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Tried-and-True, Casual, Institutions

civetdaly Jun 7, 2008 10:47 AM

My husband and I are first-time visitors to San Francisco. We'd love to dine at some tried-and-true, casual, institutions. We'll be visiting for three days at located at Union Square. Thanks so much for your recommendations!

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  1. lanersg RE: civetdaly Jun 7, 2008 10:50 AM

    Zuni. Great food, pretty restaurant and definitely a SF institution.

    Zuni Cafe
    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    1. m
      ML8000 RE: civetdaly Jun 7, 2008 11:49 AM

      What constitutes casual for you? Shorts and flip flops/no table service casual or more fine dining but no dress up needed? California is a pretty casual place but definitions are different. I'd say go to some taquerias...Cancun, San Jose, La Taqueria...all casual but maybe that's not what you're looking for.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ML8000
        civetdaly RE: ML8000 Jun 7, 2008 12:03 PM

        Thanks for the suggestions!
        By casual, I mean table service but no need to dress up. Hope that clarifies.

        1. re: civetdaly
          JasmineG RE: civetdaly Jun 7, 2008 09:35 PM

          Honestly, there are very very few places in the Bay Area where you would need to dress up -- there are only a few places that I can think of where I wouldn't wear jeans.

          1. re: JasmineG
            ML8000 RE: JasmineG Jun 8, 2008 11:25 AM

            You are correct...heck jeans and a clean/nice shirt will get you into 99% of the places, and you'd only feel weird at the other 1%.

            Any to the OP...try Zuni Cafe.

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: civetdaly Jun 8, 2008 11:30 AM

        Chez Panisse (Berkeley)*
        Jai Yun*
        Helmand Palace
        Yank Sing (dim sum lunch)
        Zuni Cafe*

        *reservations essential

        1. Carrie 218 RE: civetdaly Jun 8, 2008 02:24 PM

          Bar Crudo

          1. l
            lovebitessf RE: civetdaly Jun 8, 2008 03:14 PM

            Agree with all the above suggestions. Zuni for sure. If you can't get a reservation, they leave 1/3 of the restaurant for walk-ins, but get there early - 5:30, not later than 6. It's also one of the best places for lunch.

            For dinner I would add the following to the list:
            Delfina - in the Mission, great neighbrhood to explore.
            Tommaso's in North Beach - for the wood-fired brick oven pizza, very casual by any standards, fun atmosphere, an SF institutuion.

            1. s
              shellie RE: civetdaly Jun 12, 2008 11:01 PM

              I would like to add Fog City Diner to the suggestions. When we were there last fall, we went there and really loved it - fun, casual but nice, good food. good area.

              1. m
                mpalmer6c RE: civetdaly Jun 13, 2008 12:48 AM

                If you want history, and places that have stood up up iver the decades, and you like seafood, I'd suggest Tadich, Sam's and Original Joe's.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mpalmer6c
                  Robert Lauriston RE: mpalmer6c Jun 13, 2008 09:07 AM

                  Original Joe's is closed due to a fire and won't be reopening any time soon as the owner is still waiting for the insurance money.

                2. JulesSF RE: civetdaly Jun 13, 2008 05:50 PM

                  Lunch : Swan's Oyster Depot ... Zuni Cafe ... L'Osteria del Forno

                  Dinner : Tadich Grill ... South Park Cafe ... Slanted Door

                  Slanted Door
                  Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Zuni Cafe
                  1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  Tadich Grill
                  240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  L'Osteria del Forno
                  519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Swan Oyster Depot
                  1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  South Park Cafe
                  108 South Park, San Francisco, CA 94107

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