HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

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

j
jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 09:42 AM

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. Robert Lauriston RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 10:31 AM

    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
      j
      jdwdeville RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 2, 2011 11:34 AM

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

      1. re: jdwdeville
        a
        artemis RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 12:48 PM

        La Ciccia.

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

        1. re: jdwdeville
          Robert Lauriston RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 01:19 PM

          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
            mariacarmen RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 06:57 AM

            third on La Ciccia. so excellent.

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

            1. re: mariacarmen
              b
              baloney RE: mariacarmen Mar 3, 2011 10:36 AM

              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
                t
                tranewreck RE: baloney Mar 3, 2011 10:40 AM

                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
                  m
                  mdg RE: baloney Mar 3, 2011 12:11 PM

                  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
                    b
                    baloney RE: mdg Mar 3, 2011 08:20 PM

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

                    1. re: mdg
                      Windy RE: mdg Mar 7, 2011 02:21 PM

                      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
                ankimo RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 3, 2011 04:14 PM

                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. Chandavkl RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 12:14 PM

                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
                  Robert Lauriston RE: Chandavkl Mar 2, 2011 01:24 PM

                  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
                    Chandavkl RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 2, 2011 02:09 PM

                    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
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Chandavkl Mar 2, 2011 02:22 PM

                      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
                        s
                        sfbing RE: Chandavkl Mar 2, 2011 03:06 PM

                        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
                          Chandavkl RE: sfbing Mar 2, 2011 03:26 PM

                          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
                            Ruth Lafler RE: Chandavkl Mar 2, 2011 03:57 PM

                            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
                              Chandavkl RE: Ruth Lafler Mar 2, 2011 04:12 PM

                              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
                              K K RE: Chandavkl Mar 2, 2011 04:17 PM

                              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
                                Chandavkl RE: K K Mar 2, 2011 04:38 PM

                                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
                                  Melanie Wong RE: K K Mar 2, 2011 05:06 PM

                                  "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
                                    K K RE: Melanie Wong Mar 2, 2011 06:28 PM

                                    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
                                s
                                sfbing RE: sfbing Mar 2, 2011 04:04 PM

                                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
                            j
                            jdwdeville RE: Chandavkl Mar 3, 2011 09:15 AM

                            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
                              Chandavkl RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 10:02 AM

                              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
                                K K RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 10:23 AM

                                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
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 12:18 PM

                                  Second on Jai Yun. Only in SF.

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

                              2. s
                                Samazama RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 06:31 PM

                                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
                                  s
                                  Samazama RE: Samazama Mar 2, 2011 06:56 PM

                                  http://www.hayesstreetgrill.com/ is supposed to be all that for seafood.

                                  1. re: Samazama
                                    j
                                    jdwdeville RE: Samazama Mar 3, 2011 06:45 AM

                                    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
                                      mariacarmen RE: Samazama Mar 3, 2011 07:06 AM

                                      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. s
                                      Samazama RE: jdwdeville Mar 2, 2011 06:50 PM

                                      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.

                                      1. j
                                        jdwdeville RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 06:50 AM

                                        Just to throw it out there- anyone have a sushi/Japanese rec? For anyone who knows the LA sushi scene, we're regulars at Kiriko and love Mori...

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: jdwdeville
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 07:40 AM

                                          You might try Tataki or Tataki South if you don't have a sustainable sushi bar in LA yet.

                                          Ippuku in Berkeley is amazing, particularly if you're into shochu.

                                          -----
                                          Tataki
                                          2815 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                          Ippuku
                                          2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                          Tataki South
                                          1740 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            j
                                            jdwdeville RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 3, 2011 07:55 AM

                                            Tataki's concept is awesome! That looks like it's going to be on our list. Is there any kind of cool izakaya-type place in the city? Thinking along the lines of FuRaiBo in La and Decibel or Yokocho in NYC....

                                            1. re: jdwdeville
                                              Robert Lauriston RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 08:05 AM

                                              Ippuku's the most interesting. It's a block or two from BART in Berkeley so about as close via public transportation as Oyaji or Sozai.

                                              -----
                                              Oyaji Restaurant
                                              3123 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                              Sozai Restaurant
                                              1500 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                              Ippuku
                                              2130 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                              1. re: jdwdeville
                                                Windy RE: jdwdeville Mar 7, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                I thought Tataki South was disappointing and mediocre. Good concept, but not Japanese, and missing a big notch in quality. I would not take an out of town guest there.

                                                No idea if the original location is better.

                                                -----
                                                Tataki South
                                                1740 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                            2. re: jdwdeville
                                              e
                                              Eat.Choui RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 07:57 AM

                                              I am not familiar with the LA sushi scene, but I loved Okina and Tekka in the Inner Richmond for sushi. For Tekka, I went with a friend who spoke Japanese and it made things easier, as this tiny place was a bit intimidating. He asked for the omakase. If you dont like small spaces, these places may not be to your suiting. If you go to these places, you can check out Clement street and get a crepe at Genki for dessert.
                                              In the same, there's Murasaki. Murasaki is delicious, but again, can be intimidating of the Chef is in a grumpy mood. I used to live around the corner from here and would get the baked miso eggplant and unagi once a week because it was soo good. They make the best unagi sushi. These items take about 15 - 20 minutes to come out because they are made to order.

                                            3. a
                                              AdamD RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 08:00 AM

                                              Re: the tadich
                                              Go during off hours, sit at the counter for a drink and a dungeness crab cocktail or maybe share a bowl of the cioppino. Its a cool place to check out but I dont suggest having a full meal there.

                                              my brother took me to one of the "famous" tacquerias and it was very good, I forgot the name though

                                              and if you do rent a car, take a ride up to tomales bay and get some oysters at the marshall general store-YUM

                                              1. m
                                                ML8000 RE: jdwdeville Mar 3, 2011 12:37 PM

                                                Aziza...won't find it anywhere else.

                                                1. j
                                                  jdwdeville RE: jdwdeville Mar 7, 2011 02:15 PM

                                                  Thanks for all the help everyone!
                                                  We ended doing:
                                                  Hog Island Oyster Bar- oysters were tiny and absolutely delicious!

                                                  Ferry Building FM- wow. walking up to the building we were thinking "The Santa Monica FM is bigger that this..." that is, until we walked around to the back of the building! awesome time- though I have to say that where this market excels is the prepared foods (which were fantastic), and I would give Santa Monica the edge when it comes to veggies (though the two are apples and oranges, I know)

                                                  NOPA- good food, great wines. shared several dishes and some pisco sours post wine. though the food was very good and I have to say I'd come back, it'd be for the drinks and the wine.

                                                  Riyoko's (sp?)- otherwise known as "holy crap you Bay Area people are patient!". this place was recommended by several people- 90 minute wait for a 2top while I watched as the sushi specials got erased from the board one by one... fish quality was good, though I would not order the sashimi again as the knifework (oddly only for the sashimi) was terrible and the orders were $20 each, for about 5 paper thin slices of fish. For the $170 pre tip price, I wish I had listened to Robert Lauriston's rec for Tataki...

                                                  Burma Superstar- interesting cuisine that I had not as yet been exposed too, Samusa soup was great, Tea leaf salad was... ineresting. Going to try Burma Kitchen next trip.

                                                  Ristobar- ended up here after wandering all day, delicious food, great wine list. Cardoon timbale with truffle butter- oh, man.

                                                  Anyway, can't wait til my next trip at the end of next month- I've got a huge list of "must have"s:
                                                  Mission Chinese Food, La Ciccia, Tartine, Yank Sing (just to see why)...

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: jdwdeville
                                                    p
                                                    pauliface RE: jdwdeville Mar 7, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                    How come everybody always recommends the tea leaf salad at Burma? For me it's the ginger salad that is the winner.

                                                    1. re: pauliface
                                                      j
                                                      jdwdeville RE: pauliface Mar 7, 2011 02:29 PM

                                                      to be honest, I may have enjoyed the salad that was advertised as having 22 ingredients more ("rainbow", maybe? forgot the name.) But, the tea leaf salad was interesting, especially texturally.

                                                      1. re: jdwdeville
                                                        c
                                                        cortez RE: jdwdeville Mar 7, 2011 04:17 PM

                                                        Thanks for trip report. Great intro to SF.

                                                        Your start at the Ferry Building was the right choice. The vendors, the market, the location and the view combine to make it uniquely San Francisco.

                                                        For your next trip, you might consider Swans Oyster Depot for an early lunch. No tables (counter only), no reservations, cash only. Try the oysters, smoked salmon, and a dungeness crab Louie with a draft Anchor Steam beer. Friendly family behind the counter welcomes locals and tourists alike.

                                                        For dinner, I'd go with SPQR on Upper Fillmore. Inventive, intimate Italian accented meal in a
                                                        fun neighborhood. Many more locals than tourists. Delicious for sharing small plates
                                                        and delicious pastas.

                                                        special pastas.

                                                        I'd avoid Mission Chinese Food. It's fun, unusual and spicy. I went there today and enjoyed it but the quality is too spotty and service too indifferent to occupy a spot on your itinerary. I'd save it for your fifth or sixth trip.

                                                        Have fun.
                                                        and

                                                        -----
                                                        SPQR
                                                        1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                                        Mission Chinese Food
                                                        2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                  2. 1
                                                    1xtexan RE: jdwdeville Mar 7, 2011 03:42 PM

                                                    In the not-to-be missed category, I'd put Papito. It is a tiny place, but where else can you get french-inspired mexican? The duck quesadillas are not to be missed, they have the best guacamole any of my friends have had, and home-make their sangria. Jocelyn the chef/owner is a warm friendly man from France, his wife is lovely, it's just a great experience. 317 connecticut.

                                                    -----
                                                    Papito
                                                    317 Connecticut St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                                    Show Hidden Posts