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D, D & D in SF?

OK, not everyone is a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network, but I am. I always wind up craving the food I see after watching. My partner and I will be in SF in two weeks and I would love to try one of the places Guy featured on the show. We'll probably just want to stop in for lunch and grab a sandwich, as we already have our dinners planned. Out of the following list, where should we go?

Grubstake Diner
Joe's Cable car
Tommy's Joynt
Rocco's Cafe
Dottie's
Tee Off & Grill
Q Retsaurant
Pier 23 Cafe

Or none of them? :)

Thanks to all.

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Tommy's Joynt
1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

Pier 23 Cafe
The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. DO NOT go to Joe's. I don't know how he missed Red's Java House for hot dogs or a beer and a burger and a view.

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    Red's Java House
    Pier 30, San Francisco, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      +1 on Red's. This is an actual D,D&D. I always get the egg sammy on sourdough with sausage, add tapatio hot sauce and enjoy on the picnic tables. Pure san francisco. Most places I explore the menu - not at Red's. It's a classic, and an antidote to all the tourist crud. Maybe it's not a "drive-in" because it's not really on a road anymore. More of a sail-in.

      Your second stop that DDD missed is an El Toyanse taco truck. Al Pastor, baby.

      Dottie's has huge lines and decent food. Visitors have claimed hour long waits on weekdays for breakfast. Then Tommy's. No view and harder to get to (but locals do eat there) but an honest sandwich - I find it boring. Pier 23 next, but I'm not a fan - it's kind of Jimmy Buffet in a bad way - but it has a view. Grubstake only at 2am (it is a dive with decent food) - I would eat there. NO to Joe's. Q is entirely off my radar - if I'm in that part of the world, I'm eating Gordo's or Spices or random Dim Sum or maybe Brother's BBQ.

      If you're in the Grubstake part of town, you're near the tenderloin, which means you're near Saigon Sandwitch, which is 100% worth a trip. And Lers Ros. And Shalimar. Problem with DD&D around here is most of the great dives are "ethnic".

      Another good old-school lunch in the tourist quadrant is Mario's Bohemian, get the eggplant parmigiana, or meatball.

      I don't know where Guy Fieri hails from, but he doesn't have his finger on the pulse of SF.

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      Pier 23 Cafe
      The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/guy-fieri-...
            Guy grew up in Ohio; opened restaurants in Sonoma county: Johnny Garlic's in Santa Rosa, Windsor, Petaluma, and — Roseville... then, there's also Tex Wasabi ...

            Ferndale is still No. California... not Ferndale, MI.

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            Johnny Garlic's
            8988 Brooks Rd S, Windsor, CA 95492

            1. re: Cynsa

              He was born in Ohio but grew up in Ferndale, California. That's why his bio refers to him as a "California 'guy'."

      1. re: wolfe

        Repeat, DO NOT GO TO JOES. I went once and got the biggest sticker shock at the end of my meal. You will get nickel and dimed up to a $20 cheeseburger and beer before you know it. Also true dat for Red's, but the fish and chips or corned beef hash are leagues ahead of the burger and dogs.

      2. Tommy's is the only real sandwich place on the list. And it's good, in a cheap hofbrau of another era way.

        is Tee Off the place at the Presidio or the one in Golden Gate Park?

        Grubstake is recommended for 2 a.m. burgers, or Portuguese food.

        Aside from Dottie's, and the view from Pier 23, none of these is where I would send a visitor on a short trip.

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        Pier 23 Cafe
        The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        11 Replies
        1. re: Windy

          Tee Off is a bar on Clement street, located at the edge of Presidio park entrance that leads to the Legion of Honor museum.

          1. re: L C

            Thanks. Not the place I was thinking of, which I guess is the golf club at the top of Arguello.

          2. re: Windy

            Windy, i am now working a block from Tommy's and i'm curious to know which sandwiches you like - is it their specials? because i ordered a turkey on rye and got turkey on rye - i think some mayo, but no lettuce, no tomato, no nothing. ok, i think i got swiss on it too. the turkey was fine, but i thought overall the sandwich was dry, bland and overpriced (I think $7 something) for what it was. is it their combination sandwiches (i don't even remember what they were now) that you like? I'd really like to know because they're so close to my office. thanks in advance. (i actually had a decent turkey sandwich from some liquor store deli on Franklin nearby, maybe Eddy? that was much better, and cheaper.)

            1. re: mariacarmen

              It's best to order a hot sandwich or plate from Tommy's since it's a hof brau...or something like pastrami. I've never had a deli sandwich there that requires lettuce, tomato, etc., not sure if they even serve that. The lamb shank is good as mentioned and they specialize in buffalo stew and chili. When I lived in SF I usually got the turkey plate.

              1. re: ML8000

                Yeah, I usually look at what's fresh, and get pastrami or lamb shanks. Turkey if it hasn't been sitting too long. All better if you get one of their $4 cocktails to wash it down with. I get the plates rather than sandwiches.

                1. re: Windy

                  ok. yeah, that's not what i really want at lunchtime. thanks.

                  1. re: Windy

                    I order dark meat for the turkey plate, it holds up to sitting around. The beer list (bottled mostly) is pretty crazy as well. The thing I've never order is the turkey sloppy joe and salmon...just too risky.

                2. re: mariacarmen

                  College Liquors on Ellis @ Franklin.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Try asking your sandwich 'dipped'. Adding gravy or 'jus' will help a lot with the dryness. I doubt they have a tomato in the house.

                    1. re: TenderNob

                      they don't, i asked! good idea about the jus. and i think i'll go for pastrami next time. thanks!

                3. I am a triple D fan too, and as you probably have experienced, the places can be hit or miss sometimes. Same goes for SF, as there are better options around town. To rank your list:
                  1. Dotties - but be prepared for a long wait
                  2. Tee Off for the Pork chop & Mac & Cheese - but well over $20pp for lunch. Call ahead to make sure they are open and have the pork chops on hand.
                  3. Tommy's Joint on a Thursday for the lamb shanks. Otherwise order a plate meal like pastrami over just a sandwich. The sandwiches are cheap but very bready.
                  4. Grubstake - but not open for lunch.
                  5. Q Restaurant - Interesting place and menu, but I have felt it was missing something the couple of times I have been there.

                  Haven't tried Rocco's.

                  Just say no to Pier 23 (touristy) and Joe's Cable Car on Mission (most over-rated over-priced burger in town.

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                  Joe's Cable Car
                  4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                  Pier 23 Cafe
                  The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                  1. I don't think any of those places would make a real local dive aficionado's top-10 list.

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                    Saigon Sandwich Shop
                    560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    Taqueria San Jose
                    2830 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Truly Mediterranean
                    3109 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                    Cordon Bleu Vietnamese
                    1574 California St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Hai Ky Mi Gia
                    707 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Yamo
                    3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    La Santaneca De La Mission
                    2815 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    Shalimar
                    532 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Cordon Bleu makes your list? I used to live around the corner on Sacto, had a couple of pretty good for the price meals, then a few that left me feeling ill, like the meat was a bit 'off' and haven't been back since.too many good places IMHO to put up with that odd flavor and worse feeling. hope they've changed as I did like them when they were good.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I think the O.P. is looking for diners not just divey places. And only those featured on Guy's TV show.

                        1. re: L C

                          My point is that Guy Fieri's recommendations for San Francisco are so random that it would be a waste of a meal to follow them.

                          Actually, Joe's Cable Car would be just desserts.

                          -----
                          Joe's Cable Car
                          4320 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Yeah, but that misses the OP's mission. Speaking for myself, some of the specific dishes prepared on the show look awesome, so it is nice to get a chance to try them when available. The typical Triple D fan isn't likely to order something that wasn't on the show, let alone go somewhere else.

                            1. re: Civil Bear

                              Chowhound is about where to find delicious food, not where to get mediocre crap you saw on TV.

                              I can see tracking down some of the stuff Fieri has had on his show, but his choices in SF don't show any knowledge of the town or even any effort to research it. Q and Dottie's? Seriously? Not that there's anything wrong with either, they just aren't among the places that really fit his show's theme.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                You may not like the show, and the think the food featured on that show is crap. That's fine. But OP is a fan of the show and has serious intent of trying out food on the show. Why post in this thread if you're not gonna help the OP achieve his or her mission? So can you simply call the OP's choices "mediocre crap"?

                                I guess for you Chowhound is about blowing off others' requests for help if their tastes differ from yours.

                                1. re: Dude Swenson

                                  That's 2.
                                  "Hey Dude, nice call and coincidently just watched The Big Lebowski."
                                  wolfe on Dec 18, 2010 04:31PM

                                  1. re: Dude Swenson

                                    The last line in the original post was, "or none of them?"

                                    1. re: Dude Swenson

                                      Except that they aren't the OP's choices--and none of the above was an option.

                                      We used to get a lot of posts asking about the Stinking Rose. It is a public service to (politely, kindly) warn tourists when they're headed for tourist traps.

                                      My favorite aunt, who likes elegant dining, saw this show and asked me about Tommy's Joynt. I like Tommy's enough (as evidenced above), but steered her toward something better for her few meals in town.

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                                      Tommy's Joynt
                                      1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                      Stinking Rose
                                      325 Columbus, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      "Chowhound is about where to find delicious food, not where to get mediocre crap you saw on TV."

                                      Believe me, I have enough "chowhound" dinners in my life to last a lot of other people a lifetime. All I asked was if anyone would recommend any of the places I listed. Some of the dishes I've seen on TV look very good. Some of the people cooking in these places have credible credentials and some of the people have been cooking a lifetime and have real experience. If you actually watched the show and listened, you would know that.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        I've watched the show a bunch of times.I just think they did a terrible job of finding the places in SF that really belong on it.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          I'm going to put is a bit more nicely: the type of food featured on DDD can be delicious but his definition of a "dive" is fairly narrow and the places in SF that fit his parameters are not particularly good. On the other hand, there are a lot of good, cheap, delicious "dives" that you would be missing out on if you focused on places featured on DDD.

                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                            I think (1) there are places in SF that would fit his parameters, which he and his producers missed, and (2) some of the places listed are well outside of those parameters. Makes me wonder if he just puts his pals on the show.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              "Makes me wonder if he just puts his pals on the show."

                                              He's been to hundreds of place...he must be a very friendly man if all of these people from all over the US are his "pals."

                                              1. re: ttoommyy

                                                I figure most of Fieri's pals are probably in the Bay Area and that might have skewed his local picks.

                                            2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              OK...let me say this one last time. I want to try one of the places on the list. If you don't think any are at all good, that's why I added "Or none of them? :)" Quite simple really. I'll take your answer as "none," Ruth Lafler. Thanks!

                                          2. re: ttoommyy

                                            Just go and ignore the not CH enough deal. Tommy's, Grubstake, Dottie's and Tee Off are all good for what they do...but not exactly diners or dives, instead mostly just hearty food (that's how I read DDD). Also you're going for lunch which allows for another meal to erase a less then great experience, always a good strategy.

                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Beg to differ on Tee Off Bar & Grill, he is doing great food there.

                                  3. Tommy's Joynt may be your best bet for a quick lunch. It is in the Civic Center area so fairly close to most hotels. I get that you are looking to try a Triple D place and are not necessarily looking for an ultimate meal.

                                    The Tee Off can be great, or they can be totally off, so definitely call ahead if you are going to head out there. It's a long way from downtown, but if you were planning to do any sight-seeing out towards Ocean Beach (the Legion of Honor, Land's End, Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, etc.) then it might be worth a stop. They do make a good burger and a pulled pork sandwich, but the special items have gotten a little pricey.

                                    Pier 23 is located about half way between the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf, so if you find yourself in the mood to stroll the Embarcadero that might be a logical stop.

                                    With either the Tee Off or Pier 23 you don't have to go for a full meal, they are dive bars, so you can just stop by for a drink and/or a snack, to check them out.

                                    Have a great time in SF!

                                    -----
                                    Tommy's Joynt
                                    1101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                    Pier 23 Cafe
                                    The Embarcadero and Union St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    Legion of Honor Cafe
                                    100 34th Ave, San Francisco, CA

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pamf

                                      Tommy's is not in the Civic Center area. But it's true that it's just a 10 minute walk away, along Van Ness. Most hotels are near Union Square, not Civic Center.

                                      +1
                                      I agree, a stroll along the Embarcadero would be nice.