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Feb 8, 2010 04:37 PM

Too many dining options and not enough time! Help me refine my weekend itinerary.

Hello fellow Chowhounds,

I have spent quite some time researching San Francisco dining options on your wonderful site in preparation for our February 26-28 stay. We have been to San Francisco a number of times, but it has been almost three years since our last visit. We are in our late twenties, enjoy most cuisines, don't have a set price point, and hope to find some real gems on this trip. This is my first post, so hopefully I cover all bases in terms of information you should require to help me plan a wonderful food-centered weekend. My husband and I will be staying at the Hyatt Regency in the Embarcadero area. We will have our own transportation and have don't mind driving for a good meal. I have a rough idea of where we will be eating, but would love your two cents as there are so many great options.


Breakfast: I would like to go to Tartine Bakery again, but my husband would like to visit Just For You again. What do you recommend? We have already been to Dottie's, Mama's, and Boulettes Larder for breakfast. Any other musts?
Lunch: Tony's Pizza Napoletana or Coco 500
Dinner: Boulevard


Breakfast: Ferry Building Marketplace
Lunch: Poc Chuc or La Torta Gorda
Dinner: Perbacco


Brunch: Absinthe
Afternoon Meal: Katanaya or San Tung

Humphrey Slocombe
Bi-Rite Creamery
Dynamo Doughnut

Thanks is advance for your help. I am looking forward to a great weekend in your wonderful city!

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  1. If it were me:

    Friday breakfast I would do Tartine Bakery or Bar Tartine which I believe is open for breakfast on Friday.

    Friday lunch I would do either A16 or Pizzeria Delfina.

    Saturday lunch I would do Nopalito

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scott M

      Thanks for the suggestions. I checked out Bar Tartine and they only serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Do you think this would be a better option than Absinthe for brunch on Sunday?

      1. re: Hopester

        The bar at Absinthe is a great deal of the star, so it depends on whether you'll be drinking at brunch or not.

        1. re: bbulkow

          I agree that it depends on what you are looking for when it comes to Sunday brunch as to whether Bar Tartine is a better option than Absinthe.

          You could do Just for You on Friday and then do Bar Tartine on Sunday.

          If you are more in the mood for the Absinthe menu/bar then I would stick with Absinthe on Sunday and Tartine Bakery on Friday. Another option to consider for Sunday brunch is Foreign Cinema.

      2. re: Scott M

        Definitely Tartine Bakery on Friday, otherwise you'll have to wait forever in line on Saturday or Sunday.

        San Tung is an SF favorite but they use so much msg it's disgusting. That said, the food is tasty and I can't think of any better options in that category of Northern Chinese food so it might be your best bet.

        Absinthe is nice for brunch, but what about 2223?

        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

          If you're going to be near San Tung I think it'd be worth going. My boyfriend and friends are addicted to the dry fried chicken wings. I mostly eat a seafood/vegetarian so I haven't tried it myself. The sauce is pretty good but I haven't found any other dishes that I would go out of my way for.

          Also, it does really chaotic and busy so I would try to go for an early dinner if you can.

      3. I’m not a big fan of Katanaya, definitely do not recommend getting it on a special trip. I just don’t think it’s special. I prefer going to Santa or other south bay places for my ramen. Though I like San Tung, I’m not sure if it’s worth the wait. If you do go, consider getting the dry fried beef, which I like more than the chicken. Though you will probably want to order chicken because that’s what everyone talks about.

        I second the suggestion on A16 or Pizzeria Delfina instead of Coco 500 or Tony’s. I would also add Zuni if you haven’t been there. Welcome back to SF !

        1. I would consider Brenda's for breakfast, and maybe Foreign Cinema for brunch (although it's nicest in good weather).

          I'm probably in the minority, but I don't love Perbacco. Maybe La Ciccia, A16 or SPQR instead?

          2 Replies
          1. re: mrs bacon

            2nd Brenda's! Crawfish Beignets!

            But, and this is a big but, prepare for up to 1hr 45min wait if you get their anytime past 12:00pm! Small, small place but everyone loves it.

            If you do insist on waiting it out, go to Saigon Sandwich 2 blocks away, and that for sure is a SF must! Meatball is my fav.

            1. re: Keesey

              Checked out the menu and Brenda's sounds great! We have already been to Tartine and Just For You, so I think it will be good for us to try a new place for breakfast on friday. Thanks for the suggestion.

          2. Another brunch possibility is Canteen.
            Neither Katanaya or San tung would be on my must list.
            I would pick Poc Chuc over La Torta Gorda unless you really want a sandwich, I think.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sfbing

              Poc Chuc is a sit down place and can be a little dark during the day time, I do love the platio maya there though. I would choose Tartine over Just For You. Tartine is more special and decadent in my opinion, whereas Just For You is a solid neighborhood place for breakfast standards with a few special items, like the green chile sauce.

              1. re: Candice

                I like La Torta Gorda for the chicken huarache, and well as the tortas. And it gives you the chance to do a 24th St mural and food walk, including Balmy Alley murals, ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, and Dynamo Donuts.

            2. Thanks so much for all the input. I will definitely go with Tartine over Just For You on Friday morning. I was hoping for at least one good Asian meal while we are in San Francisco and it sounds like I should avoid Katanaya. We had great ramen at Kintaro in Vancouver, B.C. a couple years ago and I was hoping for a similar experience at Katanaya. San Tung sounds like it may be decent based on your comments, but I'm looking for great. I have seen a lot of positive comments about Jai Yun. Should I consider it over San Tung? I am kind of worried about the prix-fixe lunch menu as I am slightly less adventurous than my husband. I took a look at the Pizzeria Delfina menu and it looks great! I will definitely plan on having lunch here. Thanks for the great advice!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Hopester

                Jai Yun and San Tung aren't even in the same universe. You might want to check on some previous postings about lunch at Jai Yun, but I don't think he serves anything that would be considered challenging.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I'm not sure if Jai Yun is open for lunch on Sunday. A great asian option would be burmese food. I would recommend Pagan on Geary. Or maybe even Burma Superstar - but if don't really like to wait in line when I am travelling.

                  1. re: chocomel

                    Jai Yun is only open for lunch on weekdays.