HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Are you making a specialty food?

Criticize & supplement a flatlander's two day culinary plans (please)

KeninWichita Dec 8, 2009 08:01 AM

Good morning-

Please criticize and and/or fill in the blanks.

Day 1 (12/27 Sun) lunch/brunch at Great Eastern

I choose Great Eastern based on reviews on this board and because I think our 10 year old and 14 year old will make better decisions with menus as opposed to carts

Day 1 (12/27 Sun) afternoon beer???

The family is going to the Nutcracker at 2 p.m.. I would like to go to local brewery for a beer and appetizer while I wait for them. Suggestions??????

Day 1 (12/27 Sun) evening dinner

We are staying in North Beach (Columbus Inn).

7 of us; including two children (10 years and 14 years). Children and adults can handle any type of place and food as long as the wait is not too excessive.

Suggestions for mid priced dinner in North Beach for pizza/Italian??? My fall back is Hyde 1550.

Day 2 breakfast (12/28 Mon).

Suggestions in North Beach for a light breakfast?????

Day 2 lunch (12/28 Mon) lunch at the Slanted Door in Ferry Building (I have a reservation at noon)

Day 2 dinner

Going to Muir Woods in the afternoon.

Suggestions for dinner in West Marin County???

We love seafood. I like your revivews of Nick's Cove (even the bad ones) but Marshall may too far.

Thank you for any help. I promise to report back.

  1. Robert Lauriston Dec 8, 2009 08:15 AM

    There are no brewpubs near the opera house and SF's brewpubs aren't that great anyway. I suggest you go to Toronado or Monk's Kettle instead.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      Calvinist Dec 8, 2009 09:58 AM

      Or go to La Trappe in North Beach for Belgian beer. They have food as well so I believe you can go with minors, unlike Toronando.

      La Trappe
      800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      1. re: Calvinist
        KeninWichita Dec 8, 2009 10:29 AM

        La Trappe sounds like a cool place and the beer list at Monk's Kettle is awesome. Thank you for those recs.

    2. Sarah Dec 8, 2009 02:25 PM

      Consider Capp's Corner for your Sunday dinner -- casual, family style, fun.

      1. BernalKC Dec 8, 2009 03:51 PM

        For Monday breakfast in N.Beach, if coffee and pastries are enough, then Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and the El Greco are long time favorites of mine. For a "real" brunch I was thinking Mama's, but they're closed on Mondays. Cafe Delucchi only has brunch on weekends.

        For a W. Marin dinner, I'll offer a few choices even if I haven't been to them recently: Pelican Inn is closest to Muir Woods and has a very English pub style menu. Bolinas Coast Cafe seems to have "grown up" since the days I used it as a bike ride destination. My wife enjoyed a lunch at the Parkside Cafe in Stinson Beach recently. And I haven't been in ages, and even then I've only been the the brunch, but the Olema Inn is a possibility.

        Caffe Greco
        423 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and Cafe
        566 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Olema Inn
        10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Olema, CA 94946

        Parkside Cafe
        43 Arenal Ave, Stinson Beach, CA 94970

        Pelican Inn
        10 Pacific Way, Muir Beach, CA 94965

        Coast Cafe
        46 Wharf Rd, Bolinas, CA

        10 Replies
        1. re: BernalKC
          adrienne156 Dec 8, 2009 03:57 PM

          I haven't been in 3 years, but last I was there Pelican Inn had great fish & chips.

          1. re: BernalKC
            susancinsf Dec 8, 2009 07:18 PM

            Olema Inn is fairly far northwest (ie the wrong direction if one is going back to SF) from Muir Woods..about 40 minutes, and over curvy Highway One with its drop offs at that, after dark, (it will be dark by the time you head up there, as another poster pointed out).

            I agree that going to Muir Woods in the afternoon is not the greatest idea . I'd go first thing in am or skip it. Less people, some days the parking lot even fills up (though on a rainy, cold day in December that might not be a problem.) For OP, if you really want to do that, I'd look for dinner options between there and SF, perhaps in Sausalito, Tiburon or Mill Valley?) rather than in west marin. Don't have any good suggestions to offer, however.

            1. re: susancinsf
              BernalKC Dec 8, 2009 09:18 PM

              On the other hand, driving Hwy 1 in Marin is an experience to savor, for some, like me. Throwing a dart at Bolinas and saying, lets go have lunch, sounds like fun to me, even on a misty, maybe wet, winter day. Its all beautiful.

              1. re: BernalKC
                susancinsf Dec 9, 2009 05:49 AM

                perhaps if they skip lunch at Slanted Door. Under the itinerary as stated it will be dark before they get the Highway One (lunch at noon, leave SF at 1:30 at the earliest, get to Muir Woods at 2:30 if lucky, two hours in Muir Woods.

                I think if I was going to go this route I'd take the entire day and drive all the way out to Pt Reyes, with lunch in Pt Reyes stateion perhaps (The Pine Cone Inn, perhaps?) or a picnic with supplies from Cowgirl in Pt Reyes station.

                actually, this reminds me, been meeting to report: when hubby and I were in Pt Reyes a few months ago we unexpectadly ran into my father, step mom and stepsister, who were there for the day playing tourist for step mom's sister. We had eaten, but they were planning a late lunch, so after we told them we'd look for them in town after we finished our lighthouse tour. Turns out they chose the Station House Cafe. All I had was a glass of wine and oysters (excellent, no surprise there, since they were local) and hubby just had a coffee, but the food that came out for my family members looked very good, and they all seemed to enjoy it very much. Father was raving about his mussels, and particularly pleased because the chef made him a tomato sauce for them that wasn't on the menu (Father likes tomato based sauces with mussels, not just butter and wine. go figure). I did steal one of my stepsisters fries, and it was above average. Service was great (though since it was late on a weekday, the place was pretty empty). Definitely more comfortable than the Pine Cone Inn, which has been crowded and crammed whenever I've been). Anway, I put the Station House on the list to try myself on a future visit.

                Slanted Door
                Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                Pine Cone Diner
                60 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

                Station House Cafe
                11180 State Route 1 N, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

                1. re: susancinsf
                  KeninWichita Dec 9, 2009 08:27 AM


                  Skip Muir Woods/Pelican and just continue to Pt Reyes/Pine Cone?

                  I am liking Pelican but Pt Reyes sounds like a great spot

                  1. re: KeninWichita
                    BernalKC Dec 9, 2009 09:34 AM

                    [this is OT, but hopefully will be tolerated by the CH overlords]

                    Depends on your ambition and your family's tolerance for riding a long, winding road (through incredible scenery). If you want to make a day out of exploring Pt Reyes, I totally agree with susaninsf about starting early and making a whole day of it -- and have a backup plan so if the day turns out to be rainy you can switch to plan B.

                    But the rewards of getting to Pt Reyes on a sunny winter day can be amazing. Whales will be starting to cruise by the lighthouse. Elephant seals will be on the beach near Chimney Rock. The tule elk are always hanging out at Tomales Point. Limantour beach has sweeping views, bird watching, and maybe some seals in playing in the surf. Winter days are short and we think they're cold -- but you might have a different, Kansas perspective.

                    Muir Woods is totally cool too, and much more accessible -- just a bit small and overrun with tour busses. If you go there, be sure to drive back via Mt Tam, and if your family likes to hike at all there are plenty of short-ish loop trails near the Pantoll station.

                    I guess its obvious, I love W Marin and encourage you to explore it. Just be aware of the time required and have a rainy day backup plan.

                    1. re: BernalKC
                      KeninWichita Dec 9, 2009 09:56 AM

                      Thank you so much for this info. My original plan for Monday needs to be scrapped. Oh, and the high today in Wichita is going to be 20 degrees Fahrenheit so you are correct that our perspective may be different

                      1. re: KeninWichita
                        BernalKC Dec 9, 2009 10:51 AM

                        Bringing this back on-topic, if you do make a full-day trip of W. Marin, check out the Dipsea Cafe for breakfast. I have not been there in years (used to work near there) but I have fond memories and it would be right at the start of the scenic part of Hwy1. Its open on Mondays, and hustling over there for breakfast would set up the rest of the ride nicely.

                        Also, if you do go all the way to Pt Reyes, be advised that you can't take in all those activities I mentioned. Pick one and linger, or hike, or spend time out of the car taking it all in -- it makes the long ride (~4hrs round trip drive time to the point) more pleasant.

                        Dipsea Cafe
                        200 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941

                      2. re: BernalKC
                        susancinsf Dec 9, 2009 11:22 AM


                        Your kids will probably love the milkshakes at the Pine Cone, but it can be claustraphobic and stuffy (air wise, not attitude wise, though I have seen some complaints about service) on a rainy day.

                        If you have binocs bring them (for the whales)

                        1. re: susancinsf
                          KeninWichita Dec 9, 2009 12:43 PM

                          Dipsea (Mill Valley) or El Grecco (North Beach) for breakfast will be a difficult choice

            2. toitoi Dec 8, 2009 04:50 PM

              Although its been a year since I ate at 1550 Hyde, I don't believe you'll find a mid-priced meal there. Ours,with a bottle of wine, tax and tip was $148.

              Here's my report on it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586867

              1 Reply
              1. re: toitoi
                Shane Greenwood Dec 8, 2009 05:34 PM

                Yes, I'd nix 1550 Hyde too. Great place, but not a good fit for a large group with kids. You'll be happier with something in NB. Check out Tony's Pizza Napolitana. He's making some of the best chow in NB these days.

              2. toitoi Dec 8, 2009 05:02 PM

                Your Monday sked: The Ferry Building offers all sorts of interesting choices for lunch, why not change your Slanted Door res. to the evening.

                1 Reply
                1. re: toitoi
                  Robert Lauriston Dec 8, 2009 06:21 PM

                  I don't think the Ferry Building's very interesting for lunch except on market days, unless you want to shop for a picnic, and the weather's not likely to be too good for that.

                2. n
                  Nina Dec 8, 2009 05:29 PM

                  I love Muir Woods, but I'm not sure that going in the afternoon on one of the shortest days of the year and then trying to push on to West Marin and back is a good idea, unless you're familiar with the area or are staying or visiting friends out there. It's going to get dark about 4:30, it's going to be very cold and damp (and if it's raining, forget it), and if anyone in your party has a tendency towards carsickness it could be one of those vacation stories families tell for years. Could you get up early and get to Muir Woods when it opens -- the first tour buses usually don't get there for an hour or so -- and either get back in time for your lunch and save West Marin for a summer visit, or go out there for lunch and move Slanted Door to the evening?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Nina
                    KeninWichita Dec 8, 2009 07:20 PM


                    I am taking the advice to pass on Hyde 1550 and am leaning toward Tony's Pizza Napoletana for dinner on Sunday; although some of our group would groove on Capp's Corner.

                    I think Monday breakfast needs to be at Caffe Greco; my mother in law will love the beverages.

                    I am also plan to deep six The Slanted Door and go to the Muir Woods first thing. Nina is right that I am biting off more than I can chew. That and the Pelican Inn seems to be a nice place to grab a bite after hiking Muir Woods.

                    1. re: KeninWichita
                      Shane Greenwood Dec 8, 2009 08:33 PM

                      Link for Tony's

                      Tony's Pizza Napoletana
                      1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  2. bbulkow Dec 8, 2009 08:56 PM

                    While waiting for the nutcracker, have a cocktail at either Jardinere, Absinthe, or Zuni. San Francisco is a 1/2 decent beer town, but not that exact part of town. It's an excellent cocktail town. There are some decent beers in that part of town (aka lucky 13) but they're at 21+ bars with no food.

                    For god's sake, don't eat in north beach. Choose the type of food and price range, and ask within $10 of north beach by cab, and ask again. You've got 3 dinners; make them count. The north east corner of SF is only a few miles across.

                    Yes, this time of year get a very early start for Muir woods. The pelican inn is quite nice, especially for beer. The vibe is amazing cozy. By the way: "if it's raining, forget it" -- NO! -- the best days at Muir woods are rainy, because of the atmosphere and drama. And you've got the place to yourselves, if you're willing to walk outside of the asian tour groups. But leave SF by 9 and get back at 3. Just a little before cocktail time!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: bbulkow
                      KeninWichita Dec 9, 2009 05:16 AM

                      Thank you bbulkow. I like the looks of Absinthe for a nice beverage. And rest assured that rain will not stop us from visiting the Woods. Looking forward to the Pelican Inn.

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        Shane Greenwood Dec 9, 2009 05:27 AM

                        It's not really fair to write off North Beach. Yes, there are a lot of tourist trap restaurants. But there is also a lot of good chow there. Tony's Pizza, Rose Pistola, Capp's Corner, Mama's (for breakfast), XOX (for the best truffles on the west coast), Cafe Grecco, House, 15 Romolo, and Tomasso's are all worth trying.

                        1. re: Shane Greenwood
                          bbulkow Dec 9, 2009 07:50 PM

                          Perhaps a little unfair, but the question isn't whether they have a few great spots, but whether if you had two meals within her specs, one of those two would be in north beach. I think a number of people want a meal near their hotel, or in a particular neighborhood, without understanding how *teeeny* san francisco is. Thus my suggestion to OP to request, say, sustainable comfort cal-ital-french for $30pp+/- $10pp with good beer and not stuffy, instead of asking for a rec in north beach.

                          1. re: bbulkow
                            sugartoof Dec 10, 2009 07:53 AM

                            Traveling with kids, and looking for food to fit an itinerary justifies requesting North Beach spots, and the last thing that neighborhood needs is to discourage tourism. There are few other neighborhoods that stocked with options.

                            Most of them are mediocre, but the already mentioned La Trappe, Mama's, 15 Romolo, and sometimes Capp's are really decent, if not great, destination worthy options. I don't get the Cafe Grecco idea at all, but I'd encourage the Mario's recommendation. There's also Golden Boy, which could be good for kids. I think it's better than Tony's, but more of a quickie square slice experience. There's a Rogue beer location in North Beach, just to mention it, right across from Iluna Basque, which is going through a revival, thanks to Top Chef.

                            Cafe Capriccio or Danilo's might be a good breakfast stop. Liguria Bakery is a good place to pick up focaccio as a snack. Ask them to slice it. There's also a location of La Boulange on Columbus which is a safe bet as a fallback if all else fails for your breakfast.

                            Killing time on Sunday - Show Dogs has a nice microbrew list, but it's a little walk, and not much ambience, since it's more of a fast food organic hot dog spot. You might do better to wander Hayes, stop by the Blue Bottle kiosk for coffee, Miette, Arlequin, or Citizen Cake .... but there is one dive bar that has a decent selection beers called Place Pigalle. There's also Suppenkuche. Great beer selection, but with a focus on imports rather than small brews.

                            1. re: sugartoof
                              KeninWichita Dec 10, 2009 08:52 AM

                              Thanks for the recs. 15 Romolo sounds like a place for a cocktail before dinner on Sunday.

                              1. re: KeninWichita
                                Shane Greenwood Dec 10, 2009 11:39 AM

                                It is good for that, and also good for small plates. One word of caution though: Romolo is right around the corner from a couple of strip clubs and sexual novelty stores. So depending on your threshold for walkng past those places with the family, you may be bothered by that block.

                                1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                  KeninWichita Dec 10, 2009 01:33 PM

                                  Thanks for the caution, Shane. Will make the kids look the other way.

                                  1. re: KeninWichita
                                    Robert Lauriston Dec 10, 2009 02:02 PM

                                    You could just go around the block the other way.

                                    Tommaso's is half a block away.


                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      KeninWichita Dec 10, 2009 02:34 PM

                                      Thanks for the thought on Tommaso's Robert but their website says they close 12/20 for the holidays.

                      2. Robert Lauriston Dec 10, 2009 08:40 AM

                        Vin Antico in San Rafael is very good Italian.

                        Vin Antico
                        881 Fourth St, San Rafael, CA 94901

                        1. v
                          vulber Dec 11, 2009 09:17 AM

                          Can't say enough good things about Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station. If you have the time, you could even go to the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm before dinner, and then order the oyster pizza at Osterina Stellina if you really want to see where your food comes from.

                          Parkside Cafe is always very reliable.

                          Was disappointed in Coast Cafe when I went, they seem more interested in taking advantage of Californians' love for anything organic than good-tasting good.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: vulber
                            KeninWichita Dec 11, 2009 09:45 AM

                            I checked and Stellina is open Mondays. Mapquest shows the drive from SF to be an hour if you do not go along the coast. Does that sound correct?

                            1. re: KeninWichita
                              susancinsf Dec 11, 2009 10:00 AM

                              If you go to Stellina, please do report back, haven't been a huge number of reports. An hour to Point Reyes Station would be possible only if you leave from that side of town, the traffic gods are totally with you and you like to drive fast on curvy roads. 1.5 hours is more realistic. Don't forget that the lighthouse (not to be missed IMO) is another 45 minutes from Pt Reyes Station.

                          Show Hidden Posts