My potential 3 day eating Itinerary
My best friend and I are having a girls trip down to San Francisco in May and I would like to make sure I don't miss out on the wonderful food scene there. I am hoping I can get some feedback as to whether all you Connoisseurs approve of my choices and if there are other alternatives that you prefer.
Saturday: Dim Sum - Koi Palace
Dinner - Sebo or Ino Sushi
Sunday: Brunch - Emporio Rulli Gran Cafe
Dinner - Michael Mina
Monday: Dim Sum - Gold Mountain or Yank Sing
Dinner - Sam's Anchor Cafe
Sebo is wonderful. If there's two of you you should be able to get a seat at the bar and go for the omakase. You'll be able to converse with the chefs and they'll serve you things to your taste building on what you think of the dishes you've tried so far. Dining a la carte is good as well but I'd hold out for the bar seat if you can. If you arrive and it's full you can give them your number and go for a drink down the road and they'll call you when a spot is open.
Do yourself a BIG favor and skip Bistro Boudin. We ate there last week after a night tour of Alcatraz. I picked it because it seemed like the best of not so good. It was overpriced, not a big selection and our worst meal in 12 days in SF.
I would recommend Zuni Cafe which isn't far from Union Square [take the F trolley] or John's Grill [John's is conveniently located too] as better places to eat after Alcatraz.
It is worth going elsewhere rather than eating at Pier. Also, the pier for Alcatraz is quite a distance from Fisherman's Wharf. You are also closer to North Beach area when you get off ferry. Rethink your plans.
We liked City View for Dim Sum. [662 Commercial, just off Kearny]. It is between Financial District and Chinatown. We got a table easily just before Noon on a Thursday. 10 minutes later the line was out the door. Good food, nice place, good service and $38 for 2 with 1 beer and lots to eat.
Yeah, I like Rulli for certain things like cookies and pastry. It has miserable coffee. I want to try dinner there sometime. but in fthat area in the Marina there are better places. Also, it is not all that close to the Ferry to Alcatraz. You could do better at Boudin Cafe which is next door to the Ferry ... however, that's only ok too.
Another place in Untion Square is Dottie's True Blue Cafe. Or halfway between your hotel and the Ferry is Mama's in North Beach. There are a bunch of great old-style coffe houses there like Cafe Roma. I
f you are serious about coffee, be sure to stop by the new Blue Bottle Cafe in the old mint building which isn't that far from Union Square. Searching the board and the Places database will give lots of info.
Are you driving or taking the Ferry to Tiburon? Sam's is nice for a view with the food being ok. If you are driving Fish is Sausalito has a nice bay view and much better food ... and you can drive by the little houseboats in Sausalito which are cute.
I liked my visit to Michael Minna, but that was years ago. Recently the Chronicle food critic gave it a lot of stars. However, some of the other suggestions might be better. What were you looking for when you chose Michal Minna?
I will definately try out the Blue Bottle Cafe on Saturday as we get in a little too early at 8:30 in the morning. We are probably driving to Sausalito but that would depend on how late we get back the night before. =P
I chose Michal Minna because of the lobster pot pie and its in the hotel. Just thought that it would be nice for a little upscale dining.
Well, then ... yeah ... go for Micael Minna. It is always nice to have dinner and stroll up to your room. I liked the lobster pot pie. I ordered the tasting menu, but they substituted one of the courses for lobster pot pie which was nice.
If you drive to Sausalito/Tiburon, then go for Fish rather than Sam's. When you drive along the waterfront in Sausalito there Cafe Trieste ... a branch of the North Beach restauraunt. There is also Northpoint Coffee. They weren't as promising as I had hoped when they opened, but they have a lovely garden that overlooks the bay and decent coffee.
Michael Mina often gets poor reviews here, which I don't quite get. Yes it's expensive but in context to other places in the 4-star range, it's "reasonable". I've had the tasting menu and thought it stood up well to the other usual high end places, even French Laundry. No it wasn't as good as FL or the best it was a fine meal. One flawed dish (out of 9+) but otherwise excellent. I'd go back for the right occasion, although there's many places on my list. Going because you're staying there certainly seems like a natural. I'd take advantage of the ability to walk back to your room and get that extra cocktail or wine that you usually hold back on.
I am a Mina detractor -- and have enclosed a dinner I ate there in January.
I will NEVER go back and think it is close to one of the worst meals I have had on a haute cuisine level in almost a year. MUCH better restaurants in the city including Coi, Amé, and Fifth Floor.
Too loud, to inconsistent, and far too disappointing.
Some friends recommended it, so that was probably the only reason and the menu looked decent online. I'm big into coffee and we're doing Alcatraz on Sunday, so location was another factor. Our hotel is in Union Square so if you have a better recommendation, that would be awesome!
Near Union Square: Canteen, depending on how many of you are dining together that day. It's a really tiny place, so a party of two would be best, party of four could squeeze, larger than that is a no-go.
Brenda's on Polk is also very nice, the biscuits and grits are great. But my first choice would be Canteen.
817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Brenda's French Soul Food
652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102
I vote for Gold Mountain over Yank Sing. For one, I prefer Gold Mountain any day. The food is cheaper, less precious, but still good. Especially since you are alerady going to Koi Palace for the higher-class experience, I think the contrast with the bare bones, no nonsense Gold Mountain would be great.