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Healthy, walkable North Beach?

I know, this just caused the majority of you to laugh. But we just moved to the neighborhood (right off Washington Square on Filbert) and I try to eat healthy during the week so I can really splurge on the weekend. We also like to be able to walk somewhere during the week since I work in Silicon Valley and get home late from work. I've done my research, and here are the walkable restaurants I've found.

Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store
Maykadeh Persian Cuisine
Estia Restaurant

And that's it. Sad, huh? By the way, I equate healthy as NOT Italian, but feel free to prove me wrong. We're also very active mid 30's couple, so we don't mind walking some hills if it brings us somewhere good. Anything else I'm missing? Help!

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Maykadeh Persian Cuisine
470 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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

Estia
318 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. All of North Beach is walkable, so your criteria comes down to your personal perception of what is and isn't healthy. It appears healthy depends on what you pick out off the menu, since you included Mario's Bohemian, which is Italian. I've never understood why people move to North Beach, and then want to avoid Italian food. Persian isn't always a naturally healthy cuisines either.

    Park Tavern, Le Bordeaux, Bottle Cap, Txoco, Campanula, Little City are a partial list of new options that aren't pasta or pizza based.

    If you really want to take a real walk, you're within walking distance from new options in South Basin, Financial District, Polk Street, Russian Hill, and the Tenderloin (where you have Pagaloc and Turtle Tower for healthy Vietnamese made with lean cuts of meat). North Beach isn't Mayberry. Explore the city!

    If it turns out you're not much of a walker after all, and really wanted local options, try Gigi's or Capp's Corner for the fish, try House, try the curry place off the park, try Pena Pachamama or La Trappe for Belgium.

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    Pena Pachamama
    1630 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

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

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

    La Trappe
    800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

    Le Bordeaux
    524 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

    1. Estia's four blocks, there are maybe a hundred restaurants within that radius. Some examples of what you think is healthy would help.

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      Estia
      318 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I was under the impression those 3 were the OP's examples.

        1. re: sugartoof

          Correct, those were some places nearby I thought might be healthy.

      2. Seconding (or thirding) the question--what's your idea of healthy?

        I like Il Pollaio in North Beach, which has roasted chickens and other meats that you can pair with a couple types of salads (and delicious, delicious french fries that you'll probably look to avoid). I've had good fish at The House, which is Asian fusion, and Cotogna, which is Italian and awesome.

        If you're getting home late and want Vietnamese that isn't too far, I like both Golden Star and Golden Flower, which are probably a pretty quick walk from where you live, and definitely closer than the Tenderloin.

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        Golden Star Cafe
        1400 MacDonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94801

        Il Pollaio
        555 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        Cotogna
        490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

        4 Replies
        1. re: pane

          Great idea on the chicken! I'll check that place out.

          1. re: pane

            Yes, Il Pollaio. Definitely walkable as I just did walk there from the Tenderloin last Saturday. Their griddled (not roasted but flattened on the grill like il mattone without the brick) chicken is the best chicken I have ever had. Healthy? Relatively. The chicken is barely salted but very flavorful with herbs.

            The combo of half a chicken and a large green salad was more than enough for this big eater. Before the prices went up, I used to get a chicken combo with salad and a sausage combo with those crispy fries. I have been going there for 25 years and it was just as good last Saturday even without owner Jose at the grill. He is enjoying a much deserved retirement.

            1. re: chocolatetartguy

              I know, huh? That chicken! It's one of the in-plain-sight hidden gems in the neighborhood. When I first moved to SF and had no money, we'd go there for dinner and split a chicken and a half-and-half salad for dinner, and it was both luxurious and cheap. Love that place.

              1. re: pane

                It does seem to be underappreciated, although recommended by Patty Unterman. Due to avoiding driving to the city, I had not been for several years, but visited Saturday when I went to Golden Gate Bakery and realized how close I was. I can't recall any chicken that I have ever had that was any better. Remember, Gaby, the cheerful Brazilian waitress? She was a doll.

                Funny how that other chicken place with all the side dishes around the corner came and went. IP is my goto NB restaurant.

          2. I consider focaccia healthy, Liguria Bakery.

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            Liguria Bakery
            1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

            1. Sorry, I should have been clearer, Healthy is what your doctor and personal trainer would tell you to eat: lean meats, fresh vegetables, whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice, couscous, quinoa, and other high protein foods like lean dairy and beans. You know, boring stuff!

              What I don't want is high fat cheeses or cuts of meat, anything fried, a ton of white flour, heavy sauces, or anything super oily. That's for the weekend!

              2 Replies
              1. re: debbie421

                You could always walk down Broadway to the Embarcadero and turn right to Plant Organic on Pier 3 (?). But I think you can choose healthy foods from several restaurants (although not necessarily health food, which I think of as something different). As mentioned, House should work (most of their meats are grilled), and Il Pollaio for their roast chicken and rabbit. You can also get good grilled fish at Rose Pistola and there is a Loving Hut vegan restaurant on Stockton near Vallejo. There are a couple of Vietnamese restaurants on Broadway near Columbus, and Tuk Tuk Thai restaurant on Union near Columbus and a couple of other Thai restaurants on Grant, but I don't know how good these are.

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                Rose Pistola
                532 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133-2802

                Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe
                659 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                Il Pollaio
                555 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                1. re: debbie421

                  Mario's is best known for meatball sandwiches, hence my confusion. I guess they have some stuff on your list. Most Italian restaurants do.

                  Pena Pachamama has a lot of health-foodish dishes.

                  King of Thai Noodle, Brandy Ho's, and Tuk Tuk have brown rice.

                  Couscous is a kind of pasta.

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                  Pena Pachamama
                  1630 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Brandy Ho's Hunan Food
                  217 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe
                  659 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  King of Thai Noodle
                  1268 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

                2. There is Loving Hut on Stockton and Vallejo. It is healthy, but I don't think it tastes good. YMMV. http://lovinghut.us/sanfrancisco/inde...

                  1. Pena Pachamama! It is delicious Peruvian/Raw Food with great world music. I love it there and it is very well priced for the portions/music. I really love the food and that it offers something different. I fell upon it walking home from North Beach Street Festival and glad I did.

                    1. US Restaurant serves grilled petrale sole. Healthy, perfectly prepared, tasty and Italian.

                      1. I would definitely second (or third or fourth) Il Pollaio. Don Pisto's would also fit the bill for fresh wholesome food if you go with tacos, tortilla soup, etc. I also like Tuk Tuk Thai, as another post already mentions.