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Best food neighborhood in San Francisco?

We are coming to S.F. for 2 nights only, and staying in Union Square. We were wondering what is a great neighborhood to walk around with lots of restaurants so we can check a few out each night- maybe drinks and apps or small plates at a few different places. We aren't looking for anything too upscale, but we love good food and wine!!

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  1. Probably the Mission, between 16th and 18th, and Mission, Dolores. Take BART.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      I would walk down Valencia, and not Mission.

    2. I would take the 38 and get off at Fillmore; you have your choice of Japanese (all of Japantown), SPQR, Delfina Pizza, and about FIFTY other eateries in a six- or eight-block walk (as well as cool shops, jazz, etc.)

      1. Thanks, any favorites you would recommend?

        1. For a slightly more mellow experience, I'd recommend taking the J-Church to Noe Valley - there are excellent restaurants along both "arms" of this neighborhood (24th St and Church St), including Bacco, Firefly, Hamano, Incanto, Fresca, and Eric's...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kenois

            In Noe, there are good places to eat dinner. During the day, I would strenuously disagree that there is anything of any interest.

          2. For window shopping, people watching, and bar/restaurant hopping, I would recommend North Beach for first time visitors. Tons of great dining options, just keep away from the torrist traps!

            1. My favorite neighborhood by far is North Beach, which has a higher concentration of good restaurants, in my opinion, than anywhere else in the United States. The financial district however, is the home of Aqua for seafood, Yank Sing for dim sum, and the historic Taddich Grill.

              1. Soma has Anchor and Hope, Salt House, Town Hall, Jack Falstaff, Coco 500, South Park Cafe, Koh Samui and the Monkey and if you are young, I think you will like those

                1 Reply
                1. re: Giselle

                  Plus Orson, Fringale, Bacar, South, Oola, Lulu, Azie, Two, Fifth Floor, Henry's Hunan, Mochica, and Terroir.

                2. My favorite hood is the Richmond...since there's a few tretches that serve up food. a few blocks on Balboa, Clement St, Geary around Argello and 4th and 19th towards 25th...not exactly a tourist haven or very night life like. Still for regular grubbing, I like it.

                  1. Best walk to see what's happening: Valencia from 14th all the way to 22nd. Start at Paulines or Little Star, walk around 16th, there's Monk's Kettle, Ti Couz, Arinelli's, Limon, or Ramblas (many others)...There's tons of places tucked away on the side streets. 19th Street has the James Beard award winning Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria, and any meal should be topped off with Bi-Rite ice creamery, known for it's lavendar ice cream and it's salted caramel.

                    Union Square has a few interesting places and can be covered in a day and you can throw in the Westfield (though hardly any of the food is worth eating with the exception of out the door), then take any of the buses, streetcars, or BART to the ferry building and grab a burger at Taylor's Refresher.

                    Have fun!

                    1. Interesting idea. In general, SF is not good for this kind of thing - blocks are too large, the *great* restaurants are all scattered about.

                      North Beath is problematic because although there's a few good places, there's a lot of tourist dreck. You'd need to have a plan and know which side streets harbor the neighborhood gems. Then you can walk over to chinatown. But at least it's compact - just be sure to hit the side streets, few can afford columbus st rents and good ingredients.

                      Noe and the Castro are actually better for this kind of thing - there's no tourism, and the distances are smaller. I might give Noe an edge, but maybe I just eat there more.

                      The Mission, as much as I love it, is best done with judicious cab action and a plan. Say, Little Star - Delfina - Foreign Cinema - Cancun - BiRite with some plan-flexibility. There's good eats at 16th and Valencia, but between there and Delfina is a wasteland. You'd not wander all the way down there unless you knew. Two blocks, in that direction, is a solid walk.

                      The mission is also known for small bar/clubs with great music if you like that sort of thing, Again, you'd want a list and a cab. Mighty's up on 14th, Amnesia's on a particularly blighted block of Valencia, Elbo Room's kind of in the thick of things, Make Out Room's great but hidden, 12 Galaxies is nearby (what, 19th?), Savana Jazz is all the way down at 26th, El Rio's even further, Bottom of the Hill is great but it's in the next neighborhood over (10 minute cab ride) and like thiat.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bbulkow

                        what do you recommend in Castro?

                        1. re: JRinDC

                          L'ardoise is a great bistro choice