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May 31, 2011 01:03 PM

Best Grocery in the Mission?

Hello! I just moved tothe 18th and Guerrero from the East Bay, and I'm having Berkeley Bowl/Monterrey Market withdrawals. The infamous Safeway on Market may have cut it for me 3 years ago, but now a girl needs more more than hermetically sealed herbs and sad looking hard as rocks avocados for $$$.

Where do you go to grocery shop, Mission/Castro dwellers? Help a hardcore home chef out!

Rainbow Grocery seems to have the "mission" (no pun intended) right, but the prices seem a little prohibitive.

Thanks much! This is my first ChowHound post, so be kind. :)

Rainbow Grocery
1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

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  1. I don't think SF has any produce retailers with the quality-price ratio (let alone selection) of Berkeley Bowl.

    Valencia Farmer's Market is better than the neighborhood average.

    Valencia Farmer's Market
    1299 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    1. You are very close to Bi-Rite, which has an excellent selection -- but if you think Rainbow prices are high you might be shocked by Bi-Rite's. Lucca Ravioli is a great Italian deli worth checking out. Mission Market Fish & Poultry is also great. Sun Fat is also excellent for fish. We like the produce at Valencia Farmer's Market at Valencia & 24th, though there are many good produce stores all over the Mission and one might be closer to you.

      You must check out the Alemany Farmer's Market on Saturday. There is a farmer's market that appears on Noe St @ Market, but I'm not sure which day or what the hours are.

      Alemany Farmers' Market
      100 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Bi-Rite Market
      3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Sun Fat Seafood Co
      2687 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Lucca Ravioli
      1100 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1 Reply
      1. re: BernalKC

        Agree with BernalKC's suggestions. And Robert is right about Valencia Farmer's Market at 24th & Valencia. I personally do a lot of my shopping at Evergreen (no organics but inexpensive and usually good produce) (on Mission bet. 21st & 22nd) and then supplement with Trader Joe's or last minute items at Valencia Whole Foods (corner of 21st & Valencia) - but they're pricey. Alemany's is a very good suggestion - I think it's my favorite Farmer's Market (other than the Ferry Plaza) - i think prices are better than most. There is a Mission Farmer's Market every Thursday on Bartlett between 21st & 22nd, but I'm not too thrilled with it yet. bought some cherries for $8.00 a pound and more than half were rotten by the next day. I'm hoping it will get better. It's at least convenient, 4-8 p.m., so you can hit it after work. I did find some nice green garlic there last week.

        But yeah, there's nothing like Berkeley Bowl here. We usually walk up and down Mission Street and see who's got the best produce at the best prices. But again, we're mostly not talking about organics. Duc Loi, the "supermarket" on Mission and 18th has organics that aren't too crazily priced, but they don't have a huge variety.

        There's also a good meat fish/meat market here:

        the produce store inside that little mall isn't very good at all, tho.

        Berkeley Bowl
        2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

        Valencia Farmer's Market
        1299 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      2. I hate Rainbow especially for produce and only go there for cheese and the bulk section (and that rarely).

        Generally I get produce at good corner markets, Alemany market on Saturday, and CSAs, and other staples at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Bi-Rite has gorgeous stuff, with prices to match. (Never go to Bi-Rite hungry.)

        For non-local produce (bananas, tomatoes, limes) markets on Mission Street or Valencia market mentioned above are your best bet. The grocery on the corner of 18th and Mission has a fun mix of Asian and Latino products.

        Whole Foods in Potrero is much bigger than the one on 24th Street, and the aisles are wider (or seem that way, because the patrons are less full of themselves). I believe they're also opening a store on 18th in the Castro, where Cala used to be, but maybe that's going to be Mollie Stone's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Windy

          Whole Foods sometimes has some good produce at high prices. I think Trader Joe's produce would look pretty dismal if you're used to Berkeley Bowl's.

          A CSA is a good idea. The best are a step up from BB / MM.

          Lucca doesn't have a lot for a picky home cook. Some cheeses, great prices on olive oil.

          Berkeley Bowl
          2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

        2. Ditto Bi-Rite and Lucca.

          My favorite corner market for cheap produce is Hwa Lei market on 16th, just east of Mission, north side. Quite small but thoughtful selection of vegetables and herbs, including Thai basil, Thai chiles, daikon, long beans, and more standard produce. Their produce seems to me to be kept in better shape than Duc Loi (18th/Mission).

          There's also Golden Produce on Church, just north of Market, west side. Bigger selection than corner markets, and cheaper than Rainbow or Bi-Rite.

          Golden Produce
          172 Church St, San Francisco, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: david kaplan

            Thanks! I popped into Duc Loi over the weekend and was appalled at the state of their bananas (can you tell I'm a food snob. Appalled! by! Bananas!)

            1. re: david kaplan

              I second Golden Produce...probably the closest thing to BBowl in the area for price/quality ratio. Most of the time i end up paying the premium at Bi-Rite for convenience's sake. Fruit is very middling at Rainbow, but I often pick up veggies there. There is a small farmers market (Castro Farmers Market) that happens on Wednesdays for about 3/4 of the year, and an even smaller market at Bartlett and 22nd on Thursdays.

            2. A 2nd meh to Rainbow on produce. I like Rainbow but their produce is over-priced and looks bad (combo of poor lighting/set-up, not trimming stuff and just dumping it there). The rest of the store is very good for what it does. Cheese, health sups and bulk foods are excellent. They do occasionally get good produce in season but it's haphazard.

              When I lived in SF I had to cobble together different places for different things...ethnic/mom and pop produce stores, farmer's market, etc...and Trader Joe's. For most but not all basic produce TJ's is good (not great)...simply avoid fruit there.