HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Vancouverite would love some can't miss recommendations

vaneater Aug 24, 2010 02:09 AM


I will be visiting your beautiful city for the first time (not counting a night spent at your airport) to see Wicked the musical, I do not have much time to plan, but would like you leave your city satisfied having tried some local favourites:

1. Best burger
2. Best Deep Dish Pizza
3. Best izakaya (who has the best miso black cod? kimchi udon?)
4. Best prix fixe menu
5. Suggestion for any must try establishment with recommended dishes to order
6. Best Gelato/Ice cream

We will be staying near the Financial District and will be travelling mainly by Bart and other forms of public transit/taxi. Thus far the Ferry market and Slanted door are on my 'flexible' itiniary. I will also be allocating a day to shop, if someone can suggest a shopping district or outlet mall and nearby eateries, we would appreciate it. Thank you in advance!

Note: We eat almost anything and are open to all cusines but will probably not be looking to try Chinese food on this trip, we get our fill at home.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. fmed RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 08:57 AM

    Do a search for Vancouverite grayelf's posts here on this board. I was in San Fransisco recently and her guidance was spot on.

    Looking at your list, I would be tempted to steer you to things that San Francisco does so well and Vancouver does so poorly: Woodfired Neapolitan Pizza (eg A16, Pizzeria Delfina), Mexican (eg Poc Chuc), Thai (Lers Ros), Ice Cream (Bi-Rite....though I didn't make it there this time around opting instead for Bombay Icecream not too far away), Brunch (Magnolia). Also, I have to mention the porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti truck.

    Anyway, that is my list from a Vancouverite's perspective.

    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

    Roli Roti
    , Hayward, CA

    Poc Chuc
    2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Pizzeria Delfina
    2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

    1. a
      abstractpoet RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 09:09 AM

      My favorite burger in the city is the one at Zuni Cafe. A SF institution. The burger is only available at lunch or late night.

      For ice cream, consider Bi-Rite Creamery -- or, better yet, BART over to Berkeley to try Lush Gelato, the best gelato I've ever had, anywhere. There's a shop in Oakland as well, but the one in Berkeley is more easily accessible by public transportation. It's located in the famous Gourmet Ghetto, also home to Chez Panisse and a few other destination-worthy food spots. On the other hand, if you go to the Oakland shop on Piedmont Ave., you can try Commis, which offers as good a prix fixe menu as any restaurant I know. Not cheap, though ($60+ pp w/o drinks). This would most likely involve BART + taxi (you could walk it from the BART station, but it's not really recommended)

      My favorite area to shop in SF is Valencia St. No chain stores or outlet type stores, though, if that's what you're looking for. But lots of unique little stores, consignment shops, and quaint boutiques. Great food in the area, including the aforementioned Bi-Rite Creamery, Pizzeria Delfina (not deep dish, but great thin-crust pizza), and Tartine Bakery (amazing sweets). Not far away are the many excellent cheap eateries in the Mission. Speaking of which, you should really do Mexican while you are here--either hit up a taqueria or try Poc Chuc or one of the other Oaxacan restaurants.

      Also, if you haven't yet, you should search on this board for your fellow Vancouverite Grayelf's great reports and queries.

      Zuni Cafe
      1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Tartine Bakery
      600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Bi-Rite Creamery
      3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Chez Panisse
      1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

      Pizzeria Delfina
      3611 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Poc Chuc
      2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Lush Gelato
      4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

      Pizzeria Delfina
      2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

      3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

      Lush Gelato
      1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

      Chez Panisse Cafe
      1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

      1. d
        DavidT RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 09:09 AM

        Do a search for prix fixe. You will find this subject has been discussed often in the past and there are several helpful threads already here.

        Some of the usual suspects are Le Charm, Baker Street Bistro & Chapeau.

        1. v
          vulber RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 10:23 AM

          Best deep dish pizza is Little Star. Don't let people try to talk you over into going to the east bay for zachary's.

          Little Star Valencia is two blocks from the 16th/mission bart.

          Little Star Cafe
          1536 Newell Ave, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

          1. bbulkow RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 11:07 AM

            Burger is contentious. Please read the following:
            [ there are 20 reviewed. These are the "superburgers", $15/plate. Zuni is on the list, but there's a bunch of other options. As Zuni has difficult hours for the burgers, NOPA, Namu, and Spruce come up a lot ] Regrettably, 7x7 did not follow through on their "best burgers under $10", which is even more difficult to call.

            Best prix fixe depends on whether you mean a 7 course tasting menu or a 3 course prix fixe. It's a little hard to call "best" in either case, as at that level, each place has its strengths.

            Deep dish is clearly little star. No one will disagree.

            "suggestions for must-try establishments and what to order" - sorry, too broad a question.

            For ice cream, the trip is BiRite and Humphrey Slocume. You will enjoy BiRite more, but you will remember HS, and the two back-to-back will amuse you (they're on the same side of town, and walking that area is an amusing afternoon, or hop the 14-mission to reduce the shoe leather cost). If you only do one, BiRite. I'm thinking the great gelato places are east bay, but one must be slipping my mind.

            Zuni Cafe
            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

            1. m
              ML8000 RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 11:23 AM

              Number 1-3 aren't necessarily going to any better in SF then anywhere else.

              I'd get some Mexican food if I were from Canada. The City has well over 100 taquerias, and half are in the Mission. Closest, bestest taqueria near downtown, Taqueria Cancun at 6th/Market. Burrito Al Pastor or Quesadilla Suiza.

              Best, most unusual prix fixe meal, Aziza for Cal-Moroccan. Michelin star, around $55 bucks.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ML8000
                grayelf RE: ML8000 Aug 24, 2010 01:38 PM

                Hey vaneater, you are in for a treat seeing Wicked. I scored a fantastic seat two trips ago and sat just a few rows from the front. Brilliant.

                A couple of people have suggested you check out my posts which is very flattering and I hope you find them helpful if you do. You are getting great feedback from the local Hounds as usual though -- they don't pull any punches as you will see.

                I think our izakaya scene at home is ahead of the SF curve, though I wouldn't be surprised to see it catch up soon. You've already gotten the word that pizza is a worthy eating goal here -- we aren't even in the room in Vancouver, sadly. Ice cream is a big deal in SF too; you've heard about a few places already, all of which I've been to and enjoyed but there are more if you want to dig a bit. For gelato, I think Lush is highest on my to try list (I believe there is one in Berkeley now as well as the original in Oakland).

                The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a no-brainer for a Northerner. It looks better in March and November than our farmers markets do in August ;-). That is one place you can get the porchetta sandwich fmed mentioned, just be sure to go straight to Roli Roti and line up before the hordes descend. There is nothing wrong with porchetta for breakfast.

                Mexican is another no brainer, as we are starved for it at home. My favourite so far is Poc Chuc (I love their platillo Maya) but I'm also a big fan of tortas which you can get in the same area as Humphry Slocombe at La Torta Gorda or Los Picudos, among other places.

                And don't forget Burmese. We now have one purveyor of some Burmese specialties in Vancouver, which is wonderful, but in SF you can have your pick of restaurants that specialize in this cuisine. I think you will find it is sufficiently different and worthy of a meal. I like Burmese Kitchen and Mandalay best of the places I've tried, but the fans of Burma Superstar are legion.

                I hope you have as fantastic a time on your first trip as we do on our biannual ones!


                Roli Roti
                , Hayward, CA

                Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
                One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

                Poc Chuc
                2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                La Torta Gorda
                2833 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: grayelf
                  lexdevil RE: grayelf Aug 24, 2010 02:11 PM

                  If vaneater comes to Berkeley for Lush, Ippuku would be a good and convenient izakaya option.


                  Related thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/718932

                  2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

              2. j
                Justin L RE: vaneater Aug 24, 2010 02:31 PM

                Another ice cream option is Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous in the dogpatch near AT & T ballpark, unique flavors and when I went not as crowded as bi-rite or humphrey slowcombe.. Right next door to serpentine which has a really good burger

                Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
                699 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                Show Hidden Posts