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I’m looking for cheap/lower-cost but delicious food---how’s my list?

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We’re staying near Union Square. We won’t have a car, but we are champion public transit users and walkers. I’ve reviewed many Chowhound SF threads and assembled this list of cheap/lower-cost places to eat during the 6 days we’ll be in SF (June 30-July 5).

Questions—
1. Should any of the places on this list should be avoided?
2. Are there are glaring omissions? (We like almost all kinds of food except sushi and Burmese ---I loved the Burmese dishes we tried on our last visit but my husband most definitely did not)
3. I’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Is there a good place to eat near the bridge?
4. If we take the ferry to Angel Island, any suggestions for food? Should we just pack a picnic of foods from Ferry Market?
5. I need some suggestions for Happy Hours with good food at good prices. The only one on my list so far is Bar Crudo.

As you can see, we don’t care about ambiance or trendiness. Taste and value are what matter to us.

Ferry Market
We’ll be there every single day of our visit. I LOVE this place. What a treasure. Some of the things we’ll eat there include: bread from Acme, fruit from Frog Hollow, Cowgirl cheese and cottage cheese dumplings and cheese stuffed pressed sandwich and savory cheese puffs, Blue Bottle coffee, 4505 hamburger and Merguez and bacon-studded hot dog and bacon maple breakfast sandwich, Boccalone meat cone, Roli Roti quarter chicken and porchetta sandwich, Il Cane Rosso-cinnamon toast for breakfast and something with pork, Cap’t. Mike’s SF style Red Lox sandwich, Primavera chalaquiles and tamales, glass of good wine from the wine bar, and whatever else looks good.

Bakeries
Tartine
Arizmendi
Egg custard at Golden Gate Bakery

Pizza (if we are in the mood for pizza)
Little Star Deep Dish

Chinese
Ton Kiang in Richmond

For lunches/dinners
Poc Chuc
Turtle Tower for pho
Inkas or Limon or Limon Rotisserie—which is best?
Pakwan

For Italian
L’Osteria Del Forno or
Ideale or
Da Flora or
Restorante Bacco in Noe Valley

For Burritos
El Farolita
La Taqueria
Papalote
Taqueria Cancun

Higher Price (by my standards) but still on my list:
Zuni Café
Cotogne
Firefly?

For Happy Hour:
Bar Crudo

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

Inkas Restaurant
3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Ideale
1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

La Taqueria
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Ton Kiang
5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

Limon Restaurant
524 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Roli Roti
, Hayward, CA

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

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

Da Flora
701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Taqueria Cancun
1003 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Arizmendi
1268 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. I've put some comments in your text below. If I deleted a place, it is because I haven't (bothered) to go there, which is generally not a recommendation.
    
3. I’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Is there a good place to eat near the bridge?
    Not really. Down the hill in Sausalito are quite a few options. But it is a long climb out.
    I believe there is a tourist thing that will rent you a bike (near Pier 39??) which you can ride down the water side of the bay and then over the bridge to Sausalito where you take a ferry with your bike back to the city. That might be what you want. Then you can check out the Sausalito places to eat. One example that is fun is Avatar's, kind of a fusion Indian-Mexican and quite good.
    
4. If we take the ferry to Angel Island, any suggestions for food?
    Nothing on the island (maybe a snack bar). There are a bunch of places on the water near where the ferry leaves for Angel Island at Tiburon. None of them great, but OK. Maybe others can recommend.
    Should we just pack a picnic of foods from Ferry Market?
    Yes. Great hike circumnavigating the island. Nice places to picnic. Not really worth going to Angel Island if you don't do the hike, because the views of the city are on the opposite side from where the ferry lands.
    Ferry Market 
We’ll be there every single day of our visit.
    Be sure to include Saturday.
    Bakeries
Tartine YES!
    Pizza (if we are in the mood for pizza)
Little Star Deep Dish good
    Also Pizzeria Delfina, and Paulines, and...lots more

    Chinese
Ton Kiang in Richmond
    There are many great Chinese. Ton Kiang is a decent dim sum place. But there are many more low cost ones mentioned on Chowhound SF threads. This is your best bet for cheap good food in SF. Examples: Hakka, Beijing Restaurant, Spices II, Shanghai Dumpling places on Balboa, for live fish in the tank: South Sea Village on Irving. Search on those.
    Since you do public transportation well, consider taking the BART out to the Millbrae stop. Walking distance from there are several great Chinese on El Camino. Search on Millbrae. Examples: Pennisula Asian Pearl, Flower Lounge.
    For Italian

 Da Flora good, not cheap
    
Restorante Bacco in Noe Valley Good but pricey.
    Best, and not really more expensive than either of these: Delfina.

    A new chef at Bar Tartine (owned by the bakery) is doing very good, great IMO, modern takes on Hungarian food. Same price range.

    For Burritos
La Taqueria
    I would add Taqueria San Jose, but there will be lots of opinions on these places.

    Higher Price (by my standards) but still on my list:
Zuni Café
 Yes. very San Francisco

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

    Spices II
    291 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

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

    La Taqueria
    2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Ton Kiang
    5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

    Bar Tartine
    561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Da Flora
    701 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

    Pizzeria Delfina
    2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

    2 Replies
    1. re: Thomas Nash

      Thomas gave you a good run down. I'll add another voice against Ton Kiang, especially if price is an issue. The price/quality ratio is much better a couple of doors down at Golden River. But if you're going into Chinatown you should check out Dol Ho, which is delicious and cheap!

      Take BART to Fruitvale in Oakland for better Mexican. In addition to the much discussed taco trucks, check out La Torta Loca for a huarche de tinga and/or a pambazo and Nieves Cinco de Mayo for Mexican-style ice cream in unusual flavors (note lunch is the best time to hit these up -- they close early; La Torta Loca is closed Mondays).

      I don't see banh mi on your list -- Saigon Sandwich, etc.

      I think Inkas gets the nod over Limon/Limon Rotisserie.

      -----
      Saigon Sandwich Shop
      560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

      Dol Ho
      808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

      Inkas Restaurant
      3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Nieves Cinco de Mayo
      3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601

      La Torta Loca
      3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

      Golden River
      5827 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Both Dol Ho (for dim sum, very authentic with old men reading their newspapers just like in Hong Kong) and Saigon Sandwich are excellent low cost lunch suggestions from Ruth.

        Someone else suggested Canteen, which is near Union Sq and excellent, but make a reservation. I would pass on Frances, very pricey, very good, difficult reservation, but never gets me excited.

        And consider going to Zuni in mid afternoon or very late at night when there are cheaper things on the menu like their hamburger. When it is not full you can sit in the beautiful windowed alcove near the front door with views of the street, a really wonderful space, but first come, first serve.

        -----
        Saigon Sandwich Shop
        560 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

        Dol Ho
        808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

    2. DaFlora is unique and in a great neighborhood but you should move it to your higher price list.
      Moussy's in Alliance Francaise would be easy for you to reach from Union Sq. and has a good happy hour ( 20% off of everything on the menu)on well-executed French bisto fare. I forget the precise time for the HH. 5:30 - 7:00, I think.

      -----
      Moussy's
      1345 Bush St, San Francisco, CA

      1. You have a pretty good list. Poc Chuc, Turtle Tower, and Inkas are three of my favorite cheap places in the city. Little Star is also excellent.

        For Italian (Sardinian), have you considered La Ciccia? Definitely a board favorite and very reasonably priced (though not cheap per se). I like it better than Perbacco, which is the other (somewhat pricier) Italian place that gets recommended all the time.

        I like Zuni, and you're clearly aware that it's a higher-priced place - but I still might steer you away just because, among the more expensive popular places, I don't think it's a particularly great value. For a splurge, I'd rather send someone who's more budget-conscious to Canteen, or even Frances (or better yet to Plum, in Oakland).

        Also worth a mention is Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, a pop-up only open on Saturdays (10-2), for the best pastrami sandwich. They've recently moved to a new location, and I'm not sure if the Place link has been updated: 1270 Valencia St. (at the Heart Wine Bar).

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

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

        Perbacco
        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Inkas Restaurant
        3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Canteen
        817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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

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

        Plum
        2214 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

        Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
        San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

        8 Replies
        1. re: abstractpoet

          La Ciccia is comparable in price to Ristorante Bacco; I wouldn't call either inexpensive, though both are good value, IMO. Bacco used to have price fix specials on weekdays. Not sure if they still do. It used to be my favorite Noe Valley neighborhood restaurant, with some great pasta dishes and outstanding risotto.

          Then La Ciccia came along, and I am afraid I neglected the one-time favorite neighborhood place, since La Ciccia quickly became one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. Both are easily accessible via the J Church muni (La Ciccia is right on the line, Bacco just a few blocks walk off of it, though hills are, of course, involved).

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

          1. re: susancinsf

            well, there is a link to Ristorante Bacco, trying one more time to add it. So, as long as I am adding a reply: when I say Bacco used to be my neighborhood favorite (pre-La Ciccia), that was taking into account that Firefly is in the same nabe. A few nice items at Firefly, but not a destination for out of town guests, IMO. It is less pricey than Zuni, however (but I'd still take it off your list).

            -----
            Ristorante Bacco
            737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

          2. re: abstractpoet

            Since this is the most recent mention of Wise Sons, I'll add my two cents... Had the corned beef sandwich and sampled the pastrami. Gotta say, that pastrami is killer. Both were on the lean side for my tastes, but the smokiness of the pastrami won me over. Both had excellent flavor and texture. Served on excellent rye with a squeeze bottle of good mustard on the table. Yum.

            1. re: BernalKC

              How is the new location? It's in a wine bar now, right? Their rye bread is fan-freaking-tastic.

              1. re: abstractpoet

                New location is indeed a wine bar, Heart Wine Bar. Worked well for us. Line up to order, cash only, find seating on common tables, there was a bit of a line that got longer behind us. Quite nice experience overall.

                And yeah, the rye was notable.

                -----
                Heart Wine Bar
                1270 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Noting another new location for Wise Sons, now at Beast and the Hare (22nd and Guerrero).

                  I've now tried the pastrami there twice. The first time they offered me a sample of it after I ordered a different item, and the bite I tried was mind-blowing, melting in the mouth. I think it had just been heated and carved right before they put it on the plate. Went back last week and ordered a pastrami sandwich, and found it not quite so good this time - the main flaw was that the fat hadn't really melted, making the texture overly chewy. My theory is that they were in a big hurry to feed the crowd and may not have had time to properly heat all the meat.

                  Has anyone tried getting the pastrami to go and reheating at home? Wondering if that would help ensure better consistency.

                  -----
                  Beast and the Hare
                  1001 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                2. re: abstractpoet

                  Nice but not Jewish style NY rye bread.
                  More Vienna syle.

                  1. re: stanbee

                    Disagree...Brooklyn/Manhattan boy here...the rye is as it should be...crusty on the outside (although I would like even more egg wash) and moist chewy within...excellent..
                    Had the Bagels from Schmendricks..these were also quite good, here I also would have liked a little more "maltish" taste and additional egg wash as well...but small quibbles..the texture was right and gave my jaws the exercise real bagels ellicit!

            2. Happy Hour:
              Farallon, 15 Romolo, Alembic, Nihon Whisky Lounge

              Burritos:
              El Farolito or Cancun

              Pizza:
              Tony's or Una - unless you only like deep dish pizza. Tony's has a slice shop next door to the restaurant if you're looking to just grab a slice or two.

              Higher price: Cotogna. Brunch and lunch menus are less expensive. Go to Zuni for Bloody Marys, snacks, and people watching.

              Ton Kiang is still going to be very expensive for dim sum. It might be a tiny bit cheaper than Yank Sing but it's really not for anyone seeking a true bargain.

              I'm not a fan of Poc Chuc, Inkas, Firefly, or Papalote. Thanks for letting me get that out there :)

              keep: Turtle Tower for pho (note that they close early), pakwan

              Inkas or Limon or Limon Rotisserie—which is best? Limon, either location is better than Inkas. Limon Rotisserie might seem less expensive but the plates are very small. We usually go to Mi Lindo Peru for their bargain lunch menu - but I wouldn't recommend that you come all the way over from across town for it.

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

              Taqueria Cancun
              3211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              El Farolito Bar
              2777 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Alembic
              1725 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              Nihon Whisky Lounge
              1779 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

              15 Romolo
              15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133

              Tony's Pizza Napoletana
              1570 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              Una Pizza Napoletana
              200 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Cotogna
              490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

              1. >>3. I’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Is there a good place to eat near the bridge?

                The suggestion to walk down to Sausalito is good, there are a number of good places there. Search this board for Sausalito for information.

                The ferry ride back might be a lot of fun, if the weather is nice. This time of year the fog can roll in quite quickly. (Bring a jacket.)

                If you are going to take public transit, the number 28 bus
                http://transit.511.org/static/provide...

                will take you from the GG Bridge to Fort Mason. If you take your bridge walk on Friday afternoon, you can ride over to Fort Mason for the Off the Grid food truck event and then stroll around the Marina district.

                A little off topic but check out the Muni passes http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passp...

                You can buy a 1, 3, or 7 day pass which will save you money and make it very convenient to hop on and off the various city buses and streetcars without worrying about exact change.

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

                1. Just a note that while the Ferry Building is open every day, the market is not, and the big market day is Saturday (smaller markets on Tuesday and Thursday, Thursday is mostly prepared food). 4505, Roli Roti, Captain Mike's and Primavera are only there on market days, and Primavera is only there Saturday.

                  For pizza, I'd add Pizzeria Delfina to that list.

                  -----
                  Roli Roti
                  , Hayward, CA

                  Pizzeria Delfina
                  2406 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: JasmineG

                    You guys are the best! What wonderful suggestions!

                    I've made reservations at La Ciccia and Canteen and Cotogna. (I hope I'm not devoting too many meals to Italian cuisine....)

                    I've crossed several places off my list, including Firefly and Ton Kiang.

                    Question re Dol Ho---do they serve only dim sum? When are they usually open? In my part of the world (Midwest), I believe dim sum is served usually at brunch hours.

                    Thanks for the info re when to find various food items at FM; we'll plan to eat some of the items on our list there specifically on Th-Sat-Tu.

                    The suggestion to go from the GG bridge to Fort Mason on Friday for the Off the Grid trucks is excellent! Now I have to read the O the G threads so I know what to buy from the trucks.

                    If you have more suggestions and ideas, send them my way. This is so helpful.

                    Thank you.

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

                    Ton Kiang
                    5821 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

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

                    Cotogna
                    490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                    1. re: soccermom13

                      One more question---we may go to Berkeley and if we do, I want to visit one of the Berkeley Bowls. Which is easier to get to via public transportation?
                      Thanks.

                      -----
                      Berkeley Bowl
                      2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                      1. re: soccermom13

                        Oregon St. walking distance(.3 miles) from Ashby BART.
                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/89239849...

                        1. re: soccermom13

                          Early on a Tuesday afternoon would be a nice time to go to the Oregon St. BB (though to me the new W. Berkeley location is even more impressive), since there's also the Berkeley Tuesday farmers market nearby (starting at 2pm) - not as fancy as the Ferry Building market, but arguably more enjoyable for doing actual shopping for produce.

                          Also nearby is Crixa Cakes, for fantastic Eastern European pastries and buns and - if you get there between 11am and whenever they sell out (sometimes pretty quick) - the BEST seasonal fruit pies. When pitted fruits are in season, as they are now, these are spectacular.

                          -----
                          Crixa Cakes
                          2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                        2. re: soccermom13

                          Dol Ho I believe only serves dim sum and you're right, it's usually served from late morning to early afternoon.

                          -----
                          Dol Ho
                          808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                          1. re: soccermom13

                            Suggestion: have a backup for Off The Grid. I hear about 45 minute lines for the better trucks, and there have been some complaints about quality in the trucks with fewer lines. You might not have the same problems, or you might get lucky, but ... take a backup. I don't eat over on that side of town much - I think the last time was getting a sandwich at the Marina Safeway and eating on the grass. The Paxti's over there would be tasty if you've been wind-whipped across the bridge (but a long wait).

                            1. re: bbulkow

                              I also heard about the lines and that some trucks were meh...or it would be reasonable if the lines weren't nuts. The lines however kills it from what I heard. Not much cheap eats around there, like Chestnut St.

                              1. re: ML8000

                                To give you the other side of the coin - If you get to OTG by about 5:30 you'll avoid the huge lines. We did it, never waited for more than 5 minutes, tops. had a wonderful time, we were done by 7:00 when most (but not all) of the trucks' lines started getting huge. Food was good to great, nothing was a complete miss. I'd definitely recommend this to out-of towners.

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  That's good info. Guess it's like weekend brunch in SF...leave the house by 11:30 and you're fine. Leave at noon and forget it.

                            2. re: soccermom13

                              Dol Ho is lunch. Dim Sum is a tea thing, morning through noon hour. Very simple, small place. Go around noon and they will being stuff around to you to select from. Check what other tables are having and point. Not a lot of English spoken. Use chop sticks if possible. Dol Ho is very real.

                              Canteen is not Italian, but a very good choice for you.

                              Go early to the OTG on Friday. 5-6, it is generally a people zoo with big lines. Don't miss Chairman Bao (pork belly baked bun!!), Curry Up Now, and the Malaysian lady. There are other OTGs during the week at lunch and dinner hour at different locations. Two are near City Hall. Google it. Less trucks, also less lines.

                              The old Berkeley Bowl is about a mile from the Berkeley BART stop. I don't know about the other. Not too far from the stop is the Cheeseboard, other direction, not to be missed! And Chez Panisse is there. Go to the cafe upstairs. Worth the splurge. Reserve.

                              lso in Bizerkely is Vik's Chaat House, an amazingly good Indian snack place. I am sure there is a bus in that direction, but it is not near the BART stop. Really worth the trouble.

                              BTW, google maps is very good on public transportation. Just enter your start and finish points and it will give you route options as well as schedules. Berkeley has lots of public transportation.

                              -----
                              Vik's Chaat House
                              2390 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710

                              Berkeley Bowl
                              2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                              Dol Ho
                              808 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                              Chez Panisse
                              1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                              Chairman Bao
                              San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

                              1. re: Thomas Nash

                                Note that the Ashby BART station is less than half a mile from the old Berkeley Bowl (and from Crixa, the Tuesday market, etc.).

                                The stop Thomas Nash is referring to is the Downtown Berkeley BART - two different stops. I wouldn't walk all the way to Berkeley Bowl from the downtown stop.

                                -----
                                Berkeley Bowl
                                2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                Downtown Berkeley BART
                                2230 Shattuck Ave, C Berkeley, CA

                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                  Right. I've walked from Ashby BART and it's just a couple of blocks -- I've done it on my lunch hour from SF, in fact (although it did take more than an hour roundtrip). I think Nash may have been thinking of Downtown Berkeley BART because you can walk from there to the Cheeseboard. But Cheeseboard is the opposite direction from Berkeley Bowl: you can't walk (well you can, but you shouldn't) from the Berkeley Bowl to the Cheeseboard -- better to hop on a bus.

                                  -----
                                  Berkeley Bowl
                                  2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                  Downtown Berkeley BART
                                  2230 Shattuck Ave, C Berkeley, CA

                                2. re: Thomas Nash

                                  another option if google maps doesn't work:

                                  http://www.511.org/

                            3. Italian: L'Osteria del Forno all the way. Just go. Remember, cash only, no reservations... but just so wonderful.

                              Burritos are contentious. Taqueria Cancun and La Taqueria are more "classic" SF... but Papalote is easily my favorite.

                              Higher price (by your standards) I would look at Perbacco and NOPA.

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

                              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

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: whiner

                                So many good suggestions. Good to know that Google Maps is good for getting me to all these restaurants and "foodie pilgrimages" such as the trip to Berkeley Bowl. Also, 511 looks very helpful too. I learned about the trip planner BayTripper but I don't think it's available for Android :0(

                                More questions:
                                1. Lots of good comments re the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle. What makes it better than the BB in the Ferry Bldg? The fact that you can sit there (vs. take your coffee and stroll at the FB) ?
                                2. Thomas--thanks for giving the thumbs up to Canteen. I was worried that I should have chosen Range or Nopa instead.
                                3. Any suggestions for what to order at Cologna? Canteen? La Ciccia? (although I suspect that the menus change based on what's locally/seasonally available)
                                4. There are chef demos at the Fillmore Jazz Festival this weekend. Will they be worth attending?

                                Again---thank you, thank you, thank you.

                                -----
                                Berkeley Bowl
                                2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

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

                                Nopa
                                560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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

                                1. re: soccermom13

                                  The singular characteristic of the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle is the fancy syphon bar that they have there for drip coffee. Read about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/din...

                                  A neat experience to see in action, and coffee out of the syphon thingamabob really is very good (if $$) - but I wouldn't say you need to go out of your way for it if you aren't a big coffee geek per se.

                                  Also, if you go to an actual Blue Bottle shop, you can order a "secret" espresso drink called a Gibraltar (named after the small glass tumbler it's served in) - it's not so different from a cappuccino, but it's pretty good. I don't know if you can get that at the farmers market kiosk - certainly not in the proper glass.

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

                                  1. re: abstractpoet

                                    Unless things have changed, you can get a Gibraltar in the glass it is named after at all the BBC shops in SF. I have tried them all :-).

                                    1. re: abstractpoet

                                      Yep, you can get that at the kiosks at the markets (the ones that have espresso machines). Love the Gibraltar.

                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                        Gilbraltar = YES

                                      2. re: abstractpoet

                                        BB Mint Plaza also has the Kyoto iced tea, slow dripped through IV tubing (or whatever). It's incredible, especially with one of their chocolate cookies or saffron biscotti.

                                        I could watch the siphons all day; you don't have to order them to be fascinated.

                                      3. re: soccermom13

                                        Canteen has a fixed menu which changes daily (or at least frequently). Range and Nopa are excellent also, BTW, but not better than Canteen and not as near your hotel.

                                        La Ciccia is good, but, even though we live nearby, we never seem to be motivated to go back. You should really consider Delfina. If you get there early (before 6 or 630) on a weekday, you should be able to grab a little table at the bar or at the counter. We did that the other night, just walking by. And the fresh wood roasted porcini salad was incredible, as were the stuffed zucchini flowers... In any event, you really need to see the gourmet ghetto on that stretch of 18th St. There's also Tartine's, BiRite grocery and its ice cream place (salted caramel) across the street, big lines when it is warm (above 59 degrees is warm here).

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

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

                                        Nopa
                                        560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                        1. re: Thomas Nash

                                          So I went to Canteen Thursday and both entrees we ordered were a miss:
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792426

                                          There was also another recent not so stellar report:
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785202

                                          So maybe they are having some consistency problems.
                                          I would stick with Nopa because it is more of a sure thing (haven't seen any bad reports lately).

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

                                          1. re: Thomas Nash

                                            SF Hounds---YOU ARE THE BEST!

                                            Thank you so very much for so graciously and generously sharing your knowledge. I love your city and now I feel better "armed" to find and enjoy some wonderful food.

                                            1. re: Thomas Nash

                                              This week is all about squash blossoms. I had a great dish at Revival in berkeley so far.

                                        2. Check out the Check Please Bay Area website! They review 3 restaurants a week and many are very budget friendly. http://blogs.kqed.org/checkplease/

                                          1. For a great french bakery without the lines/price/attitude check out Thorough Bread on Church near Market...they have an amazing selection of pastries and breads along with sandwiches and other treats. The best part too is the awesome back patio/garden...a perfect refuge from the hustle out front

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Courduroy

                                              I stopped by here on Sunday morning for a perfectly fine coffee and a pretty darn good sticky bun.

                                              That back patio did look inviting, but I hung out in the main room instead, looking over the other goodies and debating if I should bring home some of that chocolate bread (I resisted the urge, but have a target for a second visit.)

                                              1. re: josquared

                                                I have not had the chocolate bread but the almond croissants (sp?) and the olive bread are oh do delicious

                                                1. re: Courduroy

                                                  Chocolate bread, multigrain bread, and baguettes are my standbys here. Skip the bagels.

                                                  1. re: Windy

                                                    Thanks Windy...good to know, though I generally skip bagels at French bakeries lol...speaking of bagels, any good recommendations for traditional NY style bagels? I went to the House of Bagels last week and they were pretty damn good

                                                    1. re: Courduroy

                                                      There are hardly any NY style bagels left in NY. House of Bagels is probably the best around here besides maybe Panorama's (sold at Alemany Market on Saturdays).

                                                      I tried Beauty's Bagels last Saturday at Wise Sons' popup deli, and liked them, as much for the size as anything.

                                                      -----
                                                      Beauty's Bagel Shop
                                                      3838 Telegraph, Oakland, CA

                                            2. Arizmendi - not worth going out of your way

                                              Egg custard at Golden Gate Bakery - worth the wait in line

                                              Little Star Deep Dish - better than Chicago

                                              L’Osteria Del Forno - best in its price range

                                              Ideale - great

                                              La Taqueria - expensive for a taqueria

                                              Cotogna - great, maybe the best rustic Italian in SF now

                                              -----
                                              Golden Gate Bakery
                                              1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                              Ideale
                                              1315 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                              La Taqueria
                                              2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                              Arizmendi
                                              1268 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                              Cotogna
                                              490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Okay, I am finally filing a trip report from our November, 2011, four day trip to San Francisco. Please excuse this very tardy response. I am truly grateful for your help, and I will be reviewing this thread again before our next visit to your wonderful, wonderful city in July 2012.

                                                Thursday-
                                                lunch at Ferry Bldg. Farmers' Mkt--Roli Roti Chicken and roasted potatoes--fabulous
                                                dinner at L'Osteria--roasted pork cooked in milk--fabulous
                                                dessert was an egg custard from Golden Gate Bakery

                                                Friday--
                                                am--Tartine bread pudding with fruit (berries? plums?) It was fabulous. DH had a scone, IIRC.
                                                We also got an Alfajores from the bakery at 443 Valencia. Good but not great.
                                                After walking from Tartine to the Pacific Ocean, we had a late lunch at Zuni---drink, hamburger. I love sitting outside at Zuni.
                                                dinner was a picnic in Union Square with Acme Bread, Cowgirl cheese and wine from Ferry Bldg.

                                                Sat
                                                breakfast at Ferry Bldg. Farmers Mkt.--chilaquiles from the vendor in back of the building--can't remember the vendor's name. They were wonderful.
                                                We were so full from breakfast that we did not eat again until having dinner at a party in Berkeley.

                                                Sunday
                                                breakfast was Kouign Amann (more on that later)
                                                lunch--Super Carne Asada burrito from El Farolita---I LOVE LOVE LOVE these burritos.
                                                dinner---a Cowgirl creamery sandwich which we ate at the airport as we waited to board

                                                As you can see, we made only the tiniest dent in sampling what your city has to offer.

                                                I was on a mission to find and sample Kouign Amann. We got one at Bi-Rite and one at the Coffee Bar at 101 Montgomery (where we met the proprietress, who is wonderful, charming, and knowledgeable). I liked these, but while they were good, I'd rather consume my calories in other ways--for example, I'd rather have a 2nd serving of Tartine's bread pudding. The Kouign Amanns were loaded with butter and sugar and just not quite superlative enough to warrant consuming that many calories....

                                                Again, thank you for so generously responding to my many questions. YOU RULE!

                                                p.s. Just realized I never reported on our JULY 2011 trip to San Francisco. I can't find my notes, but I know we ate at Cotogna, which was truly wonderful.

                                                1. re: soccermom13

                                                  well, this was a great report! sounds like you really did it right. i love that you spent so much time doing little stops, picking up things and eating picnic style I just went to Cotogna my first time for lunch and found it wonderful too. better start planning that July trip now!