HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

What's in and near Bernal Heights?

I recently moved to Bernal Heights, and I've read the (few) threads here about the neighborhood, and I'm wondering if there's any more you can tell me about what's in Bernal and also nearby. Specifically:

--what's the closest good Chinese food? None of the places on Mission, or the place on Cortland, seem to be very highly recommended by anyone. Is there decent Chinese food in the Mission, or further south? And, in a related matter, where's the closest dim sum? Koi Palace? Richmond? (Please don't send me to Yank Sing; I can't afford it.)

--what's the closest Chinese market? I'm looking for both Ranch 99-type places and smaller. Anyplace with a better selection of rice noodles and fish sauce than Safeway.

--So far, I've eaten at Piquero and Moki's and both were excellent. Are there any other notable restaurants?

--I've shopped at the farmer's market, Good Life and Canyon Market in Glen Park. I've heard that I should also shop at Avedano's. Any other notable grocery stores?

--There seem to be a zillion Mexican grocery stores and panaderias on Mission. Which ones are best? I'm looking especially for homemade tortillas and stuff imported from Mexico.

-----
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

Avedano's
235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Canyon Market
2815 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Just wander down Cortland and form your own impressions. To me, Sandbox Bakery is a hidden gem, maybe the best pastries in the city. I definitely like it better than Tartine, for instance. I tend to like Martha's over Progressive Grounds, but both are excellent in their own ways. We loved Valentina's (and the Hungarian place before that), but time goes on and now we hear Vega's is similar and similarly good. We've been going to Liberty Cafe since it opened, and its gone through ups and downs -- but I have to say that we recently had a nice light meal there.

    There are many restaurants of note along the Mission Street boundary of Bernal. Mentally working my way down the street I come up with Spicy Bite for better than expected take out Indian, Pastores for home cooked Mexican, Zante's for Indian pizza, Angkor Borei for excellent cheap Cambodian, Ichi Sushi just opened and shows promise, Emmy's Spaghetti shack is something of a hipster institution, I really like Front Porch, Inca's, and Mitchell's Ice Cream. Blue Plate has plenty of fans. SoCha has a nice vibe, but I prefer the Four Barrel coffees from Caffeinated Comics.

    For a Chinese market, head to Manila Oriental Market. Parking there is hellish, and there is less shelf space than the El Cerrito Ranch 99, but definitely check it out. Duc Loi at 18th & Mission is another option. Both are light years beyond Safeway.

    For Chinese food and dim sum, Bernal draws a blank. Feel free to do some research down on San Bruno Ave. I keep hearing rumors that there is some cheap, decent dim sum there. But I'm skeptical.

    For Mexican groceries, step out of Bernal and into the Mission. Start at La Palma. You search may end there too.

    -----
    Manila Oriental Market
    4175 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

    Progressive Grounds
    400 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Sandbox Bakery
    833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

    8 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      Sandbox Bakery is horrible. I've been there on 3 separate occasions and each time the pastries and baked good were awful. I've had everything from the melon pan to the pastry cream with fruit, and how I wish I could have walked away with even a single positive impression of the food.

      The melon pan is supposed to be light and airy with a crispy, well defined outer crust, but here it's dry and dense with an outer layer that has already sunk into the bun itself . The pastry cream is also supposed to be fluffy and flavorful but here it was extremely doughy and dense with none of the gentle, sweet flavors.

      These pastries are modeled after what you find in Asia but the quality is not even close. To make matters worse, the prices are extremely high which suggests to me they're trying to take advantage of the fact that people don't know any better. Sad.

      -----
      Sandbox Bakery
      833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

        2nd that

        ***will resist making snide remark about slanted door connection***

        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

          I agree too. Was just commenting I didn't understand what the good press was about.

          1. re: Windy

            Yeah , I was surprised and disappointed by Sandbox too, given what I'd heard as well.

            My opinion is more muted than "hidden gem" or "horrible", but it's not really in "the rotation" even when I happen to be in Bernal, let alone special trip.

            I had some savory item which wasnt bad, but was rather pricey and the other stuff was just ok. What probably put me off the most was service was kinda lame. When a bakery isnt busy, I think it's reasonable to be able to ask a few questions and get informative, enthusiastic answers ... not here. Maybe it was the crew when I was there ...

            Normally I'm quite enthusiastic to try random pastries and bakery items but they quickly dampened that.

          2. re: hong_kong_foodie

            My very positive impressions are based on the croissants and scones. I've had the curry pan and a yuzu pastry, which I liked well enough but I have almost no basis for comparison for those items. I've certainly never had anything remotely dry, dense, or sunken.

            Can you recommend a place where I can find a good pan? Now I'm curious.

            1. re: BernalKC

              If you're talking about things like curry pan and melon pan, unfortunately I have not found anything remotely good in SF.

            2. re: hong_kong_foodie

              Everything I tasted was good-great (croissants, scones, pan, fruit pastries), but I also picked up an assortment at 7am on a weekday when everything was very fresh. Sorry to hear about your disappointing experience.

              1. re: Candice

                How would you compare them fresh at 7am to what you find, say, in Tokyo?

          3. Your best bet for Chinese close by is Henry's Hunan in outer Noe. Beijing Restaurant in the Excelsior isn't all that far a drive from the southern edge of Bernal Heights, and is also good. If you need food from Southern/Eastern China like dim sum you're out of luck - all the good stuff is in Chinatown, on the other side of Twin Peaks, or south of the city. If you are close to BART it'll be almost quicker to head for Millbrae rather than try for the Sunset or Richmond on public transit.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bigwheel042

              For Chinese, we eat either at Henry's Hunan for spicy or Lucky River (on Monterey) for inexpensive Cantonese. Closest Dim Sum is Imperial Garden just down the hill on San Bruno Avenue. It doesn't rank with Koi Palace or Yank Sing but it's a big room with a friendly staff.

              Lotus Garden on Mission is worth trying for Vietnamese.

              The best resturant on Cortland is Piqueos. Vino Rosso is a nice little wine bar. And Avendanos is a great butcher shop that does some prepared food.

              -----
              Koi Palace Restaurant
              365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

              Lotus Garden
              3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Piqueo's
              830 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Yank Sing
              49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

              1. re: Calvinist

                I'll second all of these except maybe Lucky River, where we've been unlucky with delivery.

                Avedano's is a great butcher shop for people who can afford to spend $20 a pound for lamb.

                -----
                Avedano's
                235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Lucky River
                700 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94127

                1. re: Windy

                  I've always shied away from delivery from Lucky River. For delivery we rely on Henry's Hunan. Seems to travel well.

                  -----
                  Lucky River
                  700 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94127

            2. No food there but The Wild Side West is a great little bar with a beautiful back garden that's just perfect for the weather we have been having.

              -----
              Wild Side West
              424 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kristine

                Second on the back garden at WSW, Sandbox, Alemany Farmer's Market, MOM (what we call Manilla Oriental Market), Beijing, Blue Plate, some things at Lotus Garden (shaking beef is good but sometimes I just suck it up and go to the 'Loin if I want better Vietnamese).

                For dim sum, it's a pretty quick drive to Koi Palace or Millbrae.

                From my part of Bernal, Beretta and La Taqueria are close, and bart or the 14 or 49 bus get you to all parts of the Mission and to the rest of the city quickly.

                Some of my friends like Baby Blue BBQ. I'm ultra picky about BBQ and have had some good meals there and some ok meals. The people that run it are really nice and they deliver.

                -----
                Koi Palace Restaurant
                365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                Lotus Garden
                3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Blue Plate
                3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                La Taqueria
                2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: Candice

                  that's really good to know about BB BBQ, i was curious about it.

              2. Re: farmer's market, don't miss the Alemany Farmer's market (Saturday mornings). It is very very good. (Crowded, parking is tough, but well worth it)

                -----
                Alemany Farmers' Market
                100 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. Angkor Borei has fantastic Cambodian food

                  1. San Bruno Ave, on the other side of 280 in the Portola dist, has a Chinese Market (San Bruno Market) and some old school-ish Cantonese delis where you can get duck, chicken, pork, etc.

                    1. For chinese, Wild Pepper may be your best option; I like them more than Jasmine Tea House, and they have online ordering/delivery. That said, neither is reliably great, though.

                      -----
                      Jasmine Tea House
                      3253 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      Wild Pepper
                      3601 26th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: BernalKC

                        chowhound usually doens't like people posting about that. but what i'm more wondering about i the relevance.

                        1. re: vulber

                          I don't understand. You're wondering about the relevance of a very, very low health inspection? Seems pretty clear to me. I like cheap eats and greasy spoons as much as anyone. But when the health department finds problems, I want to know. When the low scores persist over time and multiple inspections, I'll take my business elsewhere.

                          1. re: BernalKC

                            first of all, you can't stay open with a 44 routinely

                            also, they scored an 81 in the latest one:
                            http://missionlocal.org/san-francisco...

                      2. Balompie for great pupusas.

                        1. Thanks, everyone. We tried Beijing Restaurant and it was quite good, although I think I like Everyday Beijing in San Mateo better. We also did a little research on San Bruno Ave and went to Imperial Something for dim sum which was also pretty good. Some of the other suggestions sound great, too, so we'll be busy for awhile.

                          -----
                          Everyday Beijing
                          637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JoyM

                            For easy shopping, Ranch 99 on Skyline in Daly City is a quick drive off 280. While there, try Spicy Element for interesting Chinese. Everyday Beijing and Beijing Restaurant are terrific. For Dim Sum, you can also jump on 101 South to Grand Ave, SSF and try Grand Palace on Grand - huge dining room, working class prices and fresh, reliable old standards. A good Dim Sum choice for every weekend use without waiting.

                            -----
                            Everyday Beijing
                            637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

                            Grand Palace
                            359 Grand Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080

                            Spicy Element
                            83 Skyline Plz, Daly City, CA 94015

                          2. Here is my corner store on the side of Bernal facing downtown. 3216 Folsom St. www.toharvest.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbMrD6...
                            Grass fed beef, vegan options, fresh organic produce. It's a new ownership team that took it over. Harvest Hills is their new name but the store still says Cancillas on the outside.