HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

LA hound in SF for the weekend- what's uniquely SF and not-to-be-missed? (DimSum, Seafood, etc)

Hi Bay hounds,
We finally have a weekend off and are going to be in SF with no work agenda! I'd love some ideas about what/where to eat- houndworthy places that are uniquely San Franciscan, and ideally not too touristy. We live in LA so many things are within easy reach for us so maybe not Mexican or Thai unless it's life-changing... We are staying near the south end of Chinatown, FYI.

Though we have it here, I'd love a good Dim Sum rec.

SF- style seafood, I keep hearing Tadich... seems $$$, is it worth it? a Dungeness crab place, maybe?

also, Cioppino- do I have to have it? Where? How much should I expect to pay?

What else is not-to-be-missed?

Thank you!

-deville

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. How's LA set for Burmese, Peruvian, Yucatecan, and Sardinian?

    I don't think you have Thai like Lers Ros. It's as different from your average Thai place as the southern dishes at Jitlada are, but not in the same way.

    For great seafood, maybe Bar Crudo or Hog Island Oyster Bar in the Ferry Building. Tadich, it's the whole retro package that draws people, the food could be better. Locals maybe prefer the very similar but untouristy Sam's.

    Cioppino topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602076

    -----
    Bar Crudo
    655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Lers Ros Thai
    730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

    10 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Okay, Sardinian has me excited- what's the scoop?

      1. re: jdwdeville

        La Ciccia.

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

        1. re: jdwdeville

          Yeah, La Ciccia. Chef is from Sardinia and brings in stuff you won't find elsewhere.

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

          1. re: jdwdeville

            third on La Ciccia. so excellent.

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

            1. re: mariacarmen

              How's La Ciccia for a solo diner? Do they have a bar for walk-ins? Would love to try them out when I'm in town next week.

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

              1. re: baloney

                They have a small "bar" though even that may require a reservation.
                It is best to call ahead...and well worth a visit.

                1. re: baloney

                  I think La Ciccia would be great for a solo diner - it's small and the hosts and servers are very friendly. It's popular, though, so get a reservation. I often enjoy eating at bars as a solo, but at La Ciccia I would prefer a table.

                  Michael

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

                  1. re: mdg

                    Thanks, helpful insight. I will try to squeeze in a dinner here!

                    1. re: mdg

                      I think it's not a great place for one. The bar stools are cramped, and you'll only get to try a couple of things. Sure, they're warm people, but they don't have time to chat.

                      I live nearby but never eat there with fewer than 3.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                lers ros thai has met it's match with pa ord and sapp in la
                the ferry building marketplace hasn't been duplicated in la
                try 4505 meats, roli roti, il cane rosso, hog island, etc.
                chinese food in la is superior in breadth and depth
                la japanese like mori, zo are superior as well
                though sumika yakitori can hold its own with la, also gochi izakaya is good
                ice cream is better up here, try bi-rite, mr and mrs miscellaneous, humphry slocombe, mitchell's, marco polo, etc, i liked it better than scoops
                brunch options are great up here too, try canteen, dottie's, brenda's, mama's, foreign cinema, zazie, olea, etc.
                you should try a burmese tea leaf salad if you haven't had it before
                i think sf excels with places like marlowe and frances, you might like commonwealth
                various regional italian is great as already mentioned
                nopa is perfect for your late night best eats, aziza is unique

              3. The original comment has been removed
                1. For somebody from L.A. the only dim sum worth trying in the Bay Area is Koi Palace in Daly City. SF Chinatown dim sum is only a little bit better than LA Chinatown (and by implication, way below the San Gabriel Valley) and there are no dim sum destinations there.

                  -----
                  Koi Palace Restaurant
                  365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    I wasn't very impressed by Koi Palace's dim sum.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5843...

                    -----
                    Koi Palace Restaurant
                    365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      In which case there's no reason for an Angeleno to have dim sum in the Bay Area (which may well be the case). There was a thread about the top 7 or so dim sum restaurants in the Bay Area and the LA area, and Koi Palace was the only one on the list not in the San Gabriel Valley.

                      -----
                      Koi Palace Restaurant
                      365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Here's that thread. I think some of the comments are referring to dinner, not dim sum. And Koi Palace's dim sum isn't necessarily as good as it was a few years ago.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/736640

                        -----
                        Koi Palace Restaurant
                        365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                        1. re: Chandavkl

                          I think the converse is also true-- I ate at Elite and Sea Harbour recently and didn't think they were better than Asian Pearl or Koi Palace. I think the places in California are pretty much on par with each other. Just a question of specific dishes are better at one place than another, where you happen to be living, and what you want to eat that day.

                          One place that is not easily categorizable would be Yank Sing, for better or worse.

                          -----
                          Koi Palace Restaurant
                          365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

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

                          Asian Pearl
                          3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                          1. re: sfbing

                            Actually, it probably comes down to menu vs. cart, and more of the top dim sum restaurants in the LA area have opened more recently and are menu driven, reflecting the trend in Hong Kong and Vancouver away from carts. Note also that The Kitchen branch in Alhambra failed quite miserably despite the fanfare when it opened (including a front page LA Times article) because it just didn't stand out.

                            1. re: Chandavkl

                              I think that's a false distinction, since you can order dim sum from a menu at most if not all places that have carts.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Well it's not just the way the food is delivered. Menu driven dim sum restaurants represent not only fresher food that hasn't been sitting around, but also that they're newer restaurants that reflect evolving dim sum trends in Hong Kong and Vancouver. The six best dim sum restaurants in the LA area are all menu, not cart operations. Coincidence? I think not.

                              2. re: Chandavkl

                                Well the Kitchen and AP are no longer affiliated, probably from 2+ years ago when they parted ways from Culinary Wonderland conglomerate. However all of their seafood restaurant branches in NorCal are still around, and there is obviously demand for dinner, where they showcase a bit more regional Cantonese (Foshan, Shunde areas for example) and most recently high end poon choy at The Kitchen Millbrae (old school revival gimmick). Perhaps this style is not appreciated by most or those who are not familiar, and thus ordering tried and true standard stuff during lunch or dinner, may have mixed results, but I truely believe that there is deliciousness to be found at such places, and not just that wacky Macau style fried pork knuckles.

                                And to be fair, you can't judge quality of a branch 500+ miles away and use that as a measurement. Look at Sinbala Cupertino...absolutely horrid and they closed out late last year (why it took so long who knows). But I will say Sinbala in Arcadia rocked. Or how Ay Chung Milpitas and Richmond shuttered, but the one in SoCal and Vegas persisted. Or the two Ten Ren Tea Cafes in the East Bay that were satellite/branches of the ones from a SoCal Ten Ren family, and now the Fremont location is called Tea Six, keeping an identical menu but no longer sporting the TR brand.

                                AP and KP and The Kitchen also use menus. At Zen Peninsula fairly recently I noticed that on the weekend, it's menu ordering and you get your dim sum delivered by cart (and some by ladies holding the tray).

                                1. re: K K

                                  I've eaten at The Kitchen both in Millbrae and Alhambra, and I considered them to be comparable in quality. The Alhambra branch was actually primarily menu driven dim sum, with a few items circulating on trays--perhaps they were trying to compete with the other menu places in the SGV. I thought it was pretty good, but as noted previously, it just didn't stand out at all from its competitors in the SGV.

                                  1. re: K K

                                    "high end poon choy"
                                    Ah ha! Was just about to inquire about this. I had lunch at The Kitchen last week and on the way out noticed the poster for $188 that depicted a platter heaped with whole braised abalone, duck legs, etc. that looked like a smorgasboard. Now this makes sense.

                                    BTW, the dim sum was 100% better than a year ago when The Kitchen was going through its transition. As good as Asian Pearl Peninsula again and competitive with Koi Palace.

                                    -----
                                    Koi Palace Restaurant
                                    365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                                    Asian Pearl
                                    3288 Pierce St, Richmond, CA 94804

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      Yeah I first reported of seeing the high end poon choy last August in Chinese newspaper ads.

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731026

                                      I find it humorous that the exec chef there is being touted as SF Bay Area's version of Hong Kong's super famous Dai Wing Wah (famous for poon choy, where the chef there enjoys some celeb chef status in HK).

                                      As with seafood and classical Cantonese (or Michelin starred) restaurants in HK, the true measurement of a Cantonese restaurant is their cooked dishes during dinner, and not dim sum. Good dim sum is a plus, but not the definitive measurement of a place.

                                2. re: sfbing

                                  On the other hand, slowly expedited food ordered from a menu can be not nearly as good as food at a cart place experiencing rapid turnover. (Sea Harbour and Koi Palace, I am looking at you!)

                                  -----
                                  Koi Palace Restaurant
                                  365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                            2. re: Chandavkl

                              I understand your point, but seeing as how we are staying just below Chinatown, it's going to have to be done at some point anyway- what's the best of the rest in Chinatown? Or, doesn't have to be dim sum, even- how's about "best Chinese in Chinatown"?

                              1. re: jdwdeville

                                R&G Lounge is quite good, and would qualify as one of the few destination restaurants in Chinatown. And there is absolutely nothing in Los Angeles like the quirky Jai Yun. Unfortunately the quirkiness extends to hours of operation--check this board or even Yelp for additional details.

                                -----
                                Jai Yun
                                680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                1. re: jdwdeville

                                  While you're pondering R&G Lounge (which is definitely the best Cantonese in Chinatown even by a lot of Hong Kong expat standards), mosey over to the super popular Golden Gate Bakery (just follow the line) and try their signature multi layer crust decadent egg tart. Overrated a lot of times, but to me one still hits the spot once in a while. Also pop into Red Blossom Tea company, maybe for a tasting, probably the best high end Chinese tea (loose leaf) store we have.

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

                                  1. re: jdwdeville

                                    Second on Jai Yun. Only in SF.

                                    -----
                                    Jai Yun
                                    680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                2. How comfortable are you with un-bourgeois neighborhoods? There are many great places to eat in the Mission beyond Mexican - B3 (B Cubed) for burgers, Udapi Palace for dosas (South Indian, all-vegetarian, awesome Rasa Vada, recommend the jumbo paper masala dosa - it's 2 feet long :-) ), Frjtz for Belgian fries and mussels, for examples. Also Suppenkuche (German) in Hayes Valley is pretty fun, good food, great beer, and quite the scene.

                                  -----
                                  Suppenkuche
                                  525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                  Frjtz
                                  581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: Samazama

                                      Thanks! I'm comfortable most anywhere, though as of yet I haven't rented a car and am planning on relying on public transportation....

                                      1. re: Samazama

                                        I second the Mission as a fun neighborhood for Angelenos to visit (originally from there myself). Don't recommend Frjtz tho, both times i've been the fries have been soggy and sauces uninspired. If you want higher end, try Range, or for something a bit unusual, Foreign Cinema (you must sit outside, there are heat lamps). Public transpo the Mission from where you're staying is easy - Muni, cab or Bart (with short walks).

                                        Not in the Mission: Also highly recommend Suppenkuche. And if you're not hip to Burmese, you should try Burmese Kitchen, at least for lunch. Oh, and it hasn't been said yet, but no one should miss our Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market extravaganza on Saturdays (ends at 2-ish). You can eat oysters by the Bay, sample cheeses, have wine, buy snacks for your hotel room, and just marvel at the produce.

                                        Enjoy your stay!

                                        -----
                                        Suppenkuche
                                        525 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                        Foreign Cinema
                                        2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        Frjtz
                                        581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                      2. Duh, I forgot to mention Greens. It's vegetarian, but the location is great (Fort Mason piers), and the food's great too. And it's very SF.