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Suggestions for SF Dive Eats... and mid-range restaurants

1
1HotTomato May 5, 2009 12:23 PM

We're taking a road trip up to SF this weekend and it's been a while since I've been, so I'm hoping to get some suggestions for excellent "dives".

We have a car...and a child....and will also be trekking down towards Mountain View.

Fortunately our child is a pretty adventuresome eater, but we're not interested in blowing $100 on dinner for him. We're not on a serious budget, but with a kid, we'd rather eat at casual and moderately priced joints. (under $30 for lunch and under $80 for dinner - excluding drinks and tip).

I love dim sum (understanding that under $30 does not apply) and all sorts of Asian cuisine (although my husband is Thai averse), we all enjoy a great burger, but can skip the pizza, veggie/vegan joints and Mexican. Would be particularly interested in exceptional seafood joints, any type of California or Continental cuisine places, and any kind of "comfort food"/diner establishments. My husband is 35 going on 100 and LOVES chicken fried steak, sawmill gravy, and most blue plate specials.

Thanks for your help!

  1. uhockey May 5, 2009 05:56 PM

    Brenda's French Soul Food is kind of "Divey" and not in the best of neighborhoods - but the food is amazing and the prices are cheap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: uhockey
      Cynsa May 6, 2009 07:04 PM

      I love Brenda's French Soul Food - it's NOT my definition of divey though... I also like Yat's. Mariposa Cafeteria, Tee Off and Tu Lan do qualify as "divey" on my list.

      Let's expand the Mid-Range list for the OP — "we'd rather eat at casual and moderately priced joints. (under $30 for lunch and under $80 for dinner - excluding drinks and tip)" and include Prix Fixe offerings:

      -----
      Chow
      215 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      Blue Plate
      3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Bistro Aix
      3340 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    2. a
      Alan408 May 5, 2009 04:48 PM

      Grubstake and Tommy's Joynt were on a cable TV show featuring Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Grubsteak is probably a Diner, Tommy's a dive.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Alan408
        Civil Bear May 6, 2009 09:36 AM

        Tommy's Joynt is an interesting choice. Definitely a SF institution. Although not necessarily "kid friendly", it should be fine for an older child that doesn't mind crowds. It is also right on the Hwy 101 route through the City. It's old school Haufbrau fair.

        -----
        Tommy's Joynt
        1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

        1. re: Civil Bear
          bbulkow May 6, 2009 01:33 PM

          Atmosphere it has, dive it is, but the food is - IMHO - sub par.

          What do you get there that's so good as to recommend for a limited-time visitor?

          1. re: bbulkow
            wolfe May 6, 2009 01:41 PM

            From the opening post.
            "and any kind of "comfort food"/diner establishments. My husband is 35 going on 100 and LOVES chicken fried steak, sawmill gravy, and most blue plate specials.
            I like the roast beef with dip and horseradish.
            But it isn't Phillippes so settle for the buffalo.
            http://www.philippes.com/

            1. re: wolfe
              Cynsa May 6, 2009 07:09 PM

              Valencia Pizza and Pasta for " any kind of "comfort food" at the right price.

              -----
              Valencia Pizza & Pasta
              801 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. re: bbulkow
              m
              ML8000 May 6, 2009 02:19 PM

              Like most/all dives, you have to cherry pick the menu. Turkey and buffalo are good but not great but for the price it's hard to complain.

              1. re: bbulkow
                Civil Bear May 7, 2009 10:42 AM

                Without a doubt, the braised lamb shanks! $8 + change for two, with roasted new potatoes and a side salad. The sauce is very good. Tastier and a better deal than Valencia Pizza & Pasta, IMO.

                Agree though that the sandwiches are a tad sub par (other than the meatball).

          2. Civil Bear May 5, 2009 03:28 PM

            For a kid friendly burger joint that is kind of an institution there is Bill's Place on Clement. Great shakes too (the old kind were you get the leftovers on the steel cup). And it's not far off your path if you take 19th Ave through the City.

            -----
            Bill's Place
            2315 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

            1 Reply
            1. re: Civil Bear
              Cynsa May 5, 2009 04:04 PM

              Bill's Place (since 1959) is indeed very kid-friendly; with back patio — but, the cheeseburger at the Hard Knox Cafe at 2448 Clement Street is also a great deal for $6.50 + one side - cooked perfectly medium-rare as requested.

            2. rworange May 5, 2009 01:41 PM

              Where are you coming from and what route are you taking? The Saturday morning Farmers market at Ferry Plaza has lots of good prepared food stands.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rworange
                1
                1HotTomato May 5, 2009 01:57 PM

                Coming up from San Diego and likely to take the 101 all the way up...

              2. m
                ML8000 May 5, 2009 01:28 PM

                Not all of these are dives...in fact most aren't but this is a good list for cheap eats, SFGate/the Chron's annual Bargain Bites list.

                http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/listing...

                5 Replies
                1. re: ML8000
                  1
                  1HotTomato May 5, 2009 01:36 PM

                  Thanks...any recommendations on which ones are good? I guess I should have clarified that "cheap" isn't our top criteria. Good is. Followed by casual, kid-tolerant and then reasonably priced.

                  1. re: 1HotTomato
                    Cynsa May 5, 2009 03:19 PM

                    Not a dive - Hukilau is kid-friendly, would husband chow on Loco Moco with hamburger or chicken katsu... or teriyaki shortribs?
                    5 Masonic Ave
                    San Francisco, CA 94118
                    http://www.dahukilau.com/sanfrancisco...

                    for breakfast:
                    The Village Grill
                    160 W Portal Avenue
                    San Francisco, CA 94127

                    for breakfast/pumpkin pancakes/fried chicken wings
                    J's Pots of Soul
                    203 Octavia Street
                    San Francisco, CA 9410

                    Hard Knox Cafe
                    2 locations: Third Street and Clement Street
                    Larkin Express Deli
                    Lime Tree
                    Old Jerusalem
                    more...
                    Dives/bars are not very kid-friendly... the Mariposa Cafeteria is the place for oxtails or roast pork on rice — these links aren't very divey; you'll do better at Chow on Church Street...

                    -----
                    Lime Tree - Southeast Asian Kitchen
                    450 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                    Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
                    452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    Chow
                    215 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                    Grubstake
                    1525 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Hukilau
                    5 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                    Tu Lan
                    8 6th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                    Art's Cafe
                    747 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                    Hard Knox Cafe
                    2526 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    Mariposa Cafeteria
                    1599 Tennessee St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    Old Jerusalem
                    2976 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Hard Knox Cafe
                    2448 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                    7 Mile House Sports Bar
                    2800 Bayshore Blvd., Brisbane, CA 94005

                    1. re: Cynsa
                      Civil Bear May 5, 2009 03:37 PM

                      Mariposa Cafateria and Tu Lan are certainly divy, but please do not subject your child to either of those places. Not unless you wantto subject him to urine soaked junkies or agressive panhandlers on the way to the door. Oh, and I once found a drywall screw in my fried rice at MC...yum.

                      1. re: Cynsa
                        rworange May 5, 2009 03:46 PM

                        That reminds me of Tee-Off, the ultimate comfort food dive. While it is a bar, there's an outdoor patio.
                        http://www.chow.com/places/37367

                        Please don't go to Tu Lan with a child. Chow or Park Chow might fit your needs exactly.

                        1. re: Cynsa
                          Melanie Wong May 5, 2009 05:44 PM

                          While I've not been to Hukilau for a head-to-head comparison, I can highly recommend the loco moco made with Niman beef at Namu during happy hour. It's just a few blocks away. There were kids chowing down at the early hour with their parents.

                          -----
                          Namu
                          439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                    2. wolfe May 5, 2009 01:09 PM

                      Fairly recent dive thread.
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577297

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wolfe
                        1
                        1HotTomato May 5, 2009 01:34 PM

                        Thanks...I did a search for SF dives and got a lot of irrelevant links back.

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