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Must Eat Places in SF for a NYC girl

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mchien623 May 31, 2011 06:17 PM

Hi folks!

I'm traveling to San Francisco this weekend...main goal: seek out the epicurious delights of this city!

The title says it all what are the must eat places in SF (probably won't be venturing outside the City)? I'm looking for something fairly budget conscious...$15-20 per person would be great.

I'm open to anything...whether it be a restaurant, a little shack, or street food...just needs to be delicious! :)

Thanks in advance!

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  1. m
    MeredithR RE: mchien623 May 31, 2011 11:19 PM

    Budget-conscious but yummy/fun restaurant(s): Monk's Kettle (Burgers + beer), Burma Superstar (Burmese - worth the wait), Little Star Pizza, Kan Zaman (Mid. Eastern), Nopalito (Mexican) , Puerto Alegre (Mexican), Tipsy Pig (comfort/bar food), Citrus Club (Thai), Polkers (American brunch/lunch), and Mama's (brunch - worth the long wait)... to name a few.

    Shack/Hole-in-the-wall goodness: La Taqueria (Mexican), Yamo (Burmese), Dynamo (donuts), and Sam Wo (if you're drunk and want Chinese food past midnight).

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

    Yamo
    3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Sam Wo Restaurant
    813 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

    The Monk's Kettle
    3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Kan Zaman Cafe
    1793 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Citrus Club
    1790 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Puerto Alegre Restaurant
    546 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Tipsy Pig
    2231 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

    15 Replies
    1. re: MeredithR
      n
      nocharge RE: MeredithR May 31, 2011 11:59 PM

      The closest thing to a "must eat place" I can think of is the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building on Saturday mornings. Other than that, there are a lot of interesting places and approaching it by cuisine might be a good approach, like Burmese, maybe Mission burritos, etc.

      1. re: MeredithR
        Robert Lauriston RE: MeredithR Jun 1, 2011 08:33 AM

        Burma Superstar's not worth the wait, the food at Burmese Kitchen is better.

        1. re: MeredithR
          Civil Bear RE: MeredithR Jun 1, 2011 01:03 PM

          Pretty good list except for Burma Superstar (touristy) and Citrus Club (Americanized). I would add Park Chow for comfort food, Inka's for Peruvian rotisserie chicken, Los Ros for Thai, Burmese Kitchen, Poc Chuc for Mayan, and just about any of the numerous Vietnamese Pho places around town.

          -----
          Inkas Restaurant
          3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Park Chow
          1238 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

          Burma Superstar
          1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

          Citrus Club
          1790 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          1. re: MeredithR
            b
            billraymond RE: MeredithR Jun 1, 2011 04:59 PM

            I Second and Third Little Star Pizza and Puerto Alegre. Both of these places have a few locations (but don't worry, we would not consider them chains, just neighborhood expansions :-)

            So now I'm going to tell you my favorite of these locations and I'm sure others will say differently, but I would go to Puerto Alegre @ 546 Valencia and Little Star @ 400 Valencia (of course Little Star @ Divisidaro has meatballs so perhaps that's a good choice too).

            Being a New Yorker, I highly recommend getting the Deep Dish pizza at Little Star... the thin crusts are good but it is the Deep Dish that is the star here (pardon the pun) and will show you quite a difference between the slices you get in NYC.

            For lunch, grab a locals sammy at Ike's Place @ 16th bw Dehon & Sanchez.

            -----
            Little Star Pizza
            846 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

            Ike's Place
            3489 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

            Puerto Alegre Restaurant
            546 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: billraymond
              Robert Lauriston RE: billraymond Jun 1, 2011 05:03 PM

              The Divisadero branch of Little Star has meatballs? That's not on the online menu. I haven't noticed any difference in the food among the three branches. It might be the best deep dish pizza in the world (sorry, Chicago).

              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                wolfe RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 1, 2011 05:12 PM

                Several yelpers mention the special meatball pizza in January this year. Maybe bill and they got lucky.

              2. re: billraymond
                Frosty Melon RE: billraymond Jun 3, 2011 09:11 AM

                The Valencia location of Puerto Alegre is its only location. There was once another Mexican restaurant with the same name in the Mission, but it is or was not the same place.

                -----
                Puerto Alegre Restaurant
                546 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: Frosty Melon
                  Windy RE: Frosty Melon Jun 3, 2011 10:00 AM

                  There is still a Puerto Allegre on Harrison near 25th. It's primarily a bar although they do have food.

                  1. re: Windy
                    Frosty Melon RE: Windy Jun 3, 2011 10:19 AM

                    Yes, that's the one I was thinking of. Thanks.

              3. re: MeredithR
                globocity RE: MeredithR Jun 1, 2011 08:49 PM

                I checked out Monk's Kettle online and am curious enough to stop in. We are visiting from SD this weekend but are on a pretty tight budget for dinners out. We originally had reservations at Delfina but am beginning to suspect it is too pricey for what we want. Thanks for the recommendation!

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

                The Monk's Kettle
                3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                1. re: globocity
                  Windy RE: globocity Jun 1, 2011 09:12 PM

                  Delfina's not that expensive--just skip the entrees. The best items there are appetizers and salads, and pasta.

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

                  1. re: Windy
                    a
                    artemis RE: Windy Jun 2, 2011 12:37 PM

                    Agreed - that's always what I order when there. Never entrees, which are delicious, but not nearly as much as the pastas.

                    1. re: artemis
                      globocity RE: artemis Jun 3, 2011 07:53 AM

                      Good to know, thanks. I see pastas ranging in price from $10-$19. I made a reservation at Delfina based on my friend's recommendation and the rave reviews on Chowhound. My partner detests hyper trendy, loud places (good luck on a Friday night) but I am torn between Delfina and Monk's Kettle. I think since we have a reservation at the former, we'll stick with that. Cheers.

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

                      The Monk's Kettle
                      3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      1. re: globocity
                        Windy RE: globocity Jun 3, 2011 10:04 AM

                        Delfina isn't trendy, just popular and extremely consistent for 10+ years, which is very unusual in this city.

                        The food is simple compared to a lot of places. I mean that in a good way, but don't expect a lot of big surprises or bold choices. Hard to find a better salad than the campagna with radicchio and walnuts and parmesan and the tripe alla Fiorentina is always exemplary. And a fine place for fussy eaters, who can get perfect pasta with tomato and basil or roasted chicken.

                        I'm not sure where you've found raves on Chowhound except for Pizzeria Delfina, which is next door and not the same menu.

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

                        Pizzeria Delfina
                        2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                        1. re: Windy
                          globocity RE: Windy Jun 3, 2011 11:53 AM

                          Windy,
                          I have read many comments about people recommending Delfina. Perhaps instead of indicating "rave" I should have written "consistently good reviews". Looking at the menu I found several options that sound intriguing. Nice to know it's not uber trendy. Thanks for the info.

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

              4. w
                whiner RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 08:27 AM

                L'Osteria del Forno would be the closest to 'must eat' in your price range for me. (Great rustic Northern Italian hole-in-the-wall in North beach... no reservations, cash only.) A nice sit-down restaurant in your price range (upper end) would be Helmand Palace (Afghani). My favorite burrito in the city is Papalote, but La Taqueria and Taqueria Cancun are more classic Mission style. Barney's makes good burgers, fries, shakes, and salads... cheap, too. If you are from the East Coast and have never been to an In-n-Out burger and find yourself near Ghirardelli Square you can walk down to the Wharf and eat there -- some people swear by it, but they'll put mayo on unless you ask them not to and it is still fast food, just much better than the big national chains. (It is a CA chain.) For Thai, I like Benjarong.

                -----
                L'Osteria del Forno
                519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                Taqueria Cancun
                2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                La Taqueria
                2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Helmand Palace
                2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Benjarong
                1968 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                5 Replies
                1. re: whiner
                  Robert Lauriston RE: whiner Jun 1, 2011 08:45 AM

                  In-N-Out is a *Southern* California chain, in business for 50 years before they got around to opening branches around here. Going to one while visiting SF would be kind of like going to White Castle in Manhattan.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    w
                    whiner RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 1, 2011 09:06 AM

                    Fair enough it is SoCal. The only one in the city I think is on the Wharf. That said, if she has never been to one and wants good, cheap, fast food and is in the area...

                    1. re: whiner
                      Robert Lauriston RE: whiner Jun 1, 2011 09:13 AM

                      There's no reason for anyone to go to the Wharf, particularly not someone on a short trip with a focus on food.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        w
                        whiner RE: Robert Lauriston Jun 1, 2011 09:39 AM

                        Sure, if the sole focus is food, skip the Wharf.

                      2. re: whiner
                        m
                        mchien623 RE: whiner Jun 1, 2011 10:14 AM

                        Thanks whiner and Robert - I've been to SF before actually and went to the In-N-Out at the Wharf already - but will definitely be going for another visit this time! It was super yums and somewhat reminds me of the Shake Shack burger in NY.

                  2. Robert Lauriston RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 09:14 AM

                    This topic is old, but the recommendations are still mostly current:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/359937

                    1. m
                      ML8000 RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 01:30 PM

                      $15-20 per/person isn't much. You might look at this, the annual Bargain Bites from the SF Chron: http://www.sfgate.com/food/bargains/

                      Might also look at Off the Grid (food truck pop-up) at Fort Mason, on Friday nights. For taco, El Tonayense Taco Truck at the Best Buy at 14th/Harrison (worth a lunch or snack).

                      -----
                      El Tonayense
                      2598 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA

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

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ML8000
                        Robert Lauriston RE: ML8000 Jun 1, 2011 02:09 PM

                        The Chron list is pretty awful. It misses a lot of the best cheap places that any Chowhound regular could tell you about and includes some that seem totally random.

                      2. b
                        billraymond RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 05:07 PM

                        When I lived in NYC, one of my absolute favorite things to do late at night was to grab some grub at the Halal carts. Alas, I no of none here in San Francisco that come close but if you are craving some mediterranean food while out and about (not open late), check out Oasis Grill @ Drumm bw California & Market.

                        -----
                        Oasis Grill
                        91 Drumm St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: billraymond
                          Robert Lauriston RE: billraymond Jun 1, 2011 05:36 PM

                          Oasis Grill's good for the Financial District but I think Truly Mediterranean has the best shawerma in town.

                          -----
                          Truly Mediterranean
                          3109 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                        2. scarmoza RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 05:44 PM

                          My list:

                          Croque madame at either Bar Tartine or Foreign Cinema (both serve Four Barrel Coffee).

                          One of the egg dishes and a siphon pot of (Ethiopian) coffee from Blue Bottle Mint Plaza.

                          4505 Hamburger at Saturday Ferry Plaza Market

                          Pozole from Gracias Madre

                          Pho Ga at Turtle Tower

                          Pork Belly Donuts and beer at The Sycamore

                          Tamales from the Tamale Lady at Zeitgeist

                          Vegetarian Burrito from CanCun or Quesadilla Suiça from El Farolito

                          -----
                          Turtle Tower Restaurant
                          631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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

                          Bar Tartine
                          561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

                          Four Barrel Coffee
                          375 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                          Gracias Madre
                          2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: scarmoza
                            m
                            ML8000 RE: scarmoza Jun 1, 2011 06:10 PM

                            4505 burger is excellent. Also it'll give you the chance to look at the produce at the farmer's market.

                            1. re: scarmoza
                              scarmoza RE: scarmoza Jun 1, 2011 07:18 PM

                              Also:

                              A Mission Dog at Rosamunde on Mission

                              2 scoops at Humphry Slocombe.

                              -----
                              Zeitgeist
                              375 Alabama St # 490, San Francisco, CA

                              El Farolito
                              4817 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

                              Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
                              2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                              4505 Meats
                              1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, CA

                              Rosamunde Sausage Grill
                              2832 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                              The Sycamore
                              2140 Mission St, SF, CA 94110

                              1. re: scarmoza
                                b
                                billraymond RE: scarmoza Jun 2, 2011 10:32 AM

                                Mmmm... Turtle Tower's Pho with the pan seared noodles are great and I haven't seen them elsewhere.

                                -----
                                Turtle Tower Restaurant
                                631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                1. re: billraymond
                                  scarmoza RE: billraymond Jun 2, 2011 10:45 AM

                                  Do you do the pan fried noodles (plate) or the pan fried noodle soup?

                                  Mr. scarmoza's favorite is the #6 Stir-fried Beef with Celery, Carrot, Onion, and Leek Pan-fried Noodle Soup.

                              2. t
                                tiggermistyv RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 06:52 PM

                                I'm also a New Yorker coming to San Francisco, so I truly appreciate this list. Are any of these suggestions within a short walk from the Moscone West Convention Center?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: tiggermistyv
                                  wolfe RE: tiggermistyv Jun 1, 2011 07:15 PM

                                  Closest to Moscone is Blue Bottle Mint. Closer is Tropisueno.

                                  http://www.tropisueno.com/

                                  1. re: tiggermistyv
                                    c
                                    ceekskat RE: tiggermistyv Jun 1, 2011 07:34 PM

                                    The Sentinel is not far...great, creative sandwiches from a tiny space. Highly recommended for anyone visiting SF. Nearby & not too expensive is Zero Zero.

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

                                  2. b
                                    brighteyes00 RE: mchien623 Jun 1, 2011 07:27 PM

                                    Thorough Bread and Pastry on Church between Market and 15th. Truly amazing almond croissants and other French pastries - I think it's connected to a cooking school. Better than most pastry shops in NY. And there's a nice little garden in the back.

                                    -----
                                    Thorough Bread and Pastry
                                    248 Church Street, San Francisco, CA

                                    1. m
                                      mchien623 RE: mchien623 Jun 2, 2011 04:02 AM

                                      Thanks everyone for your responses thus far! Will be sure to check some of them out :)

                                      Btw, I found out I'm staying in the Sunset/Richmond area...does anyone have recommendations around there?

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: mchien623
                                        w
                                        whiner RE: mchien623 Jun 2, 2011 04:32 AM

                                        That is a big area. Anything more specific? My favorite burrito place (Papalote) *may* have one of its two locations close to you... If you are staying in the Inner Richmond it certainly does, but, I don't know where you are staying... however, this reminds me, I was a FOOL for not posting this rec earlier... I'm never out in this area so I don't often eat there, but apart from L'Osteria del Forno, my favorite inexpensive restaurant in SF is Troya. Again, it may be pushing the money envelope a little, but it is worth it. The beyti is particularly excellent, as are all of the apps I've tried.

                                        -----
                                        L'Osteria del Forno
                                        519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                        Troya
                                        349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                        1. re: whiner
                                          m
                                          mchien623 RE: whiner Jun 2, 2011 04:38 AM

                                          Can't get a hold of the friend right now so i don't know more than Richmond/Sunset area...i figure that might be helpful since I realized a lot of people were suggesting places around Mission :)

                                          1. re: mchien623
                                            Civil Bear RE: mchien623 Jun 2, 2011 11:36 AM

                                            Way out in the Sunset is Old Mandarin Islamic. It is a great hole in the wall with fantastic spicy lamb dishes.

                                            One of my favorite southern Vietnamese pho places is at PPQ in the outer edge of the inner Sunset. Much, much better than Yumi Yumi, IMO.

                                            Clement Street in the inner Richmond offers many choices that have already been mentioned in this thread.

                                            In the outer Richmond there is the Shanghai Dumpling King and Shanghai House for good XLB and PPQ Dungeness Island for excellent Vietnamese Crab. I believe the have a two person pre-fix for around $40.

                                            -----
                                            Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
                                            3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

                                            Shanghai House
                                            3641 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                            Shanghai Dumpling King
                                            3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                            1. re: Civil Bear
                                              m
                                              ML8000 RE: Civil Bear Jun 2, 2011 11:47 AM

                                              I heard that Shanghai Dumpling King was sold and it went down hill. I have not confirmed this but if so...sad.

                                              While it is over the budget, Aziza is in the Richmond and coming from NYC, Cal-Moroccan should be different. It has a Michelin star...not that pricey all things considered.

                                              -----
                                              Shanghai Dumpling King
                                              3319 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121

                                          2. re: whiner
                                            w
                                            whiner RE: whiner Jun 2, 2011 05:31 AM

                                            How did I forget his, too?! Tacolicious. It is in the Marina. Quite inexpensive for food, though drinks might add up. Gourmet tacos and taco-like things. Really quite tasty and "fun" vibe. I'm 30 years old and was joking with my server about being "old" for the establishment... but really quite interesting and nice.

                                            -----
                                            Tacolicious
                                            2031 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                          3. re: mchien623
                                            scarmoza RE: mchien623 Jun 2, 2011 08:29 AM

                                            I'm sure your friend will have a lot of great recommendations for you. Here' my Sunset/Richmond cheap eats list:

                                            (Sunset)
                                            Dry Fry Chicken Wings and Green Beans at San Tung
                                            Vegetarian Platter at Sunrise Deli
                                            Nick's Crispy Tacos at Underdogs
                                            Lunch or Brunch at Outerlands
                                            Steamed Custard Buns (Lai Wong Bao) at Happy Bakery
                                            Pho at Yummy Yummy

                                            (Richmond)
                                            You can have a Korean feast for under $15pp at Han Il Kwan
                                            Bacon wrapped mochi & more yakitori at Halu
                                            Brunch at Namu (dinner is out of the price range except Burgers)
                                            super cheap dim sum at Good Luck Dim Sum Bakery (go there in the morning only)
                                            American style Brunch at Q

                                            -----
                                            Nick's Crispy Tacos
                                            1500 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                            Namu
                                            439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                            Happy Bakery
                                            2253 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                            Yummy Yummy
                                            1015 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                                            Halu
                                            312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                            Good Luck Dim Sum
                                            736 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                            Sunrise Deli Cafe
                                            54 2nd St # D, San Francisco, CA 94105

                                            1. re: scarmoza
                                              l
                                              lrealml RE: scarmoza Jun 2, 2011 12:07 PM

                                              "Brunch at Namu (dinner is out of the price range except Burgers)"

                                              Yes, but their burgers with Kimchee are unique and completely awesome!
                                              +1 for Old Mandarin and Aziza (worth every penny if you can manage).
                                              Irving Street Cafe for Bahn Mi and Wonderful Foods Co. for bubble tea.
                                              A lot of good Burmese places out that way... Mandalay is one of them.

                                              1. re: lrealml
                                                Robert Lauriston RE: lrealml Jun 2, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                Namu's burger is the best. The kimchi didn't make much difference to me, it was the quality of the meat, the careful grilling over special charcoal, and the first-rate bun.

                                                -----
                                                Namu
                                                439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

                                            2. re: mchien623
                                              Robert Lauriston RE: mchien623 Jun 2, 2011 09:26 AM

                                              The Sunset and Richmond are the southwestern and northwestern quadrants of SF, that's about half the city.

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