Recommendations near MOMA?
Hello, my girlfriend and I are based out of Sacramento, but she landed a gig hosting parties and press events out of a penthouse apartment a few blocks north of the Museum of Modern Art, so we will be spending a great deal of time there for the next month or so.
While here we are looking for, within walking distance, the following:
Good, tasty relatively inexpensive places to hit when we don't feel like cooking.
A good grocery store with a varied selection that hopefully won't break the bank.
A few places that are more expensive for special nights out.
A good beer/wine store that carries a more varied selection.
Finally, we would love recommendations for a few can't-miss restaurants (or other places) outside of the area that are worth taking a cab/driving to/taking public transportation to get to.
Thanks so much!
Union Square is actually west of the MOMA, rather than north. A few blocks north would be somewhere around 2nd and Market, so I'm assuming this is approximately where the OP is going to be located.
Whole Foods is a fairly long hike from there, and although it has a great selection of food, it's probably the archetypal "break the bank" grocery store. Somewhat closer, but still expensive, is the Bristol Farms grocery in the bottom floor of the Westfield Mall, which is between Mission and Market around 5th. There's also a Safeway at Jackson and Davis, close to the Embarcadero Center. Also a significant walk, but a cheaper alternative to Whole Foods. You should also check out the farmer's market at the Ferry Building on Saturday mornings for excellent local produce as well as stalls selling various types of street food.
Depending on where you are, exactly, you should be in walking distance of numerous high-end restaurants, including Ame, Salt House and RN 74. Boulevard, Prospect and Benu are a bit farther away, but within 15 minutes walking distance.
The area is full of relatively inexpensive places, though a lot of them serve lunch but not dinner. Here's a more or less comprehensive thread on lunch places in the area: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617896. That should at least get you started.
Incidentally, if I'm right about your location, you're very close to the Montgomery St. BART/Muni station, which opens up much of the city, as well as the East Bay. For example, the Mission is about 10 minutes away on BART, and it's one of the hottest food areas in the city and is full of very good, inexpensive places to eat. Searching on "Mission" on this board will give you more recommendations than you'll be able to use.
A couple of blocks in one direction or another can put you in significantly different neighborhoods, (e.g., Union Sq. vs. Fidi), so if you're not going to be around 2nd and Market you might want to post again with more precise location information.
845 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
2 Shaw Aly, San Francisco, CA 94105
22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103
"A few blocks north of moma" is almost exactly union square, so you can search for things near union square. You might have meant a few blocks north-east, which would be like mission and 1st, which would be an entirely different neighborhood - and a lot further from Whole Foods.
There are a lot of resources here for "can't miss restaurants". A good place to start is the Michelin star list (available on Open Table). Our local (somewhat revilied) food critic, Bauer, has a top 100 list. Just searching chowhound for "NYC visitor" will get a lot of one-night-in-SF recommendations.
For "good tasty relatively inexpensive in walking distance", you'd do well to describe better what "relatively inexpensive" is, exact cross streets, and what you like to eat. Henry's Hunan meets my criteria and is close to the MOMA.
Grocery stores in walking distance are few and easily search able. It's the Whole Foods, far to the south of MOMA, and a motley collection of bodegas. If you're keeping a car here, a quick pop down to the Potrero Safeway is easy. By bus, you're best off doing some searches of your exact street corner. For example, the Castro Safeway has excellent transit down market, even though it's further than several other choices. Only one tip: don't underestimate Walgreens and CVS. They have fresh milk, eggs, a small variety of staples.