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Please critique my 4-day SF itinerary (wife's first visit)

Hi all,

First-ever Chowhound post. Very exciting. My wife and I are taking a 4-day vacation from Washington, DC to San Francisco this Memorial Day weekend. I have been to the city before (for a week) and love it. She has never been, so I’m doing my best to plan a trip that will both hit the high points yet not run her ragged. I want her to love the city as much as I do, in the hopes of many return visits!

About us: we are in our late 20s/early 30s. We love to eat and be active. We’re going mainly for the scenery, the food and wine, and the outdoors. We’re not interested in museums, exhibitions, or history—at least, not this trip. Culinary interests for this trip: seafood, “California” cuisine (read: organic/healthy/fresh), wine bars, interesting food/wine pairings, and (a little less so) various Asian cuisines. Cuisines we’re not interested (mostly because we have a lot of good stuff on the east coast): Italian, Mexican/Latin American, Mediterranean, steakhouses.

We are staying at a friend’s place in Cow Hollow (near the intersection of Pierce and Hyde), so that is our “home base.” We will have a car for out-of-city trips. Our budget is basically unlimited; not that we are looking to break the bank with every meal, but we have been working hard in our jobs and are ready to pamper ourselves a little bit.

This is the tentative itinerary I’ve thrown together so far. I would appreciate any comments or reactions from locals who know their stuff. As you can see, I’m struggling the most with our day in Napa. I’ve never been to the area and just don’t know how to make a great single day out of it. It’s like drinking from a fire hose. Above all, I really want my wife to have a memorable time (and want to return!).

Friday
Breakfast at La Boulange [ANY OTHER PLACE TO GET GOOD BREAKFAST IN COW HOLLOW AREA?]
Walk around neighborhoods most of the day:
- Russian Hill/Lombard Street
- North Beach
- Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower
- Embarcadero
- Financial District
- Chinatown
- Nob Hill/Union Square
- ride cable cars
[WHERE TO GET LUNCH DURING THE ABOVE WALK OF THE CITY? ASSUME SOMEWHERE IN UNION SQUARE/FINANCIAL DISTRICT. WE COULD DO SOME PLACE IN THE FERRY BUILDING, THOUGH WE WILL BE BACK THERE THE NEXT MORNING.]
Dinner at Anchor & Hope
Drinks afterward at Bix (jazz club)

Saturday
Rent bikes
Breakfast at Ferry Building and Saturday Farmer’s Market
Bike on Embarcadero, GG bridge, Sausalito, Old Mill Park, Tiburon, ferry back.
Lunch in Sausalito, at either Fish or the Spinnaker
Dinner at Farallon (Union Square)
Afterward: drinks at Top o’ the Mark (Intercontinental Hotel)

Sunday – day in Napa
Breakfast? [SOMEWHERE AGAIN IN COW HOLLOW, OR MAYBE ON THE WAY UP TO NAPA?]
Wineries to visit: Cade, Rombauer, Quintessa [THESE WERE RECOMMENDED BY FRIENDS. WOULD LIKE TO CHOOSE ONE OR TWO MORE. WE ARE TOTAL DILETTANTES; WE JUST LIKE INTERESTING ESTATES AND MEMORABLE VISITS; WE ALSO PREFER SMALLER, MORE QUAINT WINERIES TO MASSIVE PRODUCERS]
Lunch at Mustard’s Grill? [NEED OTHER LUNCH OPTIONS]
Dinner at ??? [NEED A GREAT, “NAPA-Y” DINNER OPTION]

Monday:
Hiking in Presidio/Golden Gate Park
Muir Woods/Mt. Tamalpais
Lunch at ? [NEED LUNCH PLACE]
Dinner at Waterbar or A16 (depending on mood)
Drive to airport for 11:10 pm flight from SFO.

I know this is a little sparse… I wish we were there for a month, and not four days! But I would appreciate any thoughts or reactions. Thank you!

-----
A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Farallon
450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Bix
56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

Anchor & Hope
83 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

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  1. Wow! Okay, first piece advice: Don't stress yourself out about seeing and eating it all! The SF mindset is all about going with the flow... for the most part, you can't go wrong with any of your choices.

    Here are my two cents:
    - Anchor and Hope is good... but that's more of a business lunch place (in my opinion). Other more exciting restaurants in the area: Luce, Absinthe, Gitane, Prospect, Marlowe, Ame, La Mar, Benu, RN74.

    - Also, Bix is kind of old school. Mixology is the current food trend and SF is supposedly leading the way as far as innovations. Search Chowhound for recommendations but you should definitely try to hit some of the more hip places like Rickhouse, Bourbon and Branch, and 25Lusk.

    - Fish is definitely one of the best places to eat in Sausalito (but the seafood is only average compared to fish places back East). Be sure to go down the street to the Heath ceramic factory. (Bring a sturdy backpack if you're biking because the place has great deals -- and you'll kick yourself for not buying something!)

    - Farallon... haven't been there, so shouldn't really say anything negative about it, but seems sort of "old" for 20/30-somethings. Bar Crudo seems more fun to me. Or if you're going to spend the money, you sure you don't want to try Michael Minna's or Gary Danko instead?

    - As for Napa... this isn't helping, but Bouchon has the best pastries for breakfast -- totally out of your way if you want to eat at Mustards (which we highly recommend -- get the onion rings!). Another destination is Oxbow Public Market -- lots of yummy things to eat and Gott's burger place is across the street. (Similar to Taylor's Refresher.) And one of our favorite wineries: Cakebread.

    - On Monday, A16 is good. Tacolicious and Nopalito are very good -- trendy Mexican -- I know you're not really interested in trying Latin food, but SF has amazing Mexican food (it's completely different from what you get back East). SPQR on Filmore is also really good.

    - Finally, if you're interested in the ice cream scene you might want to take a trip to Humphry Slocombe or Bi-Rite (both in the Mission)

    And some favorite spots we always take tourists (but not on your list):
    - Foreign Cinema
    - Tartine bakery (seriously, you should think twice about leaving this out of a culinary trip)
    - Dynamo Donuts
    - Dosa
    - Slanted Door

    And finally, SF is all about the good coffee!!! Try Ritual, Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Philz, Weavers (you can find them all at Whole Foods or Bi-Rite). Grab a bag of each and take SF home with you ;) Have fun!!!

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

    A16
    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

    Farallon
    450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Bar Crudo
    655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

    Bix
    56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

    Foreign Cinema
    2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

    SPQR
    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    Oxbow Public Market
    610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559

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

    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    RN74
    301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

    Rickhouse Bar
    246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

    Bouchon
    6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

    Tacolicious
    2031 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    Benu
    22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    2 Replies
    1. re: sfwork

      I don't think Farallon feels older than any other fine-dining restaurant. And while it's not cheap by any standards, it's not in the same price range as Mina or Danko -- with the exception of the lobster, the seafood entrees are priced in the 20s. I'm not overly enthusiastic about seafood in San Francisco, but Farallon would be a good place to go for an upscale, but not ultra-expensive, meal. Its sister restaurant, Waterbar, is a bit more pricey. Bar Crudo is a different animal, which could be good or bad depending on what you're looking for.

      1. re: sfwork

        This is excellent advice -- thank you so much!

      2. A few things:

        Have some Mexican food. The Mexican here is extraordinarily better than you get in DC. Also, have some Italian food, the Italian here is a lot different than many of the places on the East Coast (a very California sensibility), and you would be missing out if you eliminated it just because it's Italian.

        You list a LOT of neighborhoods on that first day, try to stick with fewer and not overwhelm yourselves. Maybe plan for lunch in Chinatown, and leave the Financial District and the Embarcadero for the next day (really, there's no need to go to the FiDi at all, unless it's for food reasons).

        Farallon and Bix are kind of old and boring. Why did you pick them? Helpful to know that sowe can suggest some alternatives. Anchor and Hope is fine, but there's better out there in that price range.

        Definitely stop at Tartine on the way up to Napa for pastries. Great idea to pick a few small wineries. Quintessa is good, other nice visits are Robert Sinskey and Frogs Leap (call for appointments). It might be good to make one appointment in the late morning and one in the early afternoon, and then you can have time for any unscheduled stops that you get recommended.

        -----
        Farallon
        450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Bix
        56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

        29 Replies
        1. re: JasmineG

          Thanks so much. Quick responses:

          1. Mexican and Italian were also off the list because (a) my wife is from Texas, and (b) my family is Italian. So while I don't doubt there are a number of amazing Mexican and Italian options in the city, it's just not at the top of our list for this trip. We very well may stop for some Mexican food (in fact, I'd like to do so); it's just not something we're going to plan for. Same with Italian.

          2. I chose Farallon because it looked like a solid, upscale seafood restaurant. Saturday night is our "nice night out." Are there other, better options along that front (i.e,. that have good seafood)? I should point out that my wife does not like shellfish or raw bar, so places that emphasize that (e.g., Bar Crudo) are not as high on our list, even though I personally would like to go to them. Additionally, while we both like to eat, I am the more adventurous eater; she won't go for food that is too "experimental" or where the flavor profile is too unfamiliar (e.g., sea urchin). So the seafood options (and all options) can't be too off the chart.

          3. I chose Bix because we like jazz clubs and speakeasy-type places. But I'd love to find some great mixology, as long as it's not too hipsterish. I'll look into the suggestions #1 provided.

          4. I looked Tartine up on the map; since we're going from Cow Hollow to Napa, isn't Tartine (in the Mission District) pretty out of the way? I could be wrong--just asking.

          5. What do people think about the CIA restaurant (Greystone) in St. Helena? That seemed pretty neat to us--we are intrigued by culinary school--and the food and wine looked good as well.

          6. What do people think about Angele, in Napa, for dinner? Unfortunately, I couldn't get a reservation at our first choices--Redd, Botega, or Mustard's. Angele got a good write-up in the NYT's "36 Hours in Napa," so that counts for something. But I'd prefer not to do French while in the valley; if we wanted that, we'd just fly to France (it's a shorter flight than SF!).

          -----
          Farallon
          450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Bar Crudo
          655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

          Bix
          56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

          1. re: dcsells

            You do know that A16 is Italian, don't you? I mean, since you specifically said you were NOT interested in Itlaian cuisine, I'm curious why it's on your list.

            -----
            A16
            2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

            1. re: hazel1

              It's on the list because it's walkable from where we're staying, so if on our last night we just wanted something nearby, that would be our choice. The friends we're staying with recommended it as a neighborhood option.

              But provided we are not exhausted--either in general or of seafood--we are more likely to go to Waterbar.

            2. re: dcsells

              Great info here! Yeah, if your wife is from Texas, you're right to skip Mexican here, especially with only 4 days. I still, though, would encourage you to not reject restaurants just because they're Italian -- Cal/Italian the way San Francisco does it is very much its own thing, and where some of the best food in the city is.

              I think that you and your wife might both really like Gary Danko or Ame; neither of them are exactly "seafood" restaurants, but both of them have great fish options, and there are more creative stuff for you and more staid (but still good) stuff for your wife. GD is much more on the staid side, but it's a perfect one Saturday night out.

              If you like speakeasy type places, definitely try Bourbon and Branch over Bix. Also, I'd check some reviews of Waterbar here; I've never been, but only because nothing that I've ever seen about it leads me to want to go.

              You're right, Tartine is out of the way, but not that far out of the way, and I'd hate for you to miss it; the baked goods are great, and baked goods and breads in general are one of the strengths of SF (particularly over DC). And you can get a bunch of things to go and bring them on your drive up to Napa, so it won't be that much of a detour.

              A firm no to Greystone, it gets horrible reviews. It's a beautiful space, so drive by, but don't eat there. I've eaten at Angele, and it's nice, but I've enjoyed my meals at Ad Hoc, Bouchon & Redd better. Note that there will be a LOT of traffic in Napa that weekend, so plan for much more time in between meals and winery visits than you think you need to.

              -----
              Ad Hoc
              6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

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

              Bix
              56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

              Greystone Restaurant
              2555 Main St St, Helena, CA

              Bouchon
              6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              1. re: JasmineG

                Ame has a lot of seafood on the menu, but, as is the case with Bar Crudo, a lot of the good stuff is either raw or shellfish.

                Gary Danko is just a generic fine-dining restaurant that, like most generic fine-dining places, has some seafood items on the menu.

                1. re: nocharge

                  That's one view of Gary Danko, but a lot of people really love it, and if the wife likes less adventurous but good food, it may be a good choice. And the best things that I've had in my meals at Ame have been neither raw nor shellfish, but just great fish. I think one issue is that San Francisco doesn't have a lot of traditional "seafood" restaurants, especially not ones that are upscale; there are places by the Wharf that aren't very good, there are oysters, and there is great Asian food focused on seafood, but if you want really good fish in a fine dining atmosphere, the choice is more to look for a great place that has fish on the menu, not a great place that focuses on fish.

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

                  1. re: JasmineG

                    I think both Farallon and Waterbar are decent upscale seafood restaurants. They are not as good as Aqua used to be but probably where I would go unless I had a craving for Tadich.

                    1. re: nocharge

                      Oh man, Tadich is of course where they should go for at least one meal; not the big Saturday night, but that's a perfect lunch on Friday. They take no reservations, so get there early (or on the very late side).

                      1. re: nocharge

                        Agree -- Tadich is so San Francisco!

                  2. re: JasmineG

                    Sadly, Bourbon and Branch has no space that night. Maybe for the best--I'm not wild about taking my wife to the Tenderloin late at night. I'll look into Rickhouse and 25Lusk, recommended by another person above.

                    I think I'm going to keep trying for Mustards or Redd for dinner. Hopefully a space for 2 will open up.

                    I'm curious: when you say Greystone "gets horrible reviews," from whom? I did a search on these pages and the reviews ranged from rave to bad (the latter being by the same review who keeps popping up). The Tripadvisor page has pretty positive reviews (I'm new to Chowhound, so maybe Tripadvisor is seen as a little amateurish...).

                    -----
                    Greystone Restaurant
                    2555 Main St St, Helena, CA

                    Rickhouse Bar
                    246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                    1. re: dcsells

                      I'm sorry, but Rickhouse is a yuppie, soulless, Financial District hangout, has no personality whatsoever, especially if you were looking for a "jazz" type of feel. I'm sorry i can't be more helpful than that .... i frequent the divier bars in the Mission which is not what you're looking for. But i really don't think Rickhouse is either.

                      -----
                      Rickhouse Bar
                      246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        I went to Rickhouse around 10pm on a Thursday and from the clientele would never have guessed we were on the edge of the FiDi. Though I prefer Comstock Saloon.

                        -----
                        Rickhouse Bar
                        246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                        Comstock Saloon
                        155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                          1. re: mariacarmen

                            I dunno. Comstock has food and is quieter. Rickhouse is all about the cocktails. I was amazed how busy the place was.

                            -----
                            Rickhouse Bar
                            246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                      2. re: dcsells

                        Bourbon & Branch may not be offering reservations, but that doesn't mean they don't have space. Seats in the "library" are unreserved - just use the password "books" at the door. You may even get seats in the main bar - some people don't show for their reservations, and plenty reserve for longer than they actually stay.

                        Barb and I hit Rickhouse this past weekend. They're supposed to make good drinks, but I can't speak to that. We couldn't get a seat and decided not to stand, especially because we didn't like the vibe. Your mileage, of course, may vary. In your shoes I'd head over to House of Shields. Not a speakeasy, just an old-school SF bar.

                        Speaking of which, order smart at the Top of the Mark. The views are great, but the same can't be said of the $15 "martinis" (their word for anything in a cocktail glass, which of itself should be a warning sign). Avoid the more creative entries and choose something that's hard to screw up. Like a martini.

                        -----
                        Bourbon & Branch
                        501 Jones St, San Francisco, CA

                        Top of the Mark
                        Number One Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108

                        Rickhouse Bar
                        246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          Wilson & Wilson is inside B&B and is resv only - great place to try if they're available one of the nights.

                        2. re: dcsells

                          Just show up at Mustards -- you can usually get seated at the bar. Worst case scenario if you don't get in, head up the street to Go Fish. Totally different vibe, but I really loved our meal there.

                          -----
                          Go Fish
                          641 Main St, St. Helena, CA 94574

                          1. re: dcsells

                            Yeah, Rickhouse makes good drinks, but it's kind of a madhouse. If what you want is great cocktails, I'd actually recommend a few restaurants over bars; Gitane makes fantastic cocktails, for one, and you can sit at the bar and relax.

                            Greystone gets horrible reviews both here, and from everyone I've known who has been there. You found a rave for Greystone on Chowhound?

                            -----
                            Greystone Restaurant
                            2555 Main St St, Helena, CA

                            Gitane Restaurant & Bar
                            6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

                            Rickhouse Bar
                            246 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA

                            1. re: dcsells

                              we went to Bourbon and Branch at about 7:15 and did not need a reservation. It was not full at all. you may not want to go so early, but we liked it for a pre dinner drink. On a Thursday.

                          2. re: dcsells

                            For mixology and California cuisine, you might want to check out Bar Agricole -- it's very San Francisco 2011.

                            -----
                            Bar Agricole
                            355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I wouldn't describe Bar Agricole as very San Francisco. The food, wine list, and drinks are first-rate, but the decor is from another planet. Feels oddly like a greenhouse.

                              -----
                              Bar Agricole
                              355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                It's very San Francisco in 2011: gussied-up former warehouse decor, SOMA location, fancy drinks, chefly versions of rustic food, etc.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  You could say that about Lulu, which opened almost 20 years ago. The big difference between the two places is that Lulu's decor is understated and Bar Agricole's is as far from understated as possible.

                                  -----
                                  Bar Agricole
                                  355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Was Lulu into artisan cocktails 20 years ago?

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      They had cocktails. The artisanal cocktail thing started in the early 2000s.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        So Lulu 20 years ago was *not* like Bar Agricole, since the whole raison d'etre of Bar Agricole is the cocktails. That was my point: Bar Agricole encompasses all of the current trends in SF at the moment.

                                        -----
                                        Bar Agricole
                                        355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          No pizza at Bar Agricole, and the decor is for a restaurant in some other city, maybe on the planet Mongo.

                                          -----
                                          Bar Agricole
                                          355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                I agree with Ruth the drinks at Bar Agricole are great! The food is too;)

                                -----
                                Bar Agricole
                                355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Oh yes, love Bar Agricole -- drinks are always great. And also agree with you Ruth on how this place represents the SF food scene in 2011 -- heavy focus on cocktails, simply prepared foods that are inspired by Asian and Mediterranean flavors, and an emphasis on local ingredients.

                                  -----
                                  Bar Agricole
                                  355 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            2. good list

                              umm aren't Pierce and Hyde parallel? (yeah a mathematician could argue that eventually they might intersect, but I'm getting pissy)

                              Farallon was hot in like, 1998 (cool light fixtures though) and IMHO the Presidio needs to be done at 2 AM on mountain bikes in pitch black darkness, blown witless on X, followed by croissants or pain au chocolat at dawn on Baker Beach or in Alta Plaza Park.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: hill food

                                Whoops--I meant Pierce and Union.

                                Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the DC bar would have something to say if I followed your advice about the Presidio!

                                1. re: dcsells

                                  oh right - Lawyer-town. well I was young with no professional credentials in those days. still dawn at the beach with carry out can be woken up for rather than stayed up for (golly I can dangle a preposition like nobody's business) reassure your wife Cali Mexican is really different from Tex and the Italian is largely Ligurian-ish if that makes a difference.

                                  Bix is a fanciful re-creation, but it does have a speakeasy vibe and location.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    Despite the many immigrants from that region some generations back, there's not much Ligurian-style Italian food in SF. Farina used to be Ligurian but is now pan-Italian. Perbacco has some dishes, great pansotti. Rose Pistola used to have a few but I don't see any on their current menu.

                                    -----
                                    Perbacco
                                    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                      1. re: wolfe

                                        American-style pesto is made with different basil, pine nuts, cheese, and olive oil so it tastes pretty different.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          The Genoese I had dinner with at Caffe Sport didn't complain.

                                          -----
                                          Caffe Sport
                                          574 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                          1. re: wolfe

                                            Not that they'd expect to get real Ligurian food from a Sicilian chef in San Francisco anyway, but after they saw "fatevi i cazzi vostri" on the sign outside they might have been afraid to complain.

                                            I complained about the uncleaned squid (just chopped in pieces, including the cuttlebone and guts) I was served there and they told me it was supposed to be that way.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              You are saying that a chef can not learn to make authentic cuisine of an area outside his own origin?

                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                I avoid the word "authentic," since it doesn't seem to mean the same thing to any two people.

                                                Caffe Sport doesn't even make traditional Sicilian dishes. Given their prices and portion sizes there's no chance they're using the right cheese and pine nuts for the Ligurian version.

                                              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                "including the cuttlebone and guts"

                                                ew. (and it takes a lot to skeeve me)

                                                1. re: hill food

                                                  Being served uncleaned squid wasn't as gross as watching my friends eat it.

                                  2. re: hill food

                                    Yes, I am not a fan of Farallon. Though others here think its gotten better lately. It's sterile-feeling to me, even with all the fanciful decor.
                                    You might want to try Ame for your splurge/fish night, they offer items for both you and your wife:
                                    http://www.amerestaurant.com/dinner.html
                                    Your plan to go to the Ferry Bldg. Sat. is a very good one. You may be able to get your oyster craving taken care of there, while your wife enjoys other items, as you sit outside and enjoy the view of the Bay.
                                    You do have too many neighborhoods to cover in one day, and Jasmine is right, the only reason to walk through the Financial District is if you wanted to grab lunch at Golden West, a take-out window by Dennis Leary (chef at Canteen - which you should try for brunch, maybe Sunday before you leave for Napa tho I really love Canteen for dinner) or Barbacco (but you don't want Italian.)
                                    As for Napa, I always send people to Artesa - a beautiful winery that looks different than the other wineries - modern, sleek, gorgeous, and I've always loved their pinots. On the way to Napa, it's always fun to sit on the patio at Gloria Ferrer and get their sampler of bubblies. It's not that it's the greatest sparkling wine you'll ever try, it's just such a nice experience.

                                    -----
                                    Farallon
                                    450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    Barbacco
                                    230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    Golden West
                                    8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                      +1 on Ame over Farallon. Farallon is the typical kind of restaurant that bubbles up if you read reviews of the "good restaurants" and is rather generic in person. I wouldn't send anyone there.

                                      -----
                                      Farallon
                                      450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                  3. on monday, you may want to hit tomales bay for oysters for lunch. tomales bay co...they have hot sauce, lemons and shucking knives. make sure to bring a sourdough baguette!

                                    -----
                                    Tomales Bay Oyster Co
                                    15479 Highway 1, Marshall, CA

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: majordanby

                                      that is a cool beachy thing to do, personally those shuck knives scare the bejesus outta me and I'd rather bring a standard screwdriver (and a screwdriver) and take a bit longer - same result w/o the fear I'm going to slash a wrist.

                                      1. re: majordanby

                                        Sounds awesome, but the wife is no oyster fan (sadly). Maybe I'll squeeze this is if I come out to the city again for work...

                                        1. re: dcsells

                                          So you have oysters and she doesn't. Tomales bay is beautiful. A dozen oysters roadside overlooking the bay they were plucked from takes only a few minutes.

                                          1. re: dcsells

                                            Go to Hog Island Oyster Bar in the Ferry Building then. You get oysters, she gets the world's best grilled cheese and a glass of wine.

                                        2. Friday breakfast options in Cow Hollow: Rose's Cafe at the corner of Union and Steiner--outdoor seating is nice, good pastries, love the sausage, polenta and poached egg with spicy tomato sauce, breakfast pizzas
                                          Judy's Cafe on chestnut between Pierce and Scott--good omelets.
                                          Home Plate on Lombard between Pierce and Steiner--pancakes, waffles, etc.

                                          -----
                                          Home Plate
                                          2274 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: bobpantzer

                                            Rose's is a nice suggestion, good breakfast pizzas, but please don't go to Home Plate unless you like omelettes with deli meat in them. Just, eww.

                                            -----
                                            Home Plate
                                            2274 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                            1. re: rabaja

                                              I've never had an omelette at Home Plate. I do like their waffles, pancakes (both buttermilk and cornmeal) and their chicken apple, pork and anduille sausages. In addition, the young Thai couple that owns it are extremely friendly and efficient.

                                              -----
                                              Home Plate
                                              2274 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                              1. re: bobpantzer

                                                It clearly has it's fans. I was just completely unimpressed by the quality of ingredients and have never wanted to go back.
                                                Too many other places in the city to try, re-visit.

                                          2. If you are in North Beach, AM preferably, stop by Liguria. It is on one corner of Washington Square - it is a random little storefront - but, you'll thought you've stopped in italy - get the Pizza Foccacia and you won't be disappointed. It is just a square of heaven - you have to get the Pizza though - tomato sauce and green onions! To die for. Farallon has not disappointed - right around the corner from there (next to Sak's) is La Scalla Bistro - SF feel for sure and pretty decent food. American Seafood fare. Roam Artisan Burgers in the Marina District is great. Prospect is another SF restaurant that has had rave reviews.

                                            -----
                                            Farallon
                                            450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                            Roam Artisan Burgers
                                            1785 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: heartysoul

                                              Liguria's rosemary-garlic focaccia is also great. Even the plain is. They frequently sell out before their scheduled noon / 1pm closing, I've gotten there at 10:30 and found them closed.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                How much is the foccaccia there? I saw it at Falletti's for $6.95 if I remember correctly. Sure beats parking in North Beach and waiting in line.

                                                1. re: SteveG

                                                  I've never had to wait for more than a few minutes at Liguria, but I tend to get there early. IIRC, plain focaccia is $4, and other varieties are more, ranging up to $5.

                                                  1. re: SteveG

                                                    I don't know why, but the focaccia at the bakery is way better than the Liguria Bakery focaccia that is sold at Andronico's or Falletti.

                                                    -----
                                                    Liguria Bakery
                                                    1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                                    1. re: sfbing

                                                      I think it's better because it's fresher, sometimes still warm, and hasn't suffered from being in a plastic bag.

                                              2. Considering you like jazz, I really think you'd enjoy BIX. Check out the menu, very seasonal, beautiful place.

                                                For fish, I love Tadich -- not pretentious, just really fresh fish. Lots to choose from on menu (changes daily -- many options if you don't eat fish).

                                                Ditto: Try to fit in Tartine bakery.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: walker

                                                  FWIW we were at Bix three Saturdays ago from Vancouver and we mainly went for the jazz trio that is there Friday and Saturday (solo piano/vocals on other days). We enjoyed the meal and are glad we went but if the OP is looking to get his wife to love SF, I'm not sure this is the place to do it. The room is very dark with "old" looking Art Deco-ish design inside, well done but not original. The service was excellent, the music competent and the food the same. I didn't get a very seasonal vibe from the menu though I understand they do change up their cocktails (the strawberry based one I had was just okay). The website says the their "menus are built around San Francisco classics, reinterpreted and refined" and that they are "seasonal and may change daily." Out of the nine mains currently on offer (the same as when we were there) I note Maine lobster and Alaska halibut http://www.bixrestaurant.com/pdf/bix_...

                                                  1. re: walker

                                                    Sam's Grill's menu is almost identical to Tadich's, but it's better, cheaper, easier to get into, and doesn't use frozen shrimp.

                                                  2. I'm an 8-year local to Cow Hollow and around your age range so I will note my favorite delicious spots nearby as you have many wonderful comments above for other areas.
                                                    Brunch: Rose's Cafe or Ottimista EnotecaCafe (see wine bar description below)
                                                    Dinners: Terzo (Mid-Eastern/Med. influenced), Chotto (Japanese Izikaya), A16 (Italian, hot spot - book on OpenTable), Zushi Puzzle (Sushi, call for resv - one of the best hole-in-the-wall sushi spots in SF and always packed - Roger is *the bomb*), Betelnut (Asian Fusion hot spot for about a decade - call for a resv) and Capannina (Italian, romantic, classic).
                                                    Wine bars: Nectar for ambiance, California Wine Merchant for expertise, Ottimista EnotecaCafe for a great "foreign" wine list and also full bar, plus food if you want it that happens to be incredible.
                                                    Lunch: Roam (organic burger bar)

                                                    Enjoy and report back!

                                                    -----
                                                    A16
                                                    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    Capannina
                                                    1809 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    Zushi Puzzle
                                                    1910 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    California Wine Merchant
                                                    2113 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA

                                                    Terzo
                                                    3011 Steiner St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    Chotto
                                                    3317 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: MeredithR

                                                      I love Terzo but I sure wouldn't call it Mid-Eastern. Yes, there may be some mid-eastern influenced dishes but their website calls itself "Pan-Mediteranean" and indicates it is "authentically European" with spices and flavors from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco and the Middle East. Sunday through Thursday they have a great wine deal with half priced wine for any wine on their wine list with a regular price of $40 or less. .

                                                      -----
                                                      Terzo
                                                      3011 Steiner St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                      1. re: bobpantzer

                                                        Good thought. It's a hard one to describe so I changed my description in case another person was curious about it. Best. Hummus. Ever. And yes, the the wine deal is fantastic.

                                                        1. re: MeredithR

                                                          I love Terzo as well. Great hummus, especially with the fresh pita and house made za'atar.
                                                          I love the slight middle eastern influence on the mediteranean dishes.

                                                          -----
                                                          Terzo
                                                          3011 Steiner St., San Francisco, CA 94123

                                                    2. If you want small quaint wineries, don't go to Napa.
                                                      There are some there but many are not open to the public.. I suggest you head to Russian River or Dry Creek in Sonoma.

                                                      1. Most wineries close by 4:00/4:30; therefore, you may have some time on your hands before dinner. Do make your winery appts. asap so you can plan your lunch around them.

                                                        BTW, Redd has bar area...call to see if they serve a la carte dinner there. You might like Solbar as well.

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/503020

                                                        Or, you could have a nice lunch somewhere (Redd, Solbar, etc.) and end the day with dinner back in the City. Try to make lunch reservations as Memorial Day wknd will most likely be busy. Last bit of advice, Silverado Trail & hwy 29 run parallel for the most part but the former will be less crowded.

                                                        1. if you want your wife to love San Francisco and don't want to run her ragged, don't even think about Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and Muir Woods in one day on a holiday weekend: unless you want to get up at five in the morning and bring a picnic packed the night before. Especially after spending the Sunday going to Napa and return, if you do that Monday, you will feel like you spent your weekend in the car, and in lots of traffic. Similarly, the Carnaval celebration in the Mission area of the City will mean big crowds and traffic. Not a good weekend to go to Foreign Cinema, IMO, certainly not without a reservation (or even Tartine, as much as I like it). Unless of course you want to go watch the parade and celebrate also.

                                                          Personally, I would not enjoy having a bike at the Ferry Building Market. Too crowded, and then if I wanted to purchase anything I'd have to cart it around in a backpack if the rental bike didn't have a basket. remember that there are things to buy there that are non-perishable and transportable by plane, and what is the fun of going to a farmer's market if you can't buy?

                                                          IMO, you've eliminated some of the best that San Francisco has to offer by taking Italian off the list, particularly Cal-Ital. I'd take Farallon off your list. Aziza would be a good choice for your Saturday dinner, particularly with a car. Great cocktails also.

                                                          Jai Yun for lunch on Friday during your walk would be worth considering.

                                                          -----
                                                          Jai Yun
                                                          680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                          Farallon
                                                          450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                          Foreign Cinema
                                                          2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                          1. For your Monday night dinner, either Aziza or Lafitte are unique, only-in-San Francisco, special places that are much better than Waterbar (which is a could-be-anywhere-despite-the-view, expense-account, soulless place). Lafitte has the view too, and idiosyncratic cooking. Not sure why you chose A16, as mentioned it's Italian, and not a destination restaurant imo, and a pain to get from that neighborhood to SFO.

                                                            -----
                                                            Aziza
                                                            5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121

                                                            Lafitte
                                                            5 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: goingoutagain

                                                              If you are looking for a generic, upscale seafood restaurant, Waterbar is one of the better choices. There is no Le Bernadin in San Francisco, unfortunately.

                                                              I always felt Lafitte took "idiosyncratic" to a point where it became gimmicky and made the food uneven.

                                                              1. re: nocharge

                                                                I was totally underwhelmed the one time I ate there. You can do much better in this city in that price range.

                                                            2. It's a shame not enough people consider Oakland/Berkeley in their SF trips.
                                                              From my experience, Oakland Chinatown is easily just as good as (probably even better) Flushings and SGV fare. And for a truly ethnic dive, DEFINITELY go to Vien Huong Restaurant. It's Chinese (ChiuChow)/Vietnamese. The only place you will find a restaurant that can hold itself against VH is Little Saigon in Garden Grove.
                                                              And if you're looking for "California," why not go to the place that started it all -- Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Both Chez Panisse Restaurant (prix fixe) and Chez Panisse Cafe (a la carte) are worth visiting at least once.
                                                              OR for your Monday lunch after your hike, head over to the Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley (across the street from Chez Panisse). The cheese shop is the best I've ever come across (in LA and NYC). The cheese selection is out of this world and they wont give you the stink eye if you're there for 2 hours sampling cheeses. The cafe is next door and has, hands down, the best California style pizza you'll ever find. From a business mindset, it's genius. From a foodie's POV, it's the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. They only make one type of pizza per day using fresh local ingredients and gourmet cheeses (from their cheese shop), which results in insanely fast service and even more insanely high quality food.

                                                              Vien Huong is only a 15min BART + 6min walk from Powell St BART station.
                                                              Cheeseboard/Chez Panisse is 25min BART + nice 15min walk.

                                                              Next time you and your wife come out, you should definitely explore East Bay food. There's a lot more in the gourmet ghetto in Berkeley than Chez and Cheeseboard. And Indian food in Fremont is phenomenal.

                                                              And sorry if my suggestions aren't very extravagant. My time in the Bay Area was when I was a college student.

                                                              -----
                                                              Chez Panisse
                                                              1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                              The Cheese Board Collective
                                                              1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                              Vien Huong
                                                              712 Franklin St, Oakland, CA 94607

                                                              20 Replies
                                                              1. re: bac0n

                                                                The merits of visiting the East Bay were highly debated very recently:
                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784306
                                                                Cheeseboard is a great cheese shop, but I don't think it is any better than Cowgirl in the Ferry building. And their pizza, while good, I found it a bit soggy... there are much better pizza options in SF proper.
                                                                Also, I don't know how long ago you lived in the Bay Area (or if you still do), but since I moved out here I haven't read anything positive about the food at Chez Panisse (the cafe nor the main restaurant) that is not from long long ago... (which is why I haven't bothered to go... too many other great places to try... esp. for the price).

                                                                1. re: lrealml

                                                                  Cheese Board pizza seems to me almost immune to sogginess. They don't use tomato sauce, usually the toppings are on the dry side, and the crust is sort of cracker-like.

                                                                  There are lots of reports of great meals at Chez Panisse in recent years in the archive here, though there's no compelling reason to go there rather than to one of the dozen or so places in SF that serve more or less similar food.

                                                                  1. re: lrealml

                                                                    >>"since I moved out here I haven't read anything positive about the food at Chez Panisse"<<

                                                                    Then you haven't been reading this board. There are many good things written here about the food at CP, many of them recent. Whether it's worth a special trip is an open question, but the food there is consistently very good.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Chez Panisse
                                                                    1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Ok, so I shouldn't have said "anything"... sorry. Since I've moved out here, I've read the board making lists of restaurants to try (had so many great meals as a result)... and while there are a few positive reviews (not many recently), I've read a lot of posts like:
                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/464016 & http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600078 & http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725723 & http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/18251
                                                                      It has also gotten negative reviews elsewhere...
                                                                      For the price it is way to inconsistent to chance a bad meal, esp. when there are so many other restaurants serving similar food for less money with way more positive consistent reports.

                                                                      1. re: lrealml

                                                                        Chez Panisse has been getting mixed reviews since before any of the places now serving similar food opened, and many of those places (e.g. Zuni, Frances) get similarly mixed reviews.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          Interesting to know.... I thought that I missed their "glory days".
                                                                          Zuni never made my list for the same reason... that and while I enjoy a good roast chicken (Inkas' and Limon Rotisserie's are great); I can't imagine paying $48 dollars for one.... not my favorite protein. However, given endless time and $$ I would definitely give both a try.

                                                                          1. re: lrealml

                                                                            I went to Zuni the other week with a friend who roasts chicken at home using the Zuni recipe, but he said the restaurant's version is better. You can't really duplicate it without a wood oven.

                                                                            Chez Panisse's glory days were when the choice for that kind of food was between eating there and going to France or Italy. They haven't changed much.

                                                                        2. re: lrealml

                                                                          Sure, Chez Panisse has gotten negative reviews. Starting on the day it opened in 1971. Some people just don't get it. And it's a fair assumption that there are days when the kitchen's performance isn't what it should be. That's true of any restaurant. Add in the fact that people treat the place like a culinary Mecca, expecting every bite to be an epiphany, and you've created a perfect environment for disappointment.

                                                                          But there's a big difference between a place that's controversial and one that's universally scorned. There's no doubt CP draws mixed opinions. But the notion that it doesn't get any positive comments is just silly. And anybody who uses price as a basis for claims that it should be held to a higher standard obviously hasn't looked at the menu upstairs.

                                                                          If you're not interested in going there, I'm not interested in persuading you to try the place. But to discourage other people from doing so based on factual claims that are simply false? Not much point in that, either.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Chez Panisse
                                                                          1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                            "But the notion that it doesn't get any positive comments is just silly."

                                                                            I already conceded this point (and said sorry), but if you want to go on about it, that is your prerogative. Also, I said that "I didn't read any" not that there weren't any (or at least couldn't recall reading any at the moment).
                                                                            There are not a lot of truly factual claims on this board. Everything posted is anecdotal or opinion... No one is presenting statistical data... I thought that was understood.

                                                                            It is my opinion that I have read more negative things about Chez Panisse on this board than any other restaurant in it's price range/class. It is also my opinion that the cafe menu (which I have read), is not very affordable... It is a fact that I have around 20 restaurants on my to try list still in a similar price range to the cafe that I've never read anything except gushingly positive reviews for.

                                                                      2. re: lrealml

                                                                        I totally disagree: Cheeseboard is significantly better than Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building -- much bigger selection, better customer service, better prices.

                                                                        bac0n, I'm interested to hear more (in a separate, specific thread) about what you recommend in Oakland Chinatown, both restaurants and specific dishes.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Cowgirl Creamery
                                                                        1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          This cannot be overstated on the Cheeseboard -- the selection is a lot better than Cowgirl (and just about any other cheese shop in the Bay Area) but the prices are much much better. I'm always stunned at the prices at the Cheeseboard, especially when I've paid 25% or so more for the same cheese at other cheese shops.

                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                            To expand: the selection of soft cheeses is poor at Cowgirl -- I don't know if they don't want a lot of competition for their own cheeses or what. The selection of blues is laughable. There's almost nothing in the aged cheeses under $25/lb.

                                                                            What I really love at Cowgirl are the fresh cheeses: ricotta, mascarpone, etc.

                                                                            In addition, although you sometimes have to wait a while to be waited on at the Cheese board (this can true at Cowgirl as well, and they don't have a take-a-number system, which is annoying), once you have a clerk, that person is willing to cut you samples indefinitely with no attitude. At Cowgirl they always seem to begrudge you the time to cut samples, answer questions, etc. The exception is the wonderful woman who is often at the fresh cheese case who is delightfully friendly and enthusiastic about her wares.

                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                              I've taken numbers at Cowgirl. Maybe they only put it out when they're really busy, or maybe they got rid of it.

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                Hmm, I always have great service at Cowgirl... then again I am normally at the fresh cheese counter... I had 4 different people on Sat. offering me unsolicited cheese samples when I stopped in to buy some ricotta.
                                                                                I was really saying, more to the point of this thread, that Cowgirl is a great cheese shop as well, so a tourist with limited time doesn't have to go all the way to Cheeseboard to have a great cheese experience. I actually wish I could make it out to Cheeseboard more often myself... I find myself in SF more often than in Berkeley... however, if something half as good as either opened on the peninsula I would be thrilled.

                                                                        2. re: bac0n

                                                                          The Cheese Board is closed Mondays, except for the bakery, which closes at 1pm. No pizza, no cheese except pre-cut. You don't need to go to Berkeley to try their eccentric style of pizza, the Arizmendi bakeries make it too.

                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                            Well, to quibble, while the style is the same, Arizmendi’s crust is crispier, Cheeseboard's is a bit chewier. I prefer Cheeseboard's, have never found it soggy at all. Arizmendi's is also very good, however.

                                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                              Hmm, well maybe we hit it on an off day, but we didn't like the texture of the crust (or lack of texture).
                                                                              I should say that we are both very very picky about pizza.. my SO is from NY and we go there once or twice a year and eat a lot of great pizza. Speaking of pizza, we finally went Tony's yesterday, and the Margarita pizza we had was great... nice chewy blistered crust. The Cal Italian pizza was good, but not as impressive.

                                                                              1. re: lrealml

                                                                                Love Tony's. try Zero Zero sometime - also excellent.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Zero Zero
                                                                                826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                                                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                Note that there isn't a single Arizmendi; they're each individual collectives with variants in recipes and what they offer. They may start with the same pizza dough recipe, but it branches from there.

                                                                                The new Arizmendi on Valencia has a couple of great cookies and homemade lemon curd, which I haven't ever seen on 9th or Lakeshore.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Lakeshore Cafe
                                                                                3257 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

                                                                                1. re: Windy

                                                                                  There may be minor variations among Cheese Board Pizza and the several branches of Arizmendi, but they all follow the same eccentric model. The crust is kind of cracker-like, they make one vegetarian pizza per day, and usually it doesn't have tomato sauce. Try a slice from any of them and you'll get the idea.

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Arizmendi Bakery
                                                                                  1331 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                  Arizmendi
                                                                                  1268 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                                                          2. Slanted door is nice for lunch
                                                                            Humphrey slocombe for ice cream
                                                                            Gary danko
                                                                            Treat yourself to a night or two in a suite at heritage ghirardelli square
                                                                            Get a muni passport for cables buses, trains

                                                                            1. In terms of breakfast...
                                                                              one day, i recommend heading over to fillmore between bush and pine for fraiche yogurt...DELICIOUS

                                                                              1. We're 20/30-something professionals who live here, so here are my two cents for a "youthful" version of SF... some of the places you've chosen are SF classics for sure, but you might encounter an older, more traditional clientele. Have a wonderful trip!

                                                                                -Definitely go to the Ferry Building farmers' market on Saturday morning. I know you'd prefer something other than Mexican food, but the huevos rancheros or chilaquiles at the Primavera stand are worth the wait. Or, breakfast sandwich from Prather Ranch or egg toast with avocado from Namu.
                                                                                - Instead of Waterbar, I suggest Benu (downtown/SOMA). The food will be more creative - it's Californian with some Asian influences. You can do the a la carte menu if it isn't the right time for you to check out the full tasting menu. The decor at Benu isn't as romantic as Waterbar (no water view), depending on your preferences, but it's a sleek, urban look with Korean influences.
                                                                                - If you want something quirkier, I suggest Commonwealth (Mission). Last time we ate there, the seafood and meat items shone more than the vegetable part of the menu, but it was all interesting.
                                                                                - Well-mixed drinks at Nopa (Panhandle), Beretta (Mission), or RN74 (downtown).
                                                                                -If you want pizza (oh, how SF loves fancy pizza), I definitely recommend Flour+Water.
                                                                                - For tapas, Contigo is wonderful- warm, romantic restaurant space and great small plates to share. It's a smaller-sized place and great for date night.

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

                                                                                Namu
                                                                                439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                                                                Prather Ranch
                                                                                1 Ferry Bldg # 32, San Francisco, CA

                                                                                Contigo
                                                                                1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                                                                RN74
                                                                                301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                                                                Benu
                                                                                22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                                                1. I absolutely love Perbacco and Barbacco they are on the tops of any visit to SF. Especially Piedmontese cuisine. In terms of breakfast what about Brendas? A great and fun restaurant... What about Bar Jules as well. The biggest problem is you can go crazy just deciding what to go tooo. Gary Danko can be hot and cold. some of my best experiences have been there, as well as some of my more disapointing. Cotogna and Zero Zero deserve props as welll. I was exceedingly happy to see Luce mentioned, it is probably one of the best unmentioned places in the city today. The best thing to happen was Dominique Crenn leaving....

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Perbacco
                                                                                  230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: WineGeekSF

                                                                                    "The best thing to happen was Dominique Crenn leaving...."

                                                                                    Just out of curiosity, what was the great thing that happened to Luce when she left? I haven't been there since she left, but when she was there, I had some very nice meals and I enjoyed her new place as well. If Luce is even better now, I'd like to know more details.

                                                                                    1. re: nocharge

                                                                                      When Dominque was there, I felt the flavors did not quite match the presentation. At the current incarnation of Luce, her Executive Sous Chef is running the kitchen. While the food is not as pretty as it was, I felt the flavor combinations were spot on. Fresh and interesting, nicely presented as well. I heard several guests around me commenting on the quality of their food. The wine list certainly one of the more adventurous hotel lists in the city an interesting blend of familiar and esoteric!

                                                                                      1. re: WineGeekSF

                                                                                        Interesting. I can kind of see why some people feel her new place has an excessive emphasis on presentation, but it didn't come across to me when dining at Luce. Anyway, maybe I should check out Luce again.

                                                                                  2. First of all, you guys sound awesome. Congratulations that you get to have such an amazing trip! You deserve it. I'm not going to add to the confusion with more reco's... you really can't go wrong in SF but I would say that even though the Mission seems far, it has some of the most exciting, delicious food. And it's a delightful neighborhood (and no, I don't live there).
                                                                                    I absolutely love showing people cities I love for the first time. There's nothing more exciting. HAVE FUN!