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What's missing in SF?

m
Mjkeating Jul 8, 2010 01:07 PM

I travel a lot for work and for fun, but I'm always glad San Francisco is home, partly because of the food!

But after a few big trips recently I feel like San Francisco might be missing a few things. A knockout Middle Eastern place, a barbecue joint, even maybe some great Eastern European food... I haven't found these yet.

What do you think is missing in SF in terms of food?

  1. k
    KathyM Feb 5, 2012 09:15 PM

    Perhaps Michelin is the wrong way approach things but why aren't there more 3-star Michelin restaurants in proper SF. Of course there are the French Laundry, Meadowood and Manresa. But why isn't there one in SF itself? Would also love to have more great Jewish delis in the Bay Area too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: KathyM
      s
      sugartoof Feb 5, 2012 09:44 PM

      You have Jewish deli on the way with Wise Sons opening, and more rumored locations.

      The high end dining... we have Coi, and Frances, and Saison amongst others, which at least try. French Laundry is really it's own experience with few equals, but certainly Manresa has competition in the city. That said, as someone who rarely leaves the city for dining, I do often feel left out though.

      1. re: KathyM
        Robert Lauriston Feb 6, 2012 08:52 AM

        Manresa has two Michelin stars, like Benu, Coi, and Saison. Two means "worth a detour," three means "worth a special journey." TFL and Meadowood might benefit from the reality that the inspectors have to make a special journey to eat at them so don't have to speculate about whether it would have seemed worth it the way they would in SF.

        1. re: KathyM
          mariacarmen Feb 6, 2012 01:55 PM

          We used to have Range in SF - i mean, it's still there and i still love it, but they lost their Michelin star in 2010. Chez Panisse, too (tho that's not in SF proper.)

        2. s
          sugartoof Oct 10, 2011 07:19 PM

          Fresh hand pulled Mozzarella, and cut to order pasta.
          Good Apples in more variety.
          Ukranian.
          Spanokopita (Is the Polk street shop still there? There was also one in the Avenues that closed).
          Middle Eastern sweets (we had this, now it only exists outside the city).
          Indian sweet shops and street foods (I would guess this exists outside the city).
          High end steakhouse w/ dry aged beef, and good sides.
          Fresh made dumplings (which isn't to say we don't have dumplings).
          A fresh turkey club, triple decker (this one must be out there).
          Eggplant Parm sandwich.
          Olive oil cake.
          Knishes.
          Thick hot chocolate, sipping chocolate.
          Italian ices.
          ...and last but not least, an extra sour, San Francisco hard sourdough bread.

          6 Replies
          1. re: sugartoof
            h
            hyperbowler Oct 10, 2011 10:59 PM

            Barbacco has a delicious olive oil cake as a dessert, but, yeah, I know of no bakery that sells these.

            -----
            Barbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            1. re: sugartoof
              Robert Lauriston Oct 11, 2011 09:11 AM

              A lot of high-end steakhouses have opened in the last few years. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811790

              I think Rulli makes thick Italian-style hot chocolate. Probably some of the cafes in North Beach do.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                s
                sugartoof Oct 11, 2011 10:32 AM

                Lark Creek and Epic Roasthouse are the only ones I'm still curious about. They might fit the bill nicely.

                I haven't found thick hot chocolate in North Beach. I'm looking for the type that is practically pudding when it cools. I'd expect one of the high end chocolate shops does make it.

                1. re: sugartoof
                  w
                  wally Oct 11, 2011 10:55 AM

                  Recchiuti has a drinking chocolate I like. For over a month Andante was selling a very good fresh mozzarella. No more though.

                  -----
                  Recchiuti
                  1 Ferry Bldg # 30, San Francisco, CA

                  1. re: wally
                    s
                    sugartoof Oct 11, 2011 12:15 PM

                    I wondered about Recchiuti. That sounds like a good bet.

                    -----
                    Recchiuti
                    1 Ferry Bldg # 30, San Francisco, CA

                    1. re: sugartoof
                      CarrieWas218 Oct 11, 2011 03:47 PM

                      I adore the dark, bittersweet hot chocolate at Cocoa Bella. Not too sweet, very thick, and quite unctuous.

            2. m
              maatje Oct 10, 2011 05:49 PM

              A real Belgian restaurant. I dream of tomatte crevette with real grey (North Sea) shrimp. Mussels Belgian style ("nature" - stewed in their own juice, no wine or cream or any of that fancy stuff). Or stoemp. Or meatballs in sour cherry sauce. White asparagus done right. Or witloof in de oven (endive). Rabbit with prunes. Stoofvlees (beef stew with beer and mustard). Even something as simple as a great steak bearnaise with frites and homemade mayo. Actual Belgian waffles. Or karakollen... There are a lot of restaurants that serve knockoff versions of Belgian food but there are no Belgian restaurants proper in the whole of the Bay Area as far as I know, such a shame, this must be one of the most undervalued Euro cuisines around. In fact, I can only think of one Belgian restaurant in the whole of California (Laguna Beach).

              Talking about undervalued: Breton farz ... so good. Anyone know where you could find it here?

              Also sorely missing: a decent bakery that knows how to make non-sourdough bread (I love acme, don't get me wrong, but there's so much more to bread than sourdough and french baguettes).

              2 Replies
              1. re: maatje
                Robert Lauriston Oct 10, 2011 06:47 PM

                Acme's sweet baguettes, pain de mie, fougasse, challah, and the variations on those are all yeast doughs.

                http://www.acmebread.com/bread

                1. re: maatje
                  s
                  skol84 Nov 8, 2011 04:46 PM

                  Are the Frjtz's too knock-offy?

                  I really like La Trappe for Belgian beer. They have a huge selection. They also have a nice menu with some of the dishes you mentioned.

                  -----
                  Frjtz
                  581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  La Trappe
                  800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                2. scarmoza Aug 3, 2011 08:40 AM

                  -A great dungeness crab house

                  -Santa Maria Style BBQ.

                  -A place like The Hop Leaf in Chicago that has an extensive (and delicious) beer and dinner menu

                  -A nice reliable little tasca that serves your favorite Portuguese baked goods and coffee in the morning, and the dish of the day for lunch or dinner. I've been getting my fix of this at Bacalhau Grill/Trade Rite Market in San Jose. They post the menu of the day on Facebook.

                  -----
                  Trade Rite Market
                  1555 Alum Rock Ave, San Jose, CA 95116

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: scarmoza
                    Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 09:12 AM

                    I haven't tried it, but Memphis Minnie's has Santa Maria tri-tip on the menu.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      scarmoza Aug 3, 2011 11:25 AM

                      Thanks, I'll keep it bookmarked. With all the new BBQ places that have popped up in the city, it might be a while before I can check it out.

                    2. re: scarmoza
                      bbulkow Aug 3, 2011 09:27 AM

                      The Dungeness point is interesting, kind of like Fish in SF generally. There's few Fish Houses (a couple of exceptions out of SF proper), and a few that have started - like Salt House - end up branching out quickly. Skool exists with the Fish premise. There a lot of people with Dungeness on the menu most of the time, but no one has applied the Taylors/Gott's/InnOut/Swann's premise to Dungeness. Crab is just not a universal like, say, burgers, so it's risky to do a single-restaurant theme around Crab unless you do like Hog Island.

                      There's a couple places that try to specialize in beer and food, like Magnolia and Monk's Kettle. How does The Hop Leaf differ?

                      -----
                      The Monk's Kettle
                      3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      Salt House
                      2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105

                      Skool
                      1725 Alameda St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      1. re: bbulkow
                        Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 09:59 AM

                        PPQ Dungeness Island, Thanh Long, and Crustacean all specialize in Dungeness crab.

                        -----
                        Thanh Long
                        4101 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          bbulkow Aug 3, 2011 03:26 PM

                          Don't the first two only do asian prep? I'd like a place that does a variety of preps of crab - specializing in the ingredient, and being promiscuous in the prep. I don't know enough about Crustacean.

                          1. re: bbulkow
                            v
                            vulber Aug 3, 2011 04:12 PM

                            thanh long and crustracean are the same owners

                        2. re: bbulkow
                          scarmoza Aug 3, 2011 11:19 AM

                          Magnolia and Monk's Kettle are more gastropub menus whereas Hop Leaf really specializes in full on entrees that change with their extensive beer menu.

                          I think a lot of people of varying backgrounds love dungeness crab and want it when they visit San Francisco. Places like Thanh Long and PPQ Dungeness Island seem to do really well. So do crab shacks in other parts of the Bay Area. I think a place that offered crab prepared in a variety of ways (ie, roasted, boiled, cioppino - as long as it's done well) would be a hit among both San Franciscans and visitors.

                          1. re: scarmoza
                            Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 11:37 AM

                            Magnolia has a restaurant-type menu with real entrees, but the beer selection is very limited.

                            http://www.magnoliapub.com/menus/dinn...

                            The Crab House has crab a bunch of different ways, but the Pier 39 location probably limits the number of locals who go there.

                            Woodhouse has crab maybe ten different ways, but I doubt eliminating the clams and lobster rolls would improve their business.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                              scarmoza Aug 3, 2011 11:53 AM

                              Hop Leaf is just a nicer experience all around (service, environment, menu, food presentation and taste). It's more along the lines of casual fine dining - there's nothing (pub)grubby about it.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                scarmoza Aug 3, 2011 12:01 PM

                                I'll probably never go, but I'm glad the Crab House exists, sort of...maybe only to prove my point that there's a great deal of demand for dungeness crab. It gets decent yelp reviews but sounds more like a nightmare to me than a dream.

                                1. re: scarmoza
                                  Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 12:06 PM

                                  There's great demand for Dungeness and it's easily satisfied, even if the people you're dining with want to eat something else.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                    b
                                    Bria Silbert Aug 3, 2011 12:54 PM

                                    So many people have mentioned a Jewish deli, a pastrami sandwich, a good bagel. I am so surprised after having moved to Sunnyvale from LA last year that there is no deli - not good, not bad, nada. I thought maybe we would stumble across a faux pastrami sandwich on white bread with mayo and tomatoes and scoff at it, but I haven't even seen that. Any guesses on why there is not a single Jewish style deli between San Jose and San Francisco? (I don't count Kosher Table or Refuge as delis even though they serve, respectively, kosher food, and pastrami).

                                    1. re: Bria Silbert
                                      Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 02:43 PM

                                      Lack of demand? There was one in Burlingame, closed a few years ago.

                                      1. re: Bria Silbert
                                        bbulkow Aug 3, 2011 03:30 PM

                                        Most delis here have pastrami and such, and there was no jewish disapora to the bay area like in LA, so few old time specialists (like Saul's).

                                        I've been eating at Erik's on Grant Road, at the MV / Sunnyvale border. It's not a jewish deli, but it's not a bad deli in general. The pastrami is rather weak.

                                        1. re: bbulkow
                                          b
                                          Bria Silbert Aug 4, 2011 03:00 PM

                                          I agree, Robert. It must be lack of demand. We have tried Erik's. We have tried Max's. It's not the same thing. I wish everyone who said they wanted a Jewish deli would really go to one and support it. I've heard many stories of delis closing for lack of interest.

                                          1. re: Bria Silbert
                                            j
                                            jman1 Aug 4, 2011 03:18 PM

                                            While the Bay Area is a worse case, I suspect that it's not a food style that people eat very much of anymore; it's become almost a novelty.

                                            When I first started working summer jobs in Manhattan in the mid-80's, it was still fairly common for my somewhat older coworkers to have lunch at a Jewish deli (maybe once every week or two).

                                            Now, from what I understand, my friends and family rarely do that. The times, they are a changing.

                                            BTW, there were a number of Jewish or pseudo-Jewish deli options in the south bay up to a number of years ago. I just did a search and see that the ones I knew of are now gone. Not that they were any good.

                                            1. re: jman1
                                              j
                                              jman1 Aug 4, 2011 03:34 PM

                                              Oh, and while we are on the subject. Something that the Bay area appears to have none of, an Appetizing Store. Yes, that's what they were called. Far less common in this day in NY too. The local one in my Queens neighborhood closed in the early 80's. Thankfully, there's still Russ and Daughters.

                                            2. re: Bria Silbert
                                              bbulkow Aug 4, 2011 05:15 PM

                                              They sure aren't the same. The most jewish place I know of is Izzy's Bagels on CA avenue in PA. It just has that feel, you know? The bagles are good but not that gnarled chewy brooklyn style, despite the name.

                                              You can't ask for a Jewish Style Deli, and get one, because the only ones that would be "the same" are ones that have been around for 50 years.

                              2. re: scarmoza
                                artychokeasana Aug 4, 2011 04:20 PM

                                Do they do a good Portuguese custard tart? I literally dream of these.

                                1. re: artychokeasana
                                  scarmoza Aug 4, 2011 05:32 PM

                                  I dream of them, too. They sell queijadas de nata (Azorean version, a little smaller than Belém style and not as butter-flaky a crust + sometimes lemon flavored) from other bakeries (Popular, Hanford, or Hiser) but they're always sold out by the time I get there for lunch. You can probably pre-order a batch, I'll ask next week.

                                  1. re: scarmoza
                                    artychokeasana Aug 4, 2011 05:39 PM

                                    would you? I prefer the buttery-flaky crust variety-but I'd certainly like to order a batch of these.

                              3. j
                                jman1 Jul 23, 2011 02:36 PM

                                Fun older thread.

                                Greek and Italian family style places that cater to the local ethnic communities. I'm thinking of places that serve reasonably authentic dishes in a semi-casual atmosphere that firstly attracts members of the ethnic community (but brings in other locals as well). Prices are usually low to moderate. Might have some Americanized favorites, but that's not all. NY (and Chicago) seem to have places like this.

                                In NY, thinking about Taverna Kyclades in Queens and Roberto in the Bronx.

                                http://www.tavernakyclades.com/
                                http://www.roberto089.com/roberto/ind...
                                Probably true for other ethnicities as well.

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: jman1
                                  Robert Lauriston Jul 23, 2011 02:51 PM

                                  North Beach used to be full of such places, but the Italians dispersed to the suburbs. Ditto Basque restaurants. I don't think SF ever had a Greek neighborhood, though years ago there were two bakeries that served mostly Greek customers.

                                  There are several heavily Chinese neighborhoods with lots of restaurants that cater primarily to locals. Some Vietnamese and Russian. In the suburbs there are Indian and Filipino places as well.

                                  1. re: jman1
                                    l
                                    l_emily Aug 4, 2011 12:27 PM

                                    A Hungarian restaurant- Are there any in the SF Bay area-? the only time I have eaten this food was in Paris.

                                    1. re: l_emily
                                      CarrieWas218 Aug 4, 2011 01:23 PM

                                      You haven't been reading the posts about the transformation of Bar Tartine, have you, I_emily?

                                      Nick Balla - formerly the amazing chef who transformed O Izakaya and Nombe with his eclectic take on Japanese izakaya cuisine - swooped into Bar Tartine and replaced is Cal-French bistro food with upscale, cutting-edge Hungarian.

                                      -----
                                      Bar Tartine
                                      561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      Nombe
                                      2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      1. re: CarrieWas218
                                        l
                                        l_emily Aug 4, 2011 04:02 PM

                                        Thanks! I will have to check it out-

                                      2. re: l_emily
                                        Robert Lauriston Aug 4, 2011 01:52 PM

                                        Sort of Cal-Hungarian, but yeah.

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784188

                                        DJ's Bistro in Concord and Lokal in Sonoma may have some Hungarian influences.

                                        -----
                                        DJ's Bistro
                                        1825 Sutter St, Concord, CA 94520

                                        Bar Tartine
                                        561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        Lokal
                                        522 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          j
                                          jman1 Aug 4, 2011 02:22 PM

                                          Yelp claims that Lokal has closed.

                                          -----
                                          Lokal
                                          522 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

                                          1. re: jman1
                                            Robert Lauriston Aug 4, 2011 03:27 PM

                                            Apparently true. Oh well.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              CarrieWas218 Aug 4, 2011 03:32 PM

                                              Yes, they had a closing party on the 23rd of last month which was quite fun. Ate one of the best chicken paprikash EVER that night.

                                              It is now going to become a pizza joint.... (ugh)

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            artychokeasana Aug 4, 2011 04:19 PM

                                            was the now departed Old Krakow in West Portal strictly Polish or was in Hungarian/eastern european as well?

                                            1. re: artychokeasana
                                              Robert Lauriston Aug 4, 2011 04:23 PM

                                              Old Krakow was strictly Polish. Seakor is still in business. There are a few other Polish places in the suburbs.

                                              -----
                                              Seakor Polish Deli
                                              5957 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                bbulkow Aug 4, 2011 05:08 PM

                                                Hey! Menlo Park is a suburb of Palo Alto, not San Francisco. Bona is quite good, and deserves more attention than it gets. I really like the soup.

                                                -----
                                                Bona Restaurant
                                                651 Oak Grove Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

                                                1. re: bbulkow
                                                  artychokeasana Aug 4, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                  I agree it is quite good-and I like the soup to especially the cream of pickle.

                                      3. c
                                        chilihead2006 Aug 19, 2010 03:12 PM

                                        I agree.

                                        The best Middle Eastern food I've had anywhere is at a couple of the Maroush restaurants in the West End of London along Edgeware Rd....he's got something like 16 places in London. Perhaps we can cajole him into opening a branch here!!

                                        http://www.maroush.com/pages/home.htm

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: chilihead2006
                                          r
                                          redrover Aug 19, 2010 09:44 PM

                                          It's fine (and fun) to do this, but realize that the people in LA and New York (and I assume Chicago--just haven't read that board much) are pining for certain restaurants and food from the Bay Area. Another thing to remember is that the Bay Area is smaller in population that Chicago, and much smaller than metro New York or Los Angeles. So per capita we're doing pretty good.

                                          This is just an impression, but I don't think you see as much of an "I'll only eat in the core area" in Los Angeles as San Francisco. People may want to eat close to home, but if home is Hollywood they still know that there's good food in Santa Monica, Monterey Park, etc.

                                          Also, perhaps to state the obvious, there's a pretty close correspondence between the ethnic groups most heavily represented in the Bay Area and our food strengths. The Bay Area has had a substantial Italian population since the start of American settlement, but the Eastern European Jewish population has always been much smaller. Thus I need to get my Jewish deli fix in LA. The tricky one is California Cuisine--do you think of that as being the food of a particular group, or not?

                                          1. re: redrover
                                            m
                                            mikeh Aug 20, 2010 08:31 AM

                                            I don't consider it food of a particular group because it's more of a general approach upon which actual genres of cuisine can be built. Like a type of canvass for a painting. My problem with this ingredient-driven approach in California is that they seem to have stopped at the canvass part. Just simply allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves while doing nothing else lends itself, yes, to a very pure taste but arguably a very boring approach to food. Compare it to other genres of cuisine that rely on fresh, local ingredients but put a unique stamp on it lending character - like the lowcountry cuisine of south carolina, or the haute southern farm-to-table approach of north carolina, or the revival of pure cajun concepts in louisiana - and you'll find tht california cuisine in comparison is really missing something important. it's charlotte church to ella fitzgerald - both exquisite vocal tonalities, but one with depth and character.

                                        2. m
                                          mikeh Aug 18, 2010 09:47 AM

                                          Good Southern/country cooking. When the best purportedly "Southern" restaurants in the Bay Area (take your pick among Farmer Brown, Front Porch, Hard Knox, Pican, Souls, Wexler's, etc.) aren't as good in either ingredient sourcing or preparation as any random $6 meat-and-two veggies place that every Southern town has, well - that's a significant dark spot in our culinary constellation.

                                          -----
                                          The Front Porch
                                          65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                          Farmer Brown
                                          25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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

                                          Pican Restaurant
                                          2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: mikeh
                                            Robert Lauriston Aug 18, 2010 09:53 AM

                                            The chef who put Front Porch on the map with her fried chicken opened her own place in Oakland, Hibiscus. It's more Caribbean than Southern but there are some very Southern dishes, e.g. spicy crab and grits.

                                            -----
                                            Hibiscus
                                            1745 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

                                            1. re: mikeh
                                              r
                                              Radical347 Aug 18, 2010 03:39 PM

                                              This I'll second. I've been to FB and FP. Farmer Brown...ehh, it's decent but nothing special. In any case doesn't live up to the hype. Front Porch, on the other hand, is a complete disaster. Both are overpriced.

                                              -----
                                              The Front Porch
                                              65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                              1. re: Radical347
                                                BernalKC Aug 19, 2010 10:45 AM

                                                "Complete disaster"? Not my experience at all. Four of us recently had a great meal there -- not one miss. The price may be a bit high, but we all felt it was worth it. I've been there multiple times, mostly before the chef change, and never had any disasters. Care to elaborate?

                                                1. re: BernalKC
                                                  r
                                                  Radical347 Aug 20, 2010 12:34 PM

                                                  It was about two years ago, but I had a bad enough meal that made me not want to go back. They didn't get around to taking our order for half an hour -- but that can be forgiven if the food is good. Unfortunately it was not.

                                                  I ordered the "offal of the day" which was pig's feet, but what I got was just a few tiny pieces of slime. Feet should = a mix of cartilage, meat, and fat, but it was more like only fat here. It was mixed with lima beans and tomatoes, and served on a bed of instant (!!!) rice. None of it had any flavor -- to put things in perspective the tastiest thing on the plate were the lima beans. It was just like they threw everything onto a plate with no spices, no salt, and passed that off as something for $16.50.

                                                  We also had the smoked salmon appetizer which wasn't much better. All it tasted like was salt.

                                                  Someone in our party ordered the fried chichen, which while good, I feel didn't quite live up to the hype. It didn't carry our meal considering everything else.

                                                  There was one very good dish, the dungeness crab grits. So maybe if we would have stuck with the latter two, it would have been ok (though I still wouldn't be raving about the place) -- but the first two, especially the pig's feet, were among the worst dishes I've had at any restaurant.

                                                  1. re: Radical347
                                                    m
                                                    mikeh Aug 20, 2010 04:21 PM

                                                    My recent problem at Front Porch is that every dish felt like concrete going down into and sitting in my stomach. So heavy. The fried chicken was too salty and the crispy skin covered up too much of the flavor of the meat, which wasn't that juicy. The fried okra was also too salty. The collards tasted off, as if they had boiled them in too much water and added too much red pepper flakes, which only accentuated the natural bitterness of the collards in a very unpleasant way instead of being a counterpoint to that aspect of the greens. The mashed potatoes should have been creamier. And the baked mac&cheese, while tasty (and HEAVY), left a disgustingly oily residue in the ramekin.

                                                    I spent 20 years in the South. Traditional southern food is not like this. In my most recent foray into the South for the past 3.5 years I ate Southern food 4-5x a week and lost 10 pounds and brought my cholesterol down to 158 from 190. I doubt similar feats could be achieved on a Front Porch diet.

                                                    -----
                                                    The Front Porch
                                                    65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                    1. re: Radical347
                                                      BernalKC Aug 21, 2010 04:09 PM

                                                      Wow, that does sound like a disaster. I might have some sympathy for the FP kitchen since I'll bet pig's feet are a crap shoot where you never know if they'll be meaty or not. I know that's true with hamhocks. But then again, by the time it hits the plate they should have known and should not serve something so unacceptable.

                                                      I guess we just ordered well. Their fish of the day, the tomato salad, and the shrimp and grits were memorably good. The fried chicken was succulent and tasty -- possibly a bit expensive for what it was but good fried chicken nonetheless.

                                                      We also did not have the heavy, oversalted problem mikeh had. I always wonder when that happens if the chef overindulges on the wine, looses their palate, and dishes get ruined. I can think of at least one restaurant we will not be returning to where that happened. But that has not been our experience at Front Porch, thankfully, luckily.

                                              2. s
                                                stanbee Jul 23, 2010 07:39 PM

                                                a great Polish or Ukrainian . Warsava closed but it wasn't really great.

                                                A Portuguese Bakery and restaurant. Dying for Pork and Clams Allentejo (Allentejana).One in San Jose but not great.

                                                -----
                                                Portuguese Bakery
                                                2082 El, Camino Real Santa Clara, CA

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: stanbee
                                                  s
                                                  Spatlese Aug 18, 2010 08:47 AM

                                                  I know it's a hike from SF proper, but what about Chopin Cafe in Walnut Creek for Polish? Haven't been myself, but it seems to have always gotten reliably good reviews.

                                                2. Robert Lauriston Jul 22, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                  Am I dreaming? The Chron reports that Tony Gemignani of Tony's Pizza Napoletana is opening a new place in the former La Spiaggia and will have not only coal-oven pizza a la Grimaldi's but New York-style deli and Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches. Apparently the place had a coal oven, who knew?

                                                  http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/paolo...

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

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                    steve h. Jul 22, 2010 10:56 AM

                                                    Tony's a real down-to-earth kind of guy. I wish him and his coal-fired oven all the best.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                      s
                                                      shoop Jul 22, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                      Best news ever. If only La Spiaggia hadn't had to close to accommodate this. I will miss those arancini...

                                                    2. t
                                                      tastynavajo Jul 19, 2010 07:25 PM

                                                      FRYBREAD!! And I'm the guy making it fresh in front of you around the mission district. I always sell out. I just moved here from the New Mexico reservation and i came to this conclusion, SF loves and wants FRYBREAD.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: tastynavajo
                                                        ankimo Jul 20, 2010 09:12 AM

                                                        Where can you find the best closest equivalent to these dishes from LA?
                                                        Hoy Ka noodle soup (i.e. Ord)
                                                        Daeji Galbi (i.e. Ham Ji Park)
                                                        korean fried chicken (i.e. Kyochon style)
                                                        Fennel Sausage Pizza (like the way it's done at Pizzeria Mozza)
                                                        Niu Ruo Juan Bing (aka Beef Roll) like the way it's done at 101 Noodle Express
                                                        Nem Nuong Cuon (spring rolls) like the way it's done at Brodard
                                                        Tadig (i.e. Shamshiri Grill)
                                                        Hainan Chicken (i.e. Savoy Kitchen)
                                                        the closest place that will do stuff like cotton candy foie gras (Bazaar)

                                                        1. re: ankimo
                                                          j
                                                          jlfoodie Jul 23, 2010 11:47 AM

                                                          Oh man.. I just went to LA and your list of food just reminds me of all the good food I had there including 1) fennel sausage pizza from Pizzeria Mozza and 2) the niu rou juan bing from 101 Noodle Express....

                                                          -----
                                                          Noodle Express Restaurant
                                                          301 G St, Davis, CA 95616

                                                          1. re: ankimo
                                                            Robert Lauriston Jul 23, 2010 01:44 PM

                                                            I think Pizzeria Delfina's sausage pizza is fairly similar to Pizzeria Mozza's, only better, and without the deafening bad rock music.

                                                            -----
                                                            Pizzeria Delfina
                                                            2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                              mariacarmen Aug 19, 2010 12:11 AM

                                                              agree 100%. Mozza's pizza was good until I had Pizzaiolo's.

                                                              -----
                                                              Pizzaiolo
                                                              5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                                        2. t
                                                          t.susannah.chen Jul 14, 2010 11:39 PM

                                                          You are opening a box of worms! Sorry, I must be ready to rant but here is my list:

                                                          - Really phenomenal Jewish deli food (pastrami sandwich, pickled herring etc)
                                                          - A barbecue joint that serves a quality brisket and rib
                                                          - Legit Colombian food
                                                          - Cuban cuisine
                                                          - Tex Mex
                                                          - Great New York-style pizza
                                                          - Taiwanese

                                                          Yes, I know we have all of the above in some capacity in the Bay Area. But I'm specifically referring to well-executed, authentic versions of these cuisines in San Francisco proper. If you think I might have missed something awesome, then I would love to hear it!

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: t.susannah.chen
                                                            Shane Greenwood Jul 15, 2010 08:24 AM

                                                            Tony's Pizza in North Beach for the NY style. It's still kind of new so you may not have checked it out yet.

                                                            1. re: t.susannah.chen
                                                              Robert Lauriston Jul 19, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                              Which variety of New York pizza are you thinking of specifically? Coal ovens are illegal here (as are new ones in NYC).

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                Zach Georgopoulos Aug 17, 2010 05:01 PM

                                                                The new Tony's annex in North Beach is claiming to have a coal oven.

                                                            2. r
                                                              rotiprata Jul 14, 2010 11:18 PM

                                                              Authentic South East Asian (Straits, Singapore-Malaysian, Shiok, Jayakarta etc need not apply) but guess i can keep dreaming.

                                                              Buenos Aires style helados with the stainless steel cans/covers and all those flavors.

                                                              Parisian baguette breakfast.

                                                              Authentic izakaya at non-cut throat price.

                                                              Authentic anmitsu/zenzai cafe. Maybe Azabu Sabo will open here someday.

                                                              Desserts places that open late.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: rotiprata
                                                                c
                                                                chilihead2006 Aug 19, 2010 03:58 PM

                                                                I'm with you on the Southeast Asian cuisine. Nothing we've had in the Bay Area does justice to genuine Malay or Indonesian cuisine. Most places here are run by ethnic Chinese from Malaysia and Indonesia. In SE Asia, the real deal is pretty much always cooked by ethnic Malays and Indonesians. Who cooks the food makes a big difference.

                                                                There used to be a very decent Mamak-style (!!) Malay restaurant in Albany called Rasa Sayang...but it shut down perhaps 10 years ago.

                                                                My wife is Malay with family in Penang and Kedah. So we eat well at home and visit family over there every couple of years.

                                                                If only Restoran Sri Melayu in KL would open a branch here.....in my dreams!!

                                                                The places here should stick to SE Asian Chinese food, which itself is an excellent cuisine.

                                                                1. re: chilihead2006
                                                                  t
                                                                  Ting Ting Aug 4, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                  AGREE! After a year in SE Asia and blessed with the variety of choices, I am disappointed so far by what we have in SF!

                                                              2. w
                                                                whiner Jul 14, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                KOREAN

                                                                1. a
                                                                  adrikass Jul 13, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                                  A really great Vietnamese place. Seems that these are all in the South Bay.
                                                                  Good Eritrean food (seems that these are all in Oakland, but the really good ones on the East Coast).
                                                                  An excellent Spanish restaurant.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: adrikass
                                                                    bbulkow Jul 13, 2010 12:45 PM

                                                                    Have you checked out Iberia in Menlo Park? I wish we had a bit more spanish too, but I live close enough to Ibera to get a good fix when I want.

                                                                    1. re: bbulkow
                                                                      Shane Greenwood Jul 14, 2010 09:02 AM

                                                                      Authentic tapas. Decent wines. Lovely space. Service is bad enough to drive people away in droves. Definitely read some reviews before going to this place so you know what you're in for. The owner has a lot of rules about what you can order, how much you can order, gratuity, and what customers should expect.

                                                                      1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                        bbulkow Jul 14, 2010 03:53 PM

                                                                        I was driven away too, but went back recently and all that strange vibe is gone. Do yourself a favor and give it another try.

                                                                        1. re: bbulkow
                                                                          Shane Greenwood Jul 14, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                                          I used to live in that neighborhood and have given it plenty of tries. I already went through the part where I thought it was getting better and then was hit with another whammy. After the last insults from Jose Luis, I'm done with them. I just recommend that anyone who plans on going there does a little reading up on the reviews so they know what they're signing up for.

                                                                          1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                            bbulkow Jul 15, 2010 03:03 AM

                                                                            One always hopes it's on the rebound: I had sworn off for a few years myself, and maybe I will again. It's almost a perfect place, except for the madman.

                                                                            1. re: bbulkow
                                                                              emily Aug 19, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                                              I probably eat at the tapas bar every 3 weeks and don't really have issues with the place. Yes, they're a little annoying with maintaining the 2, 3 and 4 person only seating areas, but I don't find it excessive.

                                                                    2. re: adrikass
                                                                      m
                                                                      ML8000 Jul 14, 2010 07:07 PM

                                                                      Have you been to Zarzuela in SF? It was very good in my book. Very subtle quality to it, not over-salted, etc.

                                                                      1. re: adrikass
                                                                        d
                                                                        divisortheory Jul 23, 2011 03:49 PM

                                                                        Late response, but Ngoc Mai in the tenderloin is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants I've ever eaten at, anywhere, and to be quite honest is better than anything in south bay hands down. It's odd that nobody knows about it, even many Vietnamese people, but the people that do agree it blows away the San Jose / Milpitas places.

                                                                        Their Bun Bo Hue is as close to the real thing as you will find anywhere, including inside Vietnam, and I've never had a single dish there that wasn't hands down authentic to the core.

                                                                        I can't recommend this place highly enough if you're looking for pure authenticity and are willing to accept that the atmosphere.... is what it is.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Ngoc Mai Restaurant
                                                                        547 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                        Ngoc Mai
                                                                        1696 Berryessa Rd, San Jose, CA 95133

                                                                      2. a
                                                                        alina555 Jul 11, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                                        I'm shocked that there's not one Mongolian BBQ restaurant in the entire city. (Hey, you didn't say it had to be good food!)

                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                        1. re: alina555
                                                                          mariacarmen Jul 11, 2010 06:53 PM

                                                                          i was TOTALLY THINKING of adding that, but i didn't for fear of reprisals! applause applause applause to you. i LOVE mongolian bbq, and haven't had any in about 20 years. (maybe that's why.)

                                                                          1. re: alina555
                                                                            bbulkow Jul 11, 2010 07:12 PM

                                                                            New Mongolian BBQ, mountain view (was Lee's, their mongolian bbq thing is well seasoned, they just changed their name and got a much better room).

                                                                            Yes, you might have to get outside the city limits.

                                                                            1. re: bbulkow
                                                                              mariacarmen Jul 11, 2010 11:35 PM

                                                                              yeah, thanks. missing IN san francisco! ( :

                                                                              1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                bbulkow Jul 11, 2010 11:55 PM

                                                                                San Francisco proper has about 800k people, a conservative view of the bay area is 6M (leaving out Solano, Napa, Sonoma). If you're whinging about what's in the city limits, not a lot of sympathy here. There's a lot of good food outside the city limits, just take a look at the locations of the Michelin stars, or all the common dim sum recommendations.

                                                                                Lee's, er, New Mongolian, is a short walk from the caltrain station. If you're craving it that much, make a trip!

                                                                                Heck, if you're provincially talking about SF city limits, how about a mid to high end vegetarian friendly restaurant? I don't think Greens, Herbivore, or Millennium count. COI must have a tasting menu option to rival Manresa or TFL , but is that really it? When I go eating with my (veggie) sister, we don't go anywhere near SF, and a lot of the higher end SF places (boulevard, zuni) have two apps and one entree. Put Range in that category too (assuming their casoulet is non traditional).

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Manresa Restaurant
                                                                                320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

                                                                                Coi
                                                                                373 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                                1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  ML8000 Jul 12, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                                                  Have to agree on the SF proper stuff. SF is 49 square miles...pretty small for a major metro city and yet it packs more restaurants and provides more then just about any other place (yeah Manhattan my ass) but it's just not that big. If you count the whole Bay Area..."SF" does more then fine...holy freakin' baloney sandwich, does any other place have a wine country like Napa/Sonoma...not to mention the restaurants, artisan goods and the produce?

                                                                                  I understand missing a cuisine is personal and I couldn't ever blame anyone for missing something...but I'd rather look at the glass as 9/10th full, not half empty.

                                                                                  1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                    mariacarmen Jul 13, 2010 12:01 AM

                                                                                    who's whining?? ( :

                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                      Pei Jul 13, 2010 07:13 AM

                                                                                      The glass is definitely 9/10th full. But a post like this can generate a lot of feedback for people who think something's missing when maybe they just haven't explored enough. It's a public service!

                                                                                      And for the things that are truly missing, it's a chance to wax nostalgic--or potential business opportunities (hopeful thinking).

                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                                        bbulkow Jul 13, 2010 12:42 PM

                                                                                        I was trying to write 'whingeing' but left out the 'e'. Not to imply anyone is 'whining' - there's some smallness and provinciality to the SF scene.

                                                                                        Just to get people out and eating - almost every desire here is covered somewhere in the bay area. To someone from LA, they'll claim chinese is good, but press them and it's all about San Gabriel Valley.

                                                                                        And german? Give me a break - we've got unusually good german choices, as it's a cuisine that exports poorly. To have two good places (suppenkuche and walzwerk) is above average to start with. We only have a couple of malaysian - not sure if any are in SF. There's no polish since Old Krakow closed, and the entire balkan peninsula gets short shrift.

                                                                                        For most countries and cuisines world-wide, there are a couple of decent ones. One or two in SF, and others sprinkled about. Like Venezualian.

                                                                                        On a related note, do austrailians even have a cuisine? Are there any around here?

                                                                                        1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                          wolfe Jul 13, 2010 01:28 PM

                                                                                          We had 1, South but it closed and it was my source for wattle seed.
                                                                                          http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-12-10...

                                                                                          1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                            Robert Lauriston Jul 14, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                                            Schmidt's Deli, the Walzkerk spinoff, is another good German option.

                                                                                            I like Singapore-Malaysian in the Richmond.

                                                                                            I don't know of any Venezuelan food. There was one place but it closed.

                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                              wolfe Jul 14, 2010 08:50 AM

                                                                                              Pica Pica?
                                                                                              http://www.picapicakitchen.com/

                                                                                              1. re: wolfe
                                                                                                bbulkow Jul 14, 2010 03:52 PM

                                                                                                Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Coupa Cafe
                                                                                                538 Ramona St, Palo Alto, CA 94301

                                                                                        2. re: bbulkow
                                                                                          artychokeasana May 17, 2011 03:13 PM

                                                                                          If you are in need of veg friendly mid-range restaurant in SF both Plant Cafe and Cafe Gratitude are solid options.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Cafe Gratitude
                                                                                          2400 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                          Plant Cafe
                                                                                          Pier 3, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                          1. re: artychokeasana
                                                                                            d
                                                                                            Dustin_E Aug 3, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                                                            in this category, anyone besides me a fan of judahlicious?

                                                                                            1. re: Dustin_E
                                                                                              wolfe Aug 3, 2011 04:44 PM

                                                                                              I checked their menu. I anticipated we finally had a decent place for a corned beef sandwich. I am disappointed.

                                                                                              1. re: wolfe
                                                                                                d
                                                                                                Dustin_E Aug 3, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                                                lol. sorry, i meant judahlicious for simple-but-delicious raw vegan food.

                                                                                          2. re: bbulkow
                                                                                            njmarshall55 Jan 20, 2012 10:18 AM

                                                                                            Is this the old Col. Lee's MB that I knew back in the 70's when I was stationed at Moffett?

                                                                                            1. re: njmarshall55
                                                                                              bbulkow Feb 5, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                              I couldn't tell you. It's in the middle of castro street, north side, across from the bookstore that's been there since the early 90's, and the mongolian cooking thing sure looks like it has a lot of miles on it.

                                                                                              1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                                njmarshall55 Feb 16, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                                did some research. It IS the old Col Lee's. Used to hit it in the late 70's when I was at Moffett. Apparently it lasted until 2008.

                                                                                    2. cosmogrrl Jul 11, 2010 05:10 PM

                                                                                      Cajun and Creole style food is what we don't have. I can get Turkish, Ramen, BBQ and a good pastrami sammich. But there's only one cajun place, Cajun Pacific.

                                                                                      Turkish is not the same as in Turkey, but that's more due to the subtle differences in the produce, etc. It's never quite right. And I am unanimous in that ;) Even my Turkish grandmother couldn't make it quite the same.

                                                                                      But we really lack a cajun or creole place.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Cajun Pacific
                                                                                      4542 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                                        wolfe Jul 11, 2010 05:34 PM

                                                                                        So Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe doesn't count?

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe
                                                                                        3030 San Bruno Ave, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                        1. re: wolfe
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          Calvinist Jul 12, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                                                          And The Front Porch.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          The Front Porch
                                                                                          65 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                        2. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                                          bbulkow Jul 11, 2010 07:13 PM

                                                                                          Creola, San Carlos.

                                                                                          1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                                            Robert Lauriston Jul 12, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                                                            Angeline's is good. Not in SF but close to BART.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen
                                                                                            2261 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                              m
                                                                                              mikeh Aug 18, 2010 09:56 AM

                                                                                              None of the above-mentioned places comes close to any given neighborhood cajun/creole place in New Orleans or Louisiana. I thought Angeline's was good until a week-long trip to Louisiana absolutely blew my mind. No, we don't have it here in the Bay Area.

                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                            bgbc Jul 11, 2010 01:03 AM

                                                                                            - Turkish pizza/pide
                                                                                            - Thai food that's innovative and understands texture and taste contrast and isn't sickly sweet

                                                                                            I would *love* to be corrected and told that these things already exist somewhere in SF...

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: bgbc
                                                                                              Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2010 11:25 AM

                                                                                              Have you tried the pides at A La Turca? I thought they were pretty good, though the ones at Turkish Kitchen in Berkeley are better. Damn, now I'm hungry.

                                                                                              Lers Ros for Thai food that's not the usual Americanized glop. Also Thai House Express on Larkin. Both places have lots of Thai customers.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              A La Turca
                                                                                              869 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                                              Thai House Express
                                                                                              901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                                              Turkish Kitchen
                                                                                              1984 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                                                                              Lers Ros Thai
                                                                                              730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                b
                                                                                                bgbc Jul 20, 2010 12:55 AM

                                                                                                THANK YOU! (Yes, shouting.) Any chance there's comparable Thai food in the East Bay?

                                                                                              2. re: bgbc
                                                                                                Robert Lauriston Jul 12, 2010 11:59 AM

                                                                                                Inspired by this discussion I got a sucuk pide at Turkish Kitchen for lunch yesterday. I haven't been to Turkey to compare but it was delicious.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Turkish Kitchen
                                                                                                1984 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                                                                              3. w
                                                                                                walker Jul 10, 2010 03:18 PM

                                                                                                I think SF could use a really good cafeteria like Luby's in Texas. They make real mashed potatoes and everything is delicious, reasonably priced, big array of vegetables. Just great.

                                                                                                Also, on TV I've seen Greek restaurants in Queens that have fish on ice when you walk in, you pick your fish (maybe they weigh it and charge) and they grill it simply and you get salad and roasted potatoes -- that's it, simple menu.

                                                                                                In Barcelona there's a great place called La Paradetta near Picasso Museum. People wait in line and they have all kinds of seafood -- mostly shellfish -- on ice. You point out what you want, how much and they either grill it or steam it. I had fresher Maine lobster there than I have ever had in SF. Great price (I guess that's one reason for the line -- very casual.)

                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: walker
                                                                                                  bbulkow Jul 10, 2010 05:54 PM

                                                                                                  You know all those fish in the Chinese restaurants? Same deal. Pick a fish, pick a prep, enjoy.

                                                                                                  1. re: walker
                                                                                                    Pei Jul 11, 2010 10:47 AM

                                                                                                    Estia in North Beach does (or did?) the Greek fish on ice thing, but on a more limited scale.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Estia
                                                                                                    318 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                                                                    1. re: Pei
                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                      walker Jul 11, 2010 02:04 PM

                                                                                                      I'm surprised I've never heard of this place; I just called them and they don't have fish displayed on ice but they do serve fish.

                                                                                                    2. re: walker
                                                                                                      Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2010 11:23 AM

                                                                                                      SF used to have a lot of cafeteria-style hof braus but they died off due to changing tastes. Tommy's Joynt survives.

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Tommy's Joynt
                                                                                                      1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                        bbulkow Jul 11, 2010 11:41 AM

                                                                                                        There are 3 or so down the peninsula, the land that time forgot.

                                                                                                        1. re: bbulkow
                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                          ML8000 Jul 11, 2010 11:57 AM

                                                                                                          There's also Pluto's which is basically a nuevo hof brau (Californicated), craved meats, mash potatoes plus salads.

                                                                                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                          walker Jul 11, 2010 02:01 PM

                                                                                                          Tommy's okay if you're starving and broke. I really disliked the Carvery on the peninsula and Pluto's does not grab me. Really, nothing here that I've tried compares with Luby's. If you're ever in Texas, give them a try.

                                                                                                          1. re: walker
                                                                                                            Shane Greenwood Jul 11, 2010 08:12 PM

                                                                                                            Luby's? Wow, there's a name I never thought I'd see on the SF board. Fresh Choice comes pretty close. But really, Luby's was about one of the worst meals of my life. Absolutely thrilled we don't have anything just like it around here. Steam tables, hours old sides sitting in pools of their own coagulated funk, jello salad....methinks not. At least that was my experience there. The carved meats were edible and about on par with Harry's Hofbrau on the peninsula.

                                                                                                            1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                              w
                                                                                                              walker Jul 11, 2010 10:45 PM

                                                                                                              Uh Oh -- it was a few years ago and I only tried the one in Beaumont, TX -- maybe other locations are not as good. Maybe it was the time of day? They had really delicious, hot, fried chicken, many choices, great looking pie (yes, jello for those who want that).

                                                                                                              1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                myst Aug 18, 2010 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                I've heard that the best HofBrau type experience is at the Oaks Card Room in Emeryville. Have not tried it myself.....

                                                                                                        3. r
                                                                                                          ricegeek Jul 9, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                                                                          I also want to support a few things others have listed

                                                                                                          - izakaya
                                                                                                          - ramen
                                                                                                          - korean (esp kfc)
                                                                                                          - Jewish deli
                                                                                                          - casual innovative (momofuku like)

                                                                                                          I feel like these things are missing in the bay area, not just SF. There are shops that cover these categories now, but the quality of them lacks behind LA and NYC. I do have hope that plum in Oakland will fill that last category!

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: ricegeek
                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                            jdinsf Jul 9, 2010 01:38 PM

                                                                                                            Concur with all of the above, also will add Armenian food to the list.

                                                                                                            1. re: ricegeek
                                                                                                              Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2010 11:21 AM

                                                                                                              Korean fried chicken: Toyose. Filled with Koreans who go there specifically for the chicken. It's more of a soju bang than a restaurant. Some of the other dishes are so-so.

                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                              Toyose
                                                                                                              3814 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                c oliver Jul 14, 2010 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                I saved this. Sounds good and way out in the fog which I honestly love :)

                                                                                                              2. re: ricegeek
                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                hungree Jan 20, 2012 10:31 PM

                                                                                                                saul's has always been able to satisfy my jewish deli craving. and the bagels at berkeley bagel are delish.

                                                                                                                1. re: hungree
                                                                                                                  Robert Lauriston Jan 21, 2012 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                  I thought Berkeley Bagel was bad, even worse than Boogie Woogie Bagel Boy.

                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735608

                                                                                                              3. s
                                                                                                                shoop Jul 9, 2010 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                I agree with many of the above posts - Cuban, a Jewish deli (I'd even settle for just a solid bagel shop), Lebanese, BBQ.

                                                                                                                I'd add to the list Jamaican and solid, old-fashioned red-sauce Italian, the two cuisines I always seek out when back in NYC.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: shoop
                                                                                                                  Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2010 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                  Cuban: Paladar

                                                                                                                  East Coast red-sauce Italian: Joey & Eddie's

                                                                                                                  BBQ: Memphis Minnie's (spareribs & brisket)

                                                                                                                  There are several Jamaican places in the East Bay.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                    mariacarmen Jul 11, 2010 06:24 PM

                                                                                                                    the owners of Paladar don't consider it "real" Cuban food, tho I find their dishes very tasty.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                      wokwok Dec 1, 2010 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                      paladar you say. How good is it? Will it satisfy a very picky and discerning Cuban who has been spoiled by my abuela's food my whole life? Also, have you had Cuban food in Miami to have something to compare it to? What have you had there? Thanks!

                                                                                                                  2. Shane Greenwood Jul 9, 2010 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                    There is a lot of apples to oranges here with the comparisons to LA. You can find some of those things missing in SF city if you zoom out to include the bay area. Might be worth exploring the east bay and peninsula for things like BBQ, killer pastrami, izakaya, and ramen. The only thing I haven't really found anywhere in the area is good eastern European.

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    izakaya
                                                                                                                    1659 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                      CarrieWas218 Jul 9, 2010 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                      Shane, have you explored any of the Russian restaurants out on Clement? I've had some pretty kick-ass eastern European out there.

                                                                                                                      1. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                        Shane Greenwood Jul 9, 2010 09:32 PM

                                                                                                                        Have hit some of the markets, but not the restaurants. Which ones do you recommend?

                                                                                                                        1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                          CarrieWas218 Jul 10, 2010 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                          Sadko on Clement is my favorite.

                                                                                                                    2. PolarBear Jul 9, 2010 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                      A great izakaya place like Guu with Garlic, Zakkushi, or Kingyo in Vancouver, also their Japadog. LA's Korean taco truck also comes to mind. Still looking for a great German restaurant (not just in SF).

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      izakaya
                                                                                                                      1659 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                                        cornflower55 Jul 8, 2010 10:33 PM

                                                                                                                        A ramen shop and korean restaurant that is as good as what exists in LA

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: cornflower55
                                                                                                                          y
                                                                                                                          yehfromthebay Dec 2, 2010 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                          If you're craving ramen, just head down to San Mateo....a few of them are much, much better the ramen joints in LA.

                                                                                                                          1. re: cornflower55
                                                                                                                            wolfe Dec 2, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                            Cornflower, have you tried all those discussed on this ramen thread?
                                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3128...

                                                                                                                            1. re: wolfe
                                                                                                                              Melanie Wong Dec 2, 2010 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                              That thread is quite old and some recommended places have closed, plus there are many new spots that are worthwhile.

                                                                                                                          2. d
                                                                                                                            divisortheory Jul 8, 2010 10:29 PM

                                                                                                                            BBQ.

                                                                                                                            I've resorted to having my BBQ flown in from Texas now via mail order. At least as a consolation, it's better than anything that would ever open in SF anyway, but still it's nice to be able to have the atmosphere and everything else that goes along with dining out from time to time.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: divisortheory
                                                                                                                              w
                                                                                                                              walker Jul 10, 2010 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                              Please tell -- where do you order from?

                                                                                                                              1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                alanbarnes Jul 14, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                Can't speak for divisortheory, but check out http://www.blacksbbq.com/store/defaul...

                                                                                                                                1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                                                  divisortheory Jul 23, 2011 03:51 PM

                                                                                                                                  The other poster mentioned Black's BBQ, which is good, but it's no Snow's BBQ :)

                                                                                                                                  http://www.snowsbbq.com/

                                                                                                                                  The brisket is simply out of this world. And when it arrives in the mail and you heat it up according to the instructions, it tastes as fresh as ever.

                                                                                                                              2. Shane Greenwood Jul 8, 2010 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                                A great burger for less than $10. When I lived in Chicago every neighborhood had at least one really good, fresh burger that wasn't as expensive as the mostly average ones in SF. Seems you have to plunk down $15 for a really good burger here. One exception is the Kitchenette burger, but they don't always have it.

                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                                  ML8000 Jul 8, 2010 11:17 PM

                                                                                                                                  The Tennessee special at Tennessee Grill is a very good and cheap burger, fresh ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, char-broiled w/ fries for $4.95, cooked to order. The fries are average and the bun only servicable but the burger is truly good and it's under $5 bucks.

                                                                                                                                  I worked w/i walking distance from TG for 1.5 years and ate there regularly and mostly got the burger and it was cheaper then. Drink and tax brought it to $7 + tip... $8 bucks. in 2002 it must have been $6 bucks.

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Tennessee Grill
                                                                                                                                  1128 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                    Shane Greenwood Jul 9, 2010 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                    Exactly my point, "serviceable bun." That doesn't cut it. A great burger is more than just a patty.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                      ML8000 Jul 9, 2010 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                      Oh well, your lost. You wanted a great inexpensive burger. IMO it's better then Cable Car Joe's for half the price. I think the bun is better then Cable Car Joe's...it's just not acme.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                        wolfe Jul 9, 2010 11:56 AM

                                                                                                                                        Talk about serviceable buns what say you guys to the new Oroweat sandwich thins for your burgers?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: wolfe
                                                                                                                                          f
                                                                                                                                          frangelica Jul 9, 2010 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                          Those little guys are really tough...they hold up quite well. If you are trying to cut calories and eat more whole grain they are good for sandwiches. Disclosure here: my brother works for Oroweat so I get my breads for a VERY low cost.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                                      walker Jul 10, 2010 03:11 PM

                                                                                                                                      The "atmosphere" in this place made me want to kill myself and I did not find the food edible. I went there on your rec about a year or two ago.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker
                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                        ML8000 Jul 10, 2010 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                        Sorry you didn't like it. It is a hole-in-wall place and that's why a freshly ground bruger w/ fries goes for under $5 bucks. I've never had a problem but it's old hat to me.

                                                                                                                                        Just curious, what did you order?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                          w
                                                                                                                                          walker Jul 10, 2010 09:52 PM

                                                                                                                                          I think it was chicken fried steak. My daughter "helped" by eating most of it -- just did not appeal at all. I think the mashed potatoes tasted like instant. It's been a while so I'm hazy on the details. For a quick meal, I think Chicken Coop is much better, decent turkey.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                      d
                                                                                                                                      david de berkeley Jul 9, 2010 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                      Ah, sweet Chicago. Where even the middling hot dog and hamburger places turned out char burgers and handcut fries that would be top of the heap in San Francisco, at least from a dollar for dollar perspective.

                                                                                                                                      Seriously, the average quality for fries in Chicago is very high. And then you have places like Al's and Hot Doug's, where the fries are unbelievable.

                                                                                                                                      And speaking of Al's, I would love an Italian ice place in San Francisco like Mario's across the street. Guess it doesn't get that hot in San Francisco, but we support so so many frozen yogurt places. One of those could be Italian ice.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shane Greenwood
                                                                                                                                        m
                                                                                                                                        Mjkeating Jul 9, 2010 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                        Call me crazy but I've got a crush on the Baja Burget at Barney's on 24th... yum.

                                                                                                                                      2. n
                                                                                                                                        Nopa Jul 8, 2010 10:03 PM

                                                                                                                                        How about an Italian beef or pork sandwich joint?

                                                                                                                                        1. d
                                                                                                                                          david de berkeley Jul 8, 2010 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                                          Jewish deli. If we could trade NY a Jewish deli for a Mission taqueria, everyone would be happy.

                                                                                                                                          Late night Korean. Like a BCD Soon Tofu in LA or Gam Mee Ok in NY. Korean soup after the bars is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                          A superlative steakhouse. I like Harris well enough, but seems like a lot of other cities out there have it better than we do.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: david de berkeley
                                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                                            balabanian Jul 8, 2010 09:28 PM

                                                                                                                                            totally agree, my first thought was: a great pastrami sandwich!

                                                                                                                                            also, a great barbecue place.

                                                                                                                                            and good turkish, cuban, jamaican, turkish, spanish.

                                                                                                                                            we've got asian, central american and california food covered, and we're doing ok with italian and french, but i think we could work on almost all the others.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: balabanian
                                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                                              Joan Kureczka Jul 9, 2010 06:46 AM

                                                                                                                                              For the Turkish, try Troya on Clement St in SF, which has definitely upped their game.I agree with the general lack of good middle eastern food though -- I'd love a great Lebanese place, myself.

                                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                                              Troya
                                                                                                                                              349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                                                                            2. re: david de berkeley
                                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                                              hokuhoku Feb 5, 2012 01:57 PM

                                                                                                                                              Not amazing late night Korean food, but it's out there - Won Mi on Fillmore, Kukje (aka Wooden Charcoal BBQ House) on Geary. Other places that aren't open quite as late but at least till 2 on weekends are Playground, Coco Bang, Toyose. Korean food in SF is weak though.

                                                                                                                                            3. steve h. Jul 8, 2010 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                                              I like San Francisco. It doesn't need foods I can, and do, get elsewhere on the planet.
                                                                                                                                              A sense of local identity always trumps a food mall approach when it come to good eating.

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                                                Thomas Nash Jul 8, 2010 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                What San Francisco really needs is a Berkeley Bowl (and maybe a Cheeseboard)!

                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                Berkeley Bowl
                                                                                                                                                2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Thomas Nash
                                                                                                                                                  steve h. Jul 8, 2010 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. Mario Batali and his sidekick Joe Bastianich are backing a venture in Manhattan called Eatily. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                                                    Thomas Nash Jul 8, 2010 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Geez ... that's even further from SF than Berkeley.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Thomas Nash
                                                                                                                                                      steve h. Jul 8, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                      A fur piece for sure. Interesting concept, though. Stay tuned.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Thomas Nash
                                                                                                                                                    wolfe Jul 8, 2010 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                    San Francisco will have to wait in line.
                                                                                                                                                    \http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6831...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Thomas Nash
                                                                                                                                                      w
                                                                                                                                                      walker Jul 10, 2010 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                      BB AND a Monterey Market!!!

                                                                                                                                                  3. Pei Jul 8, 2010 01:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                    East LA style Mexican seafood. I know there are a few places, but the quality's just not there.

                                                                                                                                                    A really fantastic sit down Taiwanese small eats deli.

                                                                                                                                                    Tea/Coffee cafe like the ones that are pervasive in Asia. Somewhere you can sit and relax with a dessert and great coffee OR tea, not just great coffee and outsourced pastries.

                                                                                                                                                    Korean that's not BBQ. Sullong Tang, neng myun, bossam, seafood, genghis khan style hot pot, I could go on and on.

                                                                                                                                                    Chicago style hot dogs, Italian beefs, and watermelon ice.

                                                                                                                                                    The list goes on...

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pei
                                                                                                                                                      myst Aug 18, 2010 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                      I think most things are here somewhere. You just need chowhounders to point you in the right direction when you have a craving....

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pei
                                                                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                                                                        hokuhoku Feb 5, 2012 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Not in SF, but try Seoul Komtang in Oakland.

                                                                                                                                                        Chicago hot dog and italian beef - two places in SOMA, the Grill on Bryant and 6th and Da Beef (which is a hot dog cart) at Folsom and 7th - they park on Thursday, Fri and Sat nights.

                                                                                                                                                      2. CarrieWas218 Jul 8, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Whenever I go to Los Angeles, I hit Versailles for their amazing Cuban Roast Pork and a recent trip to Austin provided the best Cuban sandwich EVER. Made me realize we have no decent Cuban food.

                                                                                                                                                        Also near Los Angeles is Shin-Sen-Gumi, the best yakitori restaurant I've ever experienced. Now we have some yakitori dishes showing up at places like Nombe and I've heard of some pure yakitori on the Peninsula, but there is nothing like it in the city to compare.

                                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                                        Nombe
                                                                                                                                                        2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                                                          ThirstyReader Jul 12, 2010 03:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I had Versailles on my recent trip to Los Angeles. It was actually one of the reasons I went.

                                                                                                                                                          www.accidentalwino.com

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ThirstyReader
                                                                                                                                                            CarrieWas218 Jul 12, 2010 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Did you enjoy it? What did you order?

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                                                            Cicely Jul 14, 2010 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                            And Versailles in L.A. is a sad imitation (not a branch location as they'd have you think) of Versailles in Miami! Cuban food is not a forte in L.A., either. However, the lechon at El Cochinito in Silver Lake is excellent.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                                                              w
                                                                                                                                                              wokwok Dec 1, 2010 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                              there is NO DECENT CUBAN FOOD. I'm cuban. From Florida. I cook. My grandma cooks. I don't even want to TRY a place out of fear. What places have you tried? Is there anything good out there?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wokwok
                                                                                                                                                                mariacarmen Dec 1, 2010 10:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I agree. i grew up in L.A. where there's good Cuban (tho i'm not cuban). In SF, I've been only to Paladar, which I like, but isn't straight-out Cuban. What places do you like here even a little? You must have tried something, or you wouldn't know they suck, right? There's a place in Alameda called Havana I've wanted to try....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wokwok
                                                                                                                                                                  Robert Lauriston Dec 2, 2010 02:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Habana in San Jose is run by actual Cubans. Worth a try.

                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                  Habana Cuba
                                                                                                                                                                  238 Race Street, San Jose, CA 95126

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                                                                                  adrienneellen Aug 3, 2011 01:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  There is decent Cuban in SF - have you tried El Nuevo Frutilandia in the mission? I lived in Miami for several months and its pretty authentic. Los Cubanos in San Jose is also excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                  Los Cubanos Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                  22 N Almaden Ave, San Jose, CA 95110

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: adrienneellen
                                                                                                                                                                    Robert Lauriston Aug 3, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    The Cubans who started El Nuevo Frutilandia sold it years ago, last time I was there it seemed more Dominican / Puerto Rican.

                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                    El Nuevo Frutilandia
                                                                                                                                                                    3077 24th St, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                      jman1 Aug 3, 2011 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      A Yelper reports that the current owner is from Nicaragua.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                                                                    hokuhoku Feb 5, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Agree that nothing like Shinsengumi, but have you tried Halu on 8th and Clement? Quirky place that specializes in yakitori and kushiyaki.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. c
                                                                                                                                                                    Calvinist Jul 8, 2010 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    A So Cal-style Mexican grilled chicken stand. La Parrilla Grill on 24th is on that mode, but is pretty mediocre.

                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                    La Parrilla Grill
                                                                                                                                                                    1125 Ocean Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Calvinist
                                                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                                                      ML8000 Jul 8, 2010 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Are you talking butterflied and grilled chicken like El Pollo Loco? You can get a far superior mequiste grilled chicken at Mi Pueblo in Oakland. They grill like a 100 out front daily.

                                                                                                                                                                      The only thing I miss are Baja fish tacos but I can wait until I get to LA. The things you hear about that are missing; BBQ, steaks, etc., would be nice but on balance the BA is fine by me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ML8000
                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                        Calvinist Jul 8, 2010 04:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        That's what I mean -- there's no Mi Pueblo in SF proper. It's common in LA and yes, in the East Bay but I don't know of anything close in SF.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Calvinist
                                                                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                                                                        Sumthingdifferent Aug 4, 2011 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        We don't need another Mexican place. Like we need another Chinese place in SF.

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