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Mar 12, 2008 07:55 PM

LA to SF: Need some great recs (relatively) accessible from Omni

I rarely go to SF and have spent all my life in L.A. We're staying at the Omni for a weekend. Need recs for good restaurants...

Yes, I know this is a tourist spot, but am looking for a good seafood place for fresh seafood. Live crab and live spot prawns (not sure if you have them up in SF) a big plus. Would rather go to a nice stand to dive into the seafood than an upscale restaurant.

Am currently looking at Michael Mina, One Market, or Cortez. Don't really want to spent too much (no more than $100 per person, $50 even better). Looking for good food. Not too into Italian or French.

SUSHI (preferably in J-Town):
I've heard that SF sushi is not comparable to LA sushi, and I've been spoiled by some pretty good places down here. I'm currently looking at Kiss Seafood. Any thoughts? Go for it, or skip sushi altogether.

Looking for a good authentic Chinese restaurant. Not too into Sichuan or spicy stuff. Cantonese is good. Haven't decided whether I am going for lunch or dinner. I love good hot pot though, especially a good AYCE hot pot place since there are none down here in L.A.

Looking for other suggestions. Prefer something not super pricey, unless it is truly worth the price. I love seafood. No Vietnamese, Thai, or Indian. I could do French or Italian or steak if you have a great suggestion.

Overall, would prefer places that are accessible through public transportation as I have decided not to rent a car and pay ridiculous price for parking. Some easily accessible by using public transportation around the Omni.


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  1. The problem with your location is that it's in the Financial District and the good restaurants are a little pricey and may not be open on the weekend. Here are a few of my suggestions but you would have to take a cab.
    Fisherman's Wharf- Scomo's
    Nice dinner/affordable/not Italian or French- Iluna Basque in North Beach
    Sushi L.A style- Blowfish (a little far away near Mission)
    Chinese food- Yuet Lee on Stockton and Broadway
    Steak- El Raigon (delicious Argentine steak)
    Seafood- Bar Crudo (a little gem)

    Hope you guys enjoy your stay!!!

    1. For dinner, I would stay away from Michael Mina. It's very good, but you will probably spend well over $100 per person there. It might be fun to try a smaller-scale restaurant. You could cab it or ride the Muni to RNM, NOPA, Foreign Cinema, or Range. All of them are excellent. If you like nightlife, Range or Foreign Cinema are especially good. Both are in the Mission, where you will find a lot of bars to choose from. I've eaten multiple times at each of these restaurants and have had excellent meals.

      1. No local spot prawns (as far as I know, anyway). What you want at the Wharf is Dungeness crab. Cold, cracked crab. While there are "stands", these are literally take-away places, where you order the chowder in a bowl or crab meat in a paper dish and sit in a nearby parking lot or somewhere to eat.

        There aren't upscale restaurants as such at the Wharf either, and most eating places are high-volume tourist restaurants, where you eat inside with waiter service (not cheap, but not fancy). Scoma's is one of the best if you order whatever's fresh, local, seasonal and simply prepared. Like cold, cracked crab. Sourdough bread. Chardonnay. mmmmmmmmmm

        Forget getting anything that you already have/like in LA. Try new stuff!

        You can barely eat at Michael Mina or One Market for $50 per person at lunch, let alone dinner. (I exaggerate.... slightly) Try Canteen if you want upscale food in a downscale atmosphere at reasonable prices. But book now and it's probably already too late.

        From the Omni, you can walk to Chinatown, Union Square, Nob Hill, Financial District, even North Beach (our Italian district). Easy taxi/bus to the Wharf, South of Market, Russian Hill, Marina/Cow Hollow. Under $20 cab ride pretty much anywhere else in the city (except the far western suburbs).


        PS - Check out our weather.... it's probably going to seem cool to you!

        1. Some good places near Montgomery & California:

          Alfred's (old-school SF steakhouse)
          B44 (Catalan)
          Bar Crudo (seafood)
          Bocadillos (Basque tapas)
          Jai Yun (Shanghai tasting menus, read past reports for more info)
          Plouf (moules-frites)
          R&G (Hong Kong Chinese seafood)
          Tadich Grill (seafood, read past reports on what to order)

          Canteen's a great recommendation.

          You're setting yourself up for a fall here by narrowing your requests to tourist neighborhoods that made their reputations 40-50 years ago. There's only one place with really fresh seafood at the Wharf and it's expensive. The best sushi places are not in Japantown (and the best restaurants in Japantown are not sushi bars). There are a few very good Chinese places in Chinatown (e.g. R&G and Jai Yun) but the best Chinese food is the neighborhoods where recent Chinese immigrants are buying houses.