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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)!

                          -----
                          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.

                                  -----
                                  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.

                                3. How about an Italian beef or pork sandwich joint?

                                  1. 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

                                      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

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

                                        1. re: Shane Greenwood

                                          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

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

                                            1. re: wolfe

                                              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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

                                          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

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

                                          2. 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

                                              Please tell -- where do you order from?

                                                1. re: walker

                                                  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.

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

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: cornflower55

                                                  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

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

                                                    1. re: wolfe

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

                                                  2. 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. 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

                                                        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

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

                                                      2. 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

                                                          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

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

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              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. 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

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

                                                              1. re: ricegeek

                                                                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

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

                                                                2. re: ricegeek

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

                                                                  1. re: hungree

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

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

                                                                3. 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

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

                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                      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

                                                                        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

                                                                        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

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

                                                                          1. re: bbulkow

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

                                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                            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

                                                                              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

                                                                                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

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

                                                                          3. - 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

                                                                              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

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

                                                                              2. re: bgbc

                                                                                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. 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

                                                                                  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

                                                                                    And The Front Porch.

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

                                                                                    1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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. 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

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          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

                                                                                            yeah, thanks. missing IN san francisco! ( :

                                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                              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

                                                                                                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: mariacarmen

                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                          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: wolfe

                                                                                                              Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto.

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

                                                                                                      2. re: bbulkow

                                                                                                        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

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

                                                                                                          1. re: Dustin_E

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

                                                                                                            1. re: wolfe

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

                                                                                                        2. re: bbulkow

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                              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. 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

                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                          1. 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

                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                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. 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

                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                  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

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

                                                                                                                2. 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

                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                        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

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

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

                                                                                                                    2. 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

                                                                                                                        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

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

                                                                                                                        2. 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

                                                                                                                            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. 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

                                                                                                                              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

                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                  "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

                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                        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. 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

                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                      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. 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

                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                                            Thanks! I will have to check it out-

                                                                                                                                          2. re: l_emily

                                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                                              Yelp claims that Lokal has closed.

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

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                  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)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                                                                                                                                                1. re: artychokeasana

                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                    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

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

                                                                                                                                          3. -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

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

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                      thanh long and crustracean are the same owners

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: bbulkow

                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                                                          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

                                                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                                                              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

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

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bria Silbert

                                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                                                        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

                                                                                                                                                                        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

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

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: artychokeasana

                                                                                                                                                            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

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

                                                                                                                                                        3. 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

                                                                                                                                                            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

                                                                                                                                                              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. 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

                                                                                                                                                                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

                                                                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                                      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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

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

                                                                                                                                                                2. 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

                                                                                                                                                                    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

                                                                                                                                                                      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

                                                                                                                                                                        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.)