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SIX Fab Nights in SF-- Some Locals-only Must-Dos....?

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So it's been a few years since my husband and I went to SF-- and for our first anniversary we're heading up to a B&B (in the Castro, FYI) and tearing off a big six-night chunk of the City! Now don't laugh-- one meal will definitely be at Scoma's; you can scoff, but despite the cheesy atmosphere we had an excellent dinner there (including a perfect scallops risotto, a dish that could have easily been completely awful but was sublime). And I'm hoping to find Charo's picture somewhere on the wall...!

We have one lunch taken care of with a Wine Country tour's picnic (yes, we will be tourists and we'll be PROUD OF IT!). Other than that, we're open to anything. Well, I am. The hubbie can be pickier, but on a vacation he'll be a bit more open.

I don't want to be one of those tourists that just puts up a post saying: "We're in SF, what should we eat?!" So I'm going to try to ask a few directed questions.

-- For a splurge within the City (say, up to $200 per person with wine), what would your choice be? NOTE: Nothing with a jacket requirement, we're on vacation! And extra points for being reachable by MUNI.

-- Without starting a fist fight, suggest a consistently good dim sum place in the City (OK, in Chinatown, please don't laugh, we're gonna be total tourists!) that's authentic enough for true Cantonese-American 'Hounds but won't scare off a Cajun and a Portuguese (i.e., us two). For extra credit, suggest a go-to Asian-cuisine lunch and/or dinner joint of any country or region-- it just has to be good and reasonably-priced and comfy. Think "Chowhound-worthy neighborhood gem".

-- What's a good place to grab pastry and coffee on a weekday morning in the Ferry Building?

-- Anything great on Belden Place?

-- Any fun breakfast joints in the Castro? Actually, any great places for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in the Castro?

-- We have some great Mexican joints in our neck of the woods (Long Beach, CA), but want to try a Mission-style burrito. Where can we geek out on this City treat?

I know you locals get these questions all the time, but if you can indulge someone who wants a first-anniversary vacation to be something wonderful (we're exhausted and really need to get out of Dodge!), I will be eternally grateful. Thanks in advance, SF 'Hounds!!

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  1. For breakfast, I have very fond memories and an enlarged belly from the Pork Store on Haight ,its just up and down the hill from the Castro.

    1. For the Chinese food, I would mix it up a bit. I would go have dim sum at Hong Kong Lounge in the Richmond district: affordable, authentic, and plenty of choices for everyone. And for your Chinatown trip, have the prix fixe weekday lunch at Jai Yun.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sfbing

        Fellow visitor here with a suggestion for: "For extra credit, suggest a go-to Asian-cuisine lunch and/or dinner joint of any country or region-- it just has to be good and reasonably-priced and comfy. Think "Chowhound-worthy neighborhood gem".

        Burmese Kitchen (formerly Larkin Express Deli) for down-home Burmese. Don't miss the tea leaf salad and samusa soup but everything we've had there has been Chow worthy and the owner is lovely. I understand they are now open 6 nights for dinner as well as lunch Monday 10:30AM-3:00PM Tues to Sat 10:30AM-8:30PM Closed Sundays according to their takeout menu as reported by el lobo solo on another recent thread.

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

      2. We've always enjoyed the mussels and frites at Plouf in Belden Place. The salads and entrees, however, have been hit or miss. But the mussels have always been good.

        If you're here on a Saturday, you should definitely check out the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building. They have smaller markets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but Saturday is the main day. There are lots of great posts on what items not to miss at the market, see links below.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34126...
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/408884
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/341266

        Also, have you had the salt & pepper crab at R&G Lounge? If not, that would be fairly high on my list. They offer great lunch deals during the week (we like the shrimp with crispy noodles and it's worth upgrading to rice noodles), so you could share an order of crab and order something else off the lunch menu and pay a fraction of what you'd pay to eat there for dinner.

        Hope you enjoy your anniversary trip!

        1. Splurge: Coi, La Folie or Ame. Ame is totally unique. None require or request jackets, though Coi I think most guys do wear them. La Folie is pretty casual for the type of food it is -- I don't know where you are from but it is a (Provencal) French restaurant, so you might be able to get excellent French food back home. Coi is micro gastronomy -- 11 courses, very little red meat. Excellent. Ame is totally unique and less expensive than either Coi or La Folie... if you skimped a little on the wine you could make this a dinner for another night.

          Burritos - La Tacqueria is my first choice for "Mission Style"

          2 Replies
          1. re: whiner

            I like La Taqueria too, whiner, for their tacos dorados. Here's the link to assist the OP -- I've tried searching on "taqueria" and it's a bit daunting :-),

            -----
            La Taqueria
            2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: grayelf

              For dim sum in Chinatown, I highly recommend New Asia. I know this place gets mixed reviews on the board, but I still really like it for affordable dim sum. The place is huge, loud and always packed and I've always found there for food to be very flavorable with lots of variety. Just don't go in expecting it to be like Koi Palace because it's in a completely different price range. A plus is that it's located near Golden Gate Bakery, where you can get the world's best egg custard.

          2. I would highly recommend going to 2223 Restaurant in the Castro on a Tuesday, when entrees are $12 and apps are $6. It never gets mentioned, but I think 2223 has some of the best "upscale comfort food" in the city.

            I've only been there for dinner, but I hear they do a really good brunch.

            Kasa is good "fast-food Indian" in the Castro.

            For your extra credit, I would suggest Mandalay in the Richmond. Very high-quality Burmese food, open for lunch and dinner; better than Burma Superstar with a shorter wait. (I have not been to Burmese Kitchen).

            Cafe Bastille has great ambience/service/atmosphere, but the food there is nothing special. I hear good things about Plouf.

            I know Great Eastern offers dinner, haven't been there for dimsum. R&G seems to be the best Cantonese place in Chinatown, but I don't think they do dim-sum.....

            La Taqueria probably makes the best burritos in the city, but they're not traditional Mission style (no rice), and they won't fill up up, but will drain your wallet. I would recommend Taqueria Cancun for you simple no-frills, affordable, stuffed, chips-included, Mission Burrito.

            3 Replies
            1. re: vulber

              I found the food at Mandalay aka Golden Mandalay quite similar to that at Burma Superstar, and it's a nicer place without the crazy lines. Though Burmese Kitchen / Larkin Express is the best.

              1. re: vulber

                RE: "I hear good things about Plouf": We had a very disappointing dinner there. Less than attentive service, stale bread and it took a long time for the main course to arrive lukewarm at best. I have to confess we didn't send it back because by then we were starving and we didn't see a waiter for a while. They did comp an entree when my friend complained. I think the mussels would have been good if they'd been hot. Endive salad was soggy and uninspired. I saw someone post that lunch is better than dinner. But with so many good restaurants to choose from in SF, I'd skip this one if you only have a few nights.

                1. re: igonow

                  Plouf link

                  -----
                  Plouf
                  40 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

              2. "What's a good place to grab pastry and coffee on a weekday morning in the Ferry Building?"

                I don't think this one has been answered yet. The best IMHO place to grab a pastry in the Ferry Building is Acme. They're famous, of course, for their bread, but at their bakeries they also offer excellent pastry. In particular, they make some of the best croissants in the city. Boulette's Larder also gets some recs for its breakfast offerings, including cannelles.

                I don't drink coffee, but there are several options in the Ferry Building ranging from Peet's to boutique coffee roaster Blue Bottle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I'd agree with that, though Boulette's Larder has some great pastries too. But the ham and cheese croissant from Acme is unbelievable.

                2. This might give you a few more ideas. No one has mentioned Bund Shanghai in Chainatown

                  Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.
                  http://www.chow.com/lists/1591

                  1. Some worthy city splurges:
                    - Ame
                    - Coi
                    - Spruce (you can eavesdrop and watch the fab Pac / Presidio Heights living it up)

                    A great casual dinner out:
                    - Delfina
                    - Salt House
                    - Flour + water

                    Ice Cream: Bi Rite ice cream if the weather permits

                    Worthy hearty breakfast joints in the castro...Try Squat and Gobble. Or hop on the J Line and go to Toast at 29th and Church passing strollerville (Noe Valley). If you want a mixed trendy crowd with okay food, there's always Sat or Sun brunch at Lime.

                    A good crowd is always at Peet's Coffee on Market between Noe and Sanchez.

                    For burritos, definitely La Taqueria or Papalote. If you're downtown and crave Mexican, do check out Tropisueno, they do lunch and dinner.

                    If you want to stay in the Castro neighborhood, I'd recommend:
                    Eureka on 18th
                    House of Chen
                    Squat and gobble

                    Other places within relatively short distance on pub transportation:

                    Incanto
                    Zuni Cafe

                    Not on a rail line but worth going to:
                    Dynamo Coffee + Donuts (bacon/maple/apple donuts oh my)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: clodel

                      My dream was to do the Ferry building with my 6 yr old (who is a budding foodie) and we did it right- followed by a walk across the Golden Gate- what a fantastic day we had- except for the $23.00 parking...but what the heck?

                      We had a bombolino from Boriana in the Ferry building- a italian store..it was a donut filled with chocolate- except it was soft as angel skin- and the choco disk inside was the most perfect chocolate I have ever had. The fine sugar on the outside was almost worth the parking.

                      We enjoyed the Blue Plate on Mission- I think thats it. Damn good food. Loved the bull fighting artwork. Great steaks and reasonable wine.

                      ENJOY!