HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Can't-miss places in Noe, if any? New to the neighborhood.

Hello,

We're about to move to Noe, and we've spent enough time in SF--especially in the wondrous Mission--to know we're not quite moving to the food mecca of this city. Which is okay, as we'll merrily walk/Bart/Muni/drive for food, and we're so excited to be settling for a while in a city containing (or near) La Taqueria, Aziza, Bar Tartine, Lahore Karahi, El Farolito, Koi Palace, and on and on.

That said, for days/nights when we don't want to venture too far from our apartment, what are can't-miss spots in the neighborhood? We appreciate good price-to-quality ratios, but are willing to splurge if it's worthwhile.

So far, from Chowhound-trawling, I've pulled up this list:

- Very excited to try:
La Ciccia
Incanto
Noe Valley Cheese Shop

- Going to end up trying, though (for now) less excited by:
Ristorante Bacco
Fattoush
Tataki

- Have already tried:
Barney's (fine, didn't fall in love)
Lovejoy's (have near-rabid affection for tea and scones, so will go back, though it wasn't top-notch)
Savor (pleasant)

What's missing? Any thoughts on (any) (good) Asian food would be particularly welcome. Thanks very much in advance!

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

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

Ristorante Bacco
737 Diamond Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

La Taqueria
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Contigo would be the main missing one I would put on the list. Henry's Hunan works in a pinch. Firefly has its partisans. The newish branch of The Little Chihuahua is very good and I would certainly go more if I lived closer to 24th/Castro. Pasta Gina isn't a restaurant but is known for its meatball sandwich.

    Everything else has a reputation of fair-to-middling (or worse):

    Swatdee is average for a Thai place. Regent Thai is maybe marginally better. Never been to Rin's.
    Cafe Ponte...nice cafe vibe when it's sunny, average food
    Hamano is fine for a neighborhood sushi place, but not much sets it apart
    Alice's/Eric's: OK for what they are, good deals at lunch but IMO crushed by Henry's Hunan in quality
    Casa Mexicana: don't see any reason to go here after Little Chihuahua opened
    Basso's: had a subpar visit a few years back, never felt inclined to go back
    India Clay Oven is OK...part of a chain, didn't think it was anything special when dining in but friends like their takeout
    Pomelo: interesting concept, execution...predictably meh.
    None of the pizza places have a good record. The bagel places manage to stay in business but I've never heard anything great either.

    The ones I've never tried nor heard much about, but seem worth a bit of exploring: Noeteca on Dolores and Lupa.

    -----
    Pasta Gina
    741 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    Lupa
    4109 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    Contigo
    1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    Regent Thai Restaurant
    1700 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94131

    Little Chihuahua
    4123 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

    4 Replies
    1. re: bigwheel042

      Noeteca is lovely, especially since they make their flatbread in a toaster oven. Good wines by the glass.

      I'll concur with what's above. Eric's is inedible, and I love Henry's. And as noted, there's too much fancy food. Incanto and Contigo are not every night kinds of restaurants.

      Generally you'll do better going in any direction a few blocks--in particular to Mission between Cesar Chavez and Cortland, where you have ICHI Sushi (leagues better than Tataki), Pastores (now open till 10), Locavore, Angkor Borei (delivers, and better than any of the nearby Southeast Asian options), San Miguel, Inka's, and many others. Real not faux ethnic food, and at much better prices.

      There have been good reports on All Seasons (?) the Chinese restaurant in Diamond Heights that replaced Yet Wah. Haven't tried it yet.

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

      Pastores Restaurant
      3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Contigo
      1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      Locavore
      3215 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      ICHI Sushi
      3369 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: Windy

        Agreed, for ethnic eats there are lots of excellent and cheaper options on that stretch. In addition to these I thought my one visit to La Paisa (Honduran, also serves Salvadoran/Mexican dishes) was pretty good. And there are numerous spots to get a good pupusa, though I wish Balompie #3 were a little closer.

        The ones I wouldn't bother with on this part of Mission are the Chinese restaurants and, oddly, the taquerias. It's a little strange that everything between 26th and Glen Park is a burrito wasteland. Has anyone tried some of these? I pass them a million times and never know what (if any) dishes are special there:

        Oye Managua (has a decent reputation, didn't like it much the one time I went - salt/flavor ratio was too high)
        Brisas de Acapulco (ordered a burrito one night when in a hurry, but seemed like their real wheelhouse is seafood so I don't feel like I had a representative experience)
        Nena's (was pleasantly surprised by this place on a first visit, but couldn't make head or tail of whether the Mexican or Salvadoran sides of the menu were better. Saw a few people tucking in to big soups)
        El Patio (never been)

        -----
        El Patio Restaurant
        3193 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Oye Managua
        3385 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: bigwheel042

          I had a decent soup at Brisas de Acapulco once, but your general assessment is right on. El Patio has leaden tamales. Cancun was decent long ago but no longer.

          El Zocalo is the best of the bunch and open until 2 or 3 for cheap pupusas and friendly service. Do they have burritos? Agreed that Balompie is better Salvadorean, but that area a little sketchy as it gets late.

          What did you order at La Paisa? I've always been curious about that and Playa Azul.

          San Miguel has a few Mexican dishes on its menu; I tend to forget it's there. I love the tostadas de camarones there and the fresh liquados.

          -----
          Balompie Cafe
          3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          El Patio Restaurant
          37311 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536

          El Zocalo Restaurant
          1633 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, CA 94080

          Playa Azul Restaurant
          1428 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

          1. re: Windy

            I had the pincho a la olanchana - nothing fancy, just a tasty typical Central American meal of skewered steak+sausage with rice and beans.

            Playa Azul I visited once when starving and took down an entire red snapper by myself. It was good, but my friends all agreed that we'd probably had better seafood. Might be worth another try. We always have a good meal at San Miguel. I have a bit of a soft spot for Los Panchos also - they aren't open as late as El Zocalo and the pupusas might not be quite on that level, but El Zocalo's service seems like it can be really slow at times.

            Oh, and I personally detest Cancun but that may have as much to do with their hated toasting of the tortilla as with any downhill slide.

    2. I agree that for Noe Valley proper Contigo should be on your list for slightly higher end/not quite everyday eating. Bacco is actually a go to restaurant for me-because the food is good and the room is quiet-if I want to have a serene meal and/or hear my companion(s). For a casual meal I like Hahn's Hibachi-for their Korean Version of a Cheesesteak sandwich, their Bibimbap and their noodle soups. Slightly outside of the boundries of Noe-but potentially closer to your home-depending on your location I like Blue Plate for modern, eclectic Californian on the border on the Mission and Noe Valley.

      When I lived in Noe my favorite almost in the neighborhood but not quite restaurant was Chez Spencer -it's really truly in the Mission and probably not walkable from your home but don't miss it if you like French. Possibly walkable but also firmly in the Mission are Foreign Cinema -for a unique SF experience and very good food and Dosa for interesting Indian-oh and if you like Indian you may want to try take away or delivered Indian pizza from Zante's -it's really hard to describe but trying it is, I think, a Mission/Noe Glen Park right of passage. Speaking of Glen Park which is only a BART stop away or a longish walk Gialina's is good for Pizza, Petit Robert is good for Moules and other French Bistro standards. Glen Park is also home to my favorite Taqueria in the city (and I am definitely not alone in this) La Coroneta. Finally if you are movie going types you may find yourselves in West Portal where Roti does good Modern Indian.

      One last thing-if you are nearby keep your eye on Amber Jack Sushi-it's ok/fine for neighborhood sushi but recently they did a pop up ramen restaurant with housemade ramen that I heard was very good. The owners of Pie Bar / Chenery Park were on hand to help so it seems like there might be some interesting collaboration going on these days.

      -----
      Gialina
      2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

      Blue Plate
      3218 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

      Chenery Park Restaurant
      683 Chenery Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

      Contigo
      1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      1. Oh, this is great. We can't wait. Thank you.

        The mentions of Zante and Angkor Borei bring to mind a follow-up thought--other than the places mentioned, are there other good restaurants that will at least deliver to Noe?

        11 Replies
        1. re: carbonara

          Spicy Bite will deliver, and they are totally underrated for Indian, IMO -- maybe because their dining room is so bleak. They have a chef's special menu that offers some very rare-around-here Chinese-cooked-Indian-style plates that are worth checking out. But their menu is very good, top to bottom. Infinitely better than the dreadful Clay Oven. We order the Indian pizza from Zante, but if we want Indian food, we order from Spicy Bite.

          -----
          Spicy Bite
          3501 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

          1. re: BernalKC

            I agree Spicy Bite is a hidden gem with a slightly depressing dining room.

            -----
            Spicy Bite
            3501 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

            1. re: artychokeasana

              What's good here? I was interested in their Indo-Chinese dishes (they are maybe the only restaurant in SF offering this cuisine) and was underwhelmed by an overly salty fried rice. Are other parts of the menu better bets?

              1. re: bigwheel042

                Our favorites: dal (seriously good dal), nan, any of their veggie dishes, any tikka masala especially the chicken, biryani, decent tadoori... the only dish I'd avoid was their fish curry. I have had some overly salty dishes. One time their hot&sour soup was way over salted -- but its still on our must-order list.

          2. re: carbonara

            Keep your fingers crossed that Lotus Garden (Vietnamese) recovers from the fire and reopens. They were the best local delivery option.

            Angkor Borei delivers, as do Pad Thai and Udupi Palace on Valencia. I haven't gotten delivery from Udupi, but the food is delicious and cheap.

            Amberjack is closed/closing/for sale. But walk the extra couple of blocks to ICHI.

            I like La Corneta too, but from Noe, the branch at Mission and 23rd is closer than the one in Glen Park.

            -----
            Lotus Garden
            3216 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            La Corneta
            1147 San Carlos Ave, San Carlos, CA 94070

            1. re: Windy

              I never really thought the La Coroneta on Mission was as good...but it's been a few years-so if you've been at it's as good-I'll give it a try-sometimes that location is more convenient for me too.

              I didn't know Amberjack was for sale. It was definitely open about a week ago for the Ramen dinner I referred to.

              How is that Nepalese place on Cortland? Is it still there?

              1. re: artychokeasana

                http://sf.eater.com/archives/2011/06/...

                Little Nepal was good last time I ate there, but it's been a while. I like Piqueo's (modern Peruvian compared to Inka's) a lot too.

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

                Piqueo's
                830 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Little Nepal
                925 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: Windy

                  Drove by AmberJack this morning, and the windows are papered over. There's a note posted, which I couldn't read from the car.

                  1. re: Windy

                    Thanks for the update Windy. I have a friend who lives nearby on 27th-I'll ask him if he knows what the note says and/or the plans (he owns a nearby restaurant so he just might.)

                    1. re: artychokeasana

                      Looks like Amberjack is being replaced by another sushi bar.

                      1. re: Windy

                        Thanks-I'll swing by and have a look.

          3. The one place with edible food that hasn't been mentioned yet is the Noe Valley branch of Patxi for deep dish, Chicago style pizza. I haven't tried anything else there but the pizzas are fine - just don't expect Little Star. (24th between Castro & Noe)

            3 Replies
            1. re: farmersdaughter

              These are great. Thanks! We love Peruvian food, so we might make Inka's our first neighborhood(ish) stop once we move in.

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

              1. re: carbonara

                There are several writeups of chowdowns at Inka's to point you toward the roast chicken, ceviches, fried yucca, picarones, etc. Also they have very inexpensive corkage if you want to bring a bottle.

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

                1. re: Windy

                  Heh, yes, I've started taking reading and taking notes. We just went to La Mar for lunch today for our last SF meal before we move here, and were pretty disappointed with all but the pisco sours, so we're now doubly excited about trying Inka's, and now Piqueo, too.

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

                  Piqueo's
                  830 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. Rin's Thai = don't expect Lers Ros, but perfect example of neighborhood Thai with a Cal-fresh spin. She makes everything from scratch, even the tom kha (she digs it out of the coconut herself.) The salmon rolls, though not really Thai, are worth it.

              -----
              Rin's Thai Restaurant
              4301 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114