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Feb 3, 2009 04:06 AM

Eating in Noe Valley & the Castro

We're coming to SF from the UK for the first time and wil be staying on the border of Noe Valley & the Castro (near Douglass street & 20th) for 7 days. While we'll be eating all over the city I particulary want to narow down our options closer to home (for those days when you're too tired to venture far!). My boyfriend is veggie and I don't eat meat (although I love fish). Other than that we don't mind where we go - although I'm partial to comfort style food (especially for breakfast/brunch). We're looking for places for both dinner and brunch. I've come up with a list of places and I would love to hear what you think. Which are the best places, both for a nice atmosphere and food?
The list:

Orphan Andy
Sushi Time
Tangerine (brunch only)
Firefly (brunch)
Toast (brunch)
(also, is the Noe Valley farmers market worth going to?)

Many thanks!

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  1. No, no, a million times no to Tangerine. We went there once and it was beyond awful. That place must live on bar receipts -- that's the only possible way I can imagine it stays open.

    We've never done brunch at Firefly, but dinner there was solid.

    If you don't mind venturing to the other end of Noe, La Ciccia (Church and 30th) is fantastic -- well done and utterly authentic Sardinian (thus, a lot of seafood on the menu) food.

    4 Replies
    1. re: allsouls

      I would second La Ciccia for excellent Sardinian style fish dishes.

      1. re: danielmaung

        I would third this recommendation, especially if you both eat fish. If your boyfriend does not eat fish, I think La Ciccia would still be good but not *as* spectacular.

        1. re: Dave MP

          And I'd like to fourth this recommendation. La Ciccia is amazing. Funny thing... it you call to take out, they want to know where you live because they won't serve you certain dishes if you live too far away (luckily we don't) because they need to be eaten right away.

      2. re: allsouls

        Firefly does not do brunch... dinner only.

      3. I have never been to the Noe Valley Farmer's Market, though I've heard it's very nice. That said, I do not think it compares to the Ferry Building, and I think that's a must-see for visitors from the UK. So assuming you're here on a Saturday, I'd probably go there. Is the Noe Valley market also just on Saturdays?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dave MP

          I like Cote Sud for an easygoing but above average meal. The 3 course prix fixe is a deal. Nothing is ever spectacular, almost everything is always very good. I believe that there are veggie and non-meat for each course, but you may want to check in advance.

          1. re: lmnopm

            Savor has excellent brunch and an outdoor area for seating if the weather permits.

        2. IMO, the Noe Valley Farmer's Market is not worthwhile. The produce is extremely limited and, in my experience, quality not great. That said, if I lived within an easy walk, we might journey there for the children's guitar player. My son loves that and I wish the Ferry Bldg had something as intimate for children.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zachschef

            Hey, the Ferry Building has the singing cowboy out back

          2. 2223 has a nice brunch -- nothing unusual, it's good. Toast has a great breakfast and lunch but it gets crowded (there are two locations, one on Church and one on 24th). I also like Savor for breakfast and lunch. Chow is always good. Other good lunch options in Noe: Fattoush (Mediterranean place but they make a great french toast), Restaurant Bacco (great Italian and very cozy place for dinner), Alice's (very good Chinese food), and if they are hankering for tea take them to Lovejoys. And of course, try to check out Noe Valley Bakery... cupcakes, bread, scones!

            2 Replies
            1. re: sfwork

              I like 2223 a lot.
              Also, they have specials on Tuesday nights; quite affordable and really tasty food.

              1. re: pauliface

                FYI, 2223 Restaurant has been sold.

                2223 Restaurant
                2223 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

            2. I've lived in Noe for many years and go to other neighborhoods to eat. Noe and the Castro are generally known for mediocre food.

              Firefly is okay but overrated. Chow is well executed American food--really, not what you come to San Francisco for.

              Better: Kasa (Indian "tacos" in the Castro), Bacco is decent to very good. Thai House Express in the Castro, Eijii for homemade tofu and sushi. Minako in the Mission for Japanese vegetarian and seafood. Thorough Bread for pastries.

              But even better: walk downhill to the Mission. It's not that far, and you'll have 20 great choices.