I am going to San Francisco This weekend? any great chow ideas
I am going to San Francisco this weekend.. I have never been there before. Any great food places I should check out in the Bay Area and Napa valley?
Oh wow...only two days?! That's tough...
I'm an LA transplant myself. I just love it when my friends and family come visit! It's my chance to show them the many great tastes and flavors that SF has to offer. You can have your taste at almost every type of ethnic cuisine there is in this 7x7 mile city. Being that you're from LA, I'd stay away from Mexican, Korean and Japanese.
Here are a few of my fool-proof suggestions. Some of them have nice ambiance and atmosphere but I really just based my suggestions on my reactions to the taste of the dishes in comparisson to other like restaurants I've been tried.
Italian: Provencial / home cooking from the heart.
CAFE BELA VENEZIA - Post @ Jones: Being that the chef is from Venice, he serves up special regional dishes from his hometown. Amazing and nothing like the stuff in North Beach (Little Italy). You won't get priced gouged and in fact...it is very very reasonable in prices! Everything is home made. From the bread to the tiramisu. He's a one man band so you might wait a bit till your food comes out but it is TRULY worth all the wait!!! Have this for Lunch! They have crazy $5.00 plates and pizzas! Amazing!
Vietnamese: Go for Dinner!
AHN HONG - Geary @ Hyde: This place is excellent for their "7 Types of Beef" menu. It's $16/person for dinner but WOW. It's an amazing spread! They bring you out beef that's prepared 7 different types of ways. It's like a 7 course meal. It's crazy but it won't weigh you down either...the fresh vegetables served along side make everything really balanced. There is another really "hipster" type place that does the same but I recommend this one because of it's flavor and authenticity.
Vietnamese Sandwich: Pick these up for your drive to Napa!
SAIGON SANDWICH - Larkin @ Turk: This is a SF institution. In the last 2 years there have been several V-Sandwich (Bahn Mi) places opening up but still nothing can compare to this place! Nothing over $3.00 and you will probably be full cause they stuff that thing like mad crazy! Fresh and perfectly flavored veggies and the meats are excellent. I usually get the BBQ Chicken or Meatball or BBQ Pork.
Chinese: If you're in Chinatown, don't go anywhere else!
UTOPIA: Wavery @ Clay (Chinatown) - I know LA has great Chinese food but the one main difference is that "generally" SF is very famous for Cantonese style cuisine. Of course there are others but Canton runs things out here. I'm use to eating Mandarin styles or even Taiwanese down in LA I think they run things down there. So, that being said...try out Utopia. They have these awesome clay pot rice dishes! Nice prices too! NOTE: this is not a DIm Sum restaurant.
Moroccan: They have a sweeet Pre Fix 3 course meal!
AZIZA - Geary @ 22nd Ave. - This is the ultimate place for Moroccan food for me. If you can't stand the "gamey" smell or taste of lamb, it's because it wasn't cooked right. Aziza cooks it like no other...I've had Moroccan in Long Beach but not like this. I would go for their "course menu". It gives you a bit of everything and for the main course, do the lamb. It runs under $35 per/person. This considered a bit of "fine dining" so the services and prices match that...but remember this IS San Francisco, you don't have to roll up there in "fine" clothing.
Russian Pastries: How easy is it to find Russian Bakeries in LA?
MOSCOW & TIBILIS BAKERY - Geary @ 19th/20th Ave. - It's not easy to find Russian places in LA so this is on the list for you guys! It's awesome...go for some sweet prioshkis, Cherry and Cheese hits my spot every time!
Indian: Lunch buffet!
SULTAN - O'farrell @ Taylor/Mason - Go for Lunch! They have the BEST buffet. It must be from a different area of India because it's totally different from the other Indian restaurant next door (Naan n Curry). This place is not overly salty and WILL NOT bog you down! I've known the mother who usually cooks and she says she doesn't or hardly uses oil for her foods. The veggies are not overly stewed. They meats are not dry or cheap cuts. It's a slightly more pricey than it's rival next door but you won't hate yourself afterwards and your body will thank you for that.
Persian: Best in California, so I've heard.
MAYKEDEH - Grant @ Green - Yes, I know LA is filled with Persian/Iranians but I trust my Persian/Iranian friends when they have their families plan trips to SF to visit this restaurant before even thinking about them (sad but true story!) Amazing spread of authentic Persian/Iranian cuisine meats and stewed vegetables. I've not yet had Persian done like this place does it anywhere in SF or LA. Plates range from $8 - $16. May be a bit more than you planned on spending for lunch but it's something you won't regret experiencing.
LA TRAPPE - Columbus @ Greenwisch
I know you like wine...but this place might make you into a beer drinker. They specialize in Belgium brew and they have an abundance on tap. They also have an abundance in the bottle. Excellently priced for premium Belgian beers too. If you don't know what to order, ask the bartenders. They will work with you as if you were at a wine tasting and the tastings are free!
THE CLIFT HOTEL - Geary @ Mason
They stay open late. You can have late coctails. A drink to put you to bed. Or some of the best desserts 2 people can share in all of San Francisco. Trust me on this one...order the Coco de Cielo along with an Cuban Coffee. Holy Moly. I might just have to meet you there for this one! This is really one of my favorite places to just chill and have dessert. It's a bar/lounge but it's big and comfortable. Don't think, night club but rather a den in some old mansion. I warn against getting there during the cocktail crowd. It can get pretty busy.
Second on wolfe's compliment; great list. Two comments:
-how do you even get into the Clift and find a seat where you can enjoy dessert? It's always a mob scene when I walk by. I haven't even bothered going in in ages.
-an LA visitor doesn't need to have Vietnamese food. Not saying the Vietnamese food here isn't good, but with only 2 days the focus should be elsewhere. Same for Chinese; even if the focus in SF is more Cantonese, there's plenty of Cantonese in LA
We ate at the Cafe Bella Venezia this evening, based on this recommendation. The food is honest , excellent quality ingredients carefully and authentically prepared.
The decor basic, and the service a bit slow and gruff.
Since we eat out principally for the food , it was an unexpectedly excellent experience, especially at the price point, which is absurdly modest for the food quality and the position.
Thanks for the recommendation, great place!
Great first post. Welcome to Chowhound. Hope you stick around a while and post some more.
Have you tried any of the other Russian bakeries along Geary?
Royal Market and Bakery is realtively new and they have a nice in-house bakery in the back. Nearby is Israel Kosher which is more of a market, but they have some excellent house-baked goods in front. Across the street from Aziza is Gastronom. I'm fond of their baked goods and they make an excellent kvass. For some reason, I've never warmed to Cinderella Bakery. No real reason for it. Around Easter a must-stop is Katia's Russian Tea room. It is a restaurant, but they make this wonderful Russian Easter bread called kulich that is one of the best things I've had this year. There's a special sweet cheese, pascha, they serve with it. You can buy a slice or a whole bread. The addresses are in the following links
5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121
Saigon Sandwich Shop
560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Maykadeh Persian Cuisine
470 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Anh Hong Restaurant
808 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109
340 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
141 Waverly Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108
800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery Store
5540 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA
Cafe Bella Venezia
720 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Clift San Francisco Hotel
495 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA
If you'll be going to the Aquarium or DeYoung, you can walk to Park Chow. I'm addicted to the won ton appetizer. I think it's the sauce they serve with it. This is a great local hangout. www.chowfoodbar.com
You should checkout the corner of 18th and Guerrero in the Mission. There's a choice of pastry at Tartine Bakery, Italian or pizza at Delfina/Pizzeria Delfine, takeout at BiRite Market or ice cream at BiRite Creamery. Its fun to people watch at Dolores Park a few blocks away.
To get a feel of the great neighborhoods of San Francisco, Absinthe in Hayes Valley, Firefly in Noe Valley, Nopalito not too far from Haight Street, Gialina in Glen Park, Liberty Cafe in Bernal Heights, Halu in the Inner Richmond and Kasa in the Castro.