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Aug 22, 2008 12:56 PM

Where to eat on vacation in SF

My boyfriend and I are coming to San Fransciso Sept 5-7. We will be staying in the Embaracedo (sp?) area. We arrive at 5pm on Friday so will need dinner ideas (especially ones near fun bars). Saturday we are going to do the Alcatrez tour so would like a lunch around that area and any dinner reservation ideas. Sunday I am thinking I would like to do Dim Sum somewhere in Chinatown. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Additional info:
Price range: lunch- looking for $10 a person OR a nice restaurant that has a great lunch menu rather than doing an expensive dinner- would prefer to stay in Fisherman's Wharf area for lunch since we will probably walk around there afterwards
Dinner: would like to do one dinner that is a bargain and one that is in the $100-$150 range for 2 people
We will not have a vehicle but can cab it if necessary
I do not care for Italian food

Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

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  1. I'd just grab a soup/salad/sandwich at Boudin for lunch, personally.

    Dinner night 1, I'd hit up an inexpensive place in the Marina (personal favorite int hat category would be Benjarong Thai, which is excellent) then go out to the Marina and Cow Hollow bars. (You sound 21-35ish?)

    Dinner night 2 depends on what you are after and if you meant $100-$150 before or after wine/drinks. I'd reccomend Slated Door in the Ferry Building (Modern Vietanmese) but depending upon what your budget is exactly, that might be getting up there in price. Aziza (Moroccan) in the Richmond isn't really near anything exciting, but the food is terrific. nopa (Modern CA) is excellent, trendy, and near some other bars and the like.

    1. Exactly where on the Embarcadero is you hotel? Fisherman's Wharf or near the Ferry Building?

      On Friday, the newly opened Basil Cafe might be fun and it is located in an area of SOMA that has lots of clubs. It is a grittier are than the Marina though. The link to the website and reports on this link.

      If you are staying near the Ferry Building, then you might plan breakfast/lunch at the Ferry Plaza Farmers market. Amazing outdoor vendors with lots of bakeries and prepared food. The porchetta sandwich at Roli Rosti is highly recommended. You could also put together a little picnic lunch for your Alcatraz tour. IMO, a much better and prettier way to explore the bay and get to know what SF is all about instead of the uber-touristy Fisherman's Wharf.

      Even if you are staying at Fisherman's Wharf, there is a brief ride on a street car to the Ferry Building.

      If you insist on eating at Fisherman's Wharf, Scoma's has a nice three-course prix-fix lunch for $22. It is avaliable until 3:30 daily. I wouldn't suggest eating there at night because the prices are way too high. The fish is stellar but some of the sides are only average. Nice little private area off the wharf where they have their own fishing boats and a little fish processing shack.

      Gary Danko is a nice $$$ restuarant in Fisherman's Wharf that many like. It has a Michelan star.

      Dinner in North Beach can be fun if you avoid the tourist traps. There are lots of bars there too. Some that get many postive reports include L'Osteria del Forno, The House, Ideale, Firenze By Night , Sotto Mare. I haven't been yet, but Cafe Divine's three-course dinner with wine is on my to-try list. There are links to restaurants, websites and reports in this link.

      Here's what is available for dim sum in Chinatown. Some are bakeries like Golden Gate which is known for excellent baked pork buns and custard tarts. If you click on some of the links they will probably display long discussions about dim sum in Chinatown and what is the best. People feel there is better dim sum than in chinatown.

      There is some ok stuff at fisherman's wharf. The sea lions on pier 39 are fun as is the maritime museum with boats you can board. If street performers are your thing ... that's the place. Otherwise it is lots of t-shirts, chain restaurants and over-priced tourist trinkets. Ghiradelli Square is undergoing a change and I haven't been recently, so that might be something to look into.

      Hope you report back on wherever you choose to eat. That helps us to know your tastes if you ever visit again as well as helping other visitors like yourself by keeping info fresh. Have fun.

      1. I agree with the Marina suggestion. Try Laiola, fun atmosphere and lovely food. Also has a younger vibe and is near hip bars.

        You could also try Range in the Mission; great cocktails and service (at least the time I was there) also around many hip bars but the area is seedier. We spent $180 for two pple but don't go by that; we tend to try everything

        1 Reply
        1. re: sfgal2

          Agreedon Laiola. It is my personal favorite in SF, taking all things into account. I've never personally gotten out of there for less than $80/p, but I also always wind up ordering a tremendous amount of food and good alcohol when I'm there, so that may be the reason why.

          Also, kitchen is open until at least 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights, and the bar is open until at least midnight...

        2. So far after reading more posts and the suggestions below I think we have decided to do:
          One dinner at Town's End Restaurant for their Prix Fixe meal- any feedback? the reviews I read were really good especially considering what a deal it is
          Lunch at the Farmers Market (especially for the pork sandwich)
          Dim Sum at You's or Delicious Dim Sum? Thoughts on these? Would like reasonably priced but good dim sum
          We are staying at Hilton San Francisco at Union Square West 333 Ofarrell Street
          We just need to figure out our last dinner or change something above. Let me know thoughts.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lvfoodie

            You can hop on the street car on Market Street to get to the Ferry Building from Union Square.

            I love Town's End. I think it is an excellent value for the quality. That being said, you might call them and check on the status. They were closed for a while for a remodel. Also, if this is youe Friday night pick, it might not fit your criteria in the OP. There aren't really bars nearby.

            For Friday, you might consider cathing the bus in Union Square that runs up Fourth St to the train station. On the way is Orson. If you can get there before 7pm, they have a happy hour with $5 creative cocktails and reduced price small plates. Very fun place. After appetizers, a few blocks up is Coco500 which has some excellent food.

            You can plug all those restaurants into this search link which has the websites.

            However, another post reminded me that given your Union Square location, you might consider 1550 Hyde. You can catch the cable car from Union Square to 1550 Hyde and it stops practically in front They have a three-course prix fix for $29.95 ... eight bucks more than Town's End, but double the quality and ambiance. In your case it is less of a treck ... one cable car ride to 1550 as opposed to two street cars to Town's End.

            1550 Hyde to me defines the best of a California Bistro. Fresh local, top- notch ingrediants. A well thought-out reasonably priced wine list that has won awards. A comfortable and romantic to me restaurant with large windows looking out on a tree-lined section of Hyde. Here's the website