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Mar 25, 2008 01:51 PM

SF CH's, help a Philly hound out!

Coming to SF for the first time and I am very excited to explore your city. Staying down in Union Square and have a few specific things we would like to try.

Breakfast: Looks like we are set between Ferry Farmers Mkt and Canteen.

Lunch: Looking for something off the beaten path. Like a great local sandwich shop that has a signature sandwich/organic smoothie/unique menu item. Found some really cool spots up in Portland when I visited a few months ago.

Dinner: My wife and I both love Mexican. That may sound generic, but there aren't many great Mexican spots around Philly. Plenty of good ones, nothing great. I am looking particularly for fajitas with home made flour tortillas with a good piece of steak, not the retread some places serve you. Good guac/margaritas are also a plus. Unfortunately it has to be close to downtown, which may limit my options. I read good things about Zona Rosa and Chabela but have not heard anything recent.

Sushi: I can eat sushi 4 times a day. My wife can do without. Can someone recommend a good sushi spot off the beaten path that is the best bang for the buck (fresh, good variety, more options for non-sushi eaters)? For example, if you came to Philly, some would recommend Morrimoto as the best sushi spot in town but I could recommend 2 spots within 3 blocks that are as good for half the price.

Gastro Pubs: Any neat gastro/local brewery style establishments to try while trotting around? I love trying different beers, especially stuff that is regional. Not looking for a Belgian bar, just something that says, "This is San Francisco, have a seat, rest your feet, and have a beer."

I tried to do the research myself but the info is so over whelming I thought a post might be better. I hope to return the favor for you all in Philadelphia.

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  1. I've had no luck finding housemade flour tortillas here. They're a Sonoran thing and the Mexicans restaurants here focus on other regions.

    Fajitas are Tex-Mex. Do we have any good Tex-Mex around here?

    There's very little great Mexican food in SF proper. Best close to downtown might be Órale Órale, nothing fancy but honest cooking. Upscale, there's Colibri and Zazil.

    1. I was in Philadelphia 2 weeks ago and went to El Vez so, I know what you mean when you say the Mexican food there is no good. The best mexican food I have found so far is Maya.
      There is a great Vietnamese sandwich shop in Chinatown called Little Paris. You can get your lunch then walk to the park in North beach if it's a nice day.
      For sushi I like Ryoko's. The food is good and the restaurant a little quirky. For a gastro pub, my choice is the Irish Bank. These are all pretty close to Union Square.

      Maya Restaurant
      303 2nd St., San Francisco, CA 94107

      Irish Bank Bar and Restaurant
      10 Mark Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108

      Little Paris Coffee Shop
      939 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

      Ryoko Restaurant & Bar
      619 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1. The closest Tex-Mex place to downtown is Tortilla Heights. My husband and I go there every once in a while for our fix. They have good tacos & fajitas, queso (which is a rarity in SF), guacamole, etc. I am not sure if their tortillas are house made. Their margaritas are very good, too. It is definitely the closest I have found in SF to real Tex-Mex. You can either take a short cab ride there, or take the bus.

        Tortilla Heights
        1750 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115

        1 Reply
        1. re: meggie t

          Thanks for the suggestions so far. I am going to look up each place and how it fits into the schedule of events we have planned. These places don't necessarily need to be around Union Square. We are going to be all over the place, ie north side of town Friday night, chinatown/GG park, cliff house Sat, and the ballpark on Sunday. Rocio, next time in Philly, I can recommend a pretty good mexican place that is BYOT (bring your own tequlia) to make margaritas with no corkage fee.