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Outer Richmond Chowhounding

Jim Leff Jun 24, 2010 10:04 AM

Love the Outer Richmond. Ripe with unknown treasure. Most of these were just visually spotted and not actually tried, but I've learned to trust my "looks good!" intuition, which seldom lets me down.

Seakor Polish Delicatessan 5957 Geary Boulevard (415) 387-8660 good looking sausages, GREAT poppyseed cake (very different from the rolls at Gastronome). Nice old guy.

Minami Restaurant‬‎ sushi ‪1900 Clement St (415) 387-5913‬ looked good

Belly Burgers 5740 Geary Boulevard (415) 933-6232 looked good

Ton Kiang Restaurant 5821 Geary Boulevard (415) 386-8530 www.tonkiang.net The lady at gastronome recommends this for interesting expensive dim sum. There are also a bunch of Hakka dishes on menu, I must try!

Pho Garden 2109 Clement St 415) 379-8677 looked good

Hong Kong Lounge Restaurant 5322 Geary Boulevard: very ordinary. Not a fan. Rice in the zong zi was horrendously overcooked.

I snapped a photo of the street signs at the intersection of 17th and Anza to remember something great-looking there, but I can't figure out what it actually was.

Gastronome 5801 Geary at 22nd (415) 387-4211. This place is very well known, but be on lookout cuz they sometimes stock Babaevsky 75% cacao chocolate bars, one of my faves in the world http://bit.ly/aho0ba . Also, great cabbage piroshki (other flavors not as good), eggplant salad, little cheesecakey things/

Geary Parkway Motel, 4750 Geary blvd, near 12th ave 415) 752-4406. Like $85/night, free parking and wifi, perfectly clean and friendly, and in the middle of all this splendor.

Ton Kiang
5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

Belly Burgers
5740 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

Hong Kong Lounge
5322 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121

Minami Restaurant
1900 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

  1. Jim Leff Jul 6, 2010 06:51 PM

    Zero replies....hmm, either people don't know these places but have been quietly checking them out since I posted this (in which case: please post your findings!), or people don't know and don't care (in which case, I won't bother next time! :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      Melanie Wong Jul 6, 2010 06:59 PM

      Isn't there another choice besides your either-or, that people know these places well but take them for granted or aren't excited about them?

      Maybe the Pho Garden eating challenge caught your eye: 2 lbs of noodles + 2 lbs of meat.

      5801 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

      Seakor Polish Deli
      5957 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

      Pho Garden Vietnamese Restaurant
      2109 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        Windy Jul 6, 2010 10:48 PM

        Yeah, Ruth and I walked by Pho Garden after Aziza last month and tried to decide who we knew that would be up to the challenge.

        In that vicinity, I like the brown bread at John Campbell's, raw beef salad at La Vie, rainbow salad at Pagan, and pickles at New World Market.

        Great poppyseed cake is always worth a drive to the beach.

        Is breakfast at the Seal Rock Inn still good?

        New World Market
        5641 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

        Seal Rock Inn
        545 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

        1. re: Windy
          PolarBear Jul 7, 2010 05:50 AM

          We really enjoy the baps from John Campbell's.

          1. re: PolarBear
            Windy Jul 7, 2010 07:27 PM

            They're especially good with JC's corned beef on top.

        2. re: Melanie Wong
          Ruth Lafler Jul 26, 2010 11:43 AM

          Yes, most of those are hardly unknown treasures, which Jim would know if he did a search. I mean really, Ton Kiang? It's the most overhyped dim sum in SF and I'm guessing it's in every guidebook. The Chow restaurants and bars database lists 83 places in the Outer Richmond, of which Ton Kiang is the third most discussed (after Aziza and Shanghai Dumpling King).

      2. pamf Jul 6, 2010 07:31 PM

        The only place on that list that I have been to is Belly Burger. They do burgers and some fried items (fish and chips). They were fine for some quick take out but not memorable enough to return.

        Two other places close by for burgers are Bill's which just celebrated 50 years, they do lots of different embellished burgers. Hard Knox Cafe also does a good burger and lots of other specialties. Both of these are on Clement near 25th Ave.

        There are lots of places in the Outer Richmond, but they mostly are good neighborhood spots, but not really destinations.

        Belly Burgers
        5740 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

        Hard Knox Cafe
        2448 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

        1 Reply
        1. re: pamf
          ikb Jul 6, 2010 11:02 PM

          belly burger would be better if they put salt on their french fries. the burger is pretty good but not memorable. i like buffalo burger up the street on geary a little better -- still not a great burger but more flavorful. i don't think bill's is that great but other people think it is really good.

          minami is a small sushi place that looks promising. however i thought it was good but not memorable. the best place for sushi in the area (by far) is kabuto. oyaji is also very good - not so much for sushi but other japanese dishes.

        2. jillyju Jul 6, 2010 09:47 PM

          Ton Kiang is great if you haven't had dim sum before. Disappointing once you discover there is better, for less money, all over the Bay Area.

          Ton Kiang
          5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

          1 Reply
          1. re: jillyju
            felice Jul 6, 2010 09:51 PM

            Ditto what jillyju said! I haven't heard of most of the places you mentioned, but what about Kappou Gomi, which was recently reported on, and I also like Jang Soo for their jap chae.

            Kappou Gomi
            5524 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

          2. Cynsa Jul 7, 2010 08:24 AM

            Let's add this one: Hakka Restaurant

            Hakka Restaurant
            4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

            4 Replies
            1. re: Cynsa
              Nancy Berry Jul 8, 2010 02:55 PM

              Hakka is an excellent choice, much better than the restaurants listed so far. The food is delicately flavored, fresh tasting and really delicious. Recommended: salty-egg crusted pumpkin, the clay pot dishes, gai lan w/rice wine. Most seafood dishes were really good, especially the ones that featured lily turnips and fungi. Also excellent were the house special clams w/basil. This is a fantastic restaurant!


              Hakka Restaurant
              4401 Cabrillo St, San Francisco, CA 94121

              1. re: Nancy Berry
                wolfe Jul 8, 2010 04:00 PM

                I'm wondering if Jeff's "looks good" radar sort of bypassed Hakka on it's looks.

                1. re: wolfe
                  Jim Leff Jul 9, 2010 08:04 PM

                  No, I just didn't see it.

                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    wolfe Jul 9, 2010 08:38 PM

                    Jim Leff. Jim Leff. There I got it right twice.

            2. rworange Jul 7, 2010 05:03 PM

              Lots of posts from me over the years on Seakor, which has another location in Campbell on the border of San Jose.It was amoung my first posts many years ago. I think that the Campbell location is a bit better.

              The dried mushrooms are what I go to Seakor for. At Christmas time they have all different types incluuding strings that sell for $100 lb. I haven't splurged on those yet.

              They make a nice Polish cheesecake on the weekends some time. The pakczi have been stale and disappointing.

              While they make their own sausages and ham, I like Polish Deli more in Palo Alto which gets the sausages from Chicago. Somewhere out there on Chowhound I have a list of all the Seakor sausages and what many taste like.

              They have gotten better over the years, but I don't eat Polish sausage often and when I do, the calories have to count ... so I go for the Chicago stuff at Polish Deli.

              The owner's disposition has improved over the years. He was very gruff at one time. He's sort of mellowed into a Californian. Maybe it is a also that he has learned English that has made him more open. Being currently in the position where no one speaks English and I don't speak Spanish I can have real, um, empathy for where he was.

              There's a good Asian bakery either across the street ... or within a few blocks.

              Here's my list for all the Eastern European joints in the Bay Area. It covers all of those in the outer Richmond. Searches will turn up reports on most of them

              Probably easier is my Bay Area Eastern Europen Google map which has the links to chowhound reports

              I like Gastronom, but since Royal Market opened, I'm more likely to go there. I think the stuffed cabbage at New World Market is the best. They also have a nice hot food station at lunch Next door, Israel Kosher makes some nice baked goods. At Easter, Katia's makes the best Russian Easter bread and cheese ... Kulich and Pascha

              Cafe Sadko is newish (a few years) on Clement Street and has some of the better Georgian food in the area. The little stretch of Clement where it is located seem to me to have a number of unexplored and unreported on Chowhound places

              3 Replies
              1. re: rworange
                fourstar Jul 26, 2010 09:39 AM

                Husband walked by Polish Deli in PA this Sunday to find it GONE? Waaa, those were some good sausages...

                Polish Deli
                456 Cambridge Ave, Palo Alto, CA

                1. re: fourstar
                  rworange Jul 26, 2010 10:45 AM

                  Ah ... just shoot me now. I leave town and all my favorite places shut down. It was a pretty deadly location though and the owner wasn't big on marketing.

                  It may be that Sekor is hitting its stride as there was another positive report

                  Awesome European Deli in San Francisco

                  If not, then I can get my kilebasa from Europa Express which has a few good brands from places that make it on the eastern half of the US ... can't remember if it was Chicago or NJ.

                  1. re: rworange
                    c oliver Jul 26, 2010 10:49 AM

                    Now, rwo, did you formally notify all the Bay Area restaurants that you were leaving for a while so that they could plan accordingl?!?

              2. Pei Jul 7, 2010 05:11 PM

                Did you have dim sum at Hong Kong Lounge? It is, without hesitation, my favorite place for dim sum in San Francisco. The signature "Imperial noodle" off the lunch menu is also quite good, a huge tray of noodles topped with seafood, char siu, and roast duck for about $18. Ton Kiang I can live without, but I am at HKL almost once a month.

                Minami was good when I went last year, especially the chirashi. I'm still trying to get back there, but I rarely get sushi cravings while in SF. Call it a personal quirk.

                Ton Kiang
                5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                Hong Kong Lounge
                5322 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121

                Minami Restaurant
                1900 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                1. m
                  ML8000 Jul 7, 2010 06:20 PM

                  I was just in the Outer Richmond the other day. A few things have changed since I moved away 6 years ago...but a lot also is the same.

                  Joe's Ice Cream moved across the street (kitty corner) next to the old Alexandria theater. I stopped in for a snack. Got a BLT, a side of thin fries and a coke for under $5 bucks. Makes a great snack or light lunch. Run by the same family. The new place is nice and the prices are the same.

                  The only destination places I can think of in the Outer Richmond is Aziza and Shanghai Dumpling King. The thing about the OR is you have to travel through the Inner Richmond or Sunset to get there...so you stop along the way.

                  Never got through all the Russian and Polish delis. Also House of Bagels, Gordo's, Gaspare's. Bill's is good and very solid but not exceptional. Buffalo Burger actually makes great fish and chips.

                  Shanghai Dumpling King
                  3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                  Joe's Ice Cream
                  5420 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                  Buffalo Burger Restaurant
                  5317 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ML8000
                    monku Jul 7, 2010 10:31 PM

                    Joe's Ice Cream is great.

                    Joe's Ice Cream
                    5420 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                    1. re: ML8000
                      Pei Jul 8, 2010 01:30 PM

                      I'll add Shanghai House to the list (not to be confused with Shanghai Dumpling King). Really great Shanghai cuisine, especially small dishes. The savory soy milk, vegetarian goose (really tofu skin wrapped around mushrooms and vegetables), smoked duck, are all very good.

                      Shanghai House
                      3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      Shanghai Dumpling King
                      3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      1. re: Pei
                        Jim Leff Jul 9, 2010 08:03 PM

                        Yeah, forgot Shanghai House. I had a very very nice cab driver who was right off the boat from shanghai and who recommended it highly. I didn't get to actually go.

                        Yeah, I did Hong Kong Lounge for dim sum. Different strokes!

                        Shanghai House
                        3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                        Hong Kong Lounge
                        5322 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121

                    2. k
                      kairo Jul 7, 2010 10:02 PM

                      My favorites in the area:
                      Golden River for dim sum. In the past year they have re-vamped their menu to be more similar to Hong Kong Lounge. It might not be quite as good, but you don't have to wait 20-40 minutes and it is cheaper. They have copied some of the more unique items. Also, every time we go there we have some fun social encounter with the owner or other patrons. They have my favorite steamed sesame dumpling dessert thing.

                      Sadko makes tasty Kvass, the russian rye bread soda. I had a tongue clay pot there, it was pretty good. I can't have dairy, so that kills a lot of their menu for me.

                      Bills. The patty melt was really good, but i still think it is priced to high.

                      Aziza is amazing.... but way out of my price range.

                      New World market seems to have good meats, including marinated ones.

                      Pagan is pretty good burmese without the wait of burma super star.

                      Oyaji is a fun sushi / izakaya place. I think the older sushi chef/owner is leaving soon with his son taking over. This will be a shame because that guy is hilarious. He drinks a lot, and one time laid down on our bench seats and told us he was going to sleep there. He also dumped out my cup of water and poured some soju in it once. This was very unprovoked behavior. I really like there izakaya stuff. http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/res... The place also seems pretty popular for just the sushi. Oh and they have the best ramen in this neck of the woods.

                      that's about it.

                      Oyaji Restaurant
                      3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      Golden River
                      5827 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      Hong Kong Lounge
                      5322 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121

                      1659 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: kairo
                        rworange Jul 7, 2010 10:48 PM

                        Nice tips.

                        I liked the kvass at Sadko. It tasted like sparkling apple cider. They have another drink called compote which is honey-like and has dried fruit in it. I didn't like that as much. Gastronome also makes a very good kvass

                        Tee Off is another good place on that stretch of Clement. It's a dive bar where the chef puts out amazing food.

                        1. re: kairo
                          Jim Leff Jul 9, 2010 08:07 PM

                          Great to hear about the kvass. That's very hard to find on east coast (except yucky canned). It tastes a lot like lambic. Most primitive brews taste like lambic (including hard cider!).

                          1. re: Jim Leff
                            boris_qd Jul 9, 2010 09:25 PM

                            Just an aside - I've had good kvas in New York City (out by Brighton beach from a russian beach restaurant) and in Philadelphia (from Bell's market - a large russian market in the northeast part of the city - get it fresh from the refrigerated section). In both cases it tasted like what I had in the Ukraine from street stands (which is different from kvas i've had in Kazakhstan and Western China).

                            1. re: boris_qd
                              Jim Leff Jul 9, 2010 09:32 PM

                              Boris, I've been looking for decent kvas in Brighton Beach for ages! Where did you have it?

                              1. re: boris_qd
                                rworange Jul 10, 2010 07:12 AM

                                Also, if you could say how it is different.

                                The first kvas I ever had was bottled Kbac Kvas, a dark brown molasses colored soda from Russia. It in fact does have molasses in it as well as coffee powder, chicory root extract, St. John’s extract, prune juice, bread

                                It tasted ... to be kind ... medicinal.

                                Why I ever tried kvas again, I don't know

                                THe kvas at the Russion joints on Geary ... I forgot Cinderella sells it too ... tastes like apple cider with yeasty notes. I don't drink enough lambic because I don't like it,so I don't think it tastes like that. Could be I'fe just tried bad lambic in the past.

                                I was thinking the difference had to do with the first kvas being bottled. But looking back at that ingredient list, it was totally different. I never considered there might be regional differences. I've just been avoiding bottled kvas.

                                1. re: rworange
                                  Jim Leff Jul 10, 2010 07:16 AM

                                  If you've had fruity lambic, it tastes nothing like kvass. But if you drink the straight stuff (most common type is gueze, rhymes with booze-uh), you'd see the similarity. Look for Cuvee Renee, with the orange label, at good beer stores. Or Cantillon gueze. Or 3 Fontein gueze.

                                  1. re: Jim Leff
                                    rworange Jul 10, 2010 07:20 AM

                                    Thanks. You were reading my mind. I was just about to do a search to see if I could find a good brand.

                                    1. re: rworange
                                      bigwheel042 Dec 7, 2011 11:15 PM

                                      Was looking at this topic for something unrelated and saw this sub-thread on kvass. Are any of the bottled/canned brands that might be found in the states good at all? I bought a 2-liter of Monastirskiy at New World Market the other day out of curiosity (under $3), but haven't yet cracked it open. It did seem to have one of the best reviews of a bottled kvass on ratebeer, which is to say...the best of a very bad-sounding bunch. Ideally I'd like to try something that isn't attempting to be a soda - it seems like many of the cans/bottles have tons of added sugar.

                                      1. re: bigwheel042
                                        boris_qd Dec 8, 2011 08:08 AM

                                        I've tried several and they all basically taste like soda. Let us know if you find something different.

                          2. j
                            Jim Jul 8, 2010 01:48 PM

                            I used to enjoy Mescolanza on Clement years ago, anyone care to chime in on how it is these days?


                            2221 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                            1. k
                              Keesey Jul 9, 2010 12:17 PM

                              PPQ Dungeness Crab on Clement and 25th. I really enjoy their roasted crabs, garlic noodles, and sea bass.

                              1. c oliver Jul 10, 2010 08:57 AM

                                Funny. I've never considered the Outer Richmond "unknown."

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