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Stuck at SFO... How to get to the good stuff?

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I'll be staying at the Best Western Airport next week for three nights. No car. You see my predicament.

Wednesday night, I'll be arriving around 8p. Is there anything in the vicinity of the airport worth eating? Willing to walk or cab 2-3 miles.

Thursday, I'll be meeting a friend with a car. Anything within reasonable (10-15 min.) driving distance and moderately priced ($12-20 entrees)? Chinese would be awesome, but whatever.

Friday, I'm inclined to take the BART into the city. Any recommendations that are reasonably accessible (1 mi. walk) along the line? Would be fun to hit up a restaurant, then maybe a bar afterward, as long as I won't get stranded. Would like to limit the trip to one hour each way. Cuisine/cost wide open. Just want the best food.

Sorry to be vague.

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  1. You're in luck. There's wonderful Chinese in Millbrae. 1.2 miles away from SFO is Hong Kong Flower Lounge. There are other excellent Chinese restaurants in Millbrae frequently debated on this board, including Zen Peninsula and Asia Pearl. Note that it's Chinese New Year, so it may be crowded.

    For Friday, take BART to 16th street station or 24th street station in the Mission, depending on your food preferences (very generally speaking - 16th street is more "upscale" and "trendy," and 24th street is more "authentic" and "up and coming" but there are restaurants in both areas that are the reverse). I personally prefer 16th street - Delfina and Bi-Rite Creamery are two of my favorites.

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    Hong Kong Flower Lounge
    51 Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030

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

    Zen Peninsula
    1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

    3 Replies
    1. re: artemis

      I agree with all of this, definitely BART it to the Mission, and if you search this board for Mission restaurants, you'll find lots to choose from. Lots of great bars and restaurants an easy walk from either BART station.

      1. re: artemis

        Cool. I ate at Delfina and Bi-Rite, in that order, a few years back. Both delicious. I learned the olive oil and sea salt on ice cream trick from the latter.

        Good point about New Year. Maybe non-Chinese recommendations, then?

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

        1. re: artemis

          Small correction--Delfina, Delfina Pizzeria, Bi-Rite, and Tartine are on 18th rather than 16th.

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

        2. Anyplace on or near Valencia is within a mile of BART.

          Maybe Everyday Beijing for the night you have a car.

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          Everyday Beijing
          637 South B Street, San Mateo, CA

          6 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Cool. Any recs on or near Valencia?

            1. re: kevin47

              Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, Hog & Rocks, Bar Bambino, Ti Couz, Monk's Kettle, Little Star, Heart, Beretta, Frjtz ...

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

              Bar Bambino
              2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Frjtz
              581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              The Monk's Kettle
              3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Pizzeria Delfina
              2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

              Little Star Cafe
              1536 Newell Ave, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Valencia extends about 15 (long) blocks - less than a mile - and between two bart stations. Robert is of course correct about a one-mile walk. If you say "one mile walk from 16th & mission" you get even Frances - 0.8 miles according to Google Maps walking directions. La Ciccia - much loved here - is 1.0 from 24th Street BART.

                Within even the shortest range of the BARTs are some real standouts:
                Mavrick, Saison, Poc Chuc, Commonwealth, Range, Limon

                Really more of "what do you want to eat" then "where can I eat" .... 1 mile from the mission comprises a food playground of epic proportions.

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

                Saison
                2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Yeah, I'm coming from Minneapolis. Vietnamese is a strong suit here. Chinese and Italian are not. I'd like to expense my meal, so the high end tasting menus are out.

                  I'm giving Bar Bambino a shot for Wednesday, 'cause I'll be coming in from the airport, and they are right by the BART stop, and they don't mind me bringing my suitcase.

                  Thursday, I think Everyday Beijing sounds good.

                  For Friday, Limon looks great, and has resos available.

                  Sound like a good trip?

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

                  Bar Bambino
                  2931 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  Limon Restaurant
                  524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  1. re: kevin47

                    Yeah, not bad. I'm personally not a huge fan of Everyday Beijing. It is good, and unusual, but it's not a very approachable cuisine, especially for the solo diner. Beijing is very "heartland" in chinese food, kind of like Iowa in america, which is why there aren't that many beijing restaurants. Everyday Beijing pulls it off well, though. Lots of massive carbs and 12-packs of dumplings (Robert, tell me I'm wrong, what should one order there?). I'd love to go there with 6 people and order half the menu, but I've gone a few times with 1 and been somewhat at sea.
                    Old Mandrin Islamic
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/745499
                    or the Hakka place
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689236
                    is more fun and approachable, for regional chinese
                    Some longer and more caustic comments about HK style around here
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728501
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714890

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

                    1. re: kevin47

                      If you like Italian, you could also try Gialina's in Glen Park, which is one stop closer to you on Bart (Glen Park Station) - and the restaurant is a two minute walk. Though I'm not going to talk you out of hitting the Mission. You've gotten some good recs, above.

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                      Gialina
                      2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131