HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


That place has been there forever.

I live in Santa Cruz. Been here forever. Anyway I enjoy going to the city. I enjoy Molinari, Ligurian bakery,the Russian and Jewish bakeries and deli's on Geary. . Markets,restaurant's,take out, eat in, anywhere in the city. You have a millon of the hidden gems. Let's hear it. Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What do you want to hear? A discussion of favorite bakeries in the avenues?

    7 Replies
    1. re: bbulkow

      I think what I was trying to say is the mom and pop shops that have been there for fifty years or longer, I guess I am searching for a little bit of history . Places that have survived for what they serve and not what they look like. I just want to read something a little different other than I am in S.F. for two days where can I eat ? From the avenues to the wharf. Bakeries,burger joints,delis,any kind of ethnic food. Your favorites? Thank You

      1. re: emglow101

        You would be describing places like Tadich and Sam's.

        In the neighborhoods, lots of places are a bit less than 50 years, because mom and pops simply close because of retirement and lack of family vigor. For example, Farley's on Potrero Hill. It's from the 60's, and Jack Farley is still around. There are places like the Old Clam House which are ancient but no one really knows why they survive. Or they survive for reasons beyond the food. For example, I occasionally eat at the Hotel Utah, a very old place, because I like the vibe and music. They do an OK burger but it's just pub food.

        Most places in SF get revitalized a bit now and then. Like House of Shields, which is an old room but recently took on a new chef and menu.

        Old Clam House
        299 Bay Shore Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94124

        1. re: bbulkow

          Thanks, forgot about the retirement or the siblings not wanting to continue. Hotel Utah sounds cool. That's what I am talking about !

          1. re: bbulkow

            The Old Clam House has traded hands and is being upgraded by the group that owns the garlic place in North Beach. Usually that wouldn't thrill me (and I haven't been there since the change) but I wasn't a fan of the old menu so I'm guessing it's a step up.

            I did eat at the Gold Mirror on Traval this summer and enjoyed it. Very old-school SF Veal Parmesan, calamari, full bar etc. Fully packed at 6:30 on a Saturday night.

            Old Clam House
            299 Bay Shore Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94124

          2. re: emglow101

            How about the Manor Coffee Shop?

            Manor Coffee Shop
            321 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

          3. Some of the first places I went when I moved here in the late 80s and still like:

            La Cumbre, La Taqueria, Hayes Street Grill, Cinderella Bakery, Mitchell's ice cream especially right now for the first pumpkin of fall, Henry's Hunan, Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store, Swan, Lucca, Graffeo.

            Capitol Coffee Shop in Chinatown's worth a visit. Not a fan of Tadich aside from the room. And I miss the Parisian outlet, even if the quality of bread has improved a lot. (20 years ago, you had to drive to Berkeley to get Acme at the outlet).

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

            La Taqueria
            2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Hayes Street Grill
            324 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

            Cinderella Bakery
            436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118

            La Cumbre
            28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

            21 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              Love it. I am going to have to make a trip to the city soon. First stop will be at Graffeo for espresso.

              1. re: emglow101

                I might be wrong, but i believe Graffeo is just a roasting Company. i don't believe they serve any drinks.

                1. re: poser

                  That's correct. They only sell dark and light beans (but you can ask them to mix them in a mag). XOX Truffles across the street serves Graffeo espresso drinks, as do other North Beach cafes.

                  XOX Truffles
                  754 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  1. re: poser

                    Thanks for the info.I just got back from Italy. Really enjoyed the caffe they served . In your opinion where would I go to have a great espresso. North beach ? Or ?

                    1. re: emglow101

                      Lucky you. There's good espresso all over town, but where you prefer depends on how much you like a bitter Italian roast. (I don't like dark roasts, so I prefer Blue Bottle--the Mint Plaza BB cafe is especially fun to watch the $20,000 contraption brew the coffee.)


                      One great place for espresso is the cafe at Piccino in the Dogpatch. They use Blue Bottle beans, and there's a lot of good food nearby--all newish places in older surroundings.

                      In North Beach: Arguably Caffe Trieste has the most character (and characters) and a great jukebox. Greco is good too--they make a chilled espresso with sambuca that's amazing on a hot day. Cafe Cappricio has perfect cappucino though (not an old place).

                      Caffe Trieste
                      609 Vallejo St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      Caffe Greco
                      423 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      Blue Bottle Cafe
                      66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                      1. re: Windy

                        Thanks, I really like the bitter italian roast. Darker the better. A little sugar stirred in, standing at the bar drinking it down like a shot. I think I will be in North Beach in the morning. Any favorites ? Then over to the Ligurian bakery for some focaccia.

                        1. re: emglow101

                          The dark Eurostyle coffee roasts still prevail in North beach, thank God (and keep the hipsters away the way garlic wards off vampires). I personally like Trieste, Puccini and Greco. if the weather is favorable, Caffe Greco has tables in a nifty little parklet in front which are fun to sit at and watch the cars bearing down on you.

                          Caffe Greco
                          423 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                          1. re: soupçon

                            It's only been two weeks.Going through WD's. I like to walk around just before sunrise and wait for the merchants to open I enjoy this. Xclnt.

                          2. re: emglow101

                            Eggplant parm sandwich at Mario's Bohemian, but north of market isn't my neck of the woods.

                            My most recent "local experience" was having a burger at the bar at Serpentine. It's terribly out of the way, though, unless you live in that 'hood or are driving south to the peninsula. However, it's nothing you requested: the place has only been open a couple of years. It's a post-80's san francisco *type* place.

                            For true local bar food with an authentic scene, I recommend Zeitgeist at 4:30 or 5 on a friday.

                            None of the espresso I got in North Beach was as good as Portuguese or Italian. I recommend trying Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza. Leave italian roasts to the italians, learn about San Francisco roasts.

                              1. re: emglow101

                                You're from Santa Cruz, correct? You don't have to go to S.F. for good espresso. Head on down to 41st ave. and give Verve a try.


                                1. re: poser

                                  I was there Saturday morning. They have superb coffee. I tried the espresso it was good, but I really like the dark bitter espresso I had in Italy.

                  2. re: Windy

                    I was disappointed by La Cumbre when I last ate there two years ago. I loved their unique orange hot sauce, they no longer had it.

                    La Cumbre
                    28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I've never tried that sauce; too stuck on the steak burritos, which were the first burritos I ever tasted and the reason to go there.

                      1. re: Windy

                        I'd been going to La Cumbre for years before they added the grill. The carne asada might not have changed, I dunno, I always order the carnitas.

                        La Cumbre
                        28 N B St, San Mateo, CA 94401

                    2. re: Windy

                      Nice list, Windy. I'll second the whole bunch, but especially Mario's.

                      And I'll toss in a few that date back to my early '80s origins here. Puerto Allegre, Tacqueria San Jose, El Toro, Cordon Bleu, Victor's Pizza... I haven't been to US Restaurant in decades, but it brings a smile to my face to see its still there.

                      Victor's Pizza
                      1411 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                      El Toro
                      113 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                      1. re: BernalKC

                        I haven't been to Victor's in ages. But it looks exactly the same.

                        You stayed away too long for US Restaurant. It is no more--unless it's moved out of the corner spot on Columbus?

                        1. re: Windy

                          Original US Restaurant now 515 Columbus, but is really the place we knew and loved?

                          Original US Restaurant
                          515 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                        2. re: BernalKC

                          I got a slice from Victor's four years ago, and it seemed exactly the same as when I first went there in the early 70s.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            not necessarily a ringing endorsement, but yeah, the whole place seems pretty much unchanged. went there with my daughter last summer and it was a fun father + daughter, stepping into a time machine experience.

                          2. re: BernalKC

                            Second Puerto Alegre. I remember going there when I was 5 or 6 (in the late 80s/early 90s) when they had pinball machines in the back. Now there are no more games, and a line out the door many nights, but the chips, salsa, and burritos are still exactly as I remember them.

                        3. Tomasso's for pizza. Been around forever. My parents went there for their first date in 1938.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: ola

                              Wow. In 1938 it was Lupo's, and had been open for three years. I think it's the third-oldest restaurant in SF still operating in its original location.

                            2. Capp's Corner, Buena Vista Cafe, Sam's Grill.

                              Capp's Corner
                              1600 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                              Buena Vista Cafe
                              2765 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                              1. My beloved Lefty O' Douls..

                                1. Out of curiousity, I went through the 1984 edition of "Restaurants of San Francisco" by Patricia Unterman and Stan Sesser, which was based on reviews they had written for the SF Chronicle over the previous year or two. Of the over 250 restaurants in the book, 77 are still around and not changed beyond recognition. Not all these places got good reviews, some were included as "stay away" warnings, e.g. the Rotunda, or as a guide to navigating menu minefields, e.g. Spenger's (which was beginning its downward slide).

                                  Alta Bates Hospital cafeteria (Berkeley)
                                  Arinell Pizza (Berkeley; Dwight location closed)
                                  John Ash & Co. (Santa Rosa)
                                  The Baltic (Richmond)
                                  Bill's Place
                                  Brennan's (Berkeley) - moved
                                  Britt-Marie's (Albany)
                                  Cafe at Chez Panisse (Berkeley)
                                  Cafe Beaujolais (Mendocino)
                                  Cafe Jacqueline
                                  Caffe Roma
                                  Caffe Sport
                                  California Culinary Academy - moved
                                  Chez Panisse (Berkeley)
                                  City Hotel (Columbia City)
                                  Cordon Bleu
                                  Duarte's Tavern (Pescadero)
                                  The Elite Cafe
                                  Fabrizo (Larkspur)
                                  Fat Apple's (Berkeley)
                                  The Garden Court
                                  Hayes Street Grill
                                  House of Prime Rib
                                  Inn Kensington (Kensington)
                                  Ino Sushi - moved
                                  Jay'n Bee Club
                                  JoAnn's Cafe (South San Francisco)
                                  Joe's Ice Cream (for the Joe's It)
                                  Joshu-ya (Berkeley)
                                  Kam Lok
                                  KC Bar B-Q (Berkeley)
                                  Khan Toke Thai House
                                  La Mediterranee (two in SF, Berkeley)
                                  La Rondalla (assuming it reopens)
                                  La Traviata
                                  Le Central
                                  Le Coquelicot (Larkspur)
                                  Lion and Compass (Sunnyvale)
                                  Lois the Pie Queen (Oakland)
                                  Madrona Manor (Healdsburg)
                                  Mama's (Macy's & Nob Hill locations closed)
                                  Mama's Royal Cafe (Oakland; Albany location closed)
                                  Max's Opera Cafe
                                  Milano Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant
                                  Murillo's (Vacaville)
                                  Mustards (Yountville)
                                  Neiman-Marcus Rotunda
                                  Nob Hill Cafe
                                  North Beach Restaurant
                                  Original Joe's - moved
                                  Perry's (Union St.; other locations are much newer)
                                  Picante (Berkeley)
                                  Plearn - moved
                                  Poor Red's Bar-B-Q (El Dorado)
                                  Sam's Grill
                                  Spenger's (Berkeley)
                                  Tepatitlan - renamed La Tepa
                                  Teresa's Place (Jackson)
                                  Tonga Room
                                  Swan Oyster Depot
                                  Tadich Grill
                                  Taiwan Restaurant (Berkeley)
                                  Ton Kiang - moved, down to one location from three
                                  Tu Lan (if they reopen)
                                  Union Hotel (Occidental)
                                  Yuet Lee

                                  different owners or chefs doing signficantly different food:

                                  Campton Place: Bradley Ogden was chef in 1984, place has been seriously remodeled
                                  Eagle Cafe
                                  French Laundry: Thomas Keller didn't buy until 1994
                                  Il Pirata
                                  La Cumbre
                                  Masa's: Masa Kobayashi died in 1985
                                  Sears Fine Foods
                                  Seven Seas (Sausalito)
                                  US Restaurant: moved, renamed, used to be Nordbiccese, new owners doing Sicilian
                                  Zuni Cafe: in 1984 it was a hole in the wall doing French-Southwestern fusion; Judy Rodgers didn't take over until 1987

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Very interesting. Thanks for doing that research.

                                    The Baltic has transformed its food, possibly ownership, over the past few years. It's currently German.

                                    Joe's Ice Cream is still on Geary, but moved a few blocks over. The Joe's It is great.