Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 8, 2009 11:01 AM

valentine's weekend in sf

hello chowhounders. i'm a los angeles hound and will be having a little getaway with my husband to sf for valentines/president's day weekend. we'll have a car and are looking for a few good restaurants that won't break the bank. we're not looking for haute cuisine. also, any must trys for lunch or breakfast or anything worth trying in chinatown?

thanks in advance

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Now, now woofer. You've been following the boards for a while. How would you even begin to answer that question if someone asked the same question and substituted "LA" for "SF".

    Anyway, these are the usual answers ... and good ones, IMO

    Of that, given the valentine's theme, 1550 Hyde, Canteen, Zuni and Aziza would be good choices. Also, if looking for romantic, Cafe Jaqueline whose specialty is souffles might be something to consider tho it is not on the list since there's nothing especially Sf about it. However, it is always recommended in the romantic category.

    1. thanks for the chiding and for the list.

      8 Replies
      1. re: woofer

        Well, i was really trying to suck out more info from you ... and ok chide just slightly. We seem to be in a heavier than usual flurry of visitor requests. If that list doesn't do it for you ... elaborate a bit. Hope you have a good visit and report back. Do try to make it to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Great place to pick up casual breakfast.

        1. re: rworange

          we are going to the farmers market and sears for breakfast (my husband's request). i guess i was looking for places in the $20-$35 entree level. also, your pick for best steakhouse?

          1. re: woofer

            Here's what is tagged as Steakhouse in sf

            Of those, Alfred's, Acme, Chop House, Marine's Memorial Club, get the most positive reports. For old SF, there's Harris. House of Prime rib is another old time place but it is prime rib.

            Lark Creek is in a shopping center. Not enough reports on Joe DiMaggio's to know. Ditto on Epic, but the reports mixed at best. Good Bay View though.

            The restaurants mentioned fall in the $20-$35 range more in the $20 range.

            1. re: rworange

              At Alfred's, Acme, HOPR and Harris', it'll be easily $30+ for meat

              1. re: kc72

                we have no problem spending more at a steakhouse with prime meat. i'm thinking acme or alfred's. although acme doesn't seem to have th selection of meat that alfred's has.

                1. re: woofer

                  Being that this sounds like a romantic trip, I have to say I LOVE Alfreds.

                  Its a total experience. The plush booths, fresh gigantic flower arrangements, the quiet masculine vibe, it is romantic to me. You can have a perfect Martini, poured table-side, then they leave practically another Martini in the shaker for you to have after you polish the firs pour off! You can look at the meat in the aging fridge near the front. Its just an awesome, unique experience and old school(1928). It definitely has charm and its a bit camp, in a way I appreciate.

                  Price-wise its not cheap. They did have a "School Night" Prix Fix that was a deal but I don't see it on their web site. Try it. I think you will have a great time. Even Lunch would be fun. Its in Chinatown, too.

                  Alfred's Steak House
                  659 Merchant St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                  1. re: mmerino

                    The School Night Special is at the bottom of page 1 on their menu pdf. Tues-Th


                    1. re: kc72

                      Ah-$$ went up! I think it used to be in the mid $30's. I guess that's still a pretty sweet deal for $41. Outta my underemployed price range these days.
                      from the PDF:
                      "S c h o o l N i g h t D i n n e r $ 4 1 . 0 0
                      (Offered Only Tuesday through Thursday nights)
                      Choice of
                      Mixed Greens, Caesar, Wedge Salad, or Split Pea Soup
                      Choice of
                      Filet Mignon 8oz, New York Cut Steak 16oz,
                      Boneless Ribeye 16oz or Rack of New Zealand Lamb
                      With Choice of Side
                      Choice of Dessert
                      A 17% taxable service charge will be added to your bill. This allows for a
                      fair distribution to non-management employees between the service staff
                      (tipped employees) and the kitchen staff (non-tipped employees). This
                      distribution shows the entire staff how appreciated they are.
                      Any additional tips will stay directly with your server.
                      Thank you for your understanding and patronage."

      2. well it's not in china town, but its in the castro district. It's called Chow. The cutest little spot to have a great brunch. Everyone there is extremely friendly and it has a cute little cafe feel to it. The Mimosas are delicious and the best part of the meal are their potatoes. I highly recommend this place. They have great pancakes and waffles....great breakfast menu.

        5 Replies
        1. re: liltamby5

          so i think i'm going with: quince, 1550 hyde & r & g lounge for our dinners

          1. re: woofer

            If you can swing a week day lunch, you should consider having lunch at R&G. Their lunch specials are a tremendous deal (almost half the price of their dinner entrees) and the portions (in my view) are the same size as their dinner portions. However, they also offer their entire dinner menu at lunch.

            A typical lunch for the two of us consists of S&P crab ($38), shrimp & bok choy chow mein (it's worth spending the add'l $1 to upgrade to their pan fried noodles) and R&G beef ($7). We save the leftover crumbs and fried seasonings from our crab to mix in with the noodles which elevates the dish to an even higher level. Those three dishes would easily feed four adults for lunch or dinner. We intentionally over order, b/c the leftovers make for another tasty lunch/dinner.

            It should be noted that lunch prices are available until 4pm or so Mondays through Thursdays, but I think only 2pm on Fridays. A really great way to sample R&G food at a substantial savings.

            1. re: cvhound

              after reading abut r& g and reading the menu that's almost exactly what we will order. although i was thinking we might go there for dinner on valentine's day. it's always so hard to find a place with no prix fixe menu.

            2. re: woofer

              Glad to hear this considering I plan to go to JAR in L.A. (for steak) on my next visit as there is nothing like it here.

              One of my 2008 discoveries was Bay Bread pastries. Never been a fan of morning pastries in general as I always found them too sweet, too dense/doughy, too sticky, or too whatever. Bay Bread...light, delicious, with just the right amount of sweetness. Love their cinnamon bun/roll (?) & danish.

              SF hounds can chime in as to their boulangerie on Pine as my review is based on selection at Palo Alto Farmer's market. Imagine if I could have it at the store! Another place for pastries which I keep meaning to try based on CH rec is Tartine Bakery. Just one of the minor drawbacks of living in the Peninsula :)

              1. re: ceekskat

                not a huge fan of jar for steak, although they do a lovely brunch. doesn't seem like steak is in the cards for our sf trip. after eating at cut in l.a. it's hard to top it.