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Oct 14, 2010 07:51 AM

What does SF do best ?

My wife and I are coming to SF (from Toronto) for our 20th. Thanks to other CH threads, I've discovered: Tadich (2pm late lunch of cioppino at the bar), House of Nanking (spicy chicken), Incanto (almost everything), Bar Crudo (raw fish), Sotto Mar (sandabs / cioppino) and Nick's Crispy Tacos (fish tacos). Haven't even looked into street food yet.

Budget isn't an issue, but there is nothing worse than paying big bucks for mediocre food. We have a car but love to walk and explore, so anywhere within 3 miles of South Beach is fine.

Any suggestions for authentic or unique or special SF fare ?

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  1. I think 3 miles from South Beach encompasses the entire Mission. We do burritos well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Thanks Wolfe,

      Mission is definitely in range. Any specific burrito suggestions ?

        1. re: wolfe

          Oh Boy. Another gold mine thread. I'd better get to work...
          Thanks !

    2. if you're restricted within 3 mi of south beach
      then you could try Marlowe which is good
      SO for chicken wings
      Roli Roti at the Ferry building
      Tadich cioppino broth is excellent, Sotto Mare is good too, but more tomato based and you peel your own shellfish (but you get a lot more of it), also i liked the sandabs better at Sotto Mare
      Incanto excellent
      try our ice cream/gelato, i.e. BiRite, Mr and Mrs miscellaneous, Humphry Slocombe, Mitchell's, Gelateria Naia, Marco Polo Gelato, etc.
      the House (fusion)

      1. What San Francisco does best is mid-level restaurants. Bar Crudo, Incanto, Perbacco/Barbacco, Zuni are very good examples. Pizza at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in North Beach is very good, too.

        La Folie is pretty special. Maybe the most comfortable high-end destination in San Francisco. Lovely French food in a low key, pleasing environment. It's a husband/wife shop. Not cheap. Good wine list. Bring an appetite. I like it a lot.

        Zuni Cafe
        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        La Folie
        2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

        Bar Crudo
        655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

        Tony's Pizza Napoletana
        1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        12 Replies
        1. re: steve h.

          Is Jamie Passot working the front of the house at La Folie again?

          La Folie
          2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

            1. re: steve h.

              "Diners expecting a warm greeting from Jamie Passot as they sweep into La Folie, Michelin Red Guide in hand, are in for a disappointment. No matter what the prestigious French restaurant guide says, the chef's wife won't be waiting at the door. She stopped working nights when she and chef Roland Passot had their daughter Charlotte—and Charlotte turns 13 next month."


              La Folie
              2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I took Deb to La Folie on or about October 19 last year. She flagged us a cab after the meal.

                La Folie
                2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Ah, Robert. Now you have me doubting myself.
                  If that wasn't the chef's wife at the front of the house on or about October 19 of 2009, then who was that utterly charming, middle-aged women who spoke with authority and hailed me a cab?

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      No. The woman I saw was older. Maybe 5' 5" with blonde hair. Charming, stern and customer focused. She insisted on hailing me a cab. I was impressed.

                      I took Deb there for her birthday last year. It was a wonderful evening. Maybe the best meal we ever had in San Francisco. Next week is Pt. Reyes. I'm hoping to pull another birthday rabbit out of the hat. We'll see.

                          1. re: steve h.

                            Haven't been yet, but it's high on my list.

            2. re: steve h.

              La Folie is really great. Very traditional French place, awesome food.

              Portions are huge, so keep that in mind if you head out there. I ordered their five course meal and was stuffed by the third. Fourth course was the most delicious rack of lamb I'd ever tried, but I really couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked being so stuffed. If I went back I'd go for three courses plus dessert.

              La Folie
              2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

            3. Mid-range, some ethnic foods, artisan stuff (bread, pastries, meat, coffee, etc.) and produce.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                Thanks ML,

                Any specific suggestions ?

                1. re: PoppiYYZ

                  Go the Ferry Building and walk around for everything mentioned. Go on a farmer's market day for produce.

                  1. re: PoppiYYZ

                    Arizmendi (bakery and pizza) just opened this week in the Mission (Valencia & 24th) (original is in East Bay, and is a favorite among many);

                    Poc Chuc in the Mission, Yucatecan-style Mexican;
                    Peruvian - Limon, Limon Rotisserie, Inkas, La Mer Cebicheria, Mochica....
                    La Ciccia for Sardinian food....
                    Z&Y for Sichuan...
                    Bistro Bodega for Vietnamese...

                    I'd skip House of Nanking, personally. I enjoy it but there's too many other places to try.

                    La Ciccia
                    291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

                    Inkas Restaurant
                    3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    937 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

                    Limon Restaurant
                    524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    House of Nanking
                    919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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

                    3265 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA

                    Limon Rotisserie
                    1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  2. re: ML8000

                    I could eat sourdough bread and butter day and night....Acme, Boudin, Bordenave's.

                  3. "Thanks to other CH threads, I've discovered " ... "House of Nanking (spicy chicken),"

                    Chowhound is strongly against HoN. A few of the chinatown chinese places are recommended widely, but not that one. If you're from Toronto I'm sure your standard for chinese is *HIGH* above HoN.

                    Jai Yun and R&G are commonly recommended.

                    Re: street food, this video of the pizza hacker (who you can find best using twitter) gives some shots of the street food scene.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: bbulkow

                      I believe it's possible to eat well at House of Nanking, but this probably isn't the most appropriate topic in which to discuss that.

                      House of Nanking
                      919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I really think it's a standards thing. When I went there the first and only time, it was in about '93 and I thought it was a bit overrated. Now that you can go to Old Mandrin Islamic or Jai Yun --- what's the point in sending a visitor to HoN? And one from Toronto, at that? My mom, maybe.

                        Jai Yun
                        680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                      2. re: bbulkow

                        I think what makes HoN good for first time visitors is that as RL said you can eat well there, and it is quite unique. It's the return visits when the uniqueness wears off and you realize everything is prepared the same sweet brown sauce.

                        Regardless of your preference, I doubt the OP will have been to anything similar in Toronto.

                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          If everything were prepared in the same sauce, I wouldn't say you can eat well there.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            RL and what would you guys order to eat well? And what's unique?

                            I've been twice and found everything super bland and of course you might get the S/M abuse treatment from the owner if you ask for something like a menu or a simple question.