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Mom Treating College Boys

I'm an LA mom on a one-night mission to San Fran. I have the opportunity to host an east coast college's "a capella" group (my west coast son included) for their Friday night post-singing dinner. But where? Is there a spot in Chinatown or Little Italy that will provide local color plus good food? A burger joint that can handle a dozen or so of us? Undoubtedly, the guys will need to ditch me for their own carousing once dinner is done. All suggestions welcome. It will also be my birthday and so I'm hoping for a memorable night, whether it be the food or the setting or the company that makes the occasion.

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  1. you'll probably get more helpful replies if you indicate amount you're willing to spend, when "post-singing" means and if you have geographic limitations ;) Happy b'day!

    1. Depends on what you want to spend, as mentioned. I hope you don't mean this Friday since that's kind of late in the game to be getting reservations for 12 or more

      Joe DiMaggio's Italian Chophouse is pricy but would have burgers.

      Lots of people seem to like R & G lounge in Chinatown.

      Caffe Sport serves family-style and has a fun atomosphere for groups.

      I haven't been for a while, but for inexpensive Italian, I liked Ristorante Gondola. It is nothing outstanding but is good.

      If you give more details, there will be more recs. The restaurants mentioned can be found in this list. If they have a website with menu it will be part of the info

      1. Not North Beach/Chinatown, but not far: How about Nick's Crispy Tacos? Open until 9 PM.

        Nick's Crispy Tacos
        1500 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94109

        1 Reply
        1. re: Atomica

          Nick's has GREAT food, but it does close and turn into a nightclub at 9:00 pm (which may not be a bad thing with your group ;-)

        2. Thanks much for asking the extra questions. Friday, January 16 is the date. Price is not a consideration (my birthday after all!). I will be at the Stanford Court, so a central dinner locale or one easily reached by mass transit seems in order (none of us will have cars). The dinner hour will depend on what gigs they cobble together for that day. Maybe they'll be free for a normal dinner hour, but I can also imagine 10 or later. Ouch.

          1. Zuni Cafe is essential San Francisco, is open until midnight, and I believe offers their burger on their latenight menu. Wouldn't be cheap, but not super expensive to start with the great Ceasar salad, chow on what many rate as the best burger in town, and have some dessert. Good oysters there if you're into that. Not in Chinatown/North Beach, but not too far on Market near the civic center -- could they be singing near there, by any chance?

            2 Replies
            1. re: nosh

              Zuni is a super idea. It is open till midnight, has a very SF vibe, the food is great, it woul be a great birthday place for you, the prices aren't too bad and it is right on the street car line on Market St. They don't have their menu on the website, but this sample menu should give you an idea if it is the right fit for you.

              Here's everything in SF in the Chow database that is flagged as late night which would be places open past 11.

              Maybe someone can chime in on how good a fit these would be but In North Beach (aka Little Italy)
              - The Monk's Kettle (are they drinking age?)
              - E Tutto Qua

              - Yuet Lee - open till 3am. Not fancy, but take a look at the place record in that list there are photos and reviews.
              - Brandy Ho's

              At one time North Beach PIzza was one of my favorites. Then they turned into a local chain and to me the pizza is currently inedible.

              1. re: rworange

                We just "discovered" Yuet Lee in the last year and love it. As you write, no ambiance except for the food and the crowd. Mmm.

            2. Just re-read my reply to your questions. I don't think I gave enough help. Let me try again. Big spending would be unwelcome by the guys -- so a moderately priced meal would be better. The bottom line: fun SF atmosphere, good food, a very easily reached location, with meal service until 11PM. That seems clearer! Many thanks.

              1. Lefty O'Doul's sounds like the perfect place for the college boys and for you too..
                They have a piano bar, great food that is cheap and it's the hangout for the baseball players..across from St. Francis Hotel in Union Square..
                This is my all time fav!


                1 Reply
                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Better somewhere without drinking as a main attraction. Previous a capella group mishap remembered.

                2. Might consider somewhere on Belden Lane. Lively, mildly touristy, a bit of scene, half of dozen restaurants to choose from.


                  1. Sounds like fun! And HB in advance. There's a place right on columbus that I've taken my daughter (So Cal student!) which she loves, but can't think of the name (near Rose Pistola a block down...sorry). You might also try North Beach Pizza (no burgers, don't think) or Capp's Corner or Trattoria Contadina. All fun atmosphere and good food, decent prices!

                    1. Truly thanks. Many choices. Too few birthdays! Mom thinks Zuni Cafe. The guys may think O'Doul's or Capp's Corner. All 3 stay open late enough. I guess I can let them find Chinatown on their own, as they will have been in SF for a week and it's in their budget. More inputs welcome (including the name of the place on Columbus!)...

                      1. Hi, a set of good recommendations here, but please remember that Chinatown or "little italy" is not exactly local flavor - it's pretty tourist (although both have their moments).

                        I may get lynched here, but if you want an interesting dinner followed by carousing, you're better off in the duboce triange, castro, mission districts (and surrounding areas).

                        It sounds like these kids might like live music. There is nearly-no live music in Chinatown or north beach (mojito's in north beach is an exception).

                        If a majority are of majority, I would certainly consider just about anything in the mission. Such as Foreign Cinema compared to Zuni. FS can probably seat 12 - open till 11 on fridays -- but that time of year, you're best off making sure you have an indoor reservation - there's a large selection of great music / bar / clubs right around there (right across from 21 galaxies, near the makeout room, doc's clock is an excellent SF dive) that are actual clubs where San Franciscans go, as opposed to Columbus St where frat kids from i-don't-know-where roam about it packs deciding whether to go into the strip clubs feeling daring. FS is a few block walk from BART, but the 14 mission bus is an all-nighter that runs back up market to union square.

                        SF has a history of dada-esque roving musical entertainment, such as recent purveyors the Extra Action Marching Band, so there's at least one club I can think of where you could bust in and do an impromptu --- and drunken --- set. I'm thinking of the rite spot on 17th St.

                        Regrettably, the mission's a little spread out. The 14-Mission runs up and down somewhat reguarly all night, but also remember you can take taxis. Taxis in SF only come when called, so when you're leaving one place just say "call up for 3 taxis" about 5 minutes before you want to leave, and pile in.

                        The other dense club area in SF is the one block area on 11th street where slims, fat city, holy cow, and the DNA are located. Most of the food down there is late-night-greasy-grub, but it is all available late - Bowser's and the cheesesteak place on folsom. Those places are all professionally run clubs with real bouncers and the limited sense of humor of a crack addled bulldog (especially the DNA). For live music, I think Fat City might be doing the best bookings these days of those - unless it's a bohemian carnival night at the DNA.

                        If the kids are not of drinking age, please ignore everything I've said. Take them to Zuni, great choice. Or, if that's too upscale and you have your heart set on burgers in North Beach, consider Mo's on Grant --- open till 11:30 on weekends. Also consider The Globe. Underrated by some, but open late and actual food.

                        1. My spouse and I just took our nephew out to Beretta www.berettasf.com at the corner of Valencia and 23rd. It was very reasonable, and their kitchen is open late. No burgers, but wonderful pizza. The food was delicious. It has a groovy Mission vibe, and the noise level would be conducive to a dozen college kids. After midnight, you'd have to take the Muni, but that shouldn't be a problem.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: vickib

                            This sounds great and so reasonably priced. We used to live in Noe Valley and will definitely check this out next time we're in the City. Thanks a lot.

                          2. Nopa. It isn't the very easiest to get to, but not so hard, either. That would be my first choice. GREAT SF vibe, not too expensive, though the price could certainly get up there for 12! http://www.nopasf.com/

                            I hear good things about Farmer Brown... open until midnight. Easy to get to, though you need to pay attention to which direction you walk when you leave. (On the cusp of the Tenderloin.) http://www.farmerbrownsf.com/index.html

                            Zuni might fit the bill, though a little more pricey.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: wolfe

                                Oooops... no. Last report I heard was about a year ago. So mayb scratch that. Still stand by the nopa suggestion, though...

                            1. Steps of Rome in North Beach is touristy but cheap and fun, with decent food. The waitstaff/host are usually Italian (or try their best to make you think they are italian) and really play the whole "Italian" thing up. Very open, crowded and lively atmosphere.