Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jun 11, 2009 08:15 AM

Visiting SF Tomorrow...Need Recommendations (Dim Sum, Chinese, Seafoods, Breakfast, and Others)

A Chicago chowhound will visit SF tomorrow for 2 days and looking for the best restaruants for my criteria. I am sorry I couldn't do my self-search (in the middle of west coast trip...internet time has not been allowed). I will drive a car (So location wouldn't be a matter). Here are the details of my preferences.

1. Dim Sum: I haven't tried dim sum at SF yet. I was quite impressed at San Fernando valley (LA area) in the past.

2. Chinese: My focus would be seafood, noodle soup and dumpling. I ate one restaurant in a suburb (don't know the name...but many big chinese restaurants are there in a street) 3-4 years ago.

3. Seafood: I ate Swan seafood before and quite impressed. No fancy, high-end style. Just like the style of Swan. I want to taste crab, oyster, other shellfish and chowder (my best chowder is Splash Cafe in pismo beach....hopefully, one can beat them)

4. Breakfast: Haven't eat breakfast at SF. But, my friend heartly recommend Mama's, How would you think? Let me know if there's other contenders.

5. Other: Solid Japanese (sushi, udon/ramen, and tonkatsu), Italian maybe, or other Asian (Thai, Vietnamese), or Californinan (we love Houston, J.Alexander here in Chicago).

Thank you very much for your help in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. rw must be on her way to work so here is her quick guide.
    I don't remember if it includes dim sum. Yang sing and Koi Palace are some of our best but it seems consensus is that those in the San Gabriel Valley are better. Vancouver and Hong Kong are even better.

    1. For dim sum, try one of the places south of the city on the weekend. Koi Palace, Hong Kong Flower Lounge, Zen Peninsula, Asian Pearl.

      Noodle soup and dumplings: King of Noodle

      Chinese seafood: R&G lounge in SF or any of the dimsum places listed above

      1. 1 & 2 -- the street in the suburb with big Chinese restaurants was probably the restaurant row on El Camino in Millbrae (near the airport). Several places people have mentioned are there, including Hong Kong Flower Lounge, Asian Pearl and Zen Peninsula. People can argue about which one is best -- just in terms of track record, HKFL is probably the surest thing.

        Very good reports on Mama's recently, but a couple of alternatives would be Canteen (chef-driven California cuisine) and Brenda's French Soul Food.

        Regional Italian is very big in SF right now, with popular choices being A16 (Campagnia), SPQR (Roman) and La Ciccia (Sardinian).

        Since you mentioned you like Japanese and "Californian" you might like Ame, which is California-Japanese fusion.

        La Ciccia
        291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

        Hong Kong Flower Lounge
        51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030

        817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Peninsula Asian Pearl
        1671 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

        Zen Peninsula
        1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

        Ame Restaurant
        689 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

        Brenda's French Soul Food
        652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thanks for all of your help so far.

          Here are some more questions:

          1. If I want to taste "Californian" cuisine (all I had was national franchise, like Cheese cake factory, Wolfgang pucks, J. Alexander's, etc.), which one would be the best. I found Houston's (it's also franchise...and little expensive side).

          2. Any coffee shop, bakery, pastry shops I must try?

          3. Swan Oyster bar would be the best bet? Any other alternatives?

          4. Which Chiinese restaurant would be considered as best seafood (plus, good dumplings) in Richmond area?

          Thanks again for your help.

          1. re: kthan

            4. Richmond neighborhood in San Francisco or RIchmond, CA the town in East Bay?

            1. Californian cuisine--try Zuni Cafe.
            3. Check out Hog Island Oyster bar and its neighbor in the Ferry Bldg

            1. re: kthan

              For Californian, another vote for Zuni.

              Best XLB (soup dumplings) try Shanghai Dumpling King in the Richmond District.

              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Shanghai Dumpling King
              3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

              1. re: kthan

                #2 - Again, go to Ferry Plaza on Saturday morning where you will have half a dozen of the top bakeries plus coffee such as Blue Bottle and Peet's.

                Please ... please don't go to Houston's. Not only is it a chain, it doesn't serve California cuisine.

                In addition to Zuni (where you should read reviews on specific dishes to order), some other good places for California Cuisine are

                1550 Hyde (my favorite). They have a three-course prix-fixe for $35 (not only for the current Dine About Town promoation. It is a real neighborhood restaurant with top-notch food and a reasonable wine list. It is right on the cable car line so you can take that mode of transportation to get there


                If you really want to go bargain basement, yet get some top quality, Town's End which was mentioned as a breakfast suggestion has a three-course prix-fix dinner for $22.95. They have their own bakery and the dinner includes a very nice bread basket.

                There's also Canteen which was mentione for breakfast.

                Then there are the Cal-ethnic combos ... Cal-Basque, Piperade, Cal-Morrocan, Aziza, etc

            2. Well, the clam chowder at Swan's starts from a can. They add clam juice to it. If you liked Swan's, Anchor Oyster Bar is supposed to be similar

              I'd go to Woodhouse Fish. There are two locations ... one in the Castro and the other in the FIllmore.

              Seriously ... go to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at the Ferry Building Saturday morning. You will have all sorts of breakfast items from top-notch vendors in addition to seafood stands. If you must have a sit down breakfast, Towns End is just up the street from Ferry Plaza.

              One of my favorite things ever is the soft shell crab sandwich at the Hayes Street Grill stand. They also have a nice salmon BLT.

              Not to mention you can put together a rather nice brunch just from samples of fruit, cheese, sausage, baked goods, jams, etc

              Mama's is really good.