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Best Chicken/Veal Parm in SF?

Who do yall think has the best down home traditional chicken or veal parmesan in the city?

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  1. I liked the Chicken Parmesan at Original Joes in SF, unfortunately they are still closed due to a fire, I think they are planning to re-open at some point. Other than that I don't know because I rarely order it as I prefer to make my own.

    Original Joe's Restaurant
    601 Union St, San Francisco, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: virtualguthrie

      I've heard they are not going to reopen because of "boiler" problems. I hope my info is wrong; this is one of my favorite places.

      1. re: walker

        I hope your info is wrong, too. Not because I hope you are wrong in some personal way (as if I even know you), but rather because I want that place to re-open. Is it divine chowhounding food? No. Is it a marvelous sample of inexpensive, old-school dining? Yes. Or at least it was before the fire.

        It was edible. It was available (open late). It was affordable. The staff was affable. Since it was around the corner from the bustling Exit Theatre complex, it was jokingly referred to as "the Sardi's of the Tenderloin". May it soon return.

        1. re: weem

          Like I said, I hope I'm wrong; the info came from a retired, long time employee.

        2. re: walker

          Per the Chron, as of June 4, the owners expected their insurance settlement within 60 days.


      2. Try either Joe's of Westlake (in Daly City) or the Gold Mirror (on Taraval in SF).

        4 Replies
        1. re: DavidT

          I like Gold Mirror a lot.
          I was at Westlake Joe's yesterday for the passable fillet of sole. Sat at the counter watching them cook "frozen" vegetables. I really don't see myself returning here.

          1. re: walker

            The strengths of Westlake Joe's are their charcoal-broiled meats (and fish) and their pan-sauted items. For side dishes, get the fried potatoes and a side salad (which are passable) and skip the vegetables and over-cooked pastas.

            1. re: DavidT

              ..you can pay an extra 2 bucks and have the pasta cooked al dente just for you

              1. re: DavidT

                I had to pay .90 cents more just to get mashed potatoes instead of fries.

          2. Gaspare's in the Richmond district. I personally love/crave their Veal Milanese, which is essentially the basis for their veal parmesan. My SO usually orders the veal or chicken parmesan and loves it.

            Gaspare Pizza House
            5546 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

            1 Reply
            1. re: kresge86

              I'll second Gaspare's, never had chicken parmesan there but everything else I've ever had there is great. Great pizza, a traditional Italian place in the East Coast style.

            2. Thanks so much...i'm thankful for the suggestions. We're planning our vacation to SF/Napa next week and my husband made promise he could get good ol chicken parm one night...i think i'm trying to take him to too many "fru fru" places! I'll post my itinary in the next couple of days and look forward to thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: texag99

                E'Angelo in the Marina is another option. I think it is good, basic Italian. No reservations and they now take credit cards. My husbands gets the veal parm when we go there and it is very good.

                E Angelo Restaurant
                2234 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

              2. Oy! What a question! I guess... I'd go to E'Angelo in the Marina. Traditional (American-) Italian hole in the wall with good food. No reservations, no credit cards. Family run (as in, it is owned and operated by a family;not...)

                1. Looked up E'Angelo...sounds good! This may sound silly, but are the tables a bit close together? Not sure if I want to spend our last night on vacation cozied up with our neighbors! :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: texag99

                    I don't feel like I'm sitting rigt up next to the others any more than I do at most moderately priced SF spots, but yes, the tables are close... If it doesn't HAVE to be chicken/veal Parmesan, just more generic (American) Italian, you can try Trottoria Contadina -- iirc, the tables are more seperated there, but I haven't been in a while so my recollection may be a little hazy. http://www.trattoriacontadina.com/

                  2. Veal / chicken parmesan is an East Coast Italian-American dish, not that common around here. They have it at Joey & Eddie's.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      It really wasn't that exciting there....the sauce was lackluster...

                    2. Trattoria Contadina looks like a great option! Thanks! The menu looks much more fun, and I think it will satisfy the hubby! Plus, it's less than a mile from our hotel.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: texag99

                        Funny about Trattoria Contadina... San Francisco is SO neighborhoody... I've eaten there three times but not since I moved to my new apartment. I was walking home from lunch with a girl I've been friends with since she we were 16/14 (now 28/27). 3 1/2 blocks before I got home I passed it! Anyway, I looked in the windows and noticed the size and spacing of the tables -- as I recalled, typical SF for a nice but not super-expensive neighborhood-y place. Good sized tables relatively closely spaced, but deffinitely not sardine-like spacing.

                        1. re: texag99

                          Contadina is a little more upscale (slightly) than E'Angelo. I think both will scratch that "down home italian-american" itch though.

                        2. I know the breaded eggplant sandwich at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store has had some good comments. Has anyone tried the eggplant Parmegiana dish there?

                          How about Tommaso's?

                          Parmigiana is often on pizza menus. Eggplant is more common than veal in this area as lots of people won't eat veal due to the way some veal is raised. Here's a list of places with the eggplant version

                          The question becomes who has a good version. I think we are so often disappointed by the quality of Italian-American food locally, many people don't bother ordeing those type of classic dishes.

                          Since this type of thing isn't a SF strength, what about other food that your husband doesn't consider frou-frou? If he goes for that, does the non frou-frou meal need to be in SF or could it be in wine country? Does it have to be dinner, or could it be lunch?

                          The thing is that he's going to get visitor's syndrome ... people who come in from town looking for food that the Bay Area doesn't particularily do well ... and then write-off fhe food here. I have a friend from New Jersey whose opinon is that San Francisco food is sub-standard because it is not as good as what her area specializes in. Drives me nuts.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rworange


                            I've never had the eggplant at Mario's, but I can attest to the overall quality of Mario's... It is basically exactly what it is supposed to be: a heart attack on a bun, but a very tasty one. Both the meatball and the sausage sandwiches are first rate for what they are. BUT, Mario's is not exactly a "last night in SF" type estblishment! ;-)

                            I think SF does 'decent' American-Italian if you allow the emphasis to be on the Italian part. I'm glad OP seems to be considering my suggestion of Trattoria Contadina -- it certainly isn't where I go for Italian food, but I do think it is a good quality restaurant.

                          2. I think Pasta Pomodoro does a nice chicken version. Get it with the brussels sprouts.

                            1. You'll see a lot more Veal scallopini then parmesan. The Gold Mirror does a lot of veal. Fior d'Italia used to have nice veal dishes (no idea since the relocation).

                              Gialina's often has chicken on special. It's down home in a modern way, and a good alternative to the dark vinyl booth family style suggestions you're getting so far. Zuni is more California style then down home, but a lot of people swear by their roasted chicken, and you can substitute the veal for a pork dish. Another alternative suggestion might be Tadich's which is heavy on seafood but offers traditional safe food.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: sugartoof

                                You're not going to find anything very similar to chicken parmesan at Gialina or Zuni, and neither serves veal.

                                Tadich has a breaded veal cutlet.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  I misread thinking the OP wanted good down home traditional chicken which Gialina, and Zuni can provide, or the veal parm, but either way, they're alternative suggestions.

                                2. re: sugartoof

                                  Some more suggestions...

                                  La Traviata in the Mission has fresh pasta and a good veal parmesan Tommaso's has it parmigianna.

                                  The veal at Il Cantuccio was excellent, and buttery, but it doesn't appear to be on the menu right now.