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Please review SFO dining list for NYC Foodie (Researched)!!

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Hello,

A group of about 6-7 people will be visiting SFO (actually staying in San Jose) over the memorial day weekend. I've tried to put together a list of dining options and am looking for some advice on filling in the missing pieces (esp. if a place is better for Lunch over Dinner or vice versa). The criterion for choosing is, a) Delicious food, b) Non repetition of flavors, c) Something that is either not available (or hard to obtain) in NYC., d) One of us is a vegetarian so need something for him :), e) Would prefer most meals to be < $30-$35, 1 or 2 can be fancier.

1. Burmese Kitchen
2. Canteen: Is dinner better that Lunch?
3. R&G Lounge: Is this worth it if we're not very interested in the S&P crab? If not, are there other Chinese places that I should go to, considering, SFO Chinese is supposed to trump NYCs?
4. Slanted Door: Lunch
5. Aziza: Dinner
6. Need some help in deciding between Lar Mar and Limon for Peruvian
7. Piperade
8. Poc Chuc
9. Blue Bottle Coffee
10. Humphrey Slocombe and Bi-Rite
11. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (Saturday morning): Need a lunch place after this.
12. Taqueria Cancun and La Taqueria
13. Take back some bread from Acme / Tartine

Considered La Ciccia, Bar Crudo and Incanto but the ones above just seemed more appealing to my palate :) I need to fit in 1 late night (around 11:00 PM) meal, 4 lunches and 3 dinners in the above (Fri night to Tue morning). Would appreciate any recommendations, suggestions, etc.

Thanks!!

-----
Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

Piperade
1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

La Taqueria
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Limon Restaurant
524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

Poc Chuc
2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Taqueria Cancun
1003 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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  1. Canteen is not open for lunch. They have brunch on Saturday and Sunday. I would go for dinner. For your late night meal, you'll find that most places close earlier than in NYC. Nopa is one that serves until late.

    Looks like you have done your research and made some good choices. Have fun!

    -----
    Nopa
    560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    1. Good list. I agree with Mrs Bacon that Nopa is one of your best options for late night dining, which is not really a "thing" in SF. I think Lers Ros thai is open late too.

      You will not need a lunch place after a Saturday at Ferry Plaza. In addition to the wonderful array of produce and other ingredients which you can sample as you stroll, there are numerous prepared food stands offering breakfast and lunch items. The porchetta sandwich at Roli Roti is a consistent favorite of this board, but I encourage you to poke around the board for more ideas too - there's a lot of great options. I also always get two scoops of Scream sorbet (rich nut-based sorbet with a mouthfeel like ice cream, and glorious intense flavors). You can of course grab a loaf of Acme, some Cowgirl cheese, some Boccalone meats, and some fruit or fruit preserves, and have a fabulous picnic lunch.

      -----
      Nopa
      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      Roli Roti
      , Hayward, CA

      1. Thank you! I forgot to mention in the original post. Can I please get some recommendations on some must have dishes at these places? (like the team leaf salad at Burmese Kitchen).

        1. Since you're staying in San Jose, you should research Chinese restaurants down there and on the Peninsula. There's a huge Chinese population and a livelier Chinese restaurant scene than in SF.

          Little Yangon in Daly City is better than Burmese Kitchen, and you'll be driving right by it any time you take 280.

          -----
          Little Yangon
          6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

          1. Thanks Robert, I'll probably do Little Yangon instead. The closer the lunch places are to San Jose, the better.

            -----
            Little Yangon
            6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

            9 Replies
            1. re: indiefoodie

              You're hoping to drive from San Jose to SF for lunch? That's around an hour each way, longer if there's traffic.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Would prefer not to do that so recs like Little Yangon are more than welcome :) A couple of more places and I'll not have to do that. Any Peruvian places that are close to San Jose that you would recommend? I was thinking about Limon or La Mar but I guess they are far...

                -----
                Limon Restaurant
                524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Little Yangon
                6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                1. re: indiefoodie

                  Good Peruvian in San Jose: Nazca, and Isabella's

                  1. re: emi50

                    Thanks! Out of the two, would you recommend one over the other for lunch? Also, any more stellar recommendations in or around San Jose? Need one more place to complete my itinerary :)

                    1. re: indiefoodie

                      Though Japanese is strong in NYC, Ramen Halu in San Jose is really something special and will be very convenient for you. Too bad you'll just miss the seasonal lobster-crab ramen, but you'll still have a very tasty bowl.

                      http://ramenhalu.com/lobster_ramen_en...

                      -----
                      Ramen Halu
                      375 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA 95129

                      1. re: indiefoodie

                        Where in San Jose are you staying? Are you actually here for work?
                        If this is a vacation, you really should change your plans and stay in SF or even on the north part of the Peninsula... San Jose is not great for food or sight seeing, and going to SF every day will cost a fortune in gas/train fare and take 2 hours out of each day.
                        If you are here for work and are looking for San Jose lunch spots:
                        I love Zeni for Ethiopian; Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas in nearby Cupertino is good. Sunnyvale is has great Indian food, and there is apparently great Vietnamese food in San Jose (look for other threads on these).

                        1. re: indiefoodie

                          Re the Peruvian recommendations: Nazca is pricier and more upscale, Isabella very modest and like home cooking...Anyway, Nazca doesn't serve lunch, but Isabella's does.

                          1. re: indiefoodie

                            You're really staying in San Jose and going to SF every day? Man, that's going to get old in a hurry: it's really a long way. Sure, google says it's an hour, but it's an hour from Darien CT to midtown, and the traffic patterns are similar.

                            There's some good coffee down south: Barefoot (Sunnyvale), and Red Rock (Mountain View) brews Four Barrel very well.

                            No one has mentioned the good chinese eats on the peninsula, commonly recommended are Zen Peninsula, Spices, Koi Palace, The Kitchen. I don't think they're better than the manhattan standouts.

                            -----
                            Koi Palace Restaurant
                            365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

                            Zen Peninsula
                            1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

                            Red Rock Cafe
                            1010 Lincoln Ave, Napa, CA 94558

                            1. re: indiefoodie

                              Mezcal is a good Oaxacuan Mexican restaurant in downtown San Jose that's not your typical taco/burrito place. They have some great mole dishes.

                              -----
                              Mezcal Restaurant
                              25 W San Fernando, San Jose, CA 95113

                    2. I would find a way to fit in La Ciccia. But don't skip Canteen.
                      Z&Y Garden is great for Szechuan in Chinatown. I don't like R&G, personally, for anything but the crab.
                      If you have to pick one ice cream place, make it Bi-Rite. although a walk up and down 24th street (near Humphrey Slocumbe) is always a good time, and a really great taqueria there is Taqueria Vallarta. Tho La Taqueria is a personal favorite of mine. But you have much more options at Vallarta.
                      And Artemis is right, stuff yourself silly at the Farmers Market on Saturday, don't rush through it.

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

                      Taqueria Vallarta
                      3033 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      La Taqueria
                      2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      Vallarta Restaurant
                      14366 E 14th St, San Leandro, CA 94578

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        I love La Taqueria, excellent quality .. I get my tacos "crispy." I would skip H. Slocumbe but GO TO BI-RITE. Try not to go on weekends when the lines are much too long.

                        I love R & G but the crab is the best thing to order. Instead, go to Yuet Lee (corner of Broadway/Stockton, closed Tues.). Looks pretty casual (prices are not casual) but food is great. If you like to eat pork, get the salt & pepper (or is it "spicy salt?) spareribs, which is really pan fried cutlets -- no one makes this dish 1/2 as good as Yuet Lee. I don't eat calamari but I know others who HAVE to order the fried calamari every time they are here. They also like the clams in black bean sauce.

                        You did not mention Tadich, 240 California. Great fish house but they have many other things on menu for non fish eaters. No res. but they don't close between lunch and dinner so easy to get in then. Even at 5 or 6 pm, pretty easy. Closed Sunday.

                        I love Yank Sing for dim sum, 101 Spear (near Ferry Bldg) .. they close at 3pm weekdays, 4 pm weekends. They take reservations!! You can go after Sat Farmer's market and just have shrimp dumplings and egg custard tart if you're not that hungry.

                        -----
                        La Taqueria
                        2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1. re: walker

                          I don't know why, but I did not like Bi-rite at all (and yes I tried the salted Carmel)... My SO was not impressed either.... The flavors were just lack luster (and I asked to taste pretty much everything they had that day). We will give it another try sometime (but the lines are always so long).
                          Humphrey Slocomb's flavors are amazing, so I would recommend the opposite. I normally love every flavor they have. Had the Candy Cap ice cream last weekend. It was awesome. Mushroom ice cream... YUM And of course I bought a pint of the Secret breakfast to go.

                      2. Just one thing your research did not cover: SFO is the airport, San Francisco is the city. Here is a listing of SFO dining.
                        http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/atsfo/...

                        1. Earmark Aziza as your "more expensive meal." Best if you do the tasting which will run each guest around $100 (more if you drink cocktails, which are HIGHLY recommended).

                          Also, I think Piperade is a brilliant AND they are open for lunch, which is just as fabulous; order most of the starters and share an entree or two.

                          -----
                          Piperade
                          1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                          1. 4) Personally, I'd Skip Slanted Door; they have (IMHO) never been as good as they were in the Mission when they first opened, and they were very much "standard" on my last two visits.

                            9) There is better coffee than Blue Bottle -- check out Ritual, Four Barrel and Sightglass.

                            -----
                            Slanted Door
                            Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                            Blue Bottle Cafe
                            66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: zin1953

                              I'm not going to claim those are all better than BB, but, Blue Bottle has a huge thing in Brooklyn. If you've been there and like their coffee, you might like to go to the mothership in oakland, otherwise, try somewhere different.

                              -----
                              Blue Bottle Cafe
                              66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                Been to Blue Bottle many times . . . we all have our individual taste preferences. I like Blue Bottle; I simply prefer the coffees from other roasters.

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  I meant the OP, who is looking for something different and better than is to be had in NYC. Blue Bottle wouldn't be it.

                                  -----
                                  Blue Bottle Cafe
                                  66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            2. I don't think SF chinese is better than nyc, esp. out in Flushing.
                              try Lers Ros Thai which is one of SF's best eats
                              Slanted Door is overrated esp. for the price unless you go there accepting that
                              NOPA is the only late night good dining to give you the nyc feel, otherwise everything closes early in SF
                              Bi Rite and HS are two sides of the same coin -- both are among the best, but bi-rite has the rich smooth texture and HS has the more unique flavors
                              the ferry building should be your lunch that day

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ankimo

                                There is no way that Chinese food is better in SF than NYC. Probably the same goes for Korean and Japanese.

                                1. re: hedge_hog

                                  There's better produce here, so some of our Japanese restaurants kick New York's ass on that score. The only Korean place I know that takes advantage of that is Bowl'd. The Chinese places that do tend to be too Americanized for my taste.

                                  -----
                                  Bowl'd
                                  1479 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                              2. Good topic for San Jose and Peninsula places:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752347

                                1. Given that NYC is very weak in Vietnamese cuisine and San jose is quite strong, I would recommend using your lunches to explore Little Saigon in San Jose. This recent thread would be useful:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783192

                                  My current favorites are Bun Bo Hue An Nam (bun bo hue), the Grand Century food court (a little bit of everything), Huong Lan sandwiches (banh mi and takeaway) and Dai Loi bakery (freshly made nem and banh hoi for takeaway, be prepared to point).

                                  For the vegetarian, there is Zeni for Ethiopian, several south indian places, Sogo Tofu (Taiwanese buddhist takeaway with great yuba and soymilk), Hung Vuong Tofu (Vietnamese tofu), and a recent thread on a Vietnamese buddhist temple serving weekend lunches.

                                  -----
                                  Sogo Tofu
                                  1610 S De Anza Blvd, San Jose, CA

                                  Huong Lan
                                  404 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA

                                  Hung Vuong Tofu
                                  1741 Berryessa Rd, San Jose, CA 95133

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sfbing

                                    What's the thread of buddhist temples? I've been to a few, but was unaware of a thread dedicated to the subject

                                    1. re: kgdoll

                                      Singular temple.
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/777565

                                  2. Good research. I vote yes on: Aziza, Limon, Piperade, La Taq (over Cancun, no doubt) and Slanted Door (for dinner, not lunch).

                                    New dinner thoughts: Minako (great options for every eater), Burma Superstar (worth the wait) and Kokkari. NOPA is a true star if you can score a table. And I personally love the brunch/lunch menu of Town's End. People forget about it.

                                    -----
                                    Slanted Door
                                    Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    Piperade
                                    1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    Limon Restaurant
                                    524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    Burma Superstar
                                    4721 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                                    1. Trip Report:

                                      First of all, thanks a lot everyone for the wonderful recs. San Francisco is a lovely city and the great food (almost all of it) made it even better. I wasn't able to go to as many places as I would have liked but did what I could. So here goes...

                                      1. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (Saturday): I love this place. Coming from New York, this was a unique experience with great artisanal products, fresh produce and the vibe as a whole. Roli Roti - Excellent Porchetta and a brilliant chicken. BTW, what is the crunch in the sandwich? Is it the pork skin? Namu - Great tacos - this was the first time I had Korean tacos and loved them. The Okonomiyaki was very good too. The Kimchee fried rice was a bit of a let down I thought. The quality of the rice itself was not great and the flavors just did not pop but it was decent. Blue Bottle was decent, nothing spectacular.

                                      2. Nazca (San Jose): OK food. Did not have very high expectations from this place anyways but not bad for San Jose I guess.

                                      3. Aziza: Probably the best meal of the trip. Unfortunately, they did not have the Basteeya but I tried the spreads, the lamb shank, a chicken dish, the octopus appetizer, the couscous, the meatballs and the desert with the hazelnut ice cream and goat cheese. Everything was very good except the lamb shank which I thought was not as flavorful as the other dishes. All in all, a very satisfying meal.

                                      4. La Taqueria: The best burrito I've had. I admit, I've not had too many of them but this was very good. I definitely over stuffed myself. The tacos on the other hand, although good, did not seem to be in the same league as the burritos.

                                      5. Bi-Rite: Tried the salted caramel ice cream and the balsamic strawberry ice cream. I felt the caramel flavor was too strong for my taste but I guess a majority of people enjoy that, hence its so popular. The other flavor, I thought was excellent. I am not a big strawberry ice cream fan but I enjoyed it a lot.

                                      6. Now for what I call the "disaster" of the trip - PIPERADE. We started of with the garlic soup and the stuffed peppers. Very good soup and excellent peppers. The flavors really popped and raised our expectations. What happened next is a mystery. We had ordered the Lamb chop (2 portions since I'd heard so much about it) and the veal stew, everything medium rare. The meat was unseasoned (not under-seasoned), the lamb was definitely tending towards the medium well side and the veal had a very unpleasant texture. I am a pretty adventurous eaters and am used to gooey, slimy textures but this was just bad. No real favor in anything. I guess I cold have sent the lamb back on account of it being over cooked but it was such a bad experience that we just wanted to finish and leave. Not to mention the 30+ min wait before we got a table ( I had reservations). I am still bamboozled by what happened that day.

                                      One thing that I'd like to mention and I'll probably get panned for this but I've been on trips where food has been the primary focus. Montreal, NOLA, Philly, DC and since I live in NY, that. All of these places have amazed me with their food. Each once different from the other and more delicious than the other but I just felt that food in SF although very good, was not what I would term mind-blowing. Aziza for e.g. - great food that I'd definitely like to revisit but not in the same league as Commanders Palace in NOLA or Au Pied Cochon in Montreal or Zahav in Philly. I understand that all of these are completely different cuisines and styles and its hard to compare them but there is a certain satisfaction that you get when there is an explosion of flavors in your mouth and I for some reason thought that was missing. Maybe its just me or maybe I just to try a few more restaurants but just wanted to pen down what I thought of the entire experience.

                                      Thanks a lot once again guys!!

                                      -----
                                      La Taqueria
                                      2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      Namu
                                      439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                      Roli Roti
                                      , Hayward, CA

                                      Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
                                      One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

                                      Blue Bottle Cafe
                                      66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: indiefoodie

                                        Glad you had a good trip and thanks for posting.

                                        s to your summary comments, you went to places that are for the most part not that adventurous or exceptional. By which I mean, they're 5-10 years old, in guidebooks, etc. Slanted Door rivals Tavern on the Green for most profitable restaurant in the US.

                                        I'm not surprised you had a mediocre meal at Piperade; I'm surprised at people who have great meals there (or Zuni or any of a million well respected, consistent, but not exciting restaurants). The food critic for the Chronicle, who has barely noticed non-Italian and non-French food in 10+ years, even knows about La Taqueria.

                                        San Francisco and Oakland's restaurant scene is incredibly dynamic, and the last two years have seen an explosion in food carts, popups, high end, mid range, pizza, bakeries, etc unlike anything in the previous 20 years I've lived here.

                                        Unlike New Orleans, a restaurant that's great here in 2009 is probably not the same place I'd recommend in 2011. Chefs change every six months; menus more than that. So, sorry Aziza isn't the same as Commanders' Palace, a place I loved dearly.

                                        But I wouldn't trade the food scene here for anywhere in the country, except maybe Portland. Next time maybe we can get you a list with fewer safe spots and best bets.

                                        -----
                                        Zuni Cafe
                                        1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                        Piperade
                                        1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111

                                        La Taqueria
                                        2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                        1. re: Windy

                                          Hi Windy. Will you mind giving me (a NYC hound) five places you really like and believe I'd enjoy in SF? I have been to Zuni, Delfina, Aziza, Slanted Door, La sanateca for pupusas, chez panisse in Berk, and El tanguito on previous trips. I am asking for 5 arbitrary places you'd pick (from restaurants to trucks or all restaurant or trucks) that will be nice for a newyorker. Again just the 5 places you'd recommend to a person who tries to arrange his trips around food. For example, is Lers Ros Thai worth visiting if I live next to SriPraphai in Queens? I'm not asking if it is BETTER than it, I only want something good and a little different from what I usually eat in NYC. It does not have to be TOTALLY different from what I have in the city, just good food that will please someone who eats out a lot in the east coast and toronto/montreal. Thanks!

                                        2. re: indiefoodie

                                          The crunch in the porchetta sandwich would have been the skin.

                                          My experience is pretty much the opposite of Windy's. Most of my favorite places have the same chefs they did when I first ate there. Over 80% of my current top 25 would have been on my list two years ago.