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Nov 20, 2010 07:30 PM

Help! Need recommendations for short trip with my very senior parents

Have been to SF, but I can't seem to focus on where I should take my parents while we are there
for 4 days in December. They are "depression-era" , and don't really like to spend $80/piece for a meal, though they can...I am a foodie and want the food to be good. Sounds like a dilemma, eh? They mostly do late lunches or very early dinners.
Fringale looks pretty good for an early dinner, and we will probably do Yank Sing one afternoon. Any other suggestions? I used to love Tadich Grill but last year when I was there it seemed to be slipping.
I thought of Tommy Toys, as their lunch special is a good deal, though not sure if they are good. My Dad especially loves the sourdough bread there, but more and more I notice that many restaurants don't serve it... We are staying in Union Square but taking a cab is no problem. Thanks for any help that you can give me...

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Fringale Restaurant
570 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

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

Tommy Toy's
655 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. You can "trick" them into a decent meal if you find a place that serves family-style. I think the depression-era parents are much more common then anyone thinks.

    Unfortunately the number of non-Asian family-style restaurants are limited. R&G Lounge is a very nice Cantonese restaurant (family-style)...but also pricey. The salt and pepper crab is very good.

    I'd still try Tadich...maybe for a lunch.

    1. I have a couple of questions for you. You say your parents are "very senior", do they have any accessibility issues? For example are stairs an issue, or steep hills? Would they prefer a quiet atmosphere where one doesn't have to shout to be heard? What sort of food do they like? Are the meat and potatoes, or are they more adventuresome? All of these factors can really help narrow down your choices.

      Let me know as I've taken my parents out to many places in the city (we live here), and my Mum had some accessibility issues, and my Dad preferred quieter places, not because he's going deaf, but because we all mumble ;)

      4 Replies
      1. re: cosmogrrl

        Good points. For example for "value" I would recommend Barbacco, but it can be very noisy (although it wasn't when I was there right after work for an early dinner, so that might be a possibility).

        My father is also "depression-era" and I think he's more sensitive to "value" than to price, that is, he doesn't mind if it's not cheap if the overall experience is good (professional service without a hipster attitude, nice atmosphere, decent portions, well-prepared food, etc.). He recently took some visitors to Scoma's, for example, which isn't cheap, but he thought the overall experience was worth what they paid.

        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          We took my parents to San Franciso in March (from Vancouver) and they had a great time. I'm not sure what you mean by very senior but they grew up in the Depression. They particularly loved Perbacco and Canteen, and also really enjoyed Mandalay for lunch.

        2. re: cosmogrrl

          My Dad is 92 and Mom 83 and both do not walk very far at this point. My Dad is practically deaf and in loud places he cannot hear even with his ear piece. (Though he is still "ready" to go....)
          Stairs and steep hills are issues, so we will take cabs and hopefully be dropped off right in front of places. I think that though they are not usually that adventurous, they consider me to be well versed in food/restaurants, and will take my lead...Oh, they actually love Scoma's, though honestly I am trying to get away from there...I have added "Oscar" to my list...just looks like such a great menu...Quiet places are so hard to find, it seems...

          1. re: jinet12

            It's a really wonderful thing you are doing for your parents. Whatever efforts you make, you are certain to be glad you did them 20 years from now.

        3. Hayes Street Grill?

          Hayes Street Grill
          324 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          2 Replies
          1. re: wolfe

            That's what I could say. You can actually have a conversation in there. I also think the entrance is flat and level, if I remember.

            1. re: ML8000

              There's a slightly inclined ramp, but good for my mobility and hearing challenged depression era grandfather, who is more in the "value" than "price" camp. I also agree with The Big Four - I usually get the excellent chicken pot pie.

              On the other hand, my SO's depression era grandparents are in the "price" camp and we could not take them to Hayes Street Grill due to the prices. For them, family style is key so they never see a menu or the prices. They love Hometown Buffet, but I'll turn into a pumpkin before I willingly eat there without at least trying to offer alternatives.

              Hayes Street Grill
              324 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          2. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but The Big 4 is quite nice. Always has a few of the Octagenarian set, which I love, and good food and good cocktails. Good wine list too. No professionals ever review the place (which is an absolute mystery to me). But I've eaten there fairly often, as it's around the corner from me, and really enjoy the food there. It's meat and potatoes, but with a modern flair. Seasonal menu as well. Chef does have awards though.

            It's flat in front and has four or five low stairs, which my mother ( who was not very spry and mostly went out in a wheel chair) could manage. They also have wheelchair ramp access from the hotel lobby. It's also quiet, so it's easy to have conversation. I started going here with my parents, and keep coming back on my own because I enjoy it. NIce, old school atmostphere despite it being built in 1976.

            Brought a gaggle of my young foodish friends here and they all really enjoyed the food, and the place.

            Plus it's on Huntington square so you can see Grace Cathedral, Flood Mansion (Pacific Union club), The Mark Hopkins, and the Fairmont very easily and it's all flat too. Especially beautiful during the holidays when the lights are up.

            They're open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays I believe.

            Big Four
            1075 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

            1. I'd recommend Le Charm, tho it's been a year since I was there last.
              Food was always really good, and it's not as expensive, nor noisy, as many places are for the quality.