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.
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 & 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.
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
1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030
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
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.
#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
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.