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Mar 13, 2011 07:41 AM

Nothing fancy

We'll be visiting San Francisco in 2 weeks. We're basically looking for hole-in-the-wall restaurants, american food....good burgers, pizza, steak, salads, great breakfast food. We'll be staying at the Hyatt in Union Square, but also doing a lot of sightseeing.
If you have any suggestions, we'd appreciate it.

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  1. Not far from your hotel is The Golden West, literally a HITW (order thru an open window), serving some of the best breakfast & lunch items in the City. You can take the food to nearby Crocker Galleria bldg where they have tables & chairs (& a coffee place since GW doesn't sell coffee). We recently ate here for the first time...morning bun, banana bread, pork & beans with poached egg, & cornbread with chorizo gravy recently & loved it all (my kids 11 & 14 can't wait to go back here).

    In case you get the urge to try something other than American & yet "nothing fancy"...

    In nearby Chinatown is Great Eastern, inexpensive & good (have basics as well as the exotic). In the tenderloin area are Lahore Karahi & Shalimar, known for good Indo-Pak food (the former was mentioned in the WSJ recently).

    Great Eastern Restaurant
    649 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

    Lahore Karahi
    612 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Golden West
    8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

    4 Replies
    1. re: ceekskat

      if you're going to do carry out at the Crocker Galleria, you should find the roof deck and eat there.

        1. re: ceekskat

          there is an elevator (I forget exactly where) or on the very top floor at the back of the atrium itself and to the right IIRC there's an enclosed staircase - as you know it's only about 4 (tall) stories high, but a great place to eat al fresco surrounded by high rises new and old.

      1. re: ceekskat

        would strongly recommend lahore karahi over shalimar

      2. Brenda's French Soul Food for po boys, beignets, gumbo, etc. If you go for brunch be prepared to wait for over 1 1/2 hrs. They recently opened for dinner, but I haven't tried their nighttime menu yet.

        Saigon Sandwich. Takeout bahn mi. The best in SF!

        Turtle Tower. Chicken pho. All three of these places are in a somewhat sketch part of town called the Tenderloin. Go during the daytime and you'll be fine.

        Totally not close to Union Square but if you're up to venture into the residential areas Broken Record has a great burger. They grind their chuck fresh everyday with bacon mixed in. Mouth watering. It's attached to a bar that serves several local brews and whiskey.

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

        Turtle Tower Restaurant
        631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Brenda's French Soul Food
        652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Broken Record
        1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Keesey

          Not a fan of the lunchtime lines at Turtle Tower in the Tenderloin, it's been some time since my last visit. Also, my usual order is the chicken pho ((pho ga) that you recommend. All this is to say that the #4 Pho Bò Ðac Biet combination of rare beef, tripe, well-done flank and brisket noodle soup, $6.95, I had for breakfast last week was the first time in a long time to get the beef pho. It had some significant changes from what I recall, and I'm wondering if these are a one-off or something that I can continue to expect in an order.

          Here's the photo of the whole bowl of beef noodle soup. Silky, firmish fresh rice noodles, beef stock was a bit lighter than I remember (even for the Northern style here), perhaps not as cooked down yet at 9:00AM.

          The changes in the meats were two-fold. The tai (rare steak) had a pounded, chopped up texture that made it look pre-masticated. This was new to me, but I ran into it again at Pho Filet in South El Monte last Sunday, a spot that specializes in using filet mignon. The more remarkable bonus was what tastes and feels like a pile of lusciously rich oxtail meat removed from the bone.

          So my question to those who eat here more often than I, is this SOP for pho bo at Turtle Tower now? Only early in the morning? I'd like to know that I can repeat this impeccable bowl sometime soon.

          ETA: The photo shows a similar meat heap but the article doesn't oxtail. Didn't seem like brisket or flank meat to me, having a much smoother and less stringy texture than cuts near the plate.

          Turtle Tower Restaurant
          631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        2. Try Tommy's Joynt. For good pizza, Golden Boy Pizza. For Burgers, Burgermeister or Buckshot Gameroom.

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

          Golden Boy Pizza
          542 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. You can get decent burritos, tacos or a few other items at Taqueria Cancun at 6th/Market, at a low price.

            Taqueria Cancun
            1003 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            4 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              all due respect, that's the sketchiest area of all the Taqueria Cancuns, don't you think - i mean, for a tourist?

              and am i misreading, or didn't the OP want only "american" food (i.e., not mexican, vietnamese, indian)?

              1. re: mariacarmen

                6th St is sketchy, so don't walk down 6th. Stay on Market, it's fine. If you're worried, go during the day. It's not worth going for dinner if you from out of town and have only so many dinners. The reason why I mentioned it is because it's close to Union Square, etc.

                I didn't read "American" (but you're right, it's there) just not fancy, grubbing kind of food. To me burritos in CA are American as pizza...but that's just me.

                p.s. the original Cancun at 19th/Mission use to be WAY scarier...cops banging heads inside, drive by shooting scary. But it's all safe now, mostly.

                1. re: ML8000

                  yeah, i moved here after the Mission started to gentrify (1996). now i just find the Mission Street Cancun dirty.

                  and i agree, if pizza is American, and it is, then so are taquerias! ( :

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Sadly, Cancun has always been dirty. Maybe that's why hippies dig it. (I'm's because they serve a killer fully loaded veggie burrito.) The restroom was a nasty bio-hazard zone. I haven't even tought about it as an option forever. It's go before or after but do not plan on going there. Don't know if that's still the case.

                    Someone told me the RR was left that way because it prevented "loitering", deals and such. Not that I need to know but anyone know if they ever fixed the RR at Cancun.

            2. I like Little Skillet (south of Market) open M-Sat, 9 am - 2:30 pm. Pick nice weather because there's no place to eat indoors; people just sit on loading dock type things around there. Very friendly and safe (in my opinion) area. (If you don't want to eat it there, it's a short walk to the little park at South Park.) Great fried chicken, love the waffles (like them better than the biscuit option. Spring for the real maple syrup.