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Nov 11, 2010 09:35 AM

SF Near Union Square

We are coming to SF on Sunday, staying in a hotel 2 blocks off Union Square. We will be on foot, but can do public transportation.

Where are "must eats" that are not too expensive? We like seafood, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian. Where is a really good meal in Chinatown? North Beach? Is Little Joe's/Baby Joe's still happening? The Red Pepper on Sansome? Isn't there a garlicky place on Broadway (Stinking Rose, I think)? Should we try it out?

Also, any good breakfast/lunch places near Union Square that won't break the bank?

Red Pepper Restaurant
130 Railroad Ave, Richmond, CA 94801

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  1. the house in north beach, brenda's french soul food, sight glass coffee in the soma, house of nanking, the ferry building.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jessf

      I'll be the one this time to point out that House of Nanking is, at best, extremely divisive on this board. There are those who love HoN, and there are those who think HoN is one of the worst restaurants ever (I'm in that camp). Before going there, due diligence strongly suggests reading a few threads to help you decide which camp you may fall into.

      Brenda's is great, as is the House, and the Ferry Building.

      Stinking Rose is also awful. Little Joe's... are you thinking of Original Joe's? That burned down, and I also think its pull lay more in nostalgia than food.

      If you can do public transportation, San Francisco is your oyster. Search La Ciccia, Incanto, Delfina, Perbacco, A16 for Italian. Flour and Water, Tony's, and Una Pizza for pizza. R&G Lounge in Chinatown for very specific dishes - depending on how long you are here, dungeness season may open during your visit and R&G makes a stellar salt & pepper crab. Yank Sing is also excellent, though can get expensive.

      Bodega Bistro is one spot for good vietnamese. Slanted Door is divisive as well, though less so than HoN, mostly for price:quality and authenticity challenges. I also like Out the Door, with appropriate caveats regarding authenticity and pricing - I just think it tastes good.

      Also consider Burmese, such as Burmese Kitchen or Mandalay. Poc Chuc (Yucatanean) is another consistently recommended choice, and very inexpensive.

      You will also be asked what "won't break the bank" means. Everyone's "bank" is a different size. And where you are coming from - it is absurd to make recommendations for Chinese to a Vancouverite, for example.

      There have been a lot of similar threads to yours in the past few months, so you will also find many answers there.

      I will also point out that if you are coming THIS sunday, you need to make reservations ASAP. It is too late for many places that take reservations - San Franciscans are used to making reservations several weeks in advance. However, many great places don't take reservations.

      Slanted Door
      Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

      Bodega Bistro
      607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      Delfina Restaurant
      3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Little Joe's
      1106 Market St, San Francisco, CA

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

      Stinking Rose
      325 Columbus, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Original Joe's Restaurant
      601 Union St, San Francisco, CA

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

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

      Out the Door
      845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      The San Franciscan
      1525 North Main St., Walnut Creek, CA 94596

      Flour + Water
      2401 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: artemis

        Little Joe's is legitimate nostalgia from way back when Franco and Paolo served it up on Columbus and perhaps through one or 2 of the subsequent moves but probably not lately.

        Little Joe's
        1106 Market St, San Francisco, CA

      2. re: jessf

        some things to add to the other helpful comments:
        since you're around Union Square, I'd recommend Vietnam House
        Sotto Mare for grilled sand dabs and cioppino (vs. Tadich)
        stop by Golden Gate Bakery for egg tarts
        canteen brunch

        Golden Gate Bakery
        1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Sotto Mare
        552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

      3. Little Joe's has actually moved to 5th & mission - I think this is it's 3rd or 4th location since the original North Beach spot - haven't eaten there in years but still have fond memories of the veal saltimbocca. Another good choice for old school Italian is Contadina in North Beach Union/Mason about a 10 minute bus ride. Breakfast check out Cafe de la Presse on Bush/Grant and Sears is still pretty good and the lines aren't as bad as they once were.

        Little Joe's
        1106 Market St, San Francisco, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: sfgirl22

          Because it's been a while since you've been to little Joe's I'm wondering whether the same is true of Trattoria Contadina. Presently the reviews have been less than complimentary.
          Recent comments from Chowhound.
          Trattoria Contadina a Delusione
          Profoundly mediocre