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Mar 29, 2009 01:14 PM

Best Butcher/Meat Market in SFBay?

I'm stuck in Sunnyvale for a couple weeks on a gig, but my corporate apartment has a passable kitchen. I'm trying to take the opportunity to cook with local stuff. So my question is:

What are my best options for buying meat around here?

My acid tests for a great butcher/meat market would be local pork (if I could find pork belly, I'd be thrilled) and/or hanger steaks.

I searched the board and got the "usual suspects" in Santa Rosa and Healdsburg. I'd be happy to drive up there and make a day of it, but if there's something decent out here in the South Bay, I'd be happy with that too.

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  1. Fatted Calf is also at the Saturday farmers markets at Ferry Plaza and in Berkeley.

    Prather is also at several farmers markets:

    235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Cafe Rouge
    1782 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

    Schaub's Meat Fish & Poultry
    395 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304

    Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop
    10905 Hwy 1, Point Reyes Station, Ca

    Prather Ranch
    1 Ferry Bldg # 32, San Francisco, CA

    Bryan's Quality Meats
    3473 California St, San Francisco, CA

    Fatted Calf
    644-C First Street, Napa, CA 94559

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Just called ahead, making a run to Schaub's now, will report. Thanks!

      I just got back from the MV Farmers Market; while it's interesting to be able to buy duck confit and merguez, I wasn't blown away with the meat selection (and it seems to sell out quickly).

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        You might also check Draeger's in Menlo Park or Los Altos.

        Whole Foods often has a decent meat counter; the branch I go to in the city has a fair amount of local meat and poultry.

        Avedano's has some good meats, but they are breathtakingly expensive. I tend to hit Bi-Rite or Canyon Market (Glen Park, close to 280) instead.

        1. re: Windy

          I would at Guerra's Meats on Taraval in SF to the list as well.

          1. re: zachschef

            Add link. Would be nice to get a report.

      2. I think that schaub's is your best bet in the southern part of the Bay Area. Andronica's is quite good also and they often carry prime meat. I would avoid Whole Foods, the fish there is usually quite good but not the meat. If you make it up the City, visit Drewes Bros. They carry lots of grass fed beef and heritage pork.

        Drewes Brothers Meats
        1706 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

        8 Replies
        1. re: SFDude

          SFDude, being totally soured on Drewes for many reasons, I'd love to know what grass fed beef and heritage pork you've noticed there.

          1. re: Atomica

            I once special-ordered caul fat from Drewes. When I went to pick it up, what they had was a big chunk of solid fat. ignorant amateurs.

            Maybe they've improved since then.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              No, they have not improved. Same dummy owners.

              1. re: Atomica

                Yes, I agree. As someone who lives in the 'hood, I want to love them, but just can't. I've had bad experiences like special ordering a pheasant, having them lose the order, then finding a god-knows-how-old frozen one in back to give me. Also, my wife is unhappy with them after a 2 hour wait to pick up our turkey before last xmas - they were so unorganized. I'm hitting Buy-Rite more too now.

                1. re: twenex

                  There's one guy who never gets orders right. He doesn't listen to what you want, then has to ask a couple more times to clarify, and still you come home with the wrong amount of something, pretty much every time. One of the owners talks in a pressured and fast voice on his phone whenever he's helping customers, so he's not paying attention either. I'm pretty convinced they're a lot more into their shiny, expensive motorcycles than they are in running the store properly.

            2. re: Atomica

              Agreed. Drewes carries duroc pork, which is a heritage breed, but very close to commercial hogs and the pork that Drewes sells is being raised in factory farms. Not all heritage breeds are raised equally. They carry some Estancia grass fed from Uruguay and their other beef is Coleman's. Nothing special. Drewes is a joke of a butcher shop.

              Lately I have been buying meat at Bi-Rite, their butchery has greatly improved and they are carrying Newman Farms Berkshire pork as well as Becker lane. They recently added Five Dot ranch beef which is very good (grass fed, bareley finished) and have Marin Sun Farms grass fed. They also carry Watson farms lamb which is the best. Also, Golden Gate at the Ferry Building has improved and their dry aged organic beef is quite excellent and butchery skills are very good.

            3. re: SFDude

              Just out of curiosity, why would you avoid Whole Foods?

              1. re: jsteingarten

                I tend to avoid Whole Foods for the same reason I usually don't buy meat at Trader Joe's. It always appears to have been sitting there a long time, especially the chicken, sausages and marinated pieces (shudder). The only thing that looks decent is the ground beef, which is usually very cheap and goes pretty quickly. Just my two cents.

            4. I also like Dittmer's in Mountain View. If you talk to Mark, he can tell you where they get their pork and what the abattoir is like. I've seen pork belly there as well as European cuts of beef and pork. They also make and smoke their own sausage, ham hocks and bacon. If you have a specific request, they will do their best to cut it to order or will let you know when they can get it in for you.

              Dittmer's Gourmet Meats
              400 San Antonio Rd Ste 4, Mountain View, CA 94040

              1 Reply
              1. re: baybritta

                Yeah, Dittmers is great, good butchers and good meat.

              2. On the Peninsula, I always like Foodville, which I think is now Bianchini's, and has a traditional butcher shop inside. Excellent meat, although I'm not sure how local the pork is.

                I like Guerra's that's mentioned above, and Bryan's. Bryan's has the best bacon I have ever cooked.