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Feb 26, 2008 10:38 AM

Visiting San Fran, where should I eat?

I'm visiting for a long weekend (I have two full days, Friday and Saturday) for pleasure, and want to know where the best noshing is.

Here are my current targets:

In & Out Burger (I've never been)
Chinatown (no specific restaurant in mind)
My girlfriend wants to go to Aliotos

Any suggestions, thoughts, etc?

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  1. Range
    Tower Burger
    China Wok
    Chenery Park
    Zuni Cafe
    Yank Sing
    Ferry Building on Saturday with the Farmer's Market
    Hog Island Oyster Co.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Ok, usually you would get 'the lecture' to be more specific ... however ... I see you report a lot on the Manhattan board and so I'm hoping you will report back ... especially about Aliotos since we dont get many reports on the place.

        My tip for Aliotos is to get the creme brullee for dessert. I love this stuff there. Also be sure to ask which fish is local ... which is good to ask at any wharf restaurant. The waiters can be icy but if you show interest in the food rather than the view, they warm up a bit.

        It is still sort of crab season, so you might want to give the cioppino at Alioto's a try ... or the sand dabs if they have them ... a local fish.

        So, here's where I'd go ...

        Breakfast options
        North Beach Mama's
        Embarcadero Town's End
        Union Square Canteen ... this is probably your best bet

        Saturday morning though ... Ferry Plaza Farmers Market ... really for your eating pleasure ... lots of outdoor vendors and great food .. colorful scene ... look for lots of posts on the board.

        You could then take the street car from Ferry Plaza to Fisherman's Wharf and then do your In-N-Out/Alioto's thing ... Another option is at Ferry Plaza take the Ferry to Tibuorn which is a nice boat ride and more pleasant than those grotesque Red and Gold Fleet tours that blast corny music like San Francisco open your Golden Gate ... Which reminds me ... unless you plan to wear a fanny pack, shorts in February and camera around your neck ... the sure way to mark yourself as a tourist is to call it San Fran, Frisco or SFO (that is the airport). If you decide on Tiburon, let me know and I'll recommend some places.

        Sure ... why not ... don't usually recommend this place but ... get an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista ... it is a touristy thing to do but it sounds like that's what you have planned ... nice view, fun atomosphere. They are famous for the coffee ... but for St Francis sake don't order another thing there ... especially the food.

        And do NOT eat on Pier 39 ... just check out the sea lions.

        You can catch the cable care from the Buena Vista and visit one of my favorite restuarants ... 1550 Hyde ... Great Cal Cuisine and wine ... wonderful rabbit if it is on the menu.

        Aziza is fun and unique ... Cal Moroccan with great cocktails ... it is a long haul by bus if you don't have a car ... are you driving at all or just taking public transportation?

        Anyway, in North Beach nice stops are XOX chocolates, Graffeo Coffee, Cafe Trieste. In Chinatown there is Golden Gate Bakery for the BBQ pork buns and egg tarts. Chinese restaurants could be R & G for the salt and pepper crab or Jai Yun.

        5 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          sea lions... only reason to hit the wharf in my book (they are deeply cool).

          it took a long time to just ignore relatives asking about San Fran or Frisco. perhaps it's an insecure response - after all what does it really matter - yet it sets teeth on edge.

          the weird thing about In n Out is the crypto-menu spread by word of mouth. straight off the menu is fine, but one always feels one's missing something.

            1. re: Nancy Berry

              CCWeb, apologies for the vagueness of my post; Indeed I should have been more specific in what I wanted and was looking for. I hate when others do it to me, so why should I make the same mistake?

              I did the infamous In/Out Burger thing, thanks for the secret menu as I ended up with the Animal Burger with Animal Fries, which accounted for a slow shuffle for the following few hours.

              I was generally unimpressed with Alito's, but absolutely adored everything else.

              Went to Dottie's for breakfast, where I ordered two meals because I wanted to try everything, and was really impressed. Blueberry cormeal pancakes were awesome though I was a whale for hours.

              Grabbed brunch at a small place called Nook another morning and had a great ham, Gruyere and mango chutney sandwich.

              Enjoyed Chinese at Hunan Home which was amazing (though the soup dumplings were better at Joe’s Shanghai in NYC. Is there a better place out there I should have gone to?), especially their succulent bread which I had never seen anywhere else.

              At the end of Haight Asbury there is a little Mexican place around the corner from a botigue called Giant Robot (maybe Shrader st?) which was hands down the best Mexican I have ever had.

              I also went to Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, a friend recommended it, for beer and their sausage entreee. 3 sausages (lamb, duck and chicken) over 3 sauces (spicy mustard, chutney and cilantro) with two warm pretzels. With the beer and a long day’s walk behind me it was awesome!

              San Fran, I salute your food culture!

              1. re: bocce

                Mexican place near Giant Robot: Zona Rosa? Chabela?

                There are many discussions of soup dumplings on this board. Use "search this board" and look for XLB. I'm surprised Hunan's Home even offered them, that's not a Hunan specialty.

                1. re: bocce

                  No worries; all of the restaurants I listed are ones I happily eat at, actually...but as you note, with no guidance I just lobbed them out there.

                  Thanks for reporting back and glad you had a good trip!