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Apr 10, 2008 03:33 PM

another NYer comes to SF

Coming to Northern Cal for the 1st time and would love a little guidance. We're interested in really good cal cuisine for at least one meal in sf. Will be there for 2 days, then on to Napa/Sonoma for 3 more (Already have resys at Ubuntu and Girl and the fig). Ideally I'd like to find cheap eats for one night and something more for the other. We'll be walking all over the place, so location is not a concern. Also love wine bars and have been reading alot about Cav. How is it? Is there someplace equally good or better?
btw, totally excited about the trip!

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  1. I strongly recommend reading this very recent thread, as well as all of the threads embedded in it - posters picked some of the best "NYer coming to SF" threads from the last few months.

    It's also a good idea to specify a price range, as "cheap eats" and "something more" mean different things to different people.

    If you're heading up to Napa anyway, I'd think about booking a meal at Chez Panisse Cafe either on the way there, or on the way back to SF, for the classic Cal-Cuisine experience.

    6 Replies
    1. re: daveena

      yeah, thanks. I did read that thread. More specifically (shoulda started that way, I guess) I've been reading about spruce, boulevard, gary danko, michael mina and a few others, but I'm trying to find out what fellow foodies are feeling right now. When I say "something more", I mean up to 30ish for the mains. Thought about Chez Panisse, but figured since there was so little time we'd stay in town. We'll be leaving for Napa in the am and coming back to go to the airport.

      1. re: catciao

        Ah, ok. When you said "something more", I definitely did not think you were considering the most expensive restaurants in SF.

        I have been underwhelmed by Boulevard, Gary Danko, and Michael Mina, to the point where I completely gave up on expensive restaurants in SF for a few years (the more interesting ones, Ame and Coi, are more Asian and/or experimental and don't sound like what your looking for).

        Most people would say that SF's strength is in its mid-range restaurants. Frequent NYC visitor steve h. did a great summary of his personal favorites:

        To his list, I'd add Bar Tartine (for Cal-Mediterranean), Aziza (for Cal-Moroccan), Canteen (for excellent Cal cuisine coming out of the tiniest kitchen ever). While Slanted Door (Cal-Vietnamese) gets mixed reviews from Bay Area posters, it mostly gets strong reviews from visitors from NY. There's a recent thread on what to order there that's listed enough interesting sounding dishes I haven't tried before that I'm even thinking about giving it another chance (I've been one of its detractors).

        1. re: daveena

          Ah, thanks for this, daveena. Been digging more into the threads and have read much about Bar Tatine. Sounds good for the second night-Friday. I'm thinking we really should try Chez Panisse if at all possible. Is it an easy commute? We'll be relying on public trans, so...
          Tried to get resys at Slanted Door, but couldn't. Now I'm thinking I'd rather do some little Vietnamese joint with great food. Anybody?
          Coi might be a little more than I want to spend, since we'll be out every day and night for 5 days. (and that's coming from a NYer!)
          Thanks again
          any and all advice is greatly appreciated!

          1. re: catciao

            Chez Panisse is doable by public transportation (I think it's about a 1/2 mile walk from the BART station) but it will take a few hours out your day to get there, eat, and get back. I probably wouldn't do it without a car if it's your first visit to SF, and you only have two days.

            A number of people have compared Bodega Bistro favorably to Slanted Door (I haven't been).

            1. re: catciao

              If you're relying on public transportation, how are you getting to Napa? Are you renting a car for a day? CP Cafe is pretty easy by public transportation, but yeah, if you only have two days, I wouldn't do it. Also, check back with Slanted Door (and check on OpenTable) because there are a lot of cancellations, and you can always eat at the bar for a snack and cocktails and move on elsewhere for dinner -- or eat there for lunch.

            2. re: daveena

              I'm with you, daveena. The really high-end restaurants are mostly not worth the price or the attitude, except for La Folie and Acquerello. All the ones you mentioned are not only better value, but just better.

        2. In Napa, stop by the Oxbow Public Market. Some good and (relatively) inexpensive eats are the Wine Store, the Rotiserrie, Taylor's Refresher and though some not agree .. Pica Pica Venezuelan.

          Here are some other ideas for moderately-prices spots in Napa

          2 Replies
          1. re: rworange

            ok, so maybe no cp, but made a resy for friday at Bar Tartine. Still have to book Thursday. Maybe canteen, then. How about a cheap, traditional Vietnamese for lunch? Thanks for the ideas for Napa-someone I know also told me to go to Taylor's refresher, so I'll probably check that out.

            1. re: catciao

              CP serves the most delicious Cal cuisine. Ubuntu is also fabulous! Nothing like them here in LA or NY. I'll take them anytime over Per Se or the French Laundry (and I've been to both).

              Go to Taylor's Refresher on Hwy 29. They make great burgers, and the wine list is impressive with hard-to-find half bottles from boutique vineyards. Lines can be long but so worth it. If you are in Yountville, stop by Bistro Jeanty for a bowl of the most amazing tomato soup in puff pasty. Desserts are great, too. It's easy to get counter seats if you don't have reservation. Have a good time in N Cal.