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6 nights in SF

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Hi, my husband and I will be visiting SF for 6 nights during the first week of October for our 10th anniversary. We are looking for suggestions for 1) a high end place to have a memorable 10th anniversary dinner, 2) casual mid-range dinner places, 3) yummy, inexpensive and non-touristy lunch places in various neighborhoods.

We will be staying at the Westin Market Street, and would love to find a few good places nearby, but also are willing to travel (by cab or public transit). We are particularly interested in Italian/mediterranean, Indian, Thai & modern Cal cuisines. Also, I am a vegetarian but my husband is not.

I know this is a lot, but I would appreciate any and all input you have. Thanks a million.

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  1. For a special occasion meal, I recommend Quince.

    For an inexpensive, non-touristy Indian meal, try Shalimar - on Jones, off of Geary in the Tenderloin. The neighborhood is a little sketchy, but the food is well worth it. I'm not vegetarian, but some of my favorite dishes there are the eggplant, spinach, and lentil dishes. They also have great chicken tikka masala.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CaitlinC333

      Thanks-Quince looks exactly like what I'm looking for. I can't wait until October!

    2. I definitely second the Quince recommendation for your anniversary dinner. The service and food are amazing. For casual, mid-range, dinners you might want to check out Universal Cafe, Sociale, Laiola, Tawan (Thai in the Richmond district), Namu (creative Asian in the Richmond district), or perhaps even Greens (great view, vegetarian restaurant). For inexpensive, non-touristy lunch, try Ananda Fuara in the Civic Center, Park Chow by Golden Gate Park, Yummas in the Sunset, and any of the Naan n' Curry locations around the City.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kresge86

        Great list. I'd add Aperto (rustic italian) or Chez Papa / Mama (french bistro) up on Potrero if you're into exploring neighborhoods.

        One thing...avoid the Naan n' Curry on Van Ness. I love the other locales for some fast food Indian style, but for some reason the one on Van Ness is pretty nasty.

      2. For Italian food I love SPQR on Fillmore but without reservations you have to be prepared to stand in line at 5:30 to get in. A16 on Chestnut, the original restaurant is very good and takes reservations. I also like Vivande on Fillmore. You also have the advantage of walking on those interesting streets before or after dinner. I like Zuni for shoestring potatoes and great oysters. Mifune in Japantown for soba or udon noodle dishes for lunch. Saigon Sandwich on Larkin for a hole in the wall Vietnamese sandwich if you visit the Asian Art Museum.

        1. For yummy and inexpensive, you may want to try Tu Lan (Vietnamese). It's a little dirty and kind of a hole in the wall, but the imperial rolls are really tasty and it is consistently a go-to place for cheap eats. If you find yourself in the Mission, try La Taqueria on Mission and 25th. Best tacos (for beef head) and burritos.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jsteingarten

            Whether the food at Tu Lan is competitive with that at other cheap Vietnamese dives nearby is highly debatable:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/432374

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Thanks for that link since as I reported there it wouldn't be my choice to send anyone.

              Nearby Tu Lan an new Vietnames restuarant opened that I'd like to try, Miss Saigon
              http://www.chow.com/places/34162

              Cafe Gratitude, a vegetarian restaurant, is in various neighborhoods and might be a fun lunch stop. If you go to the one on 9th near Golden Gate Park, there is a really good bakery across the street, Arizmendi.

              For the high end anniversary dinner, my pick is the Dining Room at the Ritz.
              http://www.ritzcarltondiningroom.com/...

              They have various tasting menus, including a vegetarian option. The wine pairing is wonderful, the service top notch and they have this great champagne cart.

              Aziza is another good restaurant to consider. Other favorites of mine are 1550 Hyde, Orson, Coco500.

              It is really hard to answer your question. There are over 8000 restaurants in San Francisco. You might search the board for inquiries similar to yours.

              Also take a look at the places database. For example searching for SF vegetarian list vegetarian restaurants as well as some that are not vegetarian, but some of the more vegetarian-friendly regualar restaurants. In San Francisco, most have a few vegetarian items on the menu.
              http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

              You can change the search critera to find various restaurants invarious neighborhoods like

              SF inexpensive North Beach
              SF moderate Golden Gate Park
              SF pricy

              If you are here on a Saturday morning stoppying by the Ferry Building for the Saturday Farmers Market will offer all sorts of top-quality food vendors. Great for breakfast and lunch.

              1. re: rworange

                "There are over 8000 restaurants in San Francisco."

                We do have a high number or restaurants per capita, but in reality it's less than half that (at least that the SFDPH knows about)...

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  Ok going with half and the 4455 menus that Menupages has for SF restaurants ... and they don't have all SF restaurants ... the point is even going with a low of 2000 restaurants ... as in the other inquiries of this sort, it is more of a help for the OP to read the 'new to this board' topic at the top of this board and do a little searching.
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/469166

                  Or ... they can go with the luck of the draw and whoever decides to answer in this thread. There are good recs here ... just not all the good recs ... I can think of a number near that hotel ... and inexpensive in 'various neighborhoods'. At least looking in places they can research exactly what neighborhoods they are planning to visit.

                  Which reminds me ... another thing to check is the Chow Digest which is especially good for gleaning the best of the non-touristy ideas. It does cover the entire Bay Area, but there are lots of SF ideas like this one for Vietnamese crab salad at Jasmine Garden
                  http://www.chow.com/digest/5937

                  The Digest
                  http://www.chow.com/digest/tag/san+fr...

                  1. re: rworange

                    Menupages has "4455 Menus for 2252 San Francisco Restaurants "

                    Pay attention, rw

                2. re: rworange

                  For this sort of open-ended inquiry, I think "search this board" is more efficient than the Places search, since board search finds discussions which include various posters' recommendations and often compare various places. Look for topics with 10 or more posts.

                  The DPH inspects over 7,000 locations, but that also includes markets, bars, bakeries, pushcarts, etc. Menupages has less than half the restaurants I search for.

            2. Back to the anniversary dinner, I second Dining Room at the Ritz and add Ame to the list. I would put Aziza and Zuni on the list as fun mid-range places to check out. Do you know which neighborhoods you will be visiting yet?

              3 Replies
              1. re: dinnerout

                As a vegetarian, I can attest that Ame is not veggie friendly (unless you're only going for dessert). Neither are 1550 Hyde, Chez Papa and Maman, or Orson.

                Aziza is a fun place, as is Saha. I had this amazing eggplant, tofu, and carmelized onions over rice with yogurt dish and a dreamy yemenese cake with syrup at Saha last weekend that made my night. Saha is probably one of the best kept secrets in SF. Shhh!

                Greens is nice, and you may enjoy Millennium, too (perhaps even more)!

                For great pizza, try Pauline's and/or Little Star.

                Weird Fish in the Mission can easily accommodate veggies and meat eaters.

                And I totally agree about Shalimar- you'll smell like curry for a day, but you'll have an amazing food coma.

                -----
                Aziza
                5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                Little Star Pizza
                846 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                Pauline's Pizza
                260 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                Little Star Pizza Valencia
                400 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                Saha Arabic Fusion Restaurant
                1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Weird Fish
                2193 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Millennium Restaurant
                580 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

                Shalimar
                532 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: rahir

                  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ame... and Boulevard... I excluded both of them from consideration for the anniversary because neither is particularly vegetarian friendly, especially Ame.

                  1. re: whiner

                    Several people from my office went to Boulevard for lunch one day; one of my colleagues was a vegetarian (from India) but they had no vegetarian entrees on the lunch menu. They rectified the situation by putting together a platter of every vegetable they had in the kitchen that day; it was such a huge, sumptious array that the carnivores amongst us were envious.

              2. 1) Annivrsary dinner: La Folie or Fleur de Lys. Both are very expensive. FdL is more formal. Both offer 5/6 course vegetarian tasting menu. http://www.fleurdelyssf.com/ and http://www.lafolie.com/ Fleur de Lys is Alsatian, La Folie is more modern/CA Provencal.

                2) Casual mid-range (broken down into two sub-sections
                )More expensive casual mid range:
                Aziza (Modern Moroccan)
                A16 (Modern Southern Italian)
                Delfina (Modern Northern Italian)
                Incanto (Italian -- rec by reputation)
                Perbacco (Northern Italian)
                La Ciccia (have had food catered by them, never been to the restaurant, Sardinian)
                nopa (CA)
                Laiola (Modern Spanish -- my current favorite quasi-affordable restaurant in SF)
                Slanted Door (modern Vietnamese)

                Less expensive casual mid-range:
                Helmand Palace (Afghani)
                Taste of the Himalayas (Nepalese)
                L'Osteria del Forno (Italian, no reservations, no credit cards)
                Benjarong Thai (Thai)

                3) yummy, inexpensive lunch:
                Blue Barn Gourment (counter service, salads, sandwiches)
                Barney's Burgers (chain, burgers and salads)
                Papalote, Tacqueria Can-cun, La Tacqueria (three great tacquerias with a couple of locations)

                1 Reply
                1. re: whiner

                  There's nothing modern about A16's food. It's rustic and traditional.

                  I'd call Delfina Cal-Italian.