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Dec 11, 2008 02:04 PM

Lunch at the Academy of Science Cafe--4 ques.

My mom and I are going to the Academy of Science and we had a couple questions:

1. Are there huge lines?
2. Is the food good?
3. If we don't want to eat there, is it a hassle to leave the Academy and come back? Is there a huge line to get back in?
4. Are you allowed to bring in your own lunch?

Thank you so much!

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  1. 1. Yes, definitely long lines during peak hours

    2. Yes, better than average for museum food

    3. Yes, I wouldn't want to leave and come back. When I go, I like to maximize my time there.

    4. Don't know...

    2 Replies
    1. re: SanJoseHound

      Thanks much! I felt silly asking because I figured for sure they wouldn't, but I called and asked if they'd let you bring in food and they said not a full lunch, but that yes, a sandwich and some water IS allowed!

      But they also said that it isn't horrible to go and come back with a hand stamp, the real line issue is with buying tickets...what do you think? Still a bad idea? Maybe we'll just bring sandwiches...

      1. re: simonahawk

        The critics are very fond of The Moss Room.

        This is a food-centered board. My advice is go eat at the restaurant and report back!

        Moss Room
        55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA

    2. The food at the Cafe on the 1st floor is good and fairly priced - Asian fusion things and other stuff.s It is run by Charles Phan of the Slanted Door. Self service and you can eat outside if you like. The Moss Room is decidedly more formal and expensive.

      You can ALSO just walk across to the DeYoung which has a great cafeteria open to the public w/o museum admission.

      1. Wow. Today the line to get in was almost an hour long and only for members and people already holding tickets. Inside, more lines for everything EXCEPT for food at the cafe -- at least when we had a snack at 3PM. Earlier there may have been lines, but because there are so many "stations," the food comes quickly. I had a steamed chicken bun with ginger and shiitake mushrooms. I thought it was excellent and not unreasonable at 3.00. My son had chips and salsa (red and green) for a fairly absurd 4.50. The other food I noticed looked pretty good. Outside seating by the garden is quite pleasant and there are heat lamps. (Not in use today).

        6 Replies
        1. re: Glencora

          thanks for the report back! Was thinking of going today, and bailed. Perhaps a good decision?

          btw, while I was still thinking of going, I looked into getting a lunch reservation at Moss Room: they are on Open Table, at least theoretically, but OT said they had no available reservations for thirty days out!

          On the subject of Charles Phan, I had a meatball bahn mi at Out the Door in Westfield during the pre-Christmas rush. By eating at the bar, we managed to have a few quiet minutes to ourself and very quick service with no wait at noon in the midst of the craziness. The sandwich was very good, washed down with a good root beer (but alas, I forget the root beer brand they serve).

          Out the Door
          845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. re: wolfe

              definitely root beer, but then the Out the Door drink list is a lot simpler than the Slanted Door List....I look up Reeds and they make a Virgil's Root Beer. That doesn't ring a bell, but then, I was paying more attention to the meatballs... :-)

                1. re: wolfe

                  wow....what a cool link! thank you!

                  well, it wasn't Sparky's, as I know (and love) Sparky's (a local brand btw), and it probably wasn't Bulldog as I would have remembered that I think (my high school mascot)...and I remember looking and it was made with cane sugar, not corn syrup. But beyond that, obviously I need to start paying closer attention to what I drink....

          1. re: Glencora

            Yes, this is a terrible week to go to Cal Academy. We went pretty early Monday AM and luckily there were police stopping every car on 9th going northbound towards the park, telling everyone that the park was completely full and Cal Academy was bunged up. We turned tail and went to the zoo (and took the opportunity to stop for those fantastic frozen dumplings at Asian American Foods on Noriega).

            The food at Cal Academy's cafe is great for a museum, especially a museum or zoo around SF. SFMOMA is the only place I can think of with decent food otherwise, and Cal Academy's is better with more variety. There is fish & chips (fish battered and fried as you order it), Vietnamese dishes, quesadillas, chips/salsa (as mentioned above), sandwiches, and other hot dishes. There is a "bakery" section where someone serves you what you choose, and we had a really stellar chocolate cupcake there.

            Also, as I was juggling a tray and trying to guide my 3 year old to a table in a busy room, they have staff to help you, take your tray to a table for you, and she even fetched water and silverware for me. I was gobsmacked and quite grateful for that service.

          2. So, what did you do? It would help others who have questions about eating in the area.