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Jul 12, 2010 09:24 AM

Make me love SF

Hey SF Chowhounds,

I have been to SF a number of times and have never fallen in love with the city. Usually my love affair with a city is based on restaurants/bars and locals. What places should I have on my radar for this trip. We are free to roam all of SF. Our budget is $20 or below for entrees. My BF is a Veggie, and I eat fish...We are pretty open to different cuisines. I know this is very vague and most likely answered in other posts, but it seems like there are too many places to sort through. Thank you for helping with my ridiculous request.

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  1. It is way too vague of a request; what neighborhoods will you be in? What styles of cuisine do you like?

    There seriously are not many restaurants in the city where you CAN'T get a veggie option for under $20 but narrowing down your parameters would be helpful.

    I would recommend Burmese Kitchen on Larkin for both great vegetarian and fish options and the entire meal won't put you back much more than $30.

    1. Please help by describing what you *like* or *fall in love with* in other cities. Saying you're "open" to various things doesn't give any basis for narrowing down - and your request is for us to help you narrow down! As most people here have eaten widely in other cities, referring to other neighborhoods and specific restaurants often results in good recommendations.

      1. I have to admit I felt the same way the first year I lived in SF. I was in my early twenties and $20 for a meal was considered a treat, so it was impossible for me to enjoy the city the way older diners could. But hang in there, it is possible. It just takes some digging.

        What cities do you love and why? What have you tried and found not lovable in SF?

        12 Replies
        1. re: Pei

          When I was in my 20's, the block(s) that caused me to love SF was 16th between Mission and Guererro. Between Pakwan, Sunflower, Dalva, Ti Couz, Pancho Villa, La Cumbre, the movie theater, Cassanova around the corner, a short walk to the Rite Spot, Uptown around the other corner (well, is now, anyway), that's still where I still go when I've been out of town for a bit. And the bart station smells like san francisco.

          Pancho Villa
          365 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

          La Cumbre
          28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

          3121 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          1. re: bbulkow

            Thanks everyone. We will be staying in the Haight with a friend. We can go up per entree, but figured $20 per entree would be a good basis. I really enjoyed Betty's True Blue last time we were in town. We are willing to roam around the city for a cute neighborhood and great good. I love NYC, Minneapolis, Key West, Barcelona, Santa Barbara, Des Moines, DC, and Boston/Cape. Thank you for my ridiculous requests!

            1. re: chadradchad


              Can you be specific about which *restaurants* or parts of those towns you liked?

              1. re: chadradchad

                Well, you are still being a bit vague. There are vastly different things to love about each of the cities you cited, even food-wise.

                An obvious recommendation would be the Ferry Plaza on a Saturday morning. Make that breakfast/brunch. Whatever you do, don't bother with Fisherman's Wharf - there is nothing there but tourists and tourist-minded food.

                Personally, I don't particularly like many of the food options in the Haight and would instead recommend wandering the Mission area around 18th for Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Ice Cream. You might enjoy Japantown and Fillmore (adjacent neighborhoods). SPQR has some very good veggie and fish options.

                My current favorite restaurants in the city are Nombe, Thermidor (a bit on the pricey side for your budget), Burmese Kitchen, and Bar Crudo (fish - your husband would probably be bored there).

                Tartine Bakery
                600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Bar Crudo
                655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

                1. re: chadradchad

                  I would never advise anyone to love San Francisco, you either do or you don't. But if you're in the upper Haight, try Alembic, it's got some of the most adventurous cuisine in the city. In the lower Haight, try Magnolia. Nopalito is very close as well. Nopa and Bar Crudo are nearby. If you can make it to the Mission, check out Monk's Kettle.

                  Bar Crudo
                  655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                  560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

                  1. re: chuckl

                    Thanks I'll look some of these up and check them out. I was in the city five years ago and can't recall the names of the places we visited. Thanks for helping a Midwest Chow out!

                  2. re: chadradchad

                    I think you mean Dottie's True Blue -- it's on Jones near O'Farrell.

                    Try the Fraiche frozen yogurt on Fillmore near Bush. I second the Bi-Rite ice cream on 18th St -- try a weekday when the lines aren't as long.

                    Dottie's True Blue Cafe
                    522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    1. re: walker

                      Awesome! I love great fro-yo and ice cream. What about Humphry Slocombe? I recently read a feature in the nytimes about the creative flavors.

                      1. re: chadradchad

                        check out Bi-Rite on 18th as well as Humphrey Slocumbe.

                        1. re: chadradchad

                          Some people love HS but I do not; there were icy bits in mine. People there are nice but I have no desire to return. As to Fraiche, a while back I tried the one in Palo Alto, loved it but have not gone to the one in SF yet (even tho I live here!) parking can be difficult. I'm sure it's as good as in P.A. -- it's from real yogurt -- other frozen yogurt places don't grab me, they taste starchy and/or too sweet.

                          1. re: walker

                            I'm a fool for Fraiche because they offer a soy yogurt for sadly lactose intolerant me. The quality for the soy yogurt is the same at Fillmore as in Palo Alto, and I would assume that therefore the quality is also the same for the dairy based. I don't know that Fraiche is a destination for many, but I certainly make detours when I am in the area. Soy yogurt + homemade mochi + whichever local honey is the less sweet one + house-toasted shredded coconut = YUM.

                          2. re: chadradchad

                            Polly Ann or Marco Polo for durian ice cream. You may not love it but you will probably never forget it.

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