at the foot of the hill on that side lies North Beach with a lot more options than Polk Street on the other side.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Xiao Yang
                      peterboy RE: Xiao Yang Feb 18, 2008 07:47 AM

                      let me check with the daughter...but I believe her cross streets are toward fisherman's wharf. rather than the downtown side--if that makes sense. I do get so turned around having not visited her place since she moved to SF.

                      1. re: peterboy
                        peterboy RE: peterboy Feb 18, 2008 09:37 AM

                        larkin and lombard

                        oh, and she mention's Bix and the Slanted Door--though I dont think they are in the neighborhood.

                        1. re: peterboy
                          Xiao Yang RE: peterboy Feb 18, 2008 10:20 AM

                          That puts you on the Polk Street side, though it's a pretty good grade (one block downhill to Polk). Bix and TSD are not in the neighborhood, but still within a couple of Miles. Not far from Gary Danko, if you want a splurge, and a fun walk down the Lombard St. zigzag to North Beach.

                    2. g
                      goingoutagain RE: peterboy Feb 19, 2008 02:11 PM

                      If you want a less-expensive meal than most previously mentioned, Helmand (Palace) has moved to Van Ness at Green. Delicious Afghan food. Once you walk down the hill to Polk, Van Ness is one more block, and it's flat compared to Polk/Larkin.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: goingoutagain
                        peterboy RE: goingoutagain Feb 19, 2008 02:49 PM

                        what do you recommend at the afghani place--I am unfamiliar with it.

                        1. re: peterboy
                          Xiao Yang RE: peterboy Feb 19, 2008 06:22 PM

                          At the original location they had a buffet at lunch time; it was a good way to find out what you liked. Don't know if they've continued that at Helmand Palace.

                          1. re: peterboy
                            Robert Lauriston RE: peterboy Feb 29, 2008 09:29 AM

                            At Helmand, order kaddo, aushak, and rice pudding or sheerekh.

                          2. re: goingoutagain
                            Xiao Yang RE: goingoutagain Feb 19, 2008 06:18 PM

                            AFAIK, Helmand hasn't really moved, just opened a branch. They are planning on re-opening their original location.

                            1. re: Xiao Yang
                              peterboy RE: Xiao Yang Feb 20, 2008 11:21 PM

                              is that all there is on this issue? I sure would like a sure-fire Italian place and a solid chinatown rec? please help.

                              1. re: peterboy
                                Xiao Yang RE: peterboy Feb 21, 2008 06:50 AM

                                Chinatown is an oft-discussed issue. If you are thinking of dinner, Great Eastern and R&G Lounge are consensus favorites, with ZY Garden, next door to Great Eastern, for non-Cantonese Chinese (Sichuan-Yunnan food). Opinions on dim sum vary, but for the full experience with rolling carts you can't go wrong with Gold Mountain.

                                Lauded trendy "nouveau" Italian places seem to pop up all over town every other week, but in Little Italy proper (North Beach) there's little dissent on L'Osteria del Forno, a small place with a small menu. For throwback family style, cops-and-politicians red sauce Italian, Capp's Corner is pretty much the last man standing.

                                L'Osteria del Forno
                                519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Capp's Corner
                                1600 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Great Eastern Restaurant
                                649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Gold Mountain Restaurant
                                644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                Z & Y
                                655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                1. re: Xiao Yang
                                  hill food RE: Xiao Yang Feb 21, 2008 02:40 PM

                                  love l'Osteria, amazing what can be done with so little.

                          3. m
                            ML8000 RE: peterboy Feb 21, 2008 06:01 PM

                            Zarzuela - Union and Hyde, great tapas with a homemade quality

                            Caffe Macaroni - in lower North Beach (not the chain) reasonably priced Neapolitan, there's two across the street from each other. The original has more charm.

                            Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue
                            124 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111

                            2000 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: ML8000
                              hill food RE: ML8000 Feb 21, 2008 09:13 PM

                              Caffe Macaroni - I always hated the name, but really liked the food - they introduced me to sweetbreads. I liked the upstairs room at the location on the East side of Columbus.

                              1. re: hill food
                                ML8000 RE: hill food Feb 21, 2008 11:27 PM

                                I really like Caffe Mac. At night, the upstairs is like being in another country. Good food and very friendly staff. It's held up very well over time as well.

                            2. p
                              peterboy RE: peterboy Feb 29, 2008 07:02 AM

                              so we went to Pesce and it was fine. The four of us dined on about 10 dishes; some were excellent and others mostly just good. Portions, of course, were tiny as that is the point of the place.
                              The outstanding items included crab tower, braised pork and gnocchi, and seared small scallops. the sauces on the last two were wiped up to the last drop as they were flavorful, smooth, rich and of course in short supply. The meats were cooked perfectly.
                              The arrabiata on the penne was pedestrian, but that was the only one I wouldnt repeat.
                              It seemed a bit high to pay $14 bucks for a tiny plate of linguini with a crab sauce; otherwise the value was fine.
                              Service was sweet and attentive. they gave us all the bread we could want.
                              We did walk by Luella and Frascati--boht intriguing. We were the only folks in the Swenson's--a fine top of the day on our first nite in town.
                              The kids are out now at work and we head across the bay to see the UCB senior. Gotta have a top dog and dinnner is at an indian place--Khana Peena. any thoughts?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: peterboy
                                Robert Lauriston RE: peterboy Feb 29, 2008 09:30 AM

                                Khana Peena's OK, but Ajanta across the street is nicer and if you order the right things better.

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