Must Have Eats for New Yorker?
I'll be visiting San Fran next month and am looking for the city's can't-miss eats. Any kind of cuisine, cheap to moderately priced (about $20 for an entree) and I'm willing to travel to any neighborhood in the area. I'm basically looking for places that offer phenomenal dishes that have no comparison to anything I can get in New York City.
Also, is In-and-Out Burger as good as people say?
In-and-Out is great when compared to other fast food joints (arches, et. al.). Not a great burger and fries, but decent and freshly made. If you are looking for a fast food fix, it's worth a stop. If you are looking for a great burger, there are better choices.
Try doing a search on this board to find the answers you're looking for. Burgers, cheap eats, and SF spots for New Yorkers are routinely discussed on this board so there is a lot of info already here.
If you happen to be by an In and Out, I'd stop but I wouldn't make a special trip. A special trip would set up expectations. As a nice side trip surprise I 'n O could be good...as the main attraction, not so sure.
For other eats, I'd say visit at least one taqueria, sample of the more unique Asian food, Cambodian, Burmese.
I'd also add Oaxacan (dang it - what's Chichen Itza called now?), and Ligurian. Overall, NYC has more regional Italian restaurants, but I read that the only Ligurian restaurant closed, and Ligurian is well represented out here, so I'd get focaccia from Liguria bakery for a snack (get there early) and maybe farinata with a glass of wine at Rose Pistola for a light lunch.
Also, if you haven't tried soup dumplings outside Manhattan, I'd go to one of the Shanghaiese restaurants to try a more authentic version of xiao long bao.
I think In-n-Out is overrated, it's more of a cult thing with its so-called "secret menu" and the hidden religious messages on the packaging. You can probably find better burgers at many independent neighborhood burger joints. The fact that the In-n-Out people settled on Fisherman's Wharf as the most suitable location in SF to build should tell you something.
Otherwise, I'd second ML8000 and Daveena's suggestions and add that Vietnamese is another cuisine better represented here than in NYC, as is Basque, although the hard-core sheepherder fare seems to have gone away . And how about Istrian (Albona, betweet North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf)?
Albona Ristorante Istriano
545 Francisco St, San Francisco, CA 94133