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Cheap eats in Castro after 9-9:30PM

hyperbowler Dec 5, 2011 04:54 PM

What are some good spots to eat at after the Castro Theater typically lets out (9-9:30PM)? I've never ordered anything stellar are Zadin, La Mediterranee, or Chile Pies, but I'd welcome recommendations for specific dishes. My best ideas at the moment are Kasa Indian Eatery and Dinosaurs both of which close at 10PM. Short of heading to the Mission, am I missing anything?

La Mediterranee
2936 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

4039 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Kasa Indian Eatery
4001 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

La Mediterranee
288 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114

3559 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94114

  1. j
    johnrsf Dec 21, 2011 07:19 AM

    I realize I'm writing after the OP's date at the Castro theater, but as a Castro resident who frequents all of the cheap eat places mentioned, I thought I'd chime in in case someone else looks at this list. My first choice would have been Thai House Express as well, although Super Duper and Dinosaurs are also good options. I've had decent food at Criolla Kitchen, but service has been spotty and they left out key ingredients from our orders last time (no shrimp in shrimp gumbo!). Chow is one of my favorite places in the greater Castro, but a bit of a hike after a late movie, and not as cheap as it once was. A couple of options not mentioned: I'm a big fan of the pozole at Taqueria Zapata, which is available any time. The seating isn't the most comfortable, and the pozole isn't one of the best in the city, but it hits the spot on a cold day. I usually prefer La Tortilla for tacos, sopes, burritos and other taqueria staples, not to mention chairs with cushions!. They have pozole on weekends as well.

    1. h
      hyperbowler Dec 9, 2011 09:48 AM

      We wound up at Thai House Express. The upper tier was closed, and the bottom floor was packed at 9:45. The pork leg stew (ka moo) looked pallid, but was actually really good and the pork had some crispy fat attached to it. It was served with fish sauce, and the meat was flavored with either star anise or five spice powder. I'd found some recommendations for the Fried Rice with shrimp paste on CH, but there was no direct mention of it on the menu, and it was close to closing time so we didn't ask the server about it.

      We mainly ordered standards after that. The vegetarian garden rolls came with only two, and didn't seem worth the $7.95 price tag. No one thought much of the red pumpkin curry. The pad kee-mao was the best I've ever eaten--- not greasy and boldly flavored. The sauteed tofu with spicy green beans was good, but I wouldn't order it unless there was a vegetarian requirement.

      Total bill: $48+tip for 5 people, including one Thai Iced Tea--- a cheap eats success!

      1 Reply
      1. re: hyperbowler
        Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2011 09:51 AM

        The fried rice with shrimp paste is one of the "have you had that before?" dishes they serve only at the Geary & Larkin location.

      2. bbulkow Dec 5, 2011 08:59 PM

        Why wouldn't you snag a bar seat at Frances?

        A list from a website:
        Starbelly, 11pm
        Lime, 12 midnight (I have been a real fan, if you like the atmosphere)
        Bisu, 11pm
        Chow, 11pm
        Cafe Mistique, 11pm
        Poesia, 11pm
        Crepevine, 11pm

        There's a couple more in the 10pm frame, like
        Anchor Oyster

        I'm leaving out some of the usual late night suspects in that area - Orphan Andy's, Sparky's, Super Duper, BurgerMeister, (what is "Curry Boyzz"? Is it good?)

        5 Replies
        1. re: bbulkow
          Windy Dec 5, 2011 09:08 PM

          Because Frances isn't cheap. See title.

          1. re: Windy
            bbulkow Dec 6, 2011 12:26 AM

            yes, it's not cheap. But I don't know what "cheap" is anymore. Burgermeister?

            1. re: bbulkow
              hyperbowler Dec 6, 2011 09:55 AM

              I should have specified. This is a topic in and of itself, but I think of "cheap eats" as a maximum of 1.5 times the local minimum wage, including tax and tip. That's about $15 for SF (~$12.50 for takeout).

              I posted because most of the best eats in the Castro cost more than that, and I'm usually looking for cheap food after buying tickets at Castro Theater special events. Your late night suspects fall in that range (I prefer Super Duper to Burgermeister, in terms of taste, quality of the ingredients, and the free pickles). Are Starbelly's salads meal sized, and, given that they have the same owners, is their burger worth the extra expense over those at Super Duper?

              1. re: bbulkow
                Windy Dec 6, 2011 10:12 AM

                What definition of cheap would include Frances?

                I'd define cheap as under $20 with tax, tip and a soda. Preferably less than that (entrees $10 or less).

            2. re: bbulkow
              hyperbowler Dec 5, 2011 11:07 PM

              Heh, I'd imagine that, short of leaving before the credits, I'd encounter lots of competition to get a bar seat at Frances after the Castro lets out! And as Windy pointed out, I'm specifically inquiring about cheap eats.

              I've actually never been to any of the Chows, Thai House Expresses, or Firewoods, so those are all options. Are there any standout items at Cafe Mystique?

            3. farmersdaughter Dec 5, 2011 07:13 PM

              Canela on Market at Noe serves until 11 p.m., midnight on Friday and Saturday. Prices aren't in their online menu, but were in line with Thai House Express. Food is not stellar, but good enough to recommend.

              1. Robert Lauriston Dec 5, 2011 05:52 PM

                I've heard great things about Criolla Kitchen, particularly the duck gizzard confit with red beans and rice.

                Criolla Kitchen
                2295 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                11 Replies
                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  lmnopm Dec 5, 2011 08:42 PM

                  Some friends just had very good things to say about this place.

                  1. re: lmnopm
                    Windy Dec 5, 2011 09:10 PM

                    So neither of you has eaten there.

                    1. re: Windy
                      intomeat Dec 6, 2011 11:25 AM

                      hearsay is acceptable to me on this board.

                      1. re: intomeat
                        Windy Dec 6, 2011 02:30 PM

                        I heard it wasn't that good.

                        1. re: Windy
                          Robert Lauriston Dec 6, 2011 03:59 PM

                          Somebody serves confit duck gizzards with red beans and rice, I'll find out for myself. I'd have been there long since if it weren't so far from BART.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    hyperbowler Dec 5, 2011 09:23 PM

                    Their website says that they'll soon be 24 hours again, so I may save Criolla Kitchen for a late night when I'm getting nostalgic for Baghdad Cafe.

                    1. re: hyperbowler
                      scarmoza Dec 5, 2011 11:09 PM

                      I don't have fond memories of Baghdad Cafe. I don't remember anything I tasted for which I ever want to return. Most of all, I remember it always smelling something awful both inside and out.

                      However, I do have a couple of fond memories from earlier this year during brunch at Criolla. So far I've tasted the burger, shrimp po'boy, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffle. While none of them were my favorites from around SF - if I were in the neighborhood, I would go back for either of them but I would rather explore other options from the menu, too. In short, I would recommend it if you're in the neighborhood and wanting New Orleans cuisine - it might be your best option.

                      Have you tried the pozole at Chile Pies?

                      1. re: hyperbowler
                        hyperbowler Dec 5, 2011 11:32 PM

                        2AM and alcohol are the great culinary equalizer--- my nostalgia for Baghdad Cafe is most definitely colored by my using it as a place to sober up :-)

                        Criolla is sounding like a good choice when you consider that so many of the other good options around the Castro are multiple location Bay Area restaurants.

                        Somehow I missed their pozole. Looking at their menu, you get a bowl of chicken or vegetable stew w/ pozole & chile corn bread & a side salad for $8. That sounds perfect since I preferred their fillings to their crusts. I've had the green chile chicken and green chile vegetable pot pies. Both had a better crust that I've had at Mission Pie, but they didn't blow me away. Their green chile apple pie is pretty good, but would benefit tremendously from additional heat.

                        1. re: hyperbowler
                          Windy Dec 5, 2011 11:51 PM

                          I didn't realize they had pozole either. My favorite thing at Green Chile Kitchen is the blue corn enchiladas.

                          Chilango is my favorite restaurant on that block, but I don't think they're open late. Still, it's hard to beat their carnitas with fresh tortillas, or the ceviche with citrus.

                          1. re: hyperbowler
                            kevin Dec 26, 2011 08:54 PM

                            wow, green chile apple pie?

                            that sounds beyond awesome.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston
                          tjinsf Dec 21, 2011 12:28 AM

                          I've eaten at Criolla 3 times and found it lacking every time and the service was comically bad. Avoid the shrimp hushpuppies, they don't have barely any shrimp in them and aren't real good even as basic hushpuppies. The waffle and chicken is pretty basic and small portions but not worse than other bay area attempts at chicken and waffle. The baked oysters have been good. The shrimp po-boy is small but decent. Avoid the rack of ribs, they were really tough and dry.

                          And like I said the service is pretty odd with lots of folks working there and they are all very friendly but I'm not sure if they have any prior experience or given any training in service.

                          Criolla Kitchen
                          2295 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                        3. Windy Dec 5, 2011 05:48 PM

                          Thai House Express is open till 10 too. FIrewood's open till 10 or 11; the roast chicken and pastas are good. And Super Duper is on Market and Noe for burgers.

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