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Yet another SF first timer...help fill in my plan's gaps

Hello, chowhounders. My partner and I will be in San Francisco from July 21 to the 25th. We'll be staying just a few blocks from The Palace of Fine Arts (out of the way, I know, but it was cheap) and we will have a car. After doing some research on the usual sites, and getting some input from a local friend I think I have some pretty good ideas, but I have some slots that still need to be filled, and I'm always open for changing some of what I've already researched.

We're both in our mid-twenties. I'm an adventurous and experienced eater, he enjoys food but has limited experience with, for lack of a better word, "ethnic" food. I don't have a set budget in mind but we're probably only looking for a couple of spendier meals, and by spendier I mean with the total tab for both of us up to or around $100. Neither of us are big drinkers and when we do drink it's usually beer. Between us we also live within easy driving distance to NYC, Boston, Philly, and DC so food experiences which are uniquely Californian/San Franciscan get higher priority.

The thing I'm looking forward to the most is the Ferry Building. I've seen some recs to go on Saturday - is this definitely the best day, or at least way better than the other days? If it is there is no reason we couldn't go on Saturday but I just wanted to confirm if everybody thinks Saturday is the best way to go. Or if it even matters.

For one of our more special meals I'm set on Incanto. I have a friend who used to work there and the menu appeals to me a lot. My boyfriend is also a big beef eater and I floated the idea of House of Prime Rib which he seemed to like a lot. The old-school vibe looks neat and I think he'd welcome the familiar food, even if I probably wouldn't head here if I were eating solo. I've also considered Frances, Nopa, Salt House, and Flour + Water, so if anyone has strong feelings about those or similar places let me know.

I'd also like a dinner option specifically in the Castro. Chow looks good but I don't feel strongly about it.

Lunch places I've considered are Tartine Bakery, El Farolito, and we both like burgers so Burgermeister and/or Slider's although I'm sure people here have strong opinions about burgers or whether San Francisco burgers are worth the stomach space on such a short trip. If we can fit it in the happy hour at Bar Crudo looks great.

Questions - I have a request for "something Asian" from the bf. I'm pretty dumbfounded on this one, but I'm thinking something cheap and uniquely West Coast, if at all possible. Help.

He's also expressed interest in Bette's Ocean View in Berkeley, but he also knows it's not worth hiking over there just for that. Could we combine a trip there with other things in Berkeley for maybe a half day thing?

Lastly, I think I'd like to do at least one sit down breakfast/brunch meal. We both are Bloody Mary obsessives and we're more into eggs and proteins than waffles and pancakes.

Thanks for suggestions on this. Obviously I'm planning more than any two normal people can eat in just a few days but I'd like to have too many things on my "too try" list than too few!

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Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Salt House
2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105

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  1. Saturday at the Ferry Building has a very large farmers market in addition to all the inside stores fully manned. It is the day to go and everybody does so it is very busy. Do it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Got it. My reading comprehension skills must have taken a dive, I somehow missed the big farmers market was on Saturday. That certainly helps scheduling.

      1. re: wolfe

        My suggestion is that you go as early as you can. It does get crowded. I go at 8:00 AM when parking is easy and the crowds are fewer.

      2. You may be wondering how the WC Cafe got in the right hand corner. The place link read your post about you "uniquely" request and translated it into a restaurant which you can remove.

        1. For your Castro meal you might like Home. They do classic American comfort food with really fresh ingredients. Slightly upscaled versions of comfort food in a casually hip place.

          Berkely is worth the trip if you want to make a food day out of it. Bette's is okay but expect a wait. After that check out Berkely Bowl and then the gormet ghetto for lunch (Cheeseboard especially). There are tons of Berkely recos on CH, so do a little searching and post back with any questions.

          1. If you want the Chinatown experience, try R&G Lounge on Kearny. Great place for both locals and tourists. Not sure what you mean by "West Coast Asian", but the food there is consistently good. I agree with Shane, Home is wonderful. Farmer Brown is terrific for home cooked soul food. I hear raves about Spork in the Mission. For seafood, I recommend Hyde Street Seafood and for Italian, Trattoria Contadina. Oh, and as crowded and touristy as it is, brunch at the Buena Vista is always a treat. Have fun eating your way through the city, I know I always do!!

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            Trattoria Contadina
            1800 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

            Spork
            1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Buena Vista Cafe
            2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            Farmer Brown
            25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. >>"Questions - I have a request for "something Asian" from the bf. I'm pretty dumbfounded on this one, but I'm thinking something cheap and uniquely West Coast, if at all possible. Help. "

              You may want to consider House of Nanking (919 Kearny Street). It is universally panned on this board by repeat visitors and Chinese purists, but due to it's quirky uniqueness most tourists and first time visitors come away quite happy with the food and the experience. Odd, I know...

              IMO, the hot three ethic cuisines in SF right now are Vietnamese, Peruvian, and Yucatan, so if you have a hard time finding good versions in your area you may want to consider places like Bodego Bistro, Inka's, or Poc Chuc.

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              Inkas Restaurant
              3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              House of Nanking
              919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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

              2 Replies
              1. re: Civil Bear

                Oh man, you opened the HON can of worms. I'd say go to Yuet Lee for some crab or clams. It's a dive but seafood is very fresh.

                The recs on Bodego, Inka's and Poc Chuc are good. Might also add Burmese, Burmese Kitchen, Burma Superstar, Yamo for unique.

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                Inkas Restaurant
                3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Yamo
                3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                Burma Superstar
                4721 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  OMG, House of Nanking. Don't do it! Even if I agree with CivilBear that it's better than it's ugly reputation, you can simply do better.

                  Slanted Door hasn't been mentioned. West coast asian, for sure. For meat-loving BF, shaking beef. Cocktails. View of the water. If you want "actual" chinese, the R&G Lounge rec is pretty good. So is Yank Sing. For an actual experience, search Jai Yun.

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                  Slanted Door
                  Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Jai Yun
                  680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  Yank Sing
                  49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

                  House of Nanking
                  919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133