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Sep 5, 2011 08:35 AM

Favorite markets and grocery stores in SF -- esp. the Mission

Having just moved to the Mission a few months ago, I'm having a lot of fun getting to know my local food-shopping options.

So far, favorites are:

-Valencia Whole Foods -- Good deal on Straus dairy, and all the produce is organic.

-Mission Market Meat Department -- The hands-down best source of "happy meat" in this neighborhood. Beats hoofing it over the hill to the Noe Whole Foods, and the prices are way better, too. Super helpful and friendly butchers, to boot.

-Casa Guadalupe 2 -- I've been going here for cheap "Clean 15" produce such as avocados, pineapples, and mangoes (though the last mango I had tasted rather chemically -- are they out of season now?), as well as masa harina, Nescafe Classico, dried hibiscus flowers and dried chiles. There's a lot of turnover, it seems, and so the packaged spices are much fresher than in many of the other markets on Mission.

-Mission Community Market (Thursdays, 4-8pm, Bartlett b/t 21st and 22nd) -- Been enjoying the wonderful apples from a vendor from Sebastopol (the name escapes me), dry-farmed Early Girls from Tomatero in Watsonville, and spring mix and herbs from Happy Boy. The selection of organic produce at this market is much better than the Heart of the City Market, and prices are far more reasonable than the Ferry Building FM. Sad to see the summer produce go, but looking forward to the colder weather apple varieties. Bring on the Winesaps!

I haven't yet been to Evergreen, Samirami's, or Duc Loi. Since I still find myself in Mountain View to visit my parents on a regular basis, I ended up doing a lot of my "ethnic" shopping there (Nijiya Market for Japanese ingredients, Rose Market for Middle Eastern, Ranch 99 for Chinese, India Fresh, The Milk Pail, etc.). Looking forward to checking out Peruvian groceries at Evergreen. I read on Yelp that they sell arepa flour there, something I've been curious about playing around with. Oh boy oh boy.

I would love to hear about your favorite stores. Thanks in advance!

Samiramis Imports
2990 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Evergreen Market
2539 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

Mission Market Meat Department
2590 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Casa Guadalupe 2
2909 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

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  1. Have you been to Rainbow?

    Rainbow Grocery
    1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Oh yes. I was just in there last week for some bulk teas and spices. Their spring mix is always really good, too, though much of the produce is too pricey for me.

    2. For seafood, Sun Fat on Mission

      1. The produce market on 24th and Valencia is great, especially for citrus and stone fruit, and fresh ground peanut butter. They have decent cheeses too, as does Arizmendi across the street.

        Corner market on 26th and Guerrero is handy for organic produce, dairy, some meats, chocolate, and wine. They're open later than a lot of other markets.

        Lucca Ravioli has great prices on cheese and olive oil, plus great ravioli (I prefer the frozen cheese to the fresh meat varieties).

        San Francisco Herb Co has great prices on tea and dried herbs. Very fresh, super nice people.

        And of course there's Bi-Rite, which is in a class (and price) by itself. There are deals to be found if you shop carefully, and the service can't be beat. Just don't walk in there hungry.

        I haven't noticed winesap apples at farmers' markets in San Francisco. Do they have another name?

        1268 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        3 Replies
        1. re: Windy

          Winesaps are usually in season in late September/early October around here, if I remember correctly. I asked the apple guy at the Mission Community Market, and he said he grows 'em. Can't wait!

          I stumbled into the SF Herb Co. the other day and the selection was amazing, but the packages are far too big for me to use up, at least far as most of their products are concerned. Just a buyer beware note -- most things come in 8oz to 1 lb. packages, or larger. Is there anything you buy there in a more home cook-friendly size? I did notice saffron was available in smallish tubes.

          Mission Community Market
          E 22nd St, Oakland, CA

          1. re: operagirl

            The prices are so low I just give away the extras. The dried red peppers are great.

            I have no trouble going through 8 oz of tea or 1 pound of sugar.

        2. Looks like you've got it covered here. Note that Evergreen doesn't carry organics, but their produce is often much nicer than the other local latino marts, and very reasonable. and yes, great Peruvian products. also Argentinian cheese, Salvadorean ready-to-eat pork tamales (much moister than the Mexican ones, in my opinion).

          Samiramis is great for bulk herbs, including sumac and a few different varieties of zatar, olives, rose water, pomegranate syrup, pita, marcel et henry merguez sausages, middle eastern music, hookas, etc., etc., etc. the owner is really sweet.

          Lucca's is great. Never leave there without spending a small fortune, everything is so tempting.
          Love the meat market in the Mission Mall. El Perol in that same mall is good for homey Peruvian food - try their papa a la huancaina! the pupuseria makes my favorite pupusas in the Mission.
          I like Duc Loi because they have more of everything in one spot. they also sell good organic chicken, like the Mission Mall does.
          Agree with the recommendation for seafood at Sun Fat - super clean, very friendly, beautiful fish.

          you've got lots of 'sploring to do! enjoy!

          El Perol
          2590 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. If you are in Mtn. View often, you should also check out Crossroads World Market on San Antonio (in Palo Alto); mostly for European and Middle Eastern products.

            In SF, the most similar would be European Foods in the Richmond, but that has a more Eastern European slant (still, both stores carry some of the same imported products).

            Bi-Rite is perhaps the best neighborhood market in the city. It's pricey, but can't be beat for quality and selection. I'm envious of my friends who live within walking distance; many a great last minute meal has been started by a walk to Bi-Rite. If you can't walk there, it's tough ... no parking.

            Crossroads World Market
            720 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: jman1

              Bi-Rite is a couple blocks from my brother's apartment, so I am in that area quite often. Love stopping in, especially for the beautifully-curated selection of chocolate bars, including their own brand.

              My bf is of Russian extraction (well, so am I, but my family's been in California since the 1850's...), so European Foods sounds like a must-check-out place. Thanks for the tip -- looking forward to getting over there soon, even if it's a bit of a field trip for me!

              1. re: operagirl

                I'm actually surprised Bi-Rite wasn't mentioned in every single response. It's by far my favorite market in the Mission - in the city for that matter. Yes, it's quite expensive, but the quality of the ingredients is worth it, and they have the most hospitable staff of any grocery store I've visited. Not to mention one of the best cheese selections in SF! As someone completely obsessed with cheese, that's my go-to spot to find my favorites or new, exciting things to try.