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Tenderloin District/Dinner with a view/Best Mission Style Burrito - 'One Stop Shopping Post'

FeelinFineSunshine May 5, 2008 07:13 AM

In advance I'll say thank you, to any and all suggestions as right now I'm t-minus 3 days away from arriving in San Fran from Toronto and my head is spinning!!! The reason being is I'll only be in the city for 3 days and I really want to make the best of it.

The suggestions I'm looking for are places to eat/have drinks around the Tenderloin district. My SO and I are staying at the Carlton Hotel in 'Lower Nob Hill' on Sutter St. which I believe to be near the 'Tenderloin'. SO and I are not really into high end places, we prefer more relaxed places that serve good food and maybe offer a 'funky' environment. That being said, we are up for just about anything.

I also want to surprise my SO with 'dinner with a view'. I was thinking that we could take the ferry to Sausalito and then dine somewhere with a view of the Bay and Bridge. Any suggestions?

Last but not least, being from Toronto we have amazing food from all around the world in our city...but the one area that Toronto cuisine is lacking in is Mexican food :( I'd love some suggestions, as well after reading a posting that was 46 posts long (head spinning even more) I want to know where to get 'the best' Mission Style Burrito.

Thank you all :)

  1. t
    trespinero Nov 23, 2008 09:20 PM

    The closest bestest Burrito would be the super vegie from Taqueria Cancun on Market and 6th, there are other locations in the mission. Zero ambiance but why waste your time going across town for a more expensive less tasty burrito. I also recomend the Edinbourough Castle on Geary, between polk/larkiin if you would like an unpretentious pub with good fish and chips and a nice scotch selection.

    1. c
      canadianbeaver May 15, 2008 10:33 AM

      I, too, am a Toronto foodie going to San Francisco for the first time so these are great questions! can you post a report when you return about the burritos? I'm leaving on saturday so the sooner the better :-)

      1. a_and_w May 7, 2008 09:06 AM

        If time is of the essence, do what I do every time I fly into SF, which is pretty often. Take BART from the airport into the city and stop off at 24th Street for a super burrito al pastor (grilled chicken is also great) at Taqueria San Jose. It's literally steps away from the BART escalator and my favorite burrito in the city right now.

        7 Replies
        1. re: a_and_w
          Robert Lauriston May 7, 2008 09:49 AM

          Have you tried the al pastor in a taco? Personally I think it works better with corn tortillas.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            a_and_w May 7, 2008 10:16 AM

            I haven't. I eat so many damn tacos in LA that I just can't bring myself to order them in SF. But I could see that delicious al pastor working well on a taco. Are the tortillas freshly made?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              tex.s.toast May 7, 2008 10:25 AM

              Does that mean you think al pastor doesnt belong in burritos, or that your prefer tacos to burritos generally? The OP did ask for burrito rec's.

              Tacos are definitely more authentic. I complained about the price of TSJ's super al pastor burritos somewhat recently (its in the 8 dollar range).

              That said, San Jose is, as mentioned, highly accessible, a mission classic and very good. And tacos may be difficult to find in Toronto as well, but a burrito like they make at Taqueria San Jose (or most of the places within 10 blocks) isn't an experience likely to be replicated anywhere more than a few hour drive away (im constantly appalled by the failure to even approximate the proper ingredient mix/structural integrity down here in SoCal - and as such try to stick to tacos except for when im home up north)

              1. re: tex.s.toast
                Robert Lauriston May 7, 2008 10:40 AM

                With the right filling (al pastor or chorizo), Taqueria San Jose's tacos are as good as I've had in Guadalajara. The couple of times I've ordered burritos there I felt like I made a mistake.

                Truly Mediterranean's lamb shawerma lavash wrap is the closest I've come to a great burrito al pastor.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  tex.s.toast May 7, 2008 11:48 AM

                  Taqueria San Francisco (24th and York) is, decidedly, a great burrito al pastor. Its hard to not get a chile relleno burrito there, but when i do, the al pastor is a real winner.

                  Not as "scenic" or accessible as Taq San Jose, though.

                  1. re: tex.s.toast
                    FeelinFineSunshine May 7, 2008 12:18 PM

                    Thanks for all the recommondations! Korean food we do have in Toronto, and it's quite good. Mexican food is where we're sorely lacking.

                    The reason that I ask about the 'Mission Style Burrito', is because I assume that it's a San Francisco specialty :)

                2. re: tex.s.toast
                  a_and_w Nov 23, 2008 08:07 AM

                  I feel your pain tex.s.toast.

            2. Xiao Yang May 6, 2008 07:58 AM

              Not sure how TO is fixed for Korean (haven't been there in several years) but another current thread just hipped me to this place (Coco Bang) in the TL which I haven't tried but now have GOT to check out:


              2 Replies
              1. re: Xiao Yang
                Robert Lauriston May 6, 2008 08:40 AM

                I believe they have "fire chicken" in Toronto.

                There are some reports on Coco Bang here, though none on the house specialty:


                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  Xiao Yang May 6, 2008 10:11 AM

                  I guess the OP would know better than me. But we're not talking Nandos here.

                  It's Addison's description of the "scene" that attracts me almost as much as his description of the food. I almost wish I hadn't quite smoking....

              2. j
                junesix May 6, 2008 07:30 AM

                Canteen is great. For lowkey places, I'm a fan of Cafe Zitouna (Moroccan in small cafe setting) and Pagolac (Vietnamese, specialty: 7 courses of beef).

                Dinner with a view
                A ferry to Sausalito is quite a trip just for dinner. In SF, Greens (upscale vegetarian) and Slanted Door (upscale Vietnamese) have great views. Because the waterfront is such expensive property, you're not going to find anything that has good food and great views without a heavy price. If you're still deadset on Sausalito, there's Fish.

                Mission burrito
                Subject to much debate. Among the popular choices are El Farolito, Taqueria San Jose, and Taqueria Pancho Villa. You'll get great burritos at any of them.

                Bonus: Brunch
                Brenda's French Soul Food in Tenderloin has amazing breakfast/brunch. On weekends, be prepared for a wait. It's open at 8am so the earlier you go, the better. Be sure to get the beignet sampler and try the biscuits.

                Taqueria San Jose
                2830 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Greens Restaurant
                Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123

                655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Cafe Zitouna
                1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                El Farolito Bar
                2777 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

                Brenda's French Soul Food
                652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                Pancho Villa
                3071 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                1. j
                  Joan Kureczka May 5, 2008 12:44 PM

                  In addition to Thai House Express, you might enjoy Ala Turca, which is just across the street and down the block a few doors. Excellent, affordable Turkish food.

                  1. JasmineG May 5, 2008 10:42 AM

                    A great place on Sutter not far from your hotel that fits the relaxed place/good food/funky environment categories to a T is Canteen. Call asap to see if you can get reservations for dinner (they book up fast, since they're tiny), but you can also drop by for lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends.

                    1. Robert Lauriston May 5, 2008 09:32 AM

                      Your hotel's about two blocks from Thai House Express. Info on that immediate neighborhood:


                      Sounds like you've figured out how to use "Search this board" effectively. Some people may tell you their favorite Mission burrito here, but since people have widely varying ideas of what constitutes a good burrito, any serious discussion of what's "best" quickly grows to 40 posts or more.

                      Sutter and Larkin's sort on the border of the Nob Hill and Tenderloin neighborhoods, and a block from Polk. Use those three search terms to find recent discussions.

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