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6 hour layover--where to eat?

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My husband and I are flying into SFO and theoretically will have a 6-hour layover between 5 & 11 pm on a Monday night. Any suggestions for easy-to-reach and good restaurants? Would rather spend my money on food than transportation, so could take BART if time allows . . . or a cab ride for, say, $25 round trip or less. Want something moderately priced but delicious! We'll be coming from Mexico, so no Mexican/Spanish. Good views/neighborhood ambiance a plus. I should probably have a close/quick backup in case the flight is delayed or it takes a long time to go through customs. Thanks!

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  1. Hong Kong Flower Lounge is right by the Millbrae BART station. If you have plenty of time, you could go to 24th St. or 16th St., there are lots of good choices on Valencia St.

    If you're short of time, there's actually decent food at the airport: Harbor Village for dim sum and noodles, Emporio Rulli for panini and Italian pastries, etc.

    http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/atsfo/...

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

    7 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Yes, Hong Kong Flower Lounge is where I usually go for SFO pickups. BART over (1 stop) and have them call you a cab to go back, since the service cuts back at night.

      If you do a search on "Millbrae," you'll find many other recommendations, especially Chinese food. Asian Pearl is my current favorite, but it's not walking distance from BART.

      There won't be any views at that hour, and Millbrae has great restaurants but not a lot of neighborhood charm.

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

      1. re: Windy

        Actually, the return trip from Millbrae station should be easier than the trip there. The trains run every 20 minutes from 5pm to 11pm, so there's no cutback in service. But before 7pm you have to ride north to San Bruno, change trains, then go back south. After 7pm they change the routing and it's a straight shot. Regardless, HKFL is a viable option.

        But as you correctly note, Millbrae is lacking in neighborhood charm. What about Bar Bambino? It's a block from the 16th Street station. Or Beretta (3 blocks from 24th Street)? Lots of options close to the Embarcadero station, too - Perbacco (or, if that's a bit too spendy, Barbacco), Tadich Grill, etc. But if the OP wants good views, there's one clear standout: Slanted Door.

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        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Perbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Tadich Grill
        240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

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

        Beretta
        1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Barbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        1. re: alanbarnes

          The portion of the Mission between 16th St. BART and Bar Bambino is not so charming. Valencia St. is much nicer. The Financial District is pretty dead on a Monday night, though the Ferry Building is always lovely.

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Good point. Given the OP's interest in "neighborhood ambience," it may be better to look for a place a few blocks away from the BART station. Although for me, the guys selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs out of their minivans on Mission Street create their own kind of ambience... ;-)

            1. re: alanbarnes

              I can get that kind of ambiance in Chicago! (though not usually with bacon)

              1. re: piebaker

                Ah, but the bacon makes all the difference! (It's a Sonoran thing, apparently - I just like bacon.)

                Seriously, I'm not an advocate of The Slanted Door. It's upscale Vietnamese fusion cooking, and there's better upscale food, better Vietnamese food, and better fusion food nearby. But since you're only around for a few hours, and are looking for a pleasant spot with a good view close to a BART station on a Monday night? IMO it's the way to go.

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                Slanted Door
                Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        I really enjoyed Zen Peninsula lately.

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        Zen Peninsula
        1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

      3. Cab ride from SFO to SF is about $45 one way. BART is about $8 p/per each way.

        What is moderately priced and any more info besides not Mexican?

        8 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          I consider entrees $15-$25 to be moderate. French, Italian, other ethnic, & seafood options are all good. And I always get dessert. A friend suggested a couple of places in Potrero Hill--what's a cab ride there cost?

          1. re: piebaker

            Probably at least $40. I can't think of any destination restaurants on Potrero Hill.

            I think La Ciccia is the closest to the airport of the great Italian restaurants in SF.

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

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              La Ciccia is closed Mondays.

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

            2. re: piebaker

              Don't go to Potero Hill, you'll be spending all of your money on cabs, and your time in the car. If you go into SF, go to either some place around Glen Park (Gialina would be a great choice), or some place in the Mission, because those are both pretty quick BART trips from SFO.

              1. re: JasmineG

                For good neighborhood French, take BART to Glen Park and walk one block to L P'tit Laurent.

                1. re: SunsetKid

                  Also Gialina's in Glen Park.

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                  Gialina
                  2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

              2. re: piebaker

                I'd forget Potrero Hill and pick a neighborhood near BART and narrow it that way, or do a search for BART friendly restaurants. As mentioned, you might want to consider spending more.

                There's two BART stops in the Mission and near Civic Center Station is Zuni. At the last 2 SF stops (Montgomery St. and Embarcadero) is the Ferry Building (Slanted Door) and a bunch of options. You also need to consider a reservation. I'd look on Open Table, pick your date and see what's open.

                Or search BART, like these:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/630521
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/683745

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                Zuni Cafe
                1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1. re: ML8000

                  Zuni's closed on Mondays.

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                  Zuni Cafe
                  1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            3. Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to study the BART schedules and come up with a Plan A, B and C.