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Visiting Oakland / San Fran for 5 days from NYC..must eats?!

I am visiting my brother in Oakland and we I'll be hanging out there and San Fran this week. What restaurants should I definately eat at while I'm visiting and and what are "must eat items?" not looking to eat at "high end" places.;)
Thank you!

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  1. You need to define what food you want to eat, what your price range is, and what "high end" means to you. Do a few searches on this board and elsewhere, come back with lists of places that intrigue you or types of food that you'd like to search out, and you'll get many more and better responses.

    1. What's your budget?

      Right now, my Oakland must-eats are:
      1) barbecued pork neck from Chai Thai Noodles
      2) pupusas from Tamales Mi Lupita (zucchini is usually my favorite, followed by chicharron, but the last time I went the plain cheese was the best)
      3) tacos - there are LOT of trucks in East Oakland - I usually end up at Sinaloa (esp like their carnitas), or Taqueria Reynoso for sit-down (tacos dorado de barbacoa and tacos campechano)
      4) Lao food - (lots of recs on this board, but Champa Garden would probably be my pick for a visitor)
      5) Vietnamese soup noodles - Pho Ao Sen gets high marks for bun bo hue, but I think the pho is supposed to be good too.
      6) squid and aioli pizza from Pizzaiolo.

      My SF recs for a NYC visitor are:
      1) egg custard from Golden Gate Park
      2) cured tuna heart pasta from La Ciccia
      3) Andante cheese and a Della Fattoria levain from the Saturday Farmer's Market
      4) Tartine's country loaf and gougeres
      5) ice cream from Bi-Rite and Humphrey Slocombe

      Helpful links:
      7X7's cheap eats picks (SF only):

      http://www.7x7.com/eat-drink/sfs-best...

      Top 10 Bites of 2010 (all Bay Area

      )

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/751261

      If you get a chance, take a look at the Chow Tour Oakland posts (top left corner, black writing on yellow background). New ones are still going up, and I think they give a really great background on the food scene in Oakland.

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

      Pizzaiolo
      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      Della Fattoria
      141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

      Champa Garden
      2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

      Chai Thai Noodles
      545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

      Pho Ao Sen
      1139 E 12th St, Oakland, CA

      Tamales Mi Lupitas
      3340 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

      Taqueria Reynoso
      3329 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

      5 Replies
      1. re: daveena

        I don't think Chai Thai is as good as it was when it opened, I'd go to Thai House Express on Larkin in SF (where the Chai Thai chef reportedly used to work, the two places have almost identical menus).

        Scream Sorbet is great.

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        Thai House Express
        901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Scream Sorbet
        5030 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I too have been thinking the Chai Thai Noodles has lost something over, say, the past year or two.

          The flavors don't seem as bright or clear, the dishes more variable from visit to visit these days. Nothing has knocked me out from there in a long while (the way it did on my first few visits)

          -----
          Chai Thai Noodles
          545 B International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

          1. re: 10foot5

            I asked if there had been a chef change, and the server said the original chef was still there, but he was training three others. Which makes me wonder if they're thinking of expanding.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I should add that I normally go at lunch time - which may be when trainee chefs are working.

              1. re: 10foot5

                My most recent meal there (early January, late dinner) was the best meal I've ever had there - I've experienced a lot of inconsistency there overall and had actually stopped going after a few disappointing meals, but was totally won over again by my last one.

                Will add Lers Ros Thai to the SF must-eats list.

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                Lers Ros Thai
                730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

      2. Some of my favorite cheaper places in Oakland are Chef Yu's, Green Papaya, Champa Garden, Commonwealth, El Huarache Azteca, Cam Huong, Ba Le, the Trappist, Beer Revolution, and the soju bangs on Telegraph: Dan Sung Sa, Kang Tong Degi, and Dae Po Jib.

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        El Huarache Azteca
        3842 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

        Cam Huong Cafe
        920 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

        Champa Garden
        2102 8th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606

        Ba Le Sandwich
        1500 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

        The Trappist
        460 8th Street, Oakland, CA

        Green Papaya Deli
        207 International Blvd (at 2nd ave, Oakland, CA

        Kang Tong Degi
        3702 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Cam Huong Cafe
        702 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

        Dan Sung Sa
        2775 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Chef Yu's
        3919 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Beer Revolution
        464 3rd St, Oakland, CA 94607

        CommonWealth Cafe & Public House
        2882 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        Dae Po Jib
        3838 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

        1. Oakland's pretty big, so it'll be helpful if you know your brother's neighborhood then we can suggest places that's convenient. Unless you're driving every where and don't care.

          Off the top of my head, I would suggest:

          1) Wood Tavern in Rockridge for dinners and its new sandwich shop Southie next door for lunch.

          2) Boot and Shoe service for pizza in Grand Lake, same people behind Pizzaiolo.

          3) Casserole House on Telegraph Ave. near Temescal if you like Korean food. Just went there and it's lots of fun and fresh ingredients.

          4) Gather in Berkeley if you lean more toward vegetables, although they do have meat dishes.

          5) Chop Bar near Jack London Square if you're looking for a casual lunch but with a nice decor.

          As for San Francisco, there are tons of possibilities. Again, it would help if you narrowed it down to what neighborhoods you might visit, if it's only via BART, etc.

          -----
          Wood Tavern
          6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

          Casserole House
          4301 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

          1. I'd go to Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market to look at produce, do the taco truck on International as mentioned, visit Acme Bakery, have lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe, get a Mission burrito in SF, do the Ferry Bldg.

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            Berkeley Bowl
            2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

            Chez Panisse
            1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

            3 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              Our favorites in Oakland right now:

              Commis
              Bellanico
              Wood Tavern

              will be trying Plum next week.

              -----
              Wood Tavern
              6317 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618

              Bellanico
              4238 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

              Commis
              3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

              1. re: tanglenet

                Commis and Plum are about as high-end as it gets in Oakland.

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                Commis
                3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Oops. Didn't see the last bit. Scratch the recs!