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Toronto Chow Family in SF

Five baseball fans and adventurous eaters (kids 19, 18, 15) want the full SF chow experience. Staying just north of Union Square (on Bush) and will be using transit.
Have all day Saturday in SF, going over to Oakland for 1:00 ballgame on Sunday; all day Monday in SF with 7PM Giants game that night.
Not price-sensitive but "boisterous ethnic/local/unique" preferred over fine dining (not our scene). Very good at grazing; can walk miles; hate chains.
Any advice would be most welcome; and will be reciprocated when you visit multicultural Toronto, which is a great eating city, by the way.

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  1. A few of the usual tips:

    Go to the Ferry Building, esp. Satuday morning for the Farmers Market. Plenty of grazing, unique experience.

    Try to get to one or more or SF's outstanding mid-range places: Defina, Incanto, La Ciccia, Zuni. Around Defina in the Mission is the Bi-Rite Creamery.

    Ethnic? Maybe Burma Superstar (Burmese) or Yank Sing (Dim Sum)

    Tadich Grill is good for fresh simple seafood, in one of the older SF resturaunts.

    The nice thing is another poster could (and probably will) come up with an equally good list that's completely different!

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    Zuni Cafe
    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    La Ciccia
    291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Burma Superstar Restaurant
    309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
    1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Bi-Rite Creamery
    3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Tadich Grill
    240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Yank Sing Banquet & Catering
    101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105

    Delfina Restaurant
    3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Pizzeria Delfina
    3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Capay Organic - consolidated in Ferry Bldg #9
    1 Ferry, Bldg San Francisco, CA

    1. Since you're going over to Oakland and taking transit, either before or after the game stop one stop before the Coliseum BART stop and explore the Mexican district at Fruitvale. Walk the blocks of International between Fruitvale and High St. and hit a couple of taco trucks, fruit carts (ask for corn on the cob with everything), taquerias, etc. My favorite sit-down places are Otaez and El Huarche Azteca.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Places links:

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        El Huarache Azteca
        3842 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

        Otaez
        3872 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I like Ruth's idea of exploring Fruitvale, especially because you can be there at a perfect time for lunch. Also, it's very different from Toronto.

          Things you can eat there will be much better than what you can get at the A's game - as Nina points out, it's also an option to bring food into the park.

          Also in Fruitvale: Nieves Cinco de Mayo

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          Nieves Cinco de Mayo
          3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          Or if time is short or feet are tired, there is a pretty good Vietnamese place in the Fruitvale BART station, where you can pick up banh mi and take them to the ballpark.
          Because the Red Sox are in town, the game on Sunday will be pretty crowded, so you might be better off getting food outside. You can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into the Coliseum, as long as your bag is not too large (grocery store plastic bags always work well). If you don't want to shlep sodas a long way, there is a cart right inside the BART station as you head for the bridge to the ballpark, where you can buy drinks for about a fourth of what they'll charge you inside.
          If you do want to get food at the Coliseum, the best bets are the Saag's sausages (although it is absurdly crowded) and the BBQ stands on either side of the lower concourse, just before the bleachers. Don't bother with the garlic fries there, they are better at AT&T Park. Avoid the fish and chips. There are a lot of vendors in the stands, particularly selling ice cream. You can't buy alcohol from vendors though -- you have to go into the concourse and stand in line. On a non-food note, I always tell out-of-town visitors to be sure they bring batteries for their cameras, etc. because you can't buy them anywhere at the Coliseum, for reasons of unfortunate incidents in the distant past.

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          Saigon Wraps
          3301 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

          1. re: Nina

            Note that you can bring in food and drink, but no cans or glass bottles. So basically, any drinks need to be in plastic bottles or cardboard cartons.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Yes, right. For the same unfortunate historical reasons as the batteries....

        3. I'll let other people recommend specific venues but as someone who's pretty well familiar with the food in both SF and Toronto, I'll just recommend that you focus on Mexican and Thai. I think in most cuisines Toronto can match SF (with more or less ease) but for some reason, Toronto just has problems with those two.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mr. Eaty

            By far the best Thai in SF is:

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            Thai House Express
            901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          2. Ar Roi (Thai restaurant at 643 Post) has amazing Tom Yum soup. Other dishes are great too, but it's the soup that keeps me coming back. It makes a great quick, light lunch.

            1. Just wanted to thank everyone for the help - we had an excellent stay in SF and ate very well. Took the advice and focused on Mexican and Thai.
              Highlights were Ar Roi (the green curry was amazing); breakfast at the Ferry Plaza Market; dinner at Colibri (maybe too authentic for Torontonians); lunch (on our way to the A's game) in Fruitvale - really cool little town full of great street food; Japantown - can't go wrong; and the Slanted Door, which was all its cracked up to be.

              2 Replies
              1. re: romanruin

                What do you mean by "maybe too authentic"?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Didn't mean it in a bad way, but we have generally brutal Mexican choices here in Toronto. So after the appetizers, which were very good, the food was challenging and unfamiliar, but apparently very close to authentic. By contrast, at the taquerias of Fruitvale, the food was more familiar - we know what burritos, quesadillas and pepusas are, we just did not realize that they could taste that good.