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Sep 14, 2011 12:50 PM

Moving to FiDi

Hi all! We’re finally moving to San Francisco at the end of the month. Right now we’re in temporary corporate housing on Battery and Washington in the Financial District. We need help finding places to eat the few months we’re staying here. We have a few non-food requirements. We'll have a car, but we’re not interested in fighting for parking, so only places near a parking ramp or with a lot. We’ll also walk and take public transportation, as long as we don’t have to walk through an unsafe neighborhood. Last but not least, no long waits. (OMG, we sound like such divas!) I’ve done a ton of board research, but I can’t tell what meets our non food requirements.
That being said, here are our favorite foods in no particular order:
• Middle Eastern
• Casual breakfasts (I could eat egg white veggie omelets, granola, and oatmeal all day) - I just saw the latest thread on this, but not a ton of replies yet.
• Vietnamese – I’ve trolled all the Vietnamese threads, but I’m a little worried that they’re in an unsafe part of town. Would you walk to Turtle Tower from FiDi at night?
• Sandwich shops, any kind
• Sushi – really great places or mediocre places with great specials
• Good grocery store deli’s/salad bars/take out areas
• Any places where they serve BOTH healthy dishes (steamed veggies, brown rice, great salads) and bar food (burgers, fries, wings) to satisfy both my husband and I in one place
Thanks in advance for your help!

Turtle Tower Restaurant
631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

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  1. Oasis Grill is good. Sai's is decent Vietnamese, not great, but convenient. Check out the takeout at the Ferry Plaza. It's nothing special but there's a Safeway at Jackson and Davis.

    Oasis Grill
    91 Drumm St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    505 Washington St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
    1 Ferry Bldg # 23, San Francisco, CA

    1. Mediterranean - Ayola has a pretty good falafel
      Vietnamese - Golden Star Vietnamese has decent pho and bun
      Sushi - Akiko's Restaurant
      Sandwich Shops - The Sentinel

      The Sentinel
      55 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105

      Golden Star Vietnamese Restaurant
      11 Walter U Lum Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108

      Akikos Restaurant
      431 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108

      327 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108

      1. I wouldn't walk from Turtle Tower from Battery and Washington -- it's too far, regardless of the neighborhood (I've walked from BART up Larkin at night -- I think it's more creepy than dangerous, but it's not pleasant). Chinatown is much closer, and a much better bet.

        Town' s End might come close to being a place where you could get "healthy" food and "bar" food. Mario's Cigar Store for sandwiches.

        You might want to try looking at "North Beach" rather than FiDi to get ideas closer to your apartment

        Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and Cafe
        566 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Town's End Restaurant & Bakery
        2 Townsend St Ste 2, San Francisco, CA 94107

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I echo Ruth, I used to work at Battery and Vallejo (and technically the area's not the FiDi, but rather the North Waterfront or Embarcadero North or if ya wanna get really arcane the old wholesale produce district) and with a few notable exceptions it gets a bit sleepy at night, North Beach and Chinatown are so close your options just explode.

        2. I really enjoy Naked Lunch's sandwiches. Their dinner restaurant Txoko is getting favorable reviews. Both are in the North Beach area... totally walkable and probably safe at night too.

          Molinari's a few blocks away from Naked Lunch is a true Italian deli. Great cured meats, fresh mozz, homemade ravioli, etc. You could probably collect all the non-produce ingredients all in that shop for a cook at home Italian meal. Btw for produce needs, there is a Safeways on Davis & Jackson.

          No one has heard of this one, but I like the bread quality at Munch Boxx. Not a gourmet sandwich shop... just your usual turkey w/ cheese and lettuce. But the ingredients are fresh and bread has a great chew to it... esp their croissants.

          Cotogna will likely have both healthy fair as well as a porchetta or fried chicken dish.

          Sushi in the FiDi... none. I know! I want some good sushi around here too!

          Turtle Tower is worth a drive if you want Vietnamese. Nearby is Bodega Bistro, which has a French twist to their dishes. Parking is not hard in the TL (except maybe for Th-Sa nights). Go with your husband and don't park in those alleyways.

          For Middle Eastern, I can only think of Naan n Curry on Columbus Ave. Their dishes are often inconsistent... Tikka Masala can be overly creamy one day or not enough spice another.

          Bodega Bistro
          607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

          490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

          504 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

          2 Replies
          1. re: Keesey

            There are two sushi places that i know of, right around the corner from each other, one on Bush, and one on Battery. They're not great, but they fit the "mediocre with great specials." criteria, I believe. Kamakura is the one on Battery, but i can't remember the one on Bush.

            My favorite, tho, is Sawaii Sushi, which is on Kearny between Bush and Sutter. I ADORE their cold tofu salad. I think they close at about 3. But their sushi is the best in the FiDi, of what I've had. Ebisu opened up a chapter, also on Kearny, but I haven't tried it yet.

            Sandwiches - Golden West, on Trinity Place - is great for breakfast and lunch - just a take-out window but it's quality food. (Same chef as Sentinel, but closer to you.) Also only open until around 2 or so.

            There's a Happy Donuts also on Battery near Bush that serves decent Banh mi - not GREAT, but they totally fill the craving. a bunch of other vietnamese dishes too, but i haven't tried them.

            John's Snack & Deli always has lines outside of it - It's teeny tiny and only to-go Korean food. I find some of their items a bit sweet, but it's decent. Another bfast/lunch time only place.

            There are some good lunch trucks - Korean tacos, indian burritos, and then this tiny alleyway truck stop, with rotating trucks:

            Happy Donut
            100 Bush St # 101, San Francisco, CA

            Kamakura Restaurant
            77 Battery St Lbby Lbby, San Francisco, CA 94111

            San Francisco International Airport South San Francisco, CA, San Francisco International Airport South San Francisco, CA

            Golden West
            8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

            1. re: Keesey

              I gather Delica has a real sushi chef in the evening now. Has anyone tried it?

              The best thing at John's is the made to order kimbap (not the pre-wrapped ones in styrofoam).

              There's a Whole Foods with validated parking at Harrison and 4th. Not far from where you are, and better than the Safeway at Jackson Square.

              1 Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA

            2. For lunch and Brunch you've got Moma's in North Beach. You're not far from Brenda's Soul Food too.

              Maybe Towsend for brunch if you like a nice walk down towards the ballpark.

              Back in North Beach, the duck sandwich, and burger at Le Bordeaux are standouts at lunch. Perfectly executed steaks are what I would suggest at dinner.

              21 Replies
              1. re: sugartoof

                What's Le Bordeaux? This is the first time I've heard of it.

                1. re: Windy

                  It's only been open a month, I think?

                  It's run by a young French guy who owned a restaurant in Bordeaux before moving here. It's not the typical Brassarie though. One of my favorite meals in the city lately, and definitely the best food I've had in NB in a long time.

                  524 Union St. right up the block from Tony's.

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    My understanding is that they haven't gotten their liquor license yet. Must be a bummer to try to run a French restaurant called Le Bordeaux where guests can't have wine with their dinner. Hopefully, they'll get it soon, but I'll probably won't try it until they do.

                    1. re: nocharge

                      Maybe, but (redacted)) the idea one can't have a French meal without a bottle of wine seems a bit romanticized.

                      Anyway, I'm also a little more partial to their lunch menu which has the sandwiches and you might not miss the liquor license mid-day. Dinner itself is a minimal South of France experience, that relies on a simple healthy approach, rather than flowery techniques. The second time I went, I had a Shandy soda. Wine didn't even occur to me.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        Huh, steak-frites with a choice of half a dozen cuts, that's unusual.


                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          It's also Creekstone meat, according to Open Table, which I actually didn't know we could even get in the Bay Area. Back East butchers like Pat LaFreida, known for providing meat to Minetta Tavern swear by Creekstone. More importantly, it was cooked right.

                        2. re: sugartoof

                          Their sodas might be excellent, but if I'm going to pay $45 for a steak, I want to be able to have red wine with it. Some Yelp reviews indicate that they allow BYOB. That would solve the problem, but could get the restaurant in trouble with the ABC.

                          1. re: nocharge

                            Can we stick to discussing the food? Since when is Chowhound a whistleblower site? I apologize for mentioning it, and corrected the post.

                            The $45 steak is with foi gras.

                            It's a great addition to the neighborhood.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              I have no doubt that it's a great addition to the neighborhood and I'm looking forward to going there for dinner once they start serving wine.

                            2. re: nocharge

                              IIRC CA law allows BYOB if the restaurant doesn't have a license, I think the only restriction is that they not allow minors to partake and not charge a corkage fee.

                              1. re: hill food

                                No, in California, the restaurant has to have a license. See the links in my post. On the other hand, Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont only allow BYOB if the restaurant doesn't have a license. BYOB laws are all over the map.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  No, it's illegal under section 25604 to allow customers to drink if the restaurant has no license.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    I stand corrected, and maybe over the years I have frequented too many louche establishments that flout those laws. I do sort of think it must be a 'nuisance' law meaning it's only prosecuted if it causes a problem or there's something else at stake.

                                    1. re: hill food

                                      From the stories in the papers about places that have been busted, often there's no particular problem. Could be competitors make complaints.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Which is exactly why it's unfortunate a discussion of a fairly popular practice has been raised over this particular new business. I'm pretty sure all of us here are on the side of nightlife, or at the very least - good food. I was careless in my enthusiasm, so I do appreciate you pointing out my post needed editing.

                                        Best if we all drop it and focus on the food!

                        3. re: sugartoof

                          Mama's and Brenda's both have min 1 hr wait.

                          1. re: Keesey

                            Brenda's is fine on weekdays; it's weekend brunch that's the problem. And they're open for dinner now too. But not a pleasant walk from the Financial District.

                            1. re: Windy

                              The walk is unruly. Thanks for adding that important disclaimer.