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Two nights in San Fran for a NYC foodie - suggestions

I'll be in SF for two nights in May, and I'd be interested to hear what people's top recommendations are for dining around the San Fran downtown area (I'll be staying near Union Square).

I'm dining out with some friends, so I'd like the setting not to be too formal, and the cost to be around $50-70/person without drinks.

I've looked at the boards for a little so far, and Perbacco stands out as being a good choice for Italian food. Are there other options that would be more unique to SF (that would be good for someone from NYC)? I love seafood, and am totally open to ethnic cuisines and less fancy settings.

Thanks in advance.

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Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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  1. Sand Dabs or Petale Sole at Sam's Grill or Tadich Grill (advantage Sam's where you can make a reservation) ambience similar to Sweet's (Fulton Fish Market) but with West Coast local fish.

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    Tadich Grill
    240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1. For seafood, Bar Crudo, Alamo Square, Hog Island, Pesce ...

      A lot of the food at Sam's and Tadich is old-school in a bad way. The whole package with the old-SF decor and style of service is fun, but for reliably great seafood, go elsewhere.

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      Pesce
      2227 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

      Bar Crudo
      655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

      Alamo Square Cafe
      711 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Even some naysayers like a few choices
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3972...

      2. The standard-ish answers for East Coaster visiting Bay Area is fusion-y, Californicated cuisine like Slanted Door or Aziza. There's plenty more like Manresa or Chez Panisse but they're not in the City.

        I don't think you'll find Cal-Moroccan food (Aziza) in NYC...but it's out of the way and not near downtown. (it's 5-6 mile bus or cab ride) Slanted Door you can get to easily from Union Sq.

        The other ethnic cuisine you probably won't get in NYC is Burmese. You can do a search or someone else will jump in.

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        Slanted Door
        Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Chez Panisse
        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

        1. Delfina's in the Mission or Rose Pistola in North Beach for Italian.
          Slanted Door for Cali-Vietnamese at the Ferry Building
          Limon in the Mission for Peruvian

          For breakfast, have a go at Ella's in the Presidio.

          Good luck

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          Slanted Door
          Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

          Delfina Restaurant
          3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Rose Pistola
          532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

          Limon Restaurant
          524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. oops...one more thing...you mentioned you loved seafood....Swan Oyster Depot in Nob Hill.

            1 Reply
            1. re: reggiec2

              Note that Swan Oyster depo. is only open until 5, and closed on Sundays. You need to get there at 11:45 at the latest for lunch, or stand in a very long line. But it's worth it.

            2. Barbacco, Cotogna, Bar Crudo, SPQR are all pretty good examples of what San Francisco has to offer these days. Older school? Zuni Cafe. None of these places will break your budget.

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              Zuni Cafe
              1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

              Bar Crudo
              655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

              SPQR
              1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

              Barbacco
              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

              Cotogna
              490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

              1. Perbacco is exceptional.

                The one that really stands out as an SF must that is unique to SF, though, is Ame. I cannot say enough good things about it. http://www.amerestaurant.com/home.html

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                Perbacco
                230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                1. Saison is $128 prix-fixe.

                  1. With only two nights in SF, I would skip Italian. NYC does great Italian. Unless you go to some place like La Cicca (which is Sardinian), I do not think you will have anything that you cannot find at home.
                    I agree that you should try some of the California and Cal Fusion restaurants.
                    I would go to Aziza for sure... also for unique to SF I like Namu, Foreign Cinema, Nopa, and Slanted Door.
                    Bar Crudo is great for seafood.
                    Ethic wise NYC is hard to beat... I think we may have NYC beat for Burmese restaurants (if that interests you there are many Burmese restaurant threads). Also Nopalito is fantastic for Mexican, and I don't think there is any place like it in NYC (although I am not sure... it is hard to keep track of the dining scene their... I only go once or twice a year).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lrealml

                      The other suggestion (besides Aziza and the Burmese) is to consider Piperade - no one does upscale Basque cuisine like Gerald Hirigoyen.

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                      Piperade
                      1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                    2. Perbacco is very good, though the atmosphere is kind of corporate and anonymous--you could be dining in midtown Manhattan. (or Bangkok, for that matter.)

                      We loved Canteen, which is a tiny lunch counter run by Dennis Leary, a great chef who offers a unique, limited menu every night. A little farther away from Union Square, but definitely walkable. http://www.sfcanteen.com/index.html#

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                      Perbacco
                      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111