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Sep 7, 2011 02:50 PM

Four Day San Fran Trip - Critiques Please!

Thanks to all of you who have helped me narrow some places is my semi-finished list...


Lunch: Caffé BaoNecci - absolutely love this place. Come here no every trip..Great Naples style pizza.
Dinner: Looking for something Italian (originally from back east and living in SD..I cant get enough good italian when I have a chance)..thinking either Perbacco or Flour+Water. Open to other suggestions, but nothing too expensive, i.e. entrees under $25.


Napa Valley

Dinner: Sushi somewhere..leaving this up to the gf.

Drinks: Burritt to other suggestions for a good mixology bar


Breakfast: Ferry Marketplace Building
Lunch: Swan Oyster Depot
Dinner: 5 course tasting menu at La Folie


Breakfast: Tartine Bakery
Lunch: Open
Pre-dinner HH: Bar Crudo
Dinner: Open

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Wow this is a great itinerary.
      I live here and I would want to join you for this trip!

      Swan's, Bar Crudo, and La Folie are 3 of my favorites.
      I've posted rave reviews of both Bar Crudo and La Folie on this list in the past..

      Have not been to Flour+Water, but I do love Perbacco.
      You might also look into La Ciccia, which I tried this year for the first time and really enjoyed.
      Perbacco is great, but I think La Ciccia is a touch better.

      For Sushi night, you might consider:
      -- Ino Sushi. Straight up sushi from a dour man in a plain room who serves great food. I am in the minority here though, many on this list prefer other places. Only go here for omakase and sit at the sushi bar. Can be expensive...
      -- Kiss Seafood -- tiny restaurant serving a 5-6 course omakase menu that includes a pristine sushi course and a perfect sashimi course among other delights.
      -- Kappou Goumi -- not a sushi bar but a japanese place with tons of interesting dishes. Menu is sorted into sections by the main ingredient, with listings in each section of different preparations.
      -- Sushi Time -- my favorite sushi bar in the castro. More of a neighborhood place but everything they do is lovely and it is very well priced. My favorite pre-sushi apps in the city as well, great sunomono, oshitashi, hiya yakkou, and miso/clam soup.
      -- Nihon Whiskey Lounge -- japanese small plates in a loungey atmosphere. Sushi and sashimi are on the menu but I usually mix that up with other interesting dishes.
      -- a search on this board will give you other opinions that differ from mine. It's a rather contentious subject. :-)

      A note on La Folie:
      You mentioned their "5 course tasting menu", but I believe that the tasting menu is more courses than that. I've never had it. But their regular menu lets you choose 3, 4, or 5 courses from the menu. The 5 course option is a TON of food and well worth the price. Pace yourself. It is an amazing place. Recently had a big birthday party there and they delivered in every possible way.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pauliface

        La Folie's tasting menu is five courses plus an amuse and petit fours. Passot doesn't do the trendy thing of too-small portions of too many dishes.

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

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          understatement. bring an appetite, maybe dial back the breakfast/lunch stuff in anticipation of a protracted meal well done.
          La Folie is time well spent.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. i agree with pauliface, you've got it pretty good already (sorry, can't add about sushi - i'm kind of a "sushi is great almost anywhere, because it's sushi" - i may be suspended from CH for that.) I LOVE La Ciccia. Way prefer it to Perbacco.

          i'd say to be careful about getting to the Ferry Bld. Farmers Mkt. and getting to Swan Oyster in time. You'd have to get to FBFM EARLY, like 8, and be at Swan Oyster by 11, 11:30 the latest, or be prepared to wait a couple hours in line - seriously. i'm not saying it's horrible.... you could do FM until noonish, then mosey over to Swan, but you could wait in line until about 2:00. it's not a bad place to wait, but you'll wait, and that may be ok, because you'll need to get hungry again after the FM. and the payoff is good, i don't care what anyone else says. Swan is one of my very favorite places in this city. they'll even give you a glass of wine or a beer while you wait.

          i think your days could be a little full, actually... again, if you end up at swan at 1 or 2, and you're doing a 5 course tasting at La Folie.... is La Folie like at 8?

          Tartine is sooo good, so much to fill you up...i would schedule nothing for lunch. Grab a snack or two at Bi-Rite (like, right next door, practically) and hang out Dolores Park for the afternoon.

          Dinner Sunday - I've not been to Nopa... but it's near where you'll already be. I've heard again and again great things about it. not sure how hard it is to get a table on a Sunday night. Or Nopalito.

          You're on the right track. have so much fun.

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

          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

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

          560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          6 Replies
          1. re: mariacarmen

            Appreciate the feedback..more dinner/lunch options welcome. Also, thinking about doing Frances in the Castro one of the days/nights..

            And Mariacarmen....if you were to do a quick check of some of my past posts on'll see my New Orleans itinerary from earlier this THAT trip had some full days...I've got an appetite like no other..I'm sure I'll be able to hit all these places, plus squeeze an extra nibble or two in :)

              1. re: yanks26dmb

                No to Frances. Can't stand the place. I am in the minority, but since our tastes seem to align I think you should listen to me and not them. :-)

                Consider these instead. Both uniquely SF with more interesting and better tasting food than Frances:
                Lolo's in the mission (mexican/turkish fusion I believe, really tasty stuff)
                Aziza. (highly creative moroccan with fantastic herbal-inspired cocktails)

                Also: If Swan's gets big lines on Saturday, you might consider going there for lunch on Thursday instead and move your pizza lunch to another day. . They open quite early, I think like 8AM even, and if you go before 11-11:30 on a weekday I bet you can walk in pretty easily. Can anyone else confirm that?

                1. re: pauliface

                  they do open at 8:00 a.m. (it's a fishmarket too). that's what i said above - get there 11:00, 11:30. i thought it wouldn't be as hard to get into on a weekday, tho. i've only been on saturdays.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    When Frances first opened I didn't get the hype, but with over a year under their belts the food is definitely worthy of the praise it receives. And the staff has become more like family than employees, which I know is just a personal reason to like the place, but they really make anyone feel like they're home. The problem is that unless you have an "in" or are okay with waiting for a seat at the bar, you need to call 2 months in advance, to the day, to get reservations.

                    Skip lolo's. There's better food to be eaten with only 4 days in the city.

                    But, pauliface is right on one thing: Aziza. It has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in SF, and serves food you won't get in San Diego. That would be my #1 pick, over Frances.

                    I'd also recommend SPQR for dinner if you're interested in incredible Italian food at reasonable prices. It's very highly regarded by others in the industry =)


                    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                    1. re: KelsEats

                      Well, my last time at Frances was last November (2010) and here is my rebuttal in gory detail, my review from the time:


                      If you can tell me that at about that time you agreed with me, but that since then it has improved as you say, I would be willing to try them again. I would love to like them as they are 3 blocks from my house and it's easy to walk in and get a counter seat if there's one available. But the place I went to in November, I would never visit again.

                      And I disagree about Lolo's. I think they very unique, and I think they would make in interesting counterpoint to the other places on the list. They are not terribly expensive or high-falutin', (and there is nothing I like better than a 4 hour tasting menu), but I have never had anything quite like their food. I love turkish food, and Lolo combines it with Mexican flavors in a great way.

                      Having said ALL that, I'd pick Aziza over Lolo.


                      Oh, and yes, I agree that SPQR is very nice. But they've got a healthy amount of Italian on their list (and I do pick La Ciccia over SPQR) so I thought I'd throw in some other style options.

            1. I'm confused; are you driving to the Napa valley on Friday and then BACK to the city for sushi?

              That is a heck-of-a-lot of driving and you might want to stay in Napa for dinner. If sushi is the definite craving, go to Morimoto but if you are coming back into the city, you are going to be exhausted from a long trip...

              610 Main Street, Napa, CA

              11 Replies
              1. re: CarrieWas218

                We'll be driving to Napa around 9 am..hitting a winery on the way up. Picking up items for a picnic...hitting Pride Vineyards..then heading back down south. Shoud be back in the city by 5ish, just in time for an early dinner somewhere.

                I get very good authentic sushi down here in San Diego at a place called Sushi Ota, although it is fairly expensive...I'm not really looking for an expensive, traditional style experience..just looknig for someplace that has good rolls.

                I must say..sushi isn't an absolute MUST. If you could recommend something for Friday dinner that isn't like anything I could find back in San Diego..we would definitely consider that. Under $60 for two (pre tip) would be ideal

                1. re: yanks26dmb

                  You'll never get out of Ino, Kiss, or Nihon Whiskey Lounge for $60.

                  But you can do Sushi Time in the castro for under $60 if you stick with hot sake instead of the more expensive cold sakes.
                  If you decide on them let me know and I'll even follow up with a list of favorites to order.

                  If not sushi, this could also be a good night for Lolo's, which I mentioned above.

                  Sushi Time
                  2275 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                  Ino Restaurant
                  25 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

                  1. re: pauliface

                    if you go to ino and just order the super deluxe combination for $26 pp, you'll be a bit over, but very close to $60. this combination is a really good value.

                    if you were to decide to splurge at ino, i'd suggest ordering piece-by-piece (with a plan) rather than omakase.

                    i'd suggest ordering a single order (two pieces) each of flounder, tai, maguro, toro, aji, ankimo, squid leg, ankimo, ikura, scallop, uni, anago, tekka maki, clam miso soup, in that order. this tends to be around $65 pp all in.

                    1. re: Dustin_E

                      thanks for the tips...I think whatever sushi place we go to, well be looking to order rolls, etc. We have a *very* good sushi place in San Diego we go to to get sushi and nigiri..probably looking for something a little different in this department.

                      1. re: yanks26dmb

                        oops, missed that part of your post. well, definitely avoid ino if you're looking for rolls.

                        1. re: yanks26dmb

                          you might consider the peruvean crab and shrimp causas at la mar instead of some rolls at a sushi place.

                    2. re: yanks26dmb

                      You are driving a LONG way for one winery -- Pride is at the other end of the valley and up a mountain. And there is no way you will be back in the city by 5:00 unless you LEAVE the Napa valley at 3:00. Traffic just works that way.

                      I would stay in the valley for dinner and in the $60 for two range, would recommend Grace's Table. Then drive back to the city after the traffic has died down and you will be less frazzled by so much time a car.

                      Grace's Table
                      1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                        Yeah, definitely do what Carrie says -- have dinner up in Napa Valley, come back to SF afterward. There's great food up there, you're not sacrificing anything other than a miserable time in the car.

                        1. re: JasmineG

                          Agreed, that is quite the drive. Also, I'm not sure if you're familiar with spring mountain (my favorite area for wine tasting in napa!), but I'd put a couple of other wineries on the same road much higher on my list.

                          Barnett vineyards has some incredible cabs and an amazing view, as does Behren's - which was one of the most intimate, awesome experiences I've had wine tasting. Plus the view there is also incredible. Pride feels much larger and more commercial than these others, which is why I don't rank it as highly.

                          And if you're set on Sushi that night, you can go to Morimoto in Napa on the way home? You'll beat the traffic back and be able to spend more time in the valley. It's more pricey than an avg restaurant but I've heard great things.

                          Otherwise I'd say Tataki in SF is my favorite sushi. I mentioned it earlier in the thread but it was taken down because I linked it to something I wrote =( But all of the seafood is sustainable and delicious!


                          610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                          1. re: KelsEats

                            Kels - I suggeste Morimoto and the OP indicated they wanted to keep their meal under $60 for the two of them, before tax and tip. I spend that alone at Morimoto for lunch... No way to eat there with that kind of budget.

                            610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                            1. re: KelsEats

                              I agree that you should do more wineries on Spring Mountain (it is a really far drive); Smith Madrone is a wonderful winery right next to Pride. The tastings are super intimate because they only do one appointment at a time.
                              There are so many great restaurants in Napa... you should just eat dinner there (but maybe not sushi).