Slightly chowish family in SF for the weekend
I will be visiting the area from LA and my family will be coming in from the east coast this weekend for a wedding. We are staying at the Courtyard Marriott downtown (2nd St) so either walking or short driving distance would be preferable. We'll also be spending some time in Monterey after the wedding so notable places there are welcome as well.
I am looking for some great food recs in the following categories: dim sum (or a make their own noodles dumpling place), breakfast (home plate and mama's have already been recommended), seafood (for good oysters on the half, cioppino, and crab), and chinese.
Would prefer something reasonably priced and not at all adverse to the the hole-in-the-wall place.
If you guys think that there is something notable that I've left off, please let me know! I've only been to SF once before.
I'll get the ball rolling with two breakfast ideas that are (more or less) within walking distance:
I've been going to Townsend for years and find it to be reliably satisfying and usually very good. The folks that started Home Plate started Townsend many, many years ago. Townsend is bigger in a newer, nicer place - though there's nothing wrong with Home Plate. I think they still are cut from the same cloth, so to speak. [Though, as far as I know, there is no remaining connection between the two.]
I've only dropped in for a pastry at The Butler and the Chef, but it was so f--ing amazing I was tempted to write a review about it here. How can a simple almond croissant be mind blowing? You'll have to see for yourself. The place gets raves from other hounds. I can't wait to take the wife there some day soon.
Town's End Restaurant & Bakery
2 Townsend St Ste 2, San Francisco, CA 94107
Butler & the Chef Bistro
155 S Park St, San Francisco, CA 94107
I second Butler and the Chef. I wrote a review of the breakfast (including a croque that absolutely crushes Keller's at Bouchon) here on Chowhound of the meal.
In Monterey, as cliche as it is, I'd check out Old Fisherman's Grotto specifically for the Clam Chowder and their incredibly friendly owner. It is not "FINE DINING" but it is fun and the view is superb at sunset.
Zare at Fly Trap is an excellent, fairly new, restaurant just a few steps from your hotel on Folsom Street. It is open only for dinner. Haven't been to Butler & The Chef for breakfast but it is excellent at lunch and in a really nice setting on South Park. Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building is my choice for oysters. Haven't tried the cioppino at Tadich but have heard some decent comments about it on this board. For dim sum, there is always Yank Sing which is a nice walk from your hotel. Of course, there are other dim sum places in Chinatown and I think you can find several threads on this board giving other recommendations. I go to Home Plate for breafast often but that's primarily because I live just a few blocks away. I'd skip it and, if you choose not to go to Butler & the Chef, Towns End is a better bet, in my opinion. I'm not familiar with any specific restaurants in Monterey but.in Carmel both Bouchee Bistro and Cantinetta Lucca are great and have the same owners. There's also Casanova in Carmel which we have enjoyed for years.
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We stayed at The Courtyard on 2nd in Feb and loved it. You can walk to lots of places from there, if you don't mind walking. It is about a 10 minute walk to Market and then from there, well, everything is possible, either on foot, via the Market trolly, cable car etc.
Restaurant Lulu on Folsom is a pretty easy walk and the food was excellent. Be sure to try to Iron Skillet Mussels. I don't usually eat them, but oh, these were excellent.
Tadich is a must and their cioppino is first class, you can walk there but it will take a bit of effort.
Zuni Cafe another top choice, but take the Market St trolley cause it is a hike.
Be sure to go to Ferry Building for lots of choices that are fast and pretty easy on the pocket. Farmer's Market there on Saturday morning is so much funny and great eats too.
One last suggestion, try going on the free SF Library tours. There are many to pick; also do a tour of City Hall, also free.
For dim sum, we really like City Views
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
816 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94107
City View Restaurant
662 Commercial St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Seriously ... on Saturday morning go to the Ferry Plaza farmers market for breakfast. I love the eggs and bacon at the Hayes Street Grill stand. So many options. Lots of top bakeries. Actually, the samples of the bread, fruit, jams, cheeses, meats, etc, etc often made breakfast for me. ONLY on Saturday morning from 8 am to about 2 pm.
Butler and Chef is closer to you than Town's End. You would just walk a few blocks up second to South Park ... it is really obvious, there's a park there. Here's thier website .. they have a weird url name.
I love Town's End. I lived in the area for about a decade and had breakfast there often. It is near you and there are even some tables with a sort of bay view. There is a complementary basket of yeasty rolls and mini muffins (baked in house) with seasonal fruit butter. As mentioned, it is like Home Plate which is across town from your location, has impossible parking and, IMO, is greasy and not as good as Town's End. You could either walk to the Embarcadero from your hotel and walk along the water to get to Town's End or hop on one of the antigue street cars for a short ride. The website seems to be down currently, but here's the menu on Menupages
Here's a list of often recommended Chinese restaurants. If you click on the name it will take you to the Place record with website, linked reports and other info.
Slanted Door might be a good dinner selection. It is near your hotel. I'm not a fan of Boulevard, but others are and it is halso nearby. Mehfil is a decent enough Indian restaurant across the street from your hotel. It won't wow you, but it is in close proximity and respectable food.
Moneterrey is on the California board and if you search that board you will find lots of recs. or you can seach Places and click on the restaurant name to see what info there is.
I'm guessing places doesn't get updated as much for Monterey, but probably the siginificant restaurants are in that list.