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Jul 27, 2011 06:53 AM

Dining options for SF / Sonoma visit

I'll be in SF next week (3 days SF and 3 days Sonoma) and need a few good places to eat. I'd love at least 1 fine dining option but my wife and I are more interested in neighborhood places with excellent food. Any thoughts for SF and Sonoma?

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  1. Can you narrow it down a bit?

    There are so many dining choices in San Francisco.

    And while the town of Sonoma is smaller and has fewer, Sonoma County is large with many choices.

    Where will you be? What do you want to eat?

    Check out the archives here and run your ideas past us.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Columba

      In no particular order:
      seafood (prefer fish to shell fish)
      Burmese (one of my favorite restaurants in New York was Burmese- unfortunately it is gone now)
      Is there anything uniquely San Francisco I should try?

      1. re: cwillmore

        SF is long famous for all of your choices. Search the archives here.

        Sonoma County, as I mentioned, is huge. Depending on where you are, you can find very good Italian food - early settlers from there. If you're out by the coast, you might find seafood, though I'm not sure what's seasonal now.

        El Molino Central is Mexican with a heavy Diana Kennedy influence. Their summer menu includes green chiles stuffed with fresh corn & crema. And their Gorditas Hidgualenza (spelling!) are beef brisket stuffed into masa and fried, then stuffed with more brisket & crema floating in a tomatillo sauce - amazes the mouth. Even if you don't think you like Mexican, try it.

        El Molino Central
        11 Central Avenue, Boyes Hot Springs, CA 95476

        1. re: cwillmore

          Burmese in San Francisco: Pagan, Yamo, Mandalay, Burmese Kitchen with the upscale but Americanized Burma SuperStar and its offspring B Star trailing the more authentic options.

          There have been many recent Sonoma and SF tourist threads. A number are linked at the bottom of the page. You'll get more responses if your questions include specific restaurants.

          Burma Superstar Restaurant
          309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

          Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
          452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Mandalay Restaurant
          4344 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

          B Star Bar
          127 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

          3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Pagan Restaurant
          3199 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121

          1. re: Windy

            There's nothing very upscale about Burma Superstar, it's actually kind of funky and rundown compared with Mandalay or Pagan.

            Yamo's a total dive / greasy spoon. Dirt cheap, fun, good but I think the cooking at Burmese Kitchen is better.

            3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        2. re: Columba

          I believe we will be in Santa rosa in sonoma.

          1. re: cwillmore

            All you need to do now is take the time to search the archives. The big trick to enjoying Sonoma County is to realize it's a big place and to plan your trips accordingly. The natural beauty is amazing -

            If staying in Santa Rosa, you'll be at the hub of some great food & wine journeys.

            Head west toward Sebastopol and coast, then back via the Russian River and Guerneville (redwoods).

            Head north and you're in the food mecca of Healdsburg. You can spend a little at Downtown Bakery or Bovolo, a lot a Cyrus and any amount in between at some great places.

            Head east and you're in Valley of the Moon and Sonoma - rightfully famous for food and wine.

            And Santa Rosa has some wonderful treats too.

            If you're coming in summer, be sure to check out farmers markets and farm stands. Even if only for a peach or blueberry. :)

            Downtown Bakery & Creamery
            308 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

            106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

            Cyrus Restaurant
            29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        3. I would encourage you to take 10-15 minutes and scroll thru the hundreds of posts that are already here on this board. You can start by reviewing this one:

          1. Sonoma, El Molino Central, La Salette.

            El Molino Central
            11 Central Avenue, Boyes Hot Springs, CA 95476

            1. SF:
              Perbacco- My favorite N. Italian outside Northern Italy; Awesome wine list. Great value. Downtown, so not neighborhood-y. Better with red meat and mushrooms than with fish.

              Delfina- My second favorite N. Italian outside Italy. Great value. In the Mission and definitely neighborhood-y. Hard to get a reservation on this notice.

              Troya- Turkish. Really great value but way out in the Richmond. Yummy, though.

              Aziza- Cal-Moroccan. Some like it more than I, I'm only really mentioning it because while I like it, lots of people really love it. Also way out in the Mission.

              NOPA- CA Comfort food in a very casual, loud warehouse-like but somehow inviting environment. Great value, great wine list.

              L'Osteria del Forno- cash only, no reservations, pizza and roast joint in our "Little Italy" which we call North Beach. Incredible value.

              Helmand Palace- Afghani. The only Afghani food I've ever had, so I cannot compare it to anything else, but I love it and so do my friends. Great value.

              La Folie- Fine dining. Classic Provencal French cooking. 3-5 set courses plus amuse bouche, petit fours, palate cleansers, etc. Not stuffy. My favorite restaurant in SF, but not unique to SF

              Ame- Japanese/Italian fusion with French influence. Excellent, unique, downtown.

              Coi- Experimental, some dishes blow my mind, other don't. Very expensive. I think the chef/owner trained at El Bulli.

              Zazu- classic Cal-Italian. Roadhouse. Good value.

              Zin- Comfort food such as nice salads and pork chops.

              Farmhouse Inn- Excellent CA-French or "New French" cuisine in a charming setting.

              (for lunch) Oakville Grocery- I actually like the one in Healdsburg more than the one in Oakville. Great sandwiches, cheeses, etc.

              230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

              La Folie
              2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

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

              Farmhouse Inn
              7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

              Zazu Restaurant
              3535 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

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

              349 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

              Oakville Grocery
              124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

              3 Replies
              1. re: whiner

                Aziza is way out in the Richmond district.

                1. re: wally

                  Yes, that is what I meant. Mind-fart and too late to edit. But of course, you are correct!

                  1. re: wally

                    "Way out in the RIchmond district" is about 3 miles from downtown. Also near the ocean, Legion of Honor, and Golden Gate Bridge, on many tourist itineraries.