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1 night + 1 day in SF - Please comment on my itinerary

  • c

Hello,
We are a mid-thirties couple from NYC, and will arrive at SFO at 11:15PM, next Friday. We will be staying near Embarcadero, and are leaving early Sunday morning. That means we have late Fri night (I figure we’ll be checked into our hotel, and then ready to eat (if all goes well) at around 12:30am, and all day Saturday to chow our way around SF! In the past we have tried TFL, the Globe, Gary Danko, Quince, Yank Sing, Slanted Door, Hog Island Oysters, and XOX Chocolates and enjoyed them all – to varying degrees. We’d like more of the same, but this time our top priority is to get some Dungeness Crab on Saturday. Here is what I am thinking:

Friday night – depending on how late it is, Nopa, the Globe, or Yuet Li. Any other suggestions for some places that will be open late, and have good food?

Saturday 8AM – FBFM for shopping/grazing

Saturday around 11AM – Head down to fisherman’s wharf for some dungeness crab?? Should we go to a specific restaurant there? (Or should we avoid the wharf altogether and go to some place like Tadich Grill or Swan Oyster Depot? -- In which case, should I just go to Swan Oyster Depot on Saturday AM at 8am to avoid the line, and then do FBFM at 11AM? What I’m looking for is just plain dungeness crab to eat out of the shell, and lots of it! But if there’s something else that you all recommend, then I would love to hear about it!)

Saturday around 2:30PM – Chez Panisse café? I have never been to CP, and of course, am dying to go. But is the café for lunch worth it, or should I just wait until the next time when I can get a reservation at the restaurant for dinner? Alternatively, I was thinking of Zuni (but don’t know much about it), but welcome other suggestions.

Saturday evening: I was thinking La Folie or Boulevard. The La Folie menu looks good, but the pictures of the place look a little too sedate. Any other suggestions? Or maybe we should push the Chez Panisse café to Saturday evening instead? Sorry I’m so undecided – I just want to make the most of the short time we have out in SF!

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me – I love the SF area and am so excited to be going out there!

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  1. Unfortunately, the crab season does not officially open until November 15 so you are a week early in wanting to find quality crab...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      Just to clarify -- I'll arrive next Friday, Nov. 14, so I will be there for the start of crab season! Yippee!

      1. re: cjk5

        In that case, serious scrap notions of Boulevard (pretty interior, but shockingly mediocre food in my opinion) and Canteen (yes, mediocre interior but spectacular food) and consider Bar Crudo or Anchor & Hope for your one, FABULOUS meal which will definitely showcase some of the best seafood preparations you will have in the city.

    2. Zuni in the afternoon is a good idea - if they're still serving Bloody Marys, get one - they're the best I've ever had - Zuni hamburger + Bloody Mary = perfect weekend lunch.

      I love Chez Panisse Cafe and know several people who prefer it to the restaurant downstairs BUT with only a day in SF, I wouldn't go - I think Berkeley's too far to go for such a short trip (20 minute BART ride plus maybe a 15 minute walk - assuming you catch a train without having to wait - takes a big bite out of the day).

      1 Reply
      1. re: daveena

        While I like CP quite a bit, I agree. Coming over to Berkeley for the afternoon is a bit far for the time span. It'll kill about an hour each way. The Mission or some place like Yuet Lee for crab might be a better choice.

        p.s. I'd get a burrito or taco at some point. Best burrito close to downtown is Taqueria Cancun at 6th and Market...the al pastor is superior. Do a search.

      2. I'm not going to be terribly helpful, but my one suggestion is Canteen for Sat evening, very small restaurant and chef is cooking right in front of you. A lot more fun than La Folie and Boulevard. Other interesting Italianesque options are Incanto or Laiola or SPQR or A16. The Delfina-Tartine-Birite Creamery trifecta might be good for a sat afternoon. Zuni is classic Californian--I like it, but I've heard people complain that its gone a little downhill.
        That late Friday night is tough, SF is not a late night kind of town.
        Also, as for crab, as a SF native I have never eaten at Fisherman's wharf. We buy 2-3 crabs and cook at home. My uncle has been known to bring a cooler and haul a few back to pennsylvania. For something different, you could try a Chinese place like R&G lounge in Chinatown or Vietnamese like Bodega Bistro. (I would avoid Thanh Long or Crustacean--they use frozen non dungeness crabs).

        3 Replies
        1. re: sfbing

          Second the Canteen rec and would take it over Boulevard any day of the week. And the not eating at the Wharf thing. I think local poster RWOrange is the only one who has anything remotely positive about Wharf eateries. The rest of us avoid it like the plague. I didn't mean for my original post to be so curt and glib. If you must have crab, you probably couldn't do worse than Swan's, but where they are sourcing the crab is a question as it certainly won't be local. Another suggestion for great would be Bar Crudo or Anchor & Hope for amazing fish, but unknown if either have crab.

          1. re: Carrie 218

            Another opinion here, I would never eat at Canteen if I had a chance to eat at Boulevard. Of course, if you prefer a vinyl seat diner booth to a white cloth tabletop, you might want to eat at Canteen. And Canteen is a definite must if you prefer a windowless narrow space to a beautiful room with a view of the Bay Bridge. If you like wine, the list at Canteen, while well chosen, is small, while the wine list at Boulevard is one of the best in the city with an excellent selection of Burgundy and of great small-producer California wines.

            As for the food, I've never been disappointed with anything I've had at Boulevard. It is true that not everything will make your socks roll up and down, but it is solid, top notch food. The soups and pork preparations are often standouts.

            1. re: Paul H

              Just a note that only a limited number of tables at Boulevard have a Bay view.

        2. For crab in season, Scoma's at Pier 47 is my recommendation.

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          Scoma's Fisherman's Wharf
          47 Pier, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. I would second Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf for crab -- especially the crab cocktail. As for the decor at La Folie, I would describe it as intimate and romantic (according to my wife). It is one of my favorite restaurants in the city and certainly my favorite for French food.