Please rate my eating itinerary!
I previously posted that I am a New Yorker who will be visiting San Francisco this month and am looking for good places to eat. Thank you to everyone who offered their recommendations! It was hard narrowing the places down, but below is my planned eating itinerary. Please let me know what you think. Are there places I should skip/add?
Lunch: Burger at In 'n' Out (I know people said there are better burgers elsewhere, but I've never tried and need to see what all the hype is about) and general noshing around Fisherman's Wharf (any good places to visit for snacks and small bites?)
Dinner: Slanted Door (what are some recommended dishes?)
Lunch: Farmer's Market at the Ferry building (which stands/eateries are not to be missed?) and then heading to Mission for a burrito at La Taqueria
Dinner: Osha Thai (this is going to be a huge group dinner, so can't skip. How is the food there? What's good to order?)
Brunch: Bar Tartine if we can get reservations; other option is dim sum at Yank Sing (is the dim sum better than what I can get in Flushing, New York?)
Thanks for any and all input!
Except for the setting, Fisherman's Wharf is a giant tourist trap. Walk a few blocks along the water to enjoy the view, then head up Columbus to North Beach / Chinatown. Or wallow in mediocrity and get a frozen seafood cocktail and canned chowder in a bread bowl.
Which branch of Osha Thai? They vary.
Comprehensive Wharf topic: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/307917
Ferry Plaza topics:
Its an okay itinerary. I would make some geographic changes, though.
In general, Fisherman's wharf is terrible. I avoid it. If I have to go with out of town guests I end up wandering out on the public pier... its much nicer/less crowded/less junky.
There is an in and out at Fisherman's Wharf, so you could eat there. There is no decent food down there. Unless you count chocolate bars from Ghiradelli's.
Do you have reservations at Slanted Door yet? You should get them now. They book up fast. And they are located at the Ferry Building, so Saturday would be a better time to do the Farmer's market, eat some samples, then have a late lunch at Slanted Door. Five Spice Chicken will change your life. The tamarind sauce is amazing. But the jicima-grapefruit salad is also delicious!
Will you have a car while you are out here? La Taqueria is excellent. The mission is pretty far away, but if you are flexible, you should also try to have desert at Mitchell's Ice Cream. They have some crazy and absolutely delecious flavors. The lines are long, but it is sooooo worth it.
Don't much about the Thai restaurant you mentioned, or the Brunch places.
Our other favorite in SF is Suppenkuche... this fabulous beer and schnitzel German Restaraunt.
However, if you are here for culinary adventures, you should really try to make it across the bay to Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Its only a 30 minute BART ride from the city. And you can make reservations for the Cafe a lot easier than the downstairs restaurant.
Have a lot of fun! Enjoy the sights and the deliciousness of the Bay Area!
They don't take reservations for brunch at Bar Tartine (and I don't really think you need them, it's not too crowded). I'll let others comment on the dim sum comparison. There are a few great threads on the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market that give you pointers to stands and eateries: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/503670 is the most recent one. There isn't good noshing around Fisherman's Wharf, I'd go to In n Out for the burger, then head to the Mission for noshing (Tartine Bakery, Bi-Rite, maybe do your taqueria stop here instead). Here's a recent topic on what to order at Slanted Door http://www.chowhound.com/topics/507381 with a link to an older one. Enjoy!
I would only do Yank Sing if someone in the party is vegetarian or doesn't eat pork/shellfish - for vegetarian dim sum, I think it's quite good, but for standard dim sum, I think it's not superior to places in Flushing, and it's way more expensive. Koi Palace in Daly City *is* better than the places in Flushing that I've been to, but you'd need a car to get there.
Also, I really love brunch at Bar Tartine, so a hearty *yay* for me on that one. Getting a reservation shouldn't be difficult. Even without a reservation, you can get in pretty easily... the bar seats a lot of people.
I like Lamber's idea of ice cream in the Mission, but I'd propose Bi-Rite Creamery instead of Mitchell's. The flavors at Mitchell's are similar to those at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, but I find NYC lacking in super-premium ice cream (I hear the gelato scene is improving, but I'm referring to the ultra rich stuff that Boston excels in). I will always love Bi-Rite's salted caramel and honey-lavender, but there are always lots of interesting flavors. Stop into the Bi-Rite grocery store across the street and pick up a stick of Boccalone Pepato salami to take home. It's by far the best salami I've ever tasted. I keep bringing it to picnics and parties, and people keep freaking out over how good it is.
"Koi Palace in Daly City *is* better than the places in Flushing that I've been to, but you'd need a car to get there."
Daveena, could the OP BART to Daly City and then bus/taxi to Koi Palace? I understand the BART trip is only 15 min but I can't work out how far away the resto is from the BART stop (selfish reasons for asking too...). Also I've heard the wait is super long and the service pretty terrible. Comments?
The wait is super long, the service is pretty terrible. If you're not chinese, you run the risk of them not calling your number, a stunt they pulled on us and then apologized for when we called my MIL who is Shanghainese and screamed at them over the phone for disrespecting us. Even so, we got there at 11 AM and didn't get seated until 1 PM. In my opinion, it's totally not worth the wait, especially when on a short trip and time is precious.
To be fair, you could get the same deal at Koi if you're Chinese. The place can be a zoo. Speaking Chinese doesn't necessarily help. It's an interesting note about screaming in Shanghaiese however..given Koi is mainly a Canto place.
Any way, standing on top of the front person is usual way of getting your table at a crowded Chinese place and and that's why you see a huge crowds at the front of many busy Chinese restaurants. It's a culture thing, better to wait 2 hours and jam the entrance to get the best rather then get subpar...but it can be very tetious and often not worth it. You're right about the long wait on a short trip.
Hey grayelf - I would only do it if you have a car. I haven't been to the Daly City BART in a while, and people should correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember there being a lot of taxis waiting outside the BART station... not sure what the bus situation is.
If you get to Koi Palace when it opens at 9 AM on Sunday, there's a huge mass of people pushing to get in... the restaurant fills up by 9:30 or so.
I didn't have service problems, but I know other people have.
Grayelf, although it may be better than Flushing, it's probably not significantly better than Vancouver/Richmond and thus not worth your time here. Story: Some friends in Boston asked a Chinese restaurant owner where to go for dim sum, and he told them "Vancouver." I've heard that parts of California are catching up, but still, I wouldn't recommend that someone from Vancouver use their limited time pursuing dim sum in the Bay Area.
It's a decent itinerary, here's what I would change.
Nix In 'n' Out and the Wharf. In 'n' Out is good - for a fast food burger - meaning it is better than McDonalds. Compared to the "gourmet" burgers that are common in SF, LA, and NY it is awful. I've read report after report by visitors who insisted on In 'n' Out after reading all the hype, and were disappointed. I never eat there, and I love a good burger. If you were here for a week, I'd consider it. But don't waste one of five meals there. And please don't form your opinion of SF based on the Wharf.
So many better places to consider for Friday lunch - Canteen, Two (get the marrow bones), Perbacco. Tour best option may be doing La Taqueria on Friday, cuz you'll be eating Mexican for lunch on Saturday and there's now way you'll have room for a burrito between the Ferry Building and Dinner.
Here's my recent report on the Ferry Building Farmers' Market. For lunch, go to Primavera, no contest. It will be interesting to compare Taqueria and Primavera for two different takes on Bay Area Mexican.