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My SF Dining Itinerary. Any Suggestions?

Coming into town in August. I ve been searching and paying attention to this board and some others. Chow has by far the best and most useful knowledge of this fine city's MANY dining options. Many thanks and i will continue to frequent this board. Also expect a FULL report of all the places i end up visiting.

DAY 1 Staying in SOMA
Lunch Yank Sing
Dinner Thirsty Bear

Lunch In & Out Burger (yeah I know)
Dinner Roy's

Lunch El Cachanilla
Dinner AME

Lunch Somewhere In Nappa ?????
Dinner Redd

Brunch Top of The Mark
Lunch Somewhere in Santa Cruz or Monterey?????
Dinner Ritz Half Moon Bay (for the view)

Lunch ????????
Early Dinner Sushi Groove
Dinner Dosa

Lunch Bong Su
Dinner Cyrus

DAY 8-9 Visiting Yosemite, any Dining suggestions? I know options are limited.

I know this may seem ambitious, but my real reason for the trip is GASP! the food. All other activities will revolve around the meals. Any good suggestions I will try to fit in as "SNACKS" Thanks for any help.

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  1. You are going to love love love Ame and Cyrus. Expensive, but two of the most seamlessly perfect meals I've ever had. Everyone loves the lobster chawan mushi at Ame, but my favorite dish was the deep fried miyagi oysters. They came atop a small leaf of butter lettuce with some masago and wasabi aioli.

    The only place on your list that I would reconsider is Thirsty Bear. It's an interesting, lively bar, but nothing special at all in terms of food or even beer. If friends want to go or you're curious, fine. But if you chose it for lack of better options, there are plenty of food choices nearby. I rarely eat in that neighborhood, but Salt House comes to mind as at least being better eats than TB.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      TWO is another option in the same vicinity as Thirsty Bear. Thirsty Bear isn't that bad though, espcially if you are in the neighborhood and find that Spanish tapas are hard to find where you live.

      I would definitely reconsider Roy's.

      1. re: Mari

        If the goal is tapas, go to Bocadillos.

    2. I would reconsider both Thirsty Bear (which is fine, but nothing that special) and Roy's (which I don't think is particularly good at all). I'd pick from some of the good midpriced restaurants that San Francisco does best for those two dinners instead: Bar Tartine, Canteen, A16, Delfina, Zuni, etc. or go over the bridge to Chez Panisse. For your snacks, I'd definitely fit in Tartine bakery, Bi-Rite Creamery, and the Ferry Building -- both the farmer's market and the stalls inside the building.

      1. I'd also reconsider Roy's. Food's not bad, but unexciting; it's just a glorified surf 'n turf place with a South Pacific theme. If you want something Pacific in your mix, I'd be tempted to take a flier on South Food, the venture by Aussie wunderkind Luke Mangan. It's been largely untested by CH'ers (182 reviews on Yelp!, though). If nothing else, it's better name-dropper material than Roy's

        1. With just over a week in the Bay Area, I think you have to make room for the following landmark places: Zuni Cafe -- If not for dinner, either lunch or a latenight snack, when you can begin with oysters and the classic Ceasar salad and sample the burger. Chez Panisse -- If not the downstairs set menu formal restaurant, then the cafe upstairs. Tadich Grill or Sam's -- They argue about which is the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi (I tend to believe Tadich) and both have gruff waiters, good sourdough bread, and excellent basic seafood -- order the sand dabs or the petrale sole.

          1. You indicate Days but not Dates -- there are some recs we can make which are weekend-specific, depending on where you are. That would help. Like lunch in Napa; if it is a weekend, definitely lunch at Ubuntu (which I just learned is not open for lunch on week days).

            Same with the Ferry Plaza which is much better visited on a Saturday morning, if you are in the city on a Saturday.

            1. Roy's is a Hawaii-based chain with locations in major cities around the country. I'd replace it with something local, like Two or Orson, and save Roy's for a trip to someplace with fewer options.

              Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Yosemite are discussed on the California board:


              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I agree completely about Roy's. It's a chain. We were just on our umpteenth trip to SF and ate for the first time at Farillon. I don't know what locals think about it but we thought it the most astounding meal we had. It's expensive but the food, ambience and service are all worth the money. I'd go there again in a flash.

                For other local favs not on your list: Sears Fine Foods for breakfast of Swedish pancakes (and great conversation while in line!); Bohemian Cigar store for local coffee, local flavor, then to Graffeo across the street to bring home some of the local blend for your home. And on the way down Columbus, stop at Stella Pastry for some Italian cookies to go with your coffee. My favorite way to spend an afternoon eating in SF.
                Speaking of that neighborhood, we also ate at Da Flora. Much has already been written about their bad service and great food. We think of the service as dinner theater and really enjoy the food (but good luck getting water and DO NOT ask for olive oil or salt!)

              2. Cyrus is quite the drive from SF. I'd maybe put Bong Su on Day 6 lunch and eat somewhere either in Healdsburg or on your way to Healdsburg. Since views seem important to you a good choice would be Fish in Sausalito on the drive to Cyrus.

                It is on a deck on Richardson Bay. Lots of postitive reports

                Some of your choices like Roy's and Thirsty Bear seem to based on proximity to your hotel since they are Soma-based. Roy's is a chain and gets more negative than postive reports ... well, not really negative but reviews that say the food is fair and pricy.

                I am guessing from your mention of brunch that Day 4 is Saturday. I that case before you head to Napa I would strongly suggest a stop by fhe Ferry Plaza Farmers market since that is the big day ... and if you want snacks ... this is the place to pick them up.

                Ubuntu for lunch would work for a Saturday. Or you could stop by the Oxbow market and pick up something from the restaurants and wine bars there.

                Questions for Yosemite, Santa Cruz and Monterrey should be asked on the California board. If you search that board there's lots of info

                Sunday seems ambitious. That is a long drive to monterrey and if you leave SF by noon you'll be lucky. I might suggest that other than eating at In-N-Out when you are visiting Fisherman's Wharf ... I'm guessing ... you might reserve that hamburger for one of your drives ... either to Santa Cruz, Monterey or Yosemite ... the road is littered with them. There is one on whichever route you take to napa or sonoma counties also

                If you need help finding locations on your route, let me know the road you will be on.

                Instead of In-N-Out in Fisherman's Wharf, go to Scoma's. They have a nice 3--course $22 lunch with some of the freshest fish in SF. There's even a view of the marina.

                1. DAY 4
                  Lunch Somewhere In Napa ?????

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Paul H

                    Depends on what day of the week that is, since they're closed on weekdays for lunch.

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      I think it is Saturday, since the next day there are plans for brunch at the top of the mark

                    2. re: Paul H

                      Ugh. How did that deleted link get in the last post?

                      Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                      1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                    3. my suggestions
                      DAY 1 Staying in SOMA
                      Lunch Yank Sing (expensive)
                      Dinner Isa (cab to Marina, small plates) or Bocadillos instead of Thirsty Bear tapas

                      DAY 2 (Mission)
                      Lunch El Cachanilla – moved it here (make In and Out as a snack along any of your trips)
                      Dinner Bar Tartine (excellent midrange californian) instead of Roy’s

                      DAY 3 (SOMA, walking tour near chinatown or along pier)
                      Lunch Ferry building (Hog Island, Delica RF-1, Out the Door, etc.)
                      Dinner AME (perfect)

                      DAY 4 (Yountville)
                      Lunch Bouchon (check out bakery) or Ubuntu if Sat lunch
                      Dinner Redd (great)

                      DAY 5 (is this Sat. or Sun.)
                      Brunch Foreign Cinema instead of Top of the Mark
                      Dinner Ritz Half Moon Bay

                      DAY 6
                      Lunch Tartine Bakery with BiRite Creamery plus/minus Pizzeria Delfina (all next to each other) or walk around Fillmore Pac Heights
                      Dinner Dosa (good)

                      DAY 7
                      Lunch Girl and the Fig (fits with on the way, long drive up to Healdsburg)
                      Dinner Cyrus (perfect)

                      1. Thanks everyone! i knew what to expect at Roy's. It was picked because its only a couple of blocks away and my GF liked the menu.I will make alternate reservations just in case. I m not really expecting much from TB either, its our first day in town and its really close, reasonable and unpretentious. I also forgot to mention we will be staying in a condo with a full kitchen so i'll be cooking breakfast most days from the freshest, local ingredients i can find (prob the ferry building). May go to ubuntu or get pizza at Azzurro. Top of the Mark is all about the view and i don t really want to go there for lunch, dinner, or drinks. I will try to fit in some suggestions as most of this is not yet cut in stone.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: retloctt

                          Nothing really wrong with Roy's, just not terribly innovative and, as mentioned, a chain. Pricey, but large portions (I guess it wouldn't be Hawaiian if it didn't have large portions!) They do have a $35 prix fixe and one of the appetizer choices I'm dying to try -- duck spring rolls with green papaya salad.

                          1. re: retloctt

                            Definitely recommend you find room in your itinerary for Orson. I've been twice and both dinners blew me away.

                            My one meal at Roy's was completely unexciting; I don't get the appeal.

                            Orson Restaurant
                            508 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

                            1. re: mcb

                              The appeal of Roy's in most cases, is that your meal is free, because it's the kind of "safe" place that business enterprises like to foot the bill for. It won't offend anyone, including your CFO. I ate there twice on the company's nickel and I can't say I didn't like it.

                              1. re: Xiao Yang

                                actually, I've had quite good food at some Roy's, on my own dime, but the SF Roy's was NOT among them, I hated it. It is one chain that does vary quite a bit by location, at least in my experience.

                            1. re: Giselle

                              Thanks All! Thirsty Bear is out. I don t want to start off on a low note. Orson will be the substitute.

                              1. re: retloctt

                                Just a few notes about Orson.

                                If you are walking, there are a couple of unattractive blocks on the way. There is a bus that runs frequently or maybe take a cab.

                                Once you get there, there are quite a few nice restaurants in the area. If you continue up Fourth Street there;s Fringale, Coco500, Skip Zuppa. Just off Fourth and across the street from the train station is South Food Wine bar. About a block away from coco500 is bacar.

                                Maybe a stroll up that way and peeking in some places might dissuade you from Roys


                                1. re: rworange

                                  Wow thanks! Coco500 will be the alternate for Roys.

                                  1. re: retloctt

                                    It is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.

                                    For cocktails I really like the COCO5OO - kaffir lime vodka, thai basil, bitters, lime, seltzer, raw organic sugar

                                    The fried green beans are always good. Anything with squid ... anything ... is always great. The flat bread is a must order, but I've never been much of a fan of the pizza.

                                    Dishes from the wood oven or braised are wonderful choices. I see the green pea ravioli is back on the menu and is a lovely dish. The beef cheek is their signature dish and people love it but it was too peppery for me. It is one of the few items I wasn't crazy about here.The vacherin is their signature dessert and one of my favorite desserts ever that I ordered lots of times over the years. I can be shared by two since it is a substantial dessert.