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What's missing in SF?

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?

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

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: Calvinist

      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

        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

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

      3. 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.

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        Nombe
        2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        10 Replies
        1. re: CarrieWas218

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

          www.accidentalwino.com

          1. re: CarrieWas218

            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

              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

                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

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

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                  Habana Cuba
                  238 Race Street, San Jose, CA 95126

                2. re: CarrieWas218

                  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.

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

                  1. re: adrienneellen

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

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

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      A Yelper reports that the current owner is from Nicaragua.

                  2. re: CarrieWas218

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

                  3. 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

                      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

                        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. 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.

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

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                          Berkeley Bowl
                          2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                          1. re: Thomas Nash

                            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.

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

                              1. re: Thomas Nash

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

                            2. 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

                                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

                                  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.

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                                  Troya
                                  349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                2. re: david de berkeley

                                  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.