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Please help me whittle down my list... Running out of meals!

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Dear SF Chowhounds,

Hope you can help me... We have 5 more days left and looking to maximize our tasty meals. We're staying in the south pacific heights area (near filmore + pine). Have a 12 + 10 yo with us but they appreciate a good, tasty meal so it doesn't usually inhibit us unless it's very upscale fine dining.

So far, we've tried the following: Florio, Dosa (liked their tasty spicy curries), Delfina Pizzeria (had high hopes, but were sadly disappointed with the crust - too dense without much flavor) We like a good NY slice as well as thin crust oven pies a la pizzeria bianco in Phx), Delfina restaurant (absolutely delicious pastas. This was our third visit ove the years and never fails to disappoint). We also had very yummy dim sum at Yank Sing. Last night, we has a choice between Henry's Hunan and Betelnut (pls don't even aak me how we ended up with these two choices. We we're in the mood for some tasty Asian, and this is what we had in our list) we ended up going to Betelnut becausse it was closer to us and were sorely disappointed. No stand outs at all and not very flavorful. we had to doctor some sauces to improve the taste... Reminded us of PF Changs but with more dish variety and higher price point that was far from worth it. We did like the lamb with cumin in sesame buns tho). We also tried A few Suzu ramens which were fine and we would like to try more but after reading many ramne threads, the tastiest bowls are to be had outside the city and we'd like to maximize our time in the city.

So... I have made the following reservations, but if you think different places would be better, please let me know. Have lunch resv at A16 today to try their pizza and compare their pastas to Delfina's. We also have dinner resv for NOPA (would Perbacco be better?) and SPQR (should we skip this since so much Italian?) We also have farewell dinner at Delfina. Lastly, want desperately to check out ferry Building eats, but wondering whether for prepared foods, are there more offerings on Saturdays over Thursdays or is it about the same? Same question but for produce, other ingredients - is Saturday better than the other days? Any suggestions on other pizza places we can try? How about take out Chinese?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

Betelnut
2030 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Florio Bar & Cafe
1915 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Suzu
1825 Post St, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Saturdays at Ferry Plaza are three or four times the size of Thursdays.

    That's an awful lot of pasta and pizza. Why not get some real Asian food in the nearby Richmond District? Or head over to Polk to Tajine (Moroccan) or Cafe Zitouna (Tunisian)?

    I like SPQR a lot, but it is the same owners as A16. NOPA is well executed, but it's pretty straightforward American food.

    -----
    A16
    2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

    Cafe Zitouna
    1201 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    SPQR
    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

    7 Replies
    1. re: Windy

      Yes, A16 and SPQR have the same owners, but they are very different. I love SPQR and, frankly, like A16 only for the pizza. SPQR has wonderful and often unusual pasta dishes.

      -----
      A16
      2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

      SPQR
      1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

      1. re: bobpantzer

        I also prefer the current incarnation of SPQR to A16 (but sounds like it's too late to scratch A16 if they're having lunch there today).

        -----
        A16
        2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

        SPQR
        1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

        1. re: Windy

          Thanks for the thoughts in SPQR. We will keep the reservation. Do you think A16's pizza is worth trying to compare against Delfina Pizzeria?

          In the Richmond, any absolute must tries to suggest? If we increase to 8 people for dinner, would there be a good Asian place to try? What about just the 4 of us?

          this is an off topic question (but sort of related to finding tasty places) but what areas/streets that we should stay away from? Not sure where we should avoid vs not while we're strolling.

          Thanks again....

          -----
          A16
          2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

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

          SPQR
          1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

          1. re: oez

            I like the pizza at Zero Zero, near Moscone Center. I have only had Delfina's once and that was a couple of years ago, so can't really speak to it comparatively. A lot of people like Tony's in North Beach but I haven't been there yet.

            Have you thought about Aziza (Moroccan) out at Geary and 26th (I think). You can get there via muni on the 38 Geary which stops at Fillmore near where you're staying.

            There are lots of little Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese restaurants in the Tenderloin that are very good--not much ambiance and the area is a bit dicey, but during the daytime I wouldn't be concerned about walking in that area. Lers Ros Thai is very good and very authentic. Check out reviews of it on this board and others.

            -----
            Lers Ros Thai
            730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

            Zero Zero
            826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

            1. re: bobpantzer

              Strongly second Lers Ros, i was just dreaming this morning about this;

              9. Koh Moo Yang - smoky and tasty grilled slices of pork shoulder, served with chili & rice powder sauce

              and the duck larb.

              And definitely do Saturday morning over Thursday at the Ferry Plaza over.

              If you want a lot of variety in a very little time and all in the same place, you could check out Off The Grid at Fort Mason at 5:00 p.m. tonight, instead of a sit-down dinner. http://www.fortmason.org/events/event...

              1. re: bobpantzer

                Near Lers Ros are two great Vietnamese options, Bodega Bistro and Pagolac. Agreed, there's a significant difference between the area where these three are located and middle Polk where the two North African restaurants are.

                And yes, Off The Grid is wonderful. We went to the Haight installment last night and had a great time. Helps if you like bacon and homemade whoopie pies.

                And you asked where to eat in the Richmond: many good options.
                To Hyang or Muguboka (traditional Korean) or Namu (modern Korean)
                John Campbell's Irish Bakery is open late and has delicious breads, scones, corned beef sandwiches, and pasties
                Aziza (as noted, upscale Moroccan--very different from Tajine, both great choices)
                Shanghai House or Shanghai Dumpling King on outer Balboa for soup dumplings in modest surroundings
                and many more

                -----
                Bodega Bistro
                607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                Pagolac
                655 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

              2. re: oez

                Just a quick request that people not get into neighbourhood safety issues here. It's a topic that gets unpleasant fast, and it's off-topic for Chowhound in any case.

        2. California cuisine is oddly underrepresented on your list, given that's arguably what the Bay Area is best known for, though I suppose Delfina qualifies as Cal-Italian.

          Canteen would be a good pick. I haven't tried Aziza (mentioned by others) yet, but Cal-Moroccan would certainly be different and interesting for you. Zuni is probably the classic Cal cuisine rec in SF; I like it, though it's fairly expensive (lunchtime is a good time to go).

          For Asian cuisine, Burmese is very interesting and especially strong in SF. I like Mandalay (in the Richmond); others on the board often recommend Burmese Kitchen, which I've yet to try.

          Other great, very affordable "ethnic" places I always recommend to visitors: Poc Chuc (for Mayan/Oaxacan) and Inkas (for casual Peruvian).

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

          Inkas Restaurant
          3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

          Canteen
          817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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

          Mandalay Restaurant
          4344 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

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

          1. I'll stick to you pizza question.

            My recommendation would be to try Pizzetta 211. A very San Francisco place; small and personal with a foodie bent. Quality ingredients, rotating menu. They are probably at least somewhat responsible for the current trend in high quality, thin crust pizza places in the SF area.

            Ownership has changed and there have been some changes (I don't think we would have seen lamb and tzatziki pizza in the old days), but they continue to offer their old favorites, an interesting selection of food friendly wine, blue bottle coffee and chocolate torte. And, still case only.

            A good taste of an SF neighborhood place. It's a small storefront.

            http://img4.sunset.com/i/2010/02/pizz...

            -----
            Pizzetta 211
            211 23rd Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

            12 Replies
            1. re: jman1

              Jman1, I think you meant to type *cash only*. Just clarifying because it's kind of important for those who haven't been there before and are traveling.

              I love Pizzetta but haven't been there for a few months, I will have to check out the changes.

              It's also very tiny (probably about 12 - 18 seats inside, and a few outdoor tables), so the wait can be long if you go at prime times and difficult for large parties. But great pizza.

              1. re: jman1

                Thanks for the Pizzetta rec. We ended up trying it and our kids liked it better than Delfina's pizza (on Filmore) and A16. I might have to agree with them. We ended up trying Perbacco for lunch and we all LOVED our pastas. Neck and neck with how much we love the pastas at Delfina Restaurant. We ended up mixing our reservations at NOPA. We did go to SPQR which was tasty, but their pastas are a little on the interesting side and might not be for everybody.

                I'd like to try one let ramen if I can... Any comments on Hapa ramen @ the ferry building farmer's market? Any thoughts on that vs. katana-ya near union square?

                Last question- I know the Slanted Door raises some strong opinions, but I didn't see too much re. the tastiness level of Out the Door vs. eating at SD. Any big difference? We can either et at SD b/c we'll already be in the area picking up last minute munchies for our trip home, or we can easily pick up Out the Door and eat at home with a nice bottle of wine. Thoughts?

                Thanks again to all for your input. It's been very helpful and I am returning home a plump yet satisfied gal!

                1. re: oez

                  Sounds like you need a new noodle and pizza handle...Thanks for the update and glad you've been eating your way around town.

                  I was not impressed with Katana-ya. Not bad, just not special.

                  Someone noted on another thread that Ken Ken Ramen has a popup tomorrow at The Corner at 18th and Mission, very close to BART. But I haven't eaten there to recommend it.

                  Hapa Ramen has the advantage that you can try other things at Ferry Plaza (like Namu's cart, highly recommended).

                  BTW if you're flying American or Virgin out of Terminal 2, Wakaba, the sushi place has pretty good udon. Lots of other great options there too, inside security.

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

                  Ken Ken Ramen
                  3378 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Hapa Ramen
                  ferry building, San Francisco, CA

                  1. re: oez

                    Glad to hear you liked Pizzetta; it's a favorite for SF pizza.

                    If you are talking Out the Door in the Ferry building, the menu is different from that of Slanted Door. It's offers an upscale take on informal Vietnamese foods. Their Vietnamese sandwiches are about double the price of a normal place, but they are very good (with quality ingredients). I like it. I don't go to Slanted Door, but do often stop at Out the Door when in the Ferry building. Some other competitors have appeared, but I still like Out the Door best.

                    Never tried Hapa Ramen, but did not hear good things. I don't like Katana-ya (noodles where soggy last time). If you want to compare to Suzu, I suggest either Sawaii Ramen or Tampopo; neither are great, but both are somewhat comparable to Suzu. Or, branch out to a different kind of noodle dish (udon, pho or dandan perhaps).

                    -----
                    Slanted Door
                    Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                    Out the Door
                    1 Ferry Bldg Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111

                    Suzu
                    1825 Post St, San Francisco, CA

                    Hapa Ramen
                    ferry building, San Francisco, CA

                    1. re: jman1

                      Sorry, I should have specified that I was looking at the Out the Door I was taking a look at was near Filmore. Does anyone have any comparisons between this location and SD?

                      Thank you both for thoughts on Hapa and Katana-ya. I will skip both this round and try someplace else. I am not sure what you meant by "dandan", jman, but I once had some spicy Tantanmen in Tokyo that was out of this world! I ate it almost every day... Sadly, I don't think that ramen-ya exists anymore and every time I try a "tantan" or "dandan" noodles in the US, they are oddly sesame or peanut-y. Generally, they don't come in a soup though. When I find them in soup/ramen, it,s generally sone ground meat but not too much beyond that. Anyway, I digress... I doubt that I'll ever find something like that again.

                      Windy, Thais much for the airport tasty tidbits. Thankfully we'll be driving back home, so hope to pick up some bread and tasty munchies from Thorough Bread or Tartine on the way out along with whatever we pick up from the ferry building the day before.

                      Thoughts on Namu? Guessing it's pretty unlikely I could get in on Friday night, but a girl can dream, right? The descriptions of their place remind me of Woo Lae Oak in NYC. I tried their tacos @ ferry building last Saturday and enjoyed it. Thought their kimchee fried rice was pretty good though could have used a bit more kick (i've had many versions in the Honolulu area for comparison).

                      Just not enough time....

                      1. re: oez

                        Namu's not hard to get into if you go to the restaurant on Balboa. I thought you were going to the Ferry Building tomorrow (Thursday lunch), where they have the same cart you already got tacos from. I like Namu a lot, but it's more fun than particularly refined. Besides, you have time for one more pasta or pizza meal :) (La Ciccia? Una Pizza Napoletana?)

                        Best bets at Thorough: chocolate bread, classic baguettes, macarons, and if they have any, boxes of fruit gelees. Also the giant almond croissants, which are not as fluffy as Tartine's, but still so good.

                        Or if you're in the Mission tomorrow, stop by Mission Pie on Mission and 25th between 5-9 p.m. for a Josey Baker bread, hot from the oven. His walnut, seed feast, and sourdough wonderbread are what you want for a long road trip.

                        -----
                        Mission Pie
                        2901 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        Namu
                        439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

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

                        1. re: oez

                          I meant Chinese or Korean tantan/dantan/etc. Sounds like it's popular in Japan too, but judging by web photos it's more liquid there. I'm used to a thicker sauce. In my (limited) experience, the Chinese is more peanuty. The Korean version is often more spicy and sometimes darker in color (black bean?). I guess it's often called zazang noodles there (same thing?)

                          Here is a photo from a local Korean hole in the wall:

                          http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/Cp_rUc...

                          I've never been to Namu, but I have friends who enjoy it quite a bit. Perhaps can think of it as the poor cousin to Momofuku in NY. They tell me that there are sometimes dj's playing on a weekend night; so you have an idea of the ambiance.

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

                          1. re: jman1

                            The Korean-Chinese dish za zang myun (variation on the Chinese chachiang mein) is a huge pile of fresh spaghetti-like wheat noodles with almost the same volume of bland black bean sauce. Some places offer a spicy version but I don't see most Koreans ordering it. Some people order the sauce on the side.

                          2. re: oez

                            Haven't been to the Out the Door on Filmore.

                            If you are picking up supplies, you could do worse than some fresh baked bread and goodies from La Boulange at 2325 Pine off Filmore.

                            http://laboulangebakery.com/

                            And, if you did want udon, Sanuki in Japantown makes there own.

                            -----
                            Out the Door
                            845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            1. re: oez

                              Which way are you driving? If you are heading south, then it might be worth a plan that includes a stop in the south bay for good ramen or something else Japanese.

                              1. re: jman1

                                We are headed south to the marina del Rey area, but unfortunately need to make good time, so can't stop by one of those great ramen spots. Next trip!

                                Boulange for supplies would be great, but we've been nibbling there during the week, so would like something different for our trip down. Thanks for the suggestion though. :-)

                                You're right, Windy... There's still room for last pizza or pasta... But am in a bit of an Asian mood now. That's where the Namu and slanted door ideas came from. I do need to find one last place for Friday dinner. I think DOSA might be on the list for tonight.

                                1. re: oez

                                  the best ramen i've in sf is at namu (but you have to arrive at 6pm and get your order in -- they only make 6 servings for some reason) or ajisen in westfield. i strongly prefer these to hapa, katana-ya, or tampopo. though i don't think ramen is a strong point in sf. for asian noodles in sf, i'd instead get the jia jyung mien at san tung, or dan dan mien at z&y.

                                  for pizza or pasta my picks are una pizza napolitano or farina (respectively), but they are also the most expensive.

                                  oh, for japanese noodles -- i don't know this category well, but inaniwa udon at maki is one of their specialties, and their tempura is decent.