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Mar 27, 2011 01:09 PM

Recommendations please - first time to San Francisco

My husband and I are coming to San Francisco in min-April to see my daughter, who lives in Oakland. This is my first time there and I'd love to try some good restaurants. We have three wishes on our list -

1. a recommendation for a nice mid-priced but reasonably fancy restaurant for a birthday dinner - someplace with outstanding seafood;
2. a couple of recommendations for good Chinese food in San Francisco;
3. any recommendations for stand-out restaurants in Oakland, my girl lives near Jack London Square - especially looking for good brunch/buffet possibilities for a Sunday morning.

We don't want much, do we?
Thanks to all for kind advice and guidance

Jack London Square
70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA

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  1. Try some dim sum while you're here! We like Ton Kiang.

    It's not super fancy but we are huge fans of Betelnut lately. The service is amazing and there is always something really great/unique on the menu.

    You should also try to get to one of the Off The Grid events.. the big one is at Fort Mason Center on Friday nights. There are over a dozen amazing gourmet food trucks there.... I'll attach a couple pictures.

    Have a great trip!

    2030 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

    Ton Kiang
    5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

    Off the Grid
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

    1 Reply
    1. re: dbachelder

      Really, Betelnut? I've only been once, about 5 years ago, but i thought the food was really sub-par - has it improved, new chef or something?

      Off the Grid is a good rec for any out-of-towner.

      In Oakland, if you want to get a little away from JLS, try Pizzaiolo for your mid-priced place It's not fancy but it's very nice, a great vibe - make sure to get reservations.

      in the same vicinity (same block, actually), i hear that Dona Tomas has good brunches.

      Chinese: Z&Y Garden for good szechuan.

      5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

      Dona Tomas
      5004 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609

      Off the Grid
      Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

    2. Hello first time poster!

      1. "mid-priced" - please provide info. One man's midpriced is another's high end.
      ... and you'll see a few of my rants about how people think SF has good seafood. It doesn't. It has a few local fish that are made well, like crab and oyster and sand dabs and we used to have salmon but it's been years since a healthy catch.

      --- SF is of various strengths in the various chinese regions. You would do better to ask about your favorite chinese cuisines, instead of all china. There's such a variation between hong kong, cantonese, shanghai, hakka, sichuan.....

      JLS has about 10 restaurants that are commonly recommended. None are buffets. If you want brunch there are 4 or 5 common recommendations, depending on what kind of brunch you like, your neighborhood, and your tolerance to a 2 hour wait.

      One tip about chowhound's search function: you're better off paging through a bit and looking for longer threads, they'll have more of the back and forth and more restaurants mentioned.

      good luck

      5 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow

        The only restaurant I'd recommend at Jack London Square is Bocanova, which has a great brunch menu. I'm not sure there are any decent buffets.

        55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I should rephrase. If you expand the search to a mile or so from JLS, from, say, JLS to Uptown, you'll get a few standouts - maybe even 10. I still have a very soft spot for Enquentro.

          1. re: bbulkow

            Enquentro's closed on Sundays and doesn't open until 5 other days.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Bocanova or Yoshi's

              55 Webster Street, Oakland, CA 94607