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Jun 14, 2010 06:52 PM

Where to eat after Alcatraz night tour?

Hello fellow foodies,

My bf and I - two Torontonians - will be visiting San Francisco for a few short days in July. We are SO excited.

We love simple, honest food that is thoughtfully prepared and delicious. We like Italian flavours, comfort food and new takes on both of these. We dig local ingredients, bright veggies and high quality meat. Not the biggest fans of seafood. But we LOVE dessert.

It has been suggested to us that we try Frances (can't get a reservation) and A16.

We also have been advised to breakfast at Dottie's True Blue.

I'm wondering if you think these are good choices for us or if any others pop to mind, in light of our likes.

Also, we are thinking about doing the Alcatraz night tour on the Friday night and so want to eat somewhere nearby around 9;30. ideas? (we're staying in the union square area so could also head back there for a late meal).

I gratefully welcome any and all suggestions. We are so excited to explore the culinary scene!

Huge thanks!

2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Dottie's True Blue Cafe
522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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  1. Between Alcatraz and Union Square is the Globe, which is open late so you won't feel rushed. Decent local menu cal-ital, and a restful spot after a windblown alcatraz. I've never done a reservation there, but you might want to. But there are lots of other places thereabouts - like RN74 or Gitane, for example. Everywhere along the embarcadero would be a good quick cab ride. You almost want to eat *between* the two places. And don't go near North Beach on a friday - unless you like drunken frat boys. So just expect to take a quick cab to wherever you're going.

    If you want to go higher end, consider the lounge at COI, which I think is open at that hour.

    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

    6 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      Great suggestions - thanks so much!!!!

      1. re: foodievisitingSF

        I just went on a Alcatraz tour a few weeks ago. We ended up eating at the Wipeout, just because it was close and people didn't want to walk anymore.

        However, if you want the type of quality food you are seeking, I would go to North Beach. You will need to make reservations.

        I like going to Trattoria Contadina, but there are a lot Italian restaurants in that area, and you can probably pick any one and be satisfied.

        Trattoria Contadina
        1800 Mason Street
        San Francisco, CA 94133

        Enjoy your stay!

        Trattoria Contadina
        1800 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. re: nuraman00

          Hey fellow Canucks (used to live in Waterloo and TO)! For your non-Alcatraz questions, a couple of suggestions from another gastrotourist. Skip the line at Dottie's and head to Canteen for breaky if it's a weekend. For that matter, given your criteria, book a dinner but do it soon as they "sell out" quite far ahead. I'm not sure what the Italian scene is like these days in the Big Smoke but if you like Sardinian, Google La Ciccia and see what you think. Not a red sauce place at all. For comfort food (and luscious cocktails), maybe take a peek at Range's chicken. And if you like Mexican at all, have a read around this board, particularly for Yucatecan restos, which I don't recall any of in TO (mind you, it's been a while). We really enjoyed our meals at Poc Chuc, but Haltun sounds worthy, and there are others. Lastly, for a different take on Asian, do a lunch at Burmese Kitchen -- I say lunch as you need to try the tea leaf salad and it can keep you awake if you eat it too late in the day :-). Have a fantastic time!

          La Ciccia
          291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

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

          817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Poc Chuc
          2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          Haltun Mayan Cuisine
          2948 21st Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: nuraman00

            More detailed reviews of Contadina:

            Contadina sounds average for what you get in north beach, ie, stay away. There are a few spots up there that get recommended, but you'd have to make a careful list.

            1. re: bbulkow

              Yeah, it didn't get good reviews on Chowhound. Then again, there only 3 reviews.

              There were other sites that rated it higher. I try to use 3-5 different review websites when reading reviews about a place, to get a good sample size.

              Example: 4.1/5.0 on based on 199 reviews on Open Table:


              Example: 4 stars on based on 54 reviews on Judys's Book:


              Example: 86% approval rating based on 91 votes on Urban Spoon


              Example: 4 stars based on 382 reviews on Yelp:


              I haven't tried many places on North Beach, so I cannot recommend any more. There was 1 other place I tried, I can't remember the name, but portion sizes were extremely small for $22+ entrees.

              There are several other Italian places to eat on North Beach, and I'm sure you'll find some that you like.

              The places mentioned in bbulkow's first post are good ones too.

              Let us know how your trip is, thanks.

              1. re: nuraman00

                Hi everyone - thank you so much for this feedback!! It is very helpful. So many food choices to make!