HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Tell us about it
TELL US

Trendiest places and best eats

SarahOM May 10, 2009 08:30 AM

I am visiting San Francisco (Staying at the Clift Hotel) for one whole week. Apart from doing the private Napa Tours, what do you recommend when it comes to best eats and best bars? We are in our late 20's and love to eat at the best and trendiest. Can you help us!?

  1. w
    whiner May 10, 2009 08:46 AM

    I'm also in my late twenties. My strong reccmendations for restaurants with terrific food and good/young/trendy vibes would be:

    A16 (Southern Italian)
    Laiola (Modern Spanish)
    NOPA (Modern CA)

    Perhaps not quite as trendy, but still modern and cool with great food:

    Slanted Door (Modern Vietnamese)
    Ame (French/Italian/Japanese fusion -- a bit older clientele, being downtown... *awesome* food, though)
    Delfina (Northern Italian)

    Bars as in, like clubs wth music or as in places to grab a drink? I'm not super into that scene but as far as clubs go I've had fun at Bambuddha and Medjool (wine bar -- also has a restaurant I've never been to). As far as *bars* I generally just stumble into some place on Columbus in North Beach. I forget its name but I'll re-post when I recall.

    2 Replies
    1. re: whiner
      Civil Bear May 10, 2009 09:58 AM

      I'll second NOPA, as it seems to be the hottest choice these days. I'd also put Slanted Door in the trendy category. Although it has been around awhile, it is still SF's most visited restaurant.

      1. re: whiner
        SarahOM May 10, 2009 04:27 PM

        these look awesome! Thanks for your help!!!!

      2. wolfe May 10, 2009 09:31 AM

        Here's last years similar request.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/492606

        5 Replies
        1. re: wolfe
          Eugene Park May 10, 2009 09:59 AM

          Or the OP can take heed of the advice given to her when she posted a couple weeks ago on this same topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/613397

          1. re: Eugene Park
            SarahOM May 10, 2009 04:25 PM

            Thank you Eugene, although the strongest advice was that I posted an airport more than anything. I still want real time and up to date advice on whats in TODAY versus last year and months ago. Thanks though. I still want San Fran to prove to me they are better than MIA (which clearly you guys are) so give me advice!

            1. re: SarahOM
              Chuckles the Clone May 10, 2009 05:44 PM

              We are "better" than Miami (which I assume is what you mean when you keep using that odd abbreviation?) because here quality is timeless. Though I'll bet there's plenty of great timeless stuff there too.

              "Trendy" almost does not exist here in the sense you seem to mean it. And insofar as it does, Yelp is the place which will lead you to bars where everyone will look like you.

              What do you like to eat?

              1. re: SarahOM
                bbulkow May 10, 2009 06:20 PM

                Sarah,
                Your demand is very generic. Consider asking a more specific question for a more specific answer. And consider phrasing it as a question.

                Here is the Chron's top 100 list, came out only a few weeks ago. We all "love to hate" this list, but it's not a terrible place to start.
                http://www.sfgate.com/food/top100/

                As pointed out, we don't really do "trendy". Cocktails from last week:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/618103

                Epic / Waterbar opened recently.
                Bourdain was in town filming a few weeks ago. The only thing I remember was the bacon latte from Pirate Cat radio - here's a map:
                http://sf.eater.com/archives/2009/03/...
                Slocombe's ice cream.
                Manressa since Kinch whipped Bobby Flay on some iron chef.

                Is that what you mean by trendy?

                1. re: bbulkow
                  SarahOM May 11, 2009 04:40 PM

                  very helpful, thank you for your post.

          2. a
            Adamsimpson May 10, 2009 09:35 AM

            #1 Dont do a Napa Tour. DIY! Those things are a joke. Just rent a car for a day and drive up your self. It is easy to just wing it if your just doing napa and probably the same cost.
            #2 95% of people could give a damn about the trend factor. In fact, most people think trend equates to lesser quality food. Im in my early 20s, and good food, is good food regardless of the setting.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Adamsimpson
              SarahOM May 10, 2009 04:26 PM

              So if that is the case...what are your "non trend recs?"

            2. alanbarnes May 10, 2009 06:00 PM

              Sorry to sound snarky, but if you're looking for trendy, just go to the Marina District, look for groups of beautiful people, and eat there. Odds are the food won't be terrible, and you'll leave the really good stuff for the rest of us.

              Unlike Miami (and to a lesser extent LA and New York), people in SF realize that "good" and "in" have nothing to do with one another. As for "non trend recs," look at the lists rworange compiled and linked to in response to your first post. There's a wealth of information there.

              1. SarahOM May 11, 2009 04:38 PM

                Thanks for your help. We look for cool looking restaurants in the sense of design, yet we prefer good food. I am a more well rounded person when it comes to eating all sorts of plates, my husband is typical upstate NY steak and potatoes (we are not from Miami, we just happen to be here now in this point in our lives for those who want to know) anyhow, we love visiting local good old restaurants that are staples as well as bars that do small plates and have a great scene when it comes to having a lot of people that frequent often and good ambience. So thanks for all your help and even to those that seemed "snarkier" than others. Peace.

                10 Replies
                1. re: SarahOM
                  m
                  ML8000 May 11, 2009 05:00 PM

                  Trendy, cool looking and steak and potatoes is a difficult match.

                  NOPA is a good pick, maybe Zuni since it's being renovated right now but should be ready (but check on this). Both will have accessible food. Zuni more pleasant, NOPA more trendy...but there's not much of a hood to walk around afterwards, although a drive over to the Haight could be fun afterwards.

                  If you want the best of SF, you'll probably need to open things up a bit beyond steak and potatoes (see whiner's first response).

                  re: the snarkiness...look at the SF board, there's often 2-3 requests for suggestions on the same day...which means you get a better answer with a better question. Asking an SF'er where to eat is like asking a NY'er how to get on the subway...you'll get honest answers but you'll get snark as well.

                  p.s. the "proving" stuff is very east coast...out here it's more you go, you hang, you eat and hopefully it's all good. If not, you have tomorrow.

                  1. re: ML8000
                    SarahOM May 12, 2009 05:10 AM

                    Thank ML8000. NOPA seems like my kind of place. That is def on my list already.

                    1. re: SarahOM
                      s
                      sugartoof May 12, 2009 02:59 PM

                      The funny thing about Nopa is it draws a pretty broad crowd. It's one of the things I like about it best, that you see all types, ages. The secrets been out on that one. That's not usually what people look for in a "trendy" in the know kind of place. Spruce might be a little more to your liking if you want to feel like you're going somewhere exclusive, and that matters to you. Otherwise, Nopa was a great suggestion, it's just not a see and be seen kind of place anymore.

                    2. re: ML8000
                      JasmineG May 12, 2009 10:19 AM

                      Zuni has reopened, it was only closed for a long weekend.

                      1. re: JasmineG
                        m
                        ML8000 May 12, 2009 01:15 PM

                        Any word on Zuni? Any difference? It sounds like it was a minor renovation, perhaps kitchen stuff?

                        1. re: ML8000
                          Frosty Melon May 12, 2009 01:48 PM

                          Tablehopper reported:

                          Here are the updates to the space: the front staircase leading up to the mezzanine has been redone; all of the floors in the upstairs dining rooms have new parquet planks; there has been a little resizing of some seating areas (plus there are new restored chairs to come); the brick oven interior was rebuilt; everything was cleaned, waxed, re-grouted, some tables got new table bases, and all of the service stations upstairs have been redone. There’s also a new gallery hanging work now (Hackett-Freedman closed and so now Dolby Chadwick is loaning work).

                    3. re: SarahOM
                      b
                      betterbeheaven May 11, 2009 05:52 PM

                      Beretta seems like a good fit; great cocktails, good food, and a sexy ambiance (well, I think so anyway). Plenty of bars and lounges nearby as well.

                      www.berettasf.com

                      1. re: betterbeheaven
                        SarahOM May 12, 2009 05:10 AM

                        :) thank you.

                        1. re: SarahOM
                          pavlov May 12, 2009 09:58 AM

                          Funny... I start lurking these boards because I am tired of the "oh you didn't know there was a thread on this already I will link it" thread police, or vacuous snarkiness of tightly wound people that just need to help you know what you are doing is wrong.... but I guest whether it's yelp, tribe, or here.... the internet is the internet no matter at what lovely site you prefer.

                          That being said:

                          I think I am your people, Sarah. I hate trendy and hipster, but I am into design, presentation, and "story" behind a restaurant and the community they are trying to create. I think Nopa fell flat... service, atmosphere, location. It is cavernous, it is loud. I dig what you are saying, but I might suggest staying away from places like Medjool or hipster crash pads. The battle of empty headed cool going on 'tween NY and SF (if you understand the abbreviations tee hee) is really making the Mission District a total disaster. But... that might be the best place for you as there are MANY MANY awesome choices for food and activity, with really lovely places like Beobab hidden perfectlly behind the awful awful bubble bar.

                          A good day:

                          BRUNCH: Foreign Cinema is fantastic.. brunch will have the best bacon you have ever had, dinner will have a lovely silent film projected on the wall.

                          LUNCH: You may want to try Monk's Kettle... nice pub food with about a billion (hyperbole) beers on tab and bottle with one of the best beer lists I have seen (at least, how it is laid out and put together)

                          DINNER:

                          I would say try Blue Plate in the Mission.. a comfort food approach to a finer (not fine) dining. It is for a simpler night.

                          I would say, hands down, "Range" in the Mission... a fantastic spot with an INCREDIBLE menu. Great concise wine list too. One of the best white Bordeaux's I have ever had (ashamed that, by the end of the night, my meal had washed my memory of most things including it's name).

                          Maybe Delfina?

                          1. re: pavlov
                            SarahOM May 13, 2009 12:15 PM

                            thank u so much pavlov! and thank you for posting something really useful for once in this board! i loved the recs! i will report back just for people like you

                    4. peppermonkey May 12, 2009 10:36 AM

                      Sarah don't worry about the haters...there's nothing wrong with someone in their late 20's wanting trendy and good food. Ambience is like food, everyone has their own preferences. I'd rather have a hip, trendy place than a snobby, white tablecloth place. To each his own.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: peppermonkey
                        SarahOM May 13, 2009 12:15 PM

                        thank you so much!

                      2. l
                        lrealml May 12, 2009 11:40 AM

                        The trendiest places I have been to in the last 6 months are:
                        Dosa on Fillmore - New, trendy, great CA-Indian food (if your husband will do Indian fusion food),
                        Foreign Cinema- as already mentioned... Do not miss this place if you like great decor. Great CA food.
                        Bossa Nova - This hard to find Brazilian restaurant in SOMA has great food and caparinias (if you tell them to go light on the sugar) .. they have lots of small plates (like tapas); it is really trendy with lots of Brazilians hanging out... some nights they have music.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: lrealml
                          s
                          SteveG May 12, 2009 11:54 AM

                          Dosa is a great recommendation. We went the other night, and were pleasantly surprised by the food. It seems more well-executed than the original Dosa on Valencia, and the portion sizes are enormous so it doesn't end up being that expensive. Excellent cocktails, and a nice space that isn't my absolute favorite from a design sense, but does seem to support the South Indian food in terms of theme and style.

                          1. re: SteveG
                            c
                            ceekskat May 12, 2009 12:08 PM

                            Don't recall anyone previously comparing the two locations & commenting on portion size. Glad to know this & am looking forward to trying it out soon. Thanks.

                            1. re: ceekskat
                              s
                              SteveG May 12, 2009 12:28 PM

                              Well, I haven't been to the Valencia location in years so I can't really compare portion size directly. Went once, found the food to lack complexity, the prices high, the wait long, the service terrible, the drinks too sweet.

                              This time around, all of the things I didn't like about the original a few years ago have been addressed. The FIllmore location took reservations and service was acceptable. Drinks seemed more grown up than before and were well-balanced. One of our Dosas, the Paper Masala ($11), had the most delectable taste of browned butter and fried crispy cheese, with a flexible-crispy texture like a just cooling tuile, and our long-braised peppercorn chicken ($14) was delicious.

                              In terms of portion size, for two people we ordered a salad, a starter, a meat Entree, and a Dosa. That would have been enough to fill us up solidly, and we're large eaters, but we also ordered a plain Uttapam ($3) to go with the peppercorn chicken as recommended by the menu, some Poori, and a selection of chutneys. We could barely touch the Poori ($4.5), and took most of the peppercorn chicken and uttapam home. Pretty much any of the side dishes consisting of vegetarian components are very filling and pretty cheap considering the surroundings.

                              1. re: SteveG
                                c
                                ceekskat May 12, 2009 02:24 PM

                                " delectable taste of browned butter and fried crispy cheese, with a flexible-crispy texture like a just cooling tuile"....love this description!

                        Show Hidden Posts