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24 Hours in S.F.

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Hey fellow Chowhounds:

I will be in San Francisco for 24 hours in December for my friend's birthday. I've never been to S.F. before and I know your city is known for it's ridiculously amazing food and I'm looking for some suggestions. I will be staying in Union Square and taking public transportation, so anything in that neighborhood or easily accessible by train would be preferable. I am looking for:

1) A kickin breakfast joint
2) A badass lunch spot
3) An OUTSTANDING place to get dinner. Maybe something with a tasting menu....I am taking a serious foodie I'm open to any kind of dining experience as long as it promises to be memorable and exciting.

Thanks!

Voracious Eater

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  1. If I were you, and didn't mind parting with some $$$, then I would go with Canteen for a special breakfast, Vietnamese style roasted dungeness crab at Slanted Door for lunch, and the tasting menu at Gary Danko (or the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton for more formal) for dinner.

    For something more romantic and unique, you might consider Aziza for Cal-Moroccan.

    -----
    Slanted Door
    Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Aziza
    5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

    Canteen
    817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Gary Danko
    800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    The Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton
    600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1. Additional breakfast spots: Mama's on Washington Square, and Dottie's True Blue Cafe.

      Additional diner spots, Ame and Coi.

      Slanted Door (recommended above) is probably the best place for lunch in town, with the possible exception of Boulevard and La Mar (Peruvian)

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      Coi
      373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Mama's On Washington Square
      1701 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Ame Restaurant
      689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

      Dottie's True Blue Cafe
      522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      1. A great old Italian/Seafood restaurant with great service...Scoma's, Pier 47. You pass by Fisherman's Wharf and make a right into an alley. They even have valet parking. I don't believe they take reservations but there are 2 bars and the atmosphere is comfy, noisy and the people-watching superb. Seafood to die for. Modest prices.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greywolfe

          It has been said on this board that Scoma's has a good lunch, prix fixe at ~$24 for lunch but gets pricey at dinner and I'm not sure it is the OUTSTANDING place you are looking for. Perhaps you could let us know what that means to you. Example cuisine.. I see by previous posts some of your favorites are Mexican, Chinese and Indian. Would excellent examples of those do it for you? Perhaps something you can't get at home?

        2. In the Union Square area, the best place for dinner is Ame (they have a tasting menu) or, more formal and maybe a tad bit better, the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, though that involves a very large hill.

          If you can handle a 25 minute walk or figuring out the public transport, Coi is supposedly the best restaurant in town and that is about a 10 course tasting menu. It is my #1 to go restaurant right now.

          3 Replies
          1. re: whiner

            I would argue that anyone who can afford Coi and Ame can afford a taxi.

            1. re: bbulkow

              It's an interesting walk, though. Through Chinatown, then through the historic topless district.

              1. re: bbulkow

                I think that Coi would definitely be the top choice for dinner. It's really good, one of the very best restaurants in the city. Also, Coi has an eleven course tasting menu but the courses are small and light - Danko, Ritz, and Masa's (for example) all offer much richer cooking and larger portions. If you're also having a big breakfast and lunch, you might be too stuffed by the end of dinner to really enjoy most of the really OUTSTANDING places, but Coi would be perfect.

                I like the idea of Slanted Door for lunch because you'll get to see the Ferry Building. Do some searches for suggestions on what to order.

            2. We go out to breakfast A LOT, and my favorite places are Canteen (breakfast served Sat & Sun only) and Chow (the one on Church St.). Canteen is walkable from Union Square. For Chow, you'd stand on Market St. and take the F streetcar heading west and get off at Church and Market. Across the street from Chow is a really fantastic bakery called Thorough Bread & Pastry.

              Another alternative is Mission Beach Cafe, which is now serving some very good breakfast (recently expanded to the weekdays) and also has an outstanding pastry chef. That's on Guerrero and 14th.

              ETA: Brenda's Soul Food would be a very good place for breakfast or lunch (652 Polk St. @ Eddy).

              -----
              Canteen
              817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              Chow
              215 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              Mission Beach Cafe
              198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

              Thorough Bread and Pastry
              248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

              4 Replies
              1. re: Atomica

                I'm not much of a waffles or omlette person when it comes to breakfast, so I loved Brenda's Soul Food when I was in SF in September. We went on the recommendation of the night clerk at our hotel, and were highly impressed. I had crawfish beignets and a side of grits (a ton of food, but I had to try them both!). Both the food & the coffee were delicious.

                1. re: Dubby Jo

                  I thoroughly enjoyed Brenda's too. The main drawback to it is the bad neighborhood it's located in.

                  Thorough Bread, mentioned above, is one of my all-time favorites. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in really good bread (you don't even need butter on it) and decadent pastries.

                  Enjoy your trip!

                  1. re: PaneEVino

                    I live in that "bad neighborhood". My main recommendation for anybody walking from Union Square would be to walk along Geary towards Polk, then turn left and walk down. Or else head down to Market Street, turn right, and right again on Polk (leaving enough time to savor the grand buildings of Civic Center, and particularly a stroll through the lobby of City Hall) up to Eddy. Either walk would mostly avoid the more alarming sections of the neighborhood.

                  2. re: Dubby Jo

                    Brenda's Soul Food is my favorite for breakfast too. I used to live on the same block and was always amused at the crowd of well-heeled folks on the sidewalk along with the "local color". I hope she's the beginning of a Tenderloin food revival, esp since Mr. Lee's sandwiches is around the corner.