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Did we select well for San Francisco?

First time visitor to San Francisco. We especially like oriental, seafood and italian. We have chosen Slanted Door, Yang Sing, Betelnut, and Pesce Seafood. We will also visit the Ferry Marketplace during the open market. Did we select well or have we left a must experience off our list? We wish to eat well but not over spend.

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  1. Here are some other places to look at, to see if they pique your interest. Many of them are in different neighborhoods of SF, so you can get a better feel of the city.

    For Italian, there's Delfina, A16, Incanto, and Quince.
    For seafood, people have also said good things about Nettie's Crabshack and Bar Crudo.
    For Japanese-French seafood that is a splurge, there's Ame.

    The Asian places that you've chosen are rather fusiony but generally known for decent food, which is ok if that is what you're looking for. (Although, honestly, I am really not a fan of Betelnut.) You will pay significantly more for the upscale surroundings. I assume you are going to Yank Sing for dim sum brunch.

    San Francisco has a lot of very good, more down to earth places for all sorts of Asian food. If that is what you want to explore, please ask or check out the board.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sfbing

      Sorry, here are links:

      Incanto Restaurant & Wine Bar
      1550 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

      2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

      Delfina Restaurant
      3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Bar Crudo
      655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

      Quince Restaurant
      470 Pacific Av, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Ame Restaurant
      689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

      Nettie's Crab Shack
      2032 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

      1. re: sfbing

        Concur on others' thoughts on Betelnut; just "okay" when there is far better in the city.

        For seafood, I would put Bar Crudo, Anchor & Hope, or Ame above Pesce.

      2. I really love Yank Sing but, just a warning to everyone: The last 2 times there, I was alone and in a hurry so just got food from their to go area. I recommend that you avoid this part. I left most of the Chinese Chicken salad (chicken was like shaved pieces) potstickers were almost cold and flavorless. Even if alone, I'll dine in regular restaurant next time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: walker

          Yank Sing's to go area has never been as good as what come out of the regular kitchen.

        2. Slanted Door is great; I always take out-of-towners there.

          I think Yank Sing is a bit overpriced and I prefer Ton Kaing -- this debate has been gong on forever on this and every other board. (note: I haven't been to Ton Kaing in a while.)

          Betelnut is nice -- a bit of a "scene". Not spectacular, but nice.

          Pesce is a very nice 'neighborhood'-y place. Well priced, good vibe. Not the type of place I would go well out of my way to go to, but I live only a couple of blocks away, so I go there.

          For Italian I like A16, Delfina, La Ciccia (Sardinian). Quince is a little more pricy.

          Agree that Ame is awesome, though deffinitely up there in price.

          1 Reply
          1. re: whiner

            Tthe OP said in another thread that entrees up to $50pp were acceptable.

            So Ame and Quince totally fit under that. Actually most places in SF should fit under that.

          2. Slanted Door and Yank Sing are excellent choices.

            For Italian, check out Incanto and Perbacco.

            If you want to move upscale from Pesce (a nice neighborhood place) consider Ame or Aqua (both about 2x more expensive than Pesce)

            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            252 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paul H

              Another vote for Slanted Door! I just posted my thoughts in this thread.

            2. Our group loves chinese and vietnamese. Perhaps I used the incorrect term but my intentions were to find wonderful, memorable restaurants and I appreciate all the suggestions.

              1 Reply
              1. re: annie23

                It might help to know your price level and your comfort zone (are tablecloths necessary? how scary can the neighborhood be?).

                The recommendations discussed above are very nice places in the city, which may or may not be too expensive for you. Here are some more authentic and cheaper choices for Asian, although I think you will be quite happy at Slanted Door and Yank Sing.

                The tenderloin is a rough-ish neighborhood, but these restaurants are all near each other on a pretty safe stretch.
                Pagolac: Vietnamese 7 courses of beef
                Bodega Bistro: Vietnamese with a slight French twist
                Turtle Tower: Hanoi style (no basil) free range chicken pho
                Lers ros thai: very good thai, enormous menu

                I prefer the food in the tenderloin, but if you're not comfortable in that area, the following will do in a pinch. Also convenient if you are going to be wandering around Golden Gate Park.
                Yummy yummy: Vietnamese
                PPQ: Vietnamese: bun, pho, etc.
                Irving Cafe and Deli: good banh mi and lunch plates; minimal seating
                Lam Hoa Thuan: Chinese-Vietnamese, get a rice plate with roast meat (roast duck, soy sauce chicken, etc. In particular, their boiled free range chicken is superb.)
                There is also a new Chinese noodle and dumpling place in the neighborhood.

                For Chinese, there is
                Z & Y for spicy sichuan food
                Bund Shanghai for shanghainese food. It has been getting very good reviews on this board!
                R&G for Cantonese (It can be tricky to order here, but for godsakes, get the salt & pepper crab! also the steamed fish with ginger and onion.


                Bodega Bistro
                607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Turtle Tower Restaurant
                631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Lam Hoa Thuan
                2337 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                PPQ Vietnamese Cuisine
                1816 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                Z & Y
                655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                Yummy Yummy
                1015 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                Irving Cafe & Deli
                2146 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                Lers Ros Thai
                730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                Bund Shanghai
                640 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA

              2. Stick with Slanted Door and then for chinese try Jai Yun or Nanking. Italian go old school to North Beach restaurant and seafood maybe Anchor and Hope.

                1. I would drop Betelnut (it's okay, not great) and replace it with an Italian restaurant. Since you're already going to Slanted Door and Yank Sing, you'll have had a couple of great Asian (Vietnamese and Chinese) meals. Out of the recommendations here, I second Incanto the most. Also, one word of advice, "oriental" is not really a preferred descriptor unless you are talking about rugs. Some people even take offense to that term, just so you know.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Shane Greenwood

                    Shane, many thanks to you for your advice. Do not wish to offend anyone. Incanto it is. We have two other nights, any other recommendations?

                    1. re: annie23

                      Bushi-Tei has not been mentioned, and I think people who like Slanted Door and Yank Sing would generally enjoy Bushi-Tei a lot. Especially for lunch (entrees around $15) it's one of best meals in Japantown. Dinner skyrockets closer to $100 a person, but if you have an unplanned lunch check it out. The food is French, but with heavy Japanese and California leanings. Not something I'd expect to find in most other cities.

                      1638 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                      1. re: annie23

                        All of the suggestions in this thread are good ones, you really can't go wrong. I would say that another "must experience" place is one offering California cuisine. My pick for that is Zuni, which hasn't been mentioned because you are looking for Asian, Italian and seafood. But that's a great place. The Cal-cuisine scene is, in my opinion, some of the best food in the area and something worth experiencing if you are looking to explore. But that would be another thread with dozens of recos.

                        I hope you report back on where you went and let us know what you thought.

                        1. re: annie23


                          I like Incanto but I left it off my list of favorite Italians for a very important reason -- what they are known for, what they do well, is offal. I'm not a big fan of offal, if you are then it seriously may be great for you. But you should know that is what the restaurant is known for before you go.

                          I don't know where you are from or what you are looking for, I assume Slanted Door is a dinner destination for you?

                          posters below me mention the idea of a CA dinner destination. For that I would chose Boulevard for a relaxing experience. Price-y, but worth it, imo. Or for a less expensive, most "happening" place, NOPA.

                          The Bushi-Tei rec below is good for lunch, for dinner it can get too close in price to Ame, which is similar, but deffinitely better, imo.

                          1. re: whiner

                            They do offal very well indeed and are well known for it. But the offal dishes aren't even half of the menu, and all of the dishes are good. I think his expertise in offal and his appearances on TV have made it seem like that's all you can get at Incanto, but it's not true. Take a look at the menu online for an example of what you can expect.


                            1. re: whiner

                              I think in general, you should probably check out sample menus of all the places discussed.

                              Cosentino's cooking is very rustic with bold flavors and I think the restaurant is a very comfortable space in a beautiful quiet neighborhood. I love Incanto, but I do think it is a "love it or hate it" kind of place. I once shared the trotter with foie gras with three other people and two of us loved it and the other two thought it was too much.

                              If Incanto is not your cup of tea, Delfina is another good choice.

                              1. re: sfbing

                                Many folks in San Francisco love Delfina but it is definitely Cal-Italian, like Chez Panisse is Cal-French. If you are looking for something that is recognizably Italian to someone visiting San Francisco, Incanto and Delfina might not fill the bill. I once took some visiting relatives to Incanto because they wanted "Italian" they were baffled by the menu, and had a hard time finding anything to order. Checking the menus is good advice.

                                1. re: Paul H

                                  For (somewhat) more authentic Italian, as said way above, I like A16 (Southern) and La Ciccia (Sardinian)... my comment about the offal wasn't that you cannot order food that doesn't have it, but rather, I think it is great for people who are like sfbing -- but for those of us that don't eat offal and tend to shy away from thos really bold flavors, it isn't as special.

                                  I also like Perbacco a lot. Only reason I didn't mention it is it is sort of like every city's really good Northern Italian restaurant. But the food is really good.

                        2. I don't know where you are coming from, but for me, living in New England, I would never make a visit to the Bay Area without planning on hitting the Mission for some Mexican food.

                          Time is always a limiting factor, there are always more places I would like to eat than there are meals in my vacation, but the two places on your list I have tried - Slanted Door and Yank Sing - are excellent.

                          1. For great Italian you may want to try Ristorante Milano in the Russian Hill area. I especially like their lasagna and the tiramisu. I also like Pizzeria Delfina on California St. in the Fillmore area for pizza and a nice wine selection. Your other picks are great, but I also agree to skip Betelnut. For Chinese food, you might like the R&G Lounge near the NorthBeach Financial District border. It's a classic. I would suggest for sure making reservations at the Slated Door as they get booked up far in advance. Maybe try Open Table to make your reservation. Hope you have a great visit and happy eating!

                            R & G Lounge
                            631 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108

                            Ristorante Milano
                            1448 Pacific, San Francisco, CA 94109

                            1. I will chime in with a vote for Betelnut. It is popular for a reason; it's filled with happy eaters every day of the week. They take reservations and popular dishes are chicken in lettuce cups, spicy green beans, steamed dumplings. Portions are generous. It's too noisy in front part for me, I ask to sit in the back.