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Mar 13, 2011 10:23 AM

4 ideas for restaurants in areas I should visit in San Francisco?


I will be in San Francisco in August and will have four nights that I would like to use to visit a specific area (Union Square, Fishermans Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach,etc.) and use my night exploring to also have a great culinary experience. Can you suggest an area that I should travel to which is a must do in San Francisco and also where I should eat while I am there? I am open to trying a place for a drink, appetizer, dinner, dessert etc. Budget is about 75 pp per night.

We are staying in Russian Hill in a condo and want to take mass transit.

Also, I know some of these areas are touristy,etc but I am looking to combine exploring the wharf with a good restaurant.

I appreciate your advice.

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  1. It would be worth your while to go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do searches for each of the 4 areas you wish to visit for your 4 dinners. You will be able to access a large number of suggestions that way.

    For example, here is a thread on Italian restaurants in Union Square & North Beach:

    Here is a thread with some Chinatown suggestions:

    1. Are you really interested in shopping? Because if you aren't then I wouldn't bother "exploring" either Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf. If you're interested in foot, at least *consider* swapping them out for the Mission District and the Richmond District.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Yes, definitely do this. Visiting Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf are worthwhile for tourists, but do them both during the day to see the views and people watch; at nighttime, neither of them is as interesting. The Mission and the Richmond are good, and if you're more interested in food than exploring, SOMA is a great place to find good eats these days.

      2. Not many people on this board are going to give you food recommendations for Fisherman's Wharf - it is a huge tourist trap with exceptionally mediocre food. There are NO "great restaurants" in the wharf area whatsoever.

        There really aren't even very many that could be called "good."

        11 Replies
        1. re: CarrieWas218

          I'm the last person to defend Fisherman's Wharf as anything but a tourist trap. But for someone on their way to or from Alcatraz, there are a few good places to eat (Delise has great ice cream, Caffe Capriccio serves great espresso and very good sandwiches, the Tango truck's empanadas and take on paella are really delicious).

          Caffe' Capriccio
          2200 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133

          DeLise dessert cafe
          327 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. re: Windy

            Irish Coffee at Buena Vista is fun as well.

            Buena Vista Cafe
            2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            1. re: Windy

              I'll grant you that there are okay places for a SNACK before an Alcatraz tour, but the OP was specifically asking about "a great restaurant" with drinks, appetizers, etc...

              Espresso, ice cream and a food truck probably isn't what they had in mind.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                I didn't claim any of them was a destination restaurant.

                However a visitor asked where to eat in that area, and contrary to the posts on this thread, it is possible to eat decently in that area, as I've documented in past threads when I worked nearby.

                Perhaps posters could suggest actual places to eat in some of the neighborhoods mentioned.

                1. re: Windy

                  Worth mentioning that the Tanguito empanada (and other goodies) truck has an enclosed seating area as well.

                  On Clam Chowder Day when "fig newton" and I found the Eva's Catering/TheWonton Stand Truck in the wharf area while killing time before Boudin Cafe opened, we also noticed Latin Grill Express in the space that used to be Samba Rooms. It had signs up promoting lechon and ropa vieja, so looks like Cuban specialties are part of the menu. I hope someone tries it soon and let's us know what's up.

                  Boudin At the Wharf
                  160 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  2850 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Latin Grill Express
                  993 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Found the Latin Grill Express chef's youtube channel - he's showing how to make maduros, tostones and Colombian arepas.

                    Latin Grill Express
                    993 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

            2. re: CarrieWas218

              Albona's good.

              Albona Ristorante Istriano
              545 Francisco St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Hi, You are right. I am looking for places to eat around attractions. Thank you for your recommendations. It might not be the best place but I am looking for an idea for a whole night that includes visiting must-see attractions or areas. I know the wharf is frowned upon by many but I still need to see it. I also need to see union square. I am looking for recommendations for a whole night of visiting an area and eating.

                1. re: CarrieWas218

                  gary danko is walking distance from fisherman's wharf. isnlt it?

                  1. re: thew

                    Yes, Gary Danko is right by Ghirardelli Square.

                    Gary Danko
                    800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                    Ghirardelli Caffe
                    900 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                2. Within or walking distance from the areas you specified, here are a few ideas for snacks, drinks and dinner.

                  North Beach/Chinatown: Mario's Bohemian - snack or light lunch meatball sandwich and a beer. Golden Gate Bakery - snack on egg custard tarts. R&G Lounge - Cantonese for dinner.

                  Near Chinatown/Embarcadero: Cotogna - modern Italian. Others seem to enjoy: Bix, Wayfare Tavern.

                  Union Square: Canteen - need a reservation. If it is warm during your August visit, you might consider eating outdoors at one of the restaurants in Belden Place.

                  As far as Fisherman's Wharf, you most likely would include Pier 39 which is walking distance to the Ferry Building -- a tourist attraction in its own right. There are several restaurants that visitors enjoy in there and in the nearby area (Slanted Door, Boulevard, Kokkari, Perbacco). If not, then you might consider one of the restaurants near your home base in Russian Hill. Hope that helps, enjoy your visit.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wanderlust21

                    Hey njgirl here's a non-chowhound view of a restaurant near Fisherman's Wharf where Tony Soprano might eat, Caesar's.
                    It's an old review but sounds like nothing changed since I ate there 30+ years ago except for the pickled pig parts appetizer.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      Caesar's is the kind of place where you could have a good meal or a dreadful one depending on your luck.