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Looking for a "nice" lunch - Sunset / Richmond

Around noon on Friday, DW and I are dropping off our spawn in the outer Sunset and heading over to the DeYoung. Of course, the first question that comes to mind is "what's for lunch?"

My inclination would be to check out the new Chowdermobile or hit the Richmond for something cheap and tasty, but it appears to be in my best interest to make arrangements for a "nice" lunch. "Nice" precludes anything exotic, including all Asian cuisines (don't ask me why, I don't know), and requires cloth napkins.

I know nothing whatsoever about the Sunset. Crossing the park, there are places like Chapeau!, Aziza, and Richmond Restaurant, but they're only open for dinner.

There's always Park Chow, but surely we can do better than that. Ideas?

Thanks in advance...

Park Chow
1238 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

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  1. How 'bout the Cliff House? Not exciting but the view is great and the food (nowadays) is supposed to be good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Hmmm, that might fit the bill nicely. Not too far out of the way, and I'd get bonus points for the setting if the fog burns off by lunchtime. Thanks!

      Lots of people were saying good things when George Morrone took over the kitchen at Sutro's, but he left nearly a year ago, and there hasn't been much talk about the place since. Does anybody know of recent reports (second- or third-hand is better than nothing) on the food?

      Another alternative is the Bistro upstairs - still great views, and at a price point that won't break the bank. I'd like to think it's hard to screw up fish and chips or a burger, but would welcome any reports on that front, too.

      Of course, any other ideas are welcome. Thanks again.

      1. re: alanbarnes

        Back in the 70s I used to go Upstairs at the Cliff House for breakfast so often that they always moved me right in ahead of the tourists and accepted my personal check I always had an omelette of green chilies, onion, cheddar cheese and bacon --- called the Hangover Omelette--- with a glass of champagne. I have three copies of their menu from over the years and Bob and I had a luncheon there after the first time we got married. I haven't been since it reopened. It holds a warm spot in my heart.

    2. There's Outerlands Restaurant in the Outer Sunset.but it might be too casual but it's nice Besides that, there's Beach Chalet (triple meh) or Gold Mirror (old school Italian). Might be some places in West Portal.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ML8000

        I'd second the Outerlands suggestion. There's also Alembic and EOS in Cole Valley/Haight (not far from the park) and Pizetta 211 in the Richmond.

        Eos Restaurant & Wine Bar
        901 Cole St., San Francisco, CA 94117

        1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

        Pizzetta 211
        211 23rd Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

        Outerlands Cafe
        4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

        1. re: balabanian

          Love the food at Pizzetta, but sitting outdoors on a log stump might not be the ambiance the OP is seeking.

          1. re: balabanian

            I like Pizzetta a lot, and Outerlands sounds good, but c'mon, guys - I'm trying to impress a date here! We've been married almost two decades, so she takes my good looks (yeah, right) and sparkling wit (ditto) for granted, leaving the restaurant choice as my primary way of scoring points this lunchtime.

            Alembic and EOS are good possibilities, though, and Gold Mirror might be fun, too. Thanks for the suggestions.

            1. re: wolfe

              Okay, I'm going to have to check out Outerlands. Whether it's this time or another will depend on a couple of things...

              First, the lunch menu on the website is limited to one soup, a few sandwiches, and mixed greens. Is that typical? Second, I seem to have gotten the impression somewhere that there's no table service. Is this a place where you pick your food up at the counter?

              I'm not shooting for white tablecloths and multiple courses here, but have the distinct sense that table service and something that could pass as an entree are expected.

                1. re: wolfe

                  Thanks for the link. That sounds very much like my kind of place.

          2. Okay, this is east of where you want to be, but I've heard really good things about Spruce and their site says the serve lunch during the week.


            3 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              if spruce is in the conversation, i think sociale and the magic flute ought to be considered as well. the cliff house restaurants are doing a lot better than they used to. for an entirely different approach, how about hitting a deli, grabbing a bottle or two of wine and doing a picnic at either ocean or baker beach?

              1. re: alpine chef

                Links (so everything shows up on the map)

                Sutro's at The Cliff House
                1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121

                3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                3665 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

                Magic Flute Garden Ristorante
                3673 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  I couldn't remember Sociale for the life of me. And, wow, I think I ate at the Magic Flute decades ago.

                  3665 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

            2. Another option to consider would be Shabu House. Not cheap, but still a good value for the high quality that you're getting

              Shabu House
              5158 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

              1. And on the cheaper side, Mandalay

                1. Has anyone eaten at the Moss Room (not the Academy Cafe) at the Academy of Sciences?


                  I remember the menu feeling distinctly fancy last time I looked at it. Plus you'd only have to park once.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Windy

                    The Moss Room would be an excellent choice for 'extra nice' - with ambience, service and food all together.
                    Sociale and Sutro's at the Cliff House are also good choices - is your time limitless for driving and parking?

                    3665 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94118

                    1. re: Cynsa

                      We're in no rush, but I can't think of a way I'd less rather spend limited quality time than driving around looking for a parking spot. The Moss Room is perfect in every way - especially including location - but I've heard some pretty horrific tales about the service and the food there. Does anybody know if those issues have been sorted out?

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        I was at the Moss room for a birthday dinner last August, and both service and food were fine. I'd say this matches what you're looking for perfectly!

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          We've enjoyed dinner twice in the past year and service was lovely each time. Food was top notch.

                          1. re: Cynsa

                            Well all right then, we have a winner! Or would have had a winner - plans got shifted around, so we're pushing the visit back a week or two. When we finally get over there I'll report back.

                            Thanks again, everybody!

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              anything to make Mrs. Barnes happy! looking forward to your report.

                    2. I know your wife's not a fan of some/lots of Asian food but check out B Star Bar, the sister to BurmaStar:


                      They describe their food as "Pan Asian" and it has lots of variety. It's a pretty room also. But I'm betting you would score no points (and therefore not score)with this choice. We liked it a lot.

                      B Star Bar
                      127 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                      1. this is stretching boundaries - both geographical and exotic... Jannah is very nice for lunch or dinner with cloth napkins and tasty food - I like the Salmon Tikka with Mixed Greens and Mediterranean Vegetables #3 - the flavors are pure and simple and not exotic; grilled salmon kabob on mixed greens with steamed broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower with a feta vinaigrette -
                        it's also a very good value for $9 at lunch and $14 at dinner -

                        for 'exotic', the Maskoof smoked trout is deliciously assertive and the lamb shank Bamia at dinner satisfies my okra/lamb cravings.

                        1775 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94117