HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice
TELL US

Honeymoon Itinerary: In need of Critiques

t
theFuj46 Jan 22, 2012 12:23 AM

Had a thread earlier to get some tips on where to eat for my honeymoon in SF(currently living in the east bay and fiancee will be visiting here for the first time). The dates are for February. Here's what I got so far:

Tue
8:55pm: Arrive at SFO
10:30: Arrive at Union Square(taxi? Bart?)
11:00: Dinner: Katana-ya(open till 1am) or Hana Zen (open till 12am)

Wed
7:30am Breakfast???
8:30 Ride Cable Car(Powell Hyde line) to Fishermans Wharf
9:00 Explore Fishermans Wharf : Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee
10:00 Alcatraz
12:30pm Lunch: Boudin and other food around the Wharf??
1:30 Aquarium of the Bay
2:30: Shopping around Union Square
5:00: Hotel to change for dinner
6:00pm: Cocktails and Foie Gras at La Folie (opens @ 530)
7:45: Steak at Harris’s Jazz Lounge

Thur
10am: Breakfast/Lunch: Random food at the Ferry Building (Opens @ 10am)
1pm: Golden Gate Bridge
2:30pm: Golden Gate Park
5pm: 1st Dinner at Cha Cha cha
730pm: 2nd Dinner at Campton Place Bar??

Fri
8am: Breakfast (in hotel?)
9: Chinatown
11: North Beach Sotto Mare or Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
OR
Mexican: Colibri(Union Square) or Don Pisto’s (North Beach)
Afternoon: Going to Napa

We will be staying in Union Square at the Parc55. Originally i was gonna go to Waterbar one of the nights. I did check it out for a snack today and it doesn't seem that great at all. The tank is actually just a water filled pole and the place is really noisy.

Main questions I have for everyone is if they think everything is timed out well enough that it won't be rushed. Also, need some breakfast spot recs. We will have three times, to eat breakfast. I am not much of a breakfast person but I figure one day would have to be pancakes and waffles and one day something more like lox and bagels.

For the rest of the food, what is decent around fishermans wharf? After searching the board it seems that everyone says its a tourist trap to eat anywhere near fishermans wharf(other than Gary Danko). However, for lunch I figure Boudin would be good and I know my fiancee wants to eat crab around there. Any ideas?

Finally, Frommers recommended going to Golden Gate Park and checking out Cha Cha Cha after. Reviews on yelp.com seem good. However, I figure Campton would be a nice place to have another light meal and drinks later at night. Unless there is any better option near union square. Don't want to have to travel very far. Would it be worth it to go to Soma or Nob hill by taxi for better food? Would still want some type of more lounge type atmosphere with good food, drinks and dessert.

Thanks in advanced, this board never fails.

  1. Capone Jan 22, 2012 07:30 AM

    For one of the breakfasts, if you want a casual old school place, try Sears Fine Foods. It's right near where you are staying (on Powell at Sutter) and is known for their plate of 19 tiny pancakes. Place looks like it's barely changed in decades. It's not fine dining, but a good, fun breakfast. My wife and I actually ended up there a couple of days after our wedding when we were San Francisco. Also, if it's your honeymoon, you have to start saying "my wife." it's weird, I know.

    I'd skip Boudin and pick something up at one of the old Italian places along the pier next to it. They have stands with crab sandwiches and things like that. Yes, they are tourist traps, but if you're on you're honeymoon you probably don't care and Boudin feels kind of like food court food to me.

    Good luck.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Capone
      t
      theFuj46 Jan 22, 2012 09:46 AM

      Yeah, I figure eating at one of the fisherman's wharfs tourist traps is just part of the experience.

      1. re: theFuj46
        CarrieWas218 Jan 22, 2012 10:31 AM

        Why settle for the "tourist trap experience" of mediocrity when there is so much better to be had?

        From the Wharf, you are relatively close to North Beach for some exceptional Italian which is head-and-shoulders above the Wharf food which is ostensibly so middle-of-the-road.

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          Capone Jan 22, 2012 10:54 AM

          I don't know about that, Carrie. There are some pretty lousy red-sauce joint excuses for Italian food in North Beach. If you are just grabbing a quick snack for lunch, like a crab roll or the like, I'd still recommend grabbing something along that kind of honky tonk stretch if you are up for the kitsch and not looking for fine food. Otherwise, yes there are much better options relatively closeby. A-16 in the Marina comes to mind immediately, as does In Canto. Both highly recommended for dinner.

          1. re: Capone
            Robert Lauriston Jan 22, 2012 11:31 AM

            You can eat well in North Beach if you don't pick a restaurant at random. Ideale, BaoNecci, L'Osteria del Forno, Rose Pistola, Da Flora, Albona, Capp's Corner, Tommaso or Tony's for pizza, Maykadeh ...

      2. re: Capone
        k
        Kim Cooper Jan 22, 2012 11:37 PM

        If you go to Sears, stick to the pancakes. Next door to Sears (literally next door) is Luques. It's better for breakfast. 433 Powell Street between Post and Sutter 415.248.2475

      3. c
        ceekskat Jan 22, 2012 11:17 AM

        Thursday, recommend GG Park & coming back to hotel to rest a bit then drinks at Gitane & dinner at Barbacco or Perbacco. Gitane has great cocktails in a cozy yet sexy environment. Barbacco is casual & fun but in an uptown way. Perbacco is a little more formal but not stuffy at all.

        You can walk to the above places from your hotel & then catch a cab back to the hotel.

        1. Robert Lauriston Jan 22, 2012 11:32 AM

          Why Cha Cha Cha?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            t
            theFuj46 Jan 23, 2012 06:10 AM

            Why not? Reviews seem pretty good and the tapas style of eating is something we both like anyways. Have people have a lot of negative experiences there?

            1. re: theFuj46
              Robert Lauriston Jan 23, 2012 09:21 AM

              I guess at 5:00 there won't be an hour wait. In that neighborhood I'd go to Alembic or Eos.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/611697
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/28549

              1. re: theFuj46
                mariacarmen Jan 23, 2012 09:12 PM

                Cha Cha Cha is not good. At. All. I like tapas, but not there.

                1. re: mariacarmen
                  t
                  theFuj46 Jan 23, 2012 09:48 PM

                  Finally someone came out and said it. Every else has been kinda hinting at it, but I guess I will just skip Cha Cha Cha and find something else.

                  1. re: theFuj46
                    j
                    Joan Kureczka Jan 25, 2012 05:28 PM

                    If you want tapas type food, you might head back downtown to Bocadillos for modern Basque tapas, near the Transamerica pyramid. I second that comment that Cha Cha Cha is not that good. I've also recently liked the offerings at B44.

                    1. re: Joan Kureczka
                      mariacarmen Jan 25, 2012 09:23 PM

                      oh yes! i love B44. and it's a very nice place to while away some time, Belden Place is.

                      http://www.belden-place.com/

            2. rworange Jan 22, 2012 06:27 PM

              Tue

              10:30: Arrive at Union Square(taxi? Bart?) Taxi. Seriously, it is your honeymoon. Damn poor way to start your marriage by having your wife shlep the luggage ... at night ... on BART. Or splurge and hire a limo.

              Wed

              7:30am Ride Cable Car(Powell MASON line) to North Beach. Tell them you want to get off near Washington Square.

              8 am Mama's in Washington Square

              http://www.mamas-sf.com/menu.html

              They open at 8 but it helps to get on line a little early

              Walk a few blocks to Fisherman's Wharf. and do a bit exploring. Mana's is on Stockton St and walking down it away from Washington Square will put you almost at the Alcatraz Boat stop.

              10:00 Alcatraz

              12:30pm Lunch: Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf

              Scoma's has its own fleet and the fish is super fresh. They have a 3 course prix-fix that is a deal and includes a crab option

              http://www.scomas.com/?page=PrixefixLunch

              1:30 Aquarium of the Bay

              Though frankly I'd skip this and go instead to the museum at Golden Gate park. when you are in that area.

              2:30:Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee and hop on cable car across the street to go back to Union Square and do shopping.

              5:00: Hotel to change for dinner

              6:00pm: Cocktails and Foie Gras at La Folie (opens @ 530)

              I think foie gras has been banned in California

              7:45: Steak at Harris’s Jazz Lounge

              Why? Just for the jazz?

              Thur

              10am: Breakfast/Lunch: Random food at the Ferry Building (Opens @ 10am)

              1pm: Golden Gate Bridge

              2:30pm: Golden Gate Park

              5pm:Skip Cha Cha Cha, go to Aziza. Get a romantic booth in front and have some creative cocktails and amazing food

              http://www.aziza-sf.com/61637_cocktai...

              Fri

              8am: Breakfast (in hotel?) or Brenda's or Dotties. I have never been a fan of Sears long before they were sold and went even further downhill. Or have coffee and pastry at Ruli Cafe right in Union Square. Campton Place is an elegant restaurant for breakfast. Haven't been there in years so while I don't know if it is still good, I do know it is still $$$$. My guess is other than the luxury of room service for breakfast it would be better than Park 555

              9: Chinatown

              Get pork buns and custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery.

              11: North Beach Sotto Mare or Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

              Tony's can be noisy. Robert had other good suggestions

              SKIP: Mexican: Colibri(Union Square) or Don Pisto’s (North Beach)

              I think your schedule is a bit ambitious. I hope you will be able to let go of some of it and take the time to smell the coffee.

              How are you planning to get around town? Car? Taxi? Seriously not public transportation I hope. Good as it may be I just can't see getting to and from the Golden Gate Bridge to the park in that time frame on the bus. What exactly do you plan to do at the bridge?

              6 Replies
              1. re: rworange
                t
                theFuj46 Jan 22, 2012 09:54 PM

                Thanks for the advice. As far as transportation, I was thinking of a limo, but worried about how punctual they are in SF. Figured the BART was ok since we are used to trains(in Japan we always use the train to go to and from the airport).

                I was also thinking the schedule is somewhat ambitious, at the same time I realized that SF is not that large fo a city. The other day I got off the bart at embarcadero and walked to the Ferry Building, had a light lunch/breakfast, and walked to fisherman's wharf, from there I walked through north beach, had lunch, and then went down to union square. It was still only around 2pm.

                On wednesday I plan to get around by the cable car and walking, if needed, taxi.

                On Thur I was thinking about renting bicycles and going around.

                Thanks again for the advice. I will look into Aziza. The main reason I was looking at cha cha cha is because Frommers recommended it and the reviews on yelp.com seemed to be ok to good.

                1. re: theFuj46
                  rworange Jan 23, 2012 12:15 AM

                  Ok. Bikes will work. BTW, congratulations.

                  1. re: theFuj46
                    CarrieWas218 Jan 23, 2012 07:22 AM

                    Second the query about Cha Cha Cha. It is just okay and there is so much better in this town. Like some have mentioned, Aziza and I would also add Gitane, SPQR, A16, and Alembic - just to name a few...

                  2. re: rworange
                    CarrieWas218 Jan 23, 2012 07:21 AM

                    Foie Gras is available in California until July.

                    1. re: CarrieWas218
                      Robert Lauriston Jan 23, 2012 09:24 AM

                      After which it will be as hard to find as cocaine.

                    2. re: rworange
                      Cynsa Jan 29, 2012 10:15 AM

                      http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

                      Dottie's True Blue Cafe is now open at 28 Sixth Street near Mission Street. 415.885.2767 for Breakfast/Lunch - Wednesday-Monday

                    3. d
                      Dustin_E Jan 23, 2012 09:45 AM

                      if you have spent much time in japan (i think you mentioned you were from there?), the ramen at Katana-ya will greatly disappoint. i've never been to hana-zen.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Dustin_E
                        d
                        Dustin_E Jan 23, 2012 09:54 AM

                        flour + water takes reservations until 10:45pm. this is probably the best food you get can this late. just take a cab to / from there. reservations are in general extremely difficult, but do-able if you book this far in advance and that late at night on a tuesday. definitely do this instead of katana-ya.

                        1. re: Dustin_E
                          Robert Lauriston Jan 23, 2012 11:16 AM

                          Cotogna takes reservations until 10:30 and you can get late reservations pretty much any night of the week. But if my plane were due in to SFO at 9:00, I'd plan on someplace walking distance from my hotel.

                          Katana-Ya's good by local standards and a fun scene.

                          Anybody tried Ahn Sushi & Soju?

                          1. re: Dustin_E
                            t
                            theFuj46 Jan 23, 2012 05:17 PM

                            I imagine Katana-ya cannot be that great. I already have low expectations for any ramen in the states. I really want to go to flour + water or A16 since I read about those places a lot. However, I really don't want to have to worry about traveling on the first night. I hate flying so I will be tired and irritated at that point and just wanna go someplace in walking distance from the hotel so I can just drink and go back and sleep.

                            1. re: theFuj46
                              s
                              sfbing Jan 23, 2012 06:13 PM

                              King of Thai noodle house is another late night option near your hotel. Bocadillos is a nice place for tapas.

                              1. re: theFuj46
                                Robert Lauriston Jan 23, 2012 06:57 PM

                                For real tapas, Contigo in Noe Valley. Cha Cha Cha is small plates with no particular regional focus.

                                1. re: theFuj46
                                  r
                                  rubadubgdub Jan 24, 2012 12:11 PM

                                  Another late night option is Ryoko (til 1a) on Taylor, closer than Katana-ya. It's sushi (fish flown in twice a week from Tsukiji) but served in a basement den and very un-restaurantlike. Sushi bar seating is key.

                              2. re: Dustin_E
                                y
                                yuko Jan 25, 2012 10:25 AM

                                I'd not do Katanaya or Hanazen if visiting from Japan. My pick would be Chabaa Thai that's walking distance. It's a long walk to flour + water or Cotogna if you are tired/jet lagged. I'd have said Lars Ros but not on your first night in the city late at night for your honeymoon due to the location....

                              3. d
                                Dustin_E Jan 23, 2012 10:02 AM

                                Boudin is extremely mediocre tourist food.

                                i'd suggest you take one of those bike carts-with-men-who-peddle-for-you (~$10 each way) from fisherman's wharf to la mar, maybe reserve a table with a view (tell them it is your honeymoon) and have causas, ceviches, and drinks instead of anything in fisherman's wharf or north beach. then take a man-with-bike-cart back.

                                or go to sotte mare for lunch in north beach -- but you might have to take taxi, which isn't that fun.

                                or pop in and out of wherever looks good in fisherman's wharf -- just beware most of it will be very mediocre and touristy. but sometimes this is fun. oh, the place that boils crabs out on the street is pretty good, and you can take the crab inside and have a decent view -- i'd recommend this place (sorry, don't know its name.)

                                1. d
                                  Dustin_E Jan 23, 2012 10:11 AM

                                  i, like most people on this board, probably think there are much better choices than
                                  Cha Cha cha and Campton Place Bar for dinner -- but if their menus / yelp reviews look like what you want, go for it.

                                  campton place bar in particular said it would take 45 minutes to cook a hamburger because they only had an oven -- weird. i only like their cheese plate and their drinks there. and it isn't even all that pretty inside. i just suggested it as an alternative to ruilli if you need a place to sit and want a quick bite.

                                  also note that if you walk to cha cha cha from golden gate park, you will walk through a large crowd of homeless people offering to sell you drugs -- just to give you a feel for that part of the neighborhood. usually it smells like pee. one time i saw a grown man literally pooping between two parked cars. oftentimes my girlfriend refuses to walk through it -- and she lives not far away. it doesn't bother me a whole lot, but might not be what i wanted if i were planning a honeymoon.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Dustin_E
                                    t
                                    theFuj46 Jan 23, 2012 05:23 PM

                                    Thanks for the tip. Thats good to know. We will probably be on bicycles. The main reason I am looking at Campton is because of its convenience. It seems to be within walking distance of my hotel and since I will be eating a late lunch/early dinner at either Cha Cha Cha or one of the other recommendations people have given.

                                    Main reason I was feeling Cha x3, was that it was a tapas place. I will try see what the menu's are like for the other recommendations people had.

                                    As far as the food at fishermans wharf, it were up to me, I wouldn't eat there. I tried it once and had the clam or lobster chowder and it wasn't very good. However, my future wife will be wanting to eat crab on the street because she likes stuff like that. Hopefully I can get her to go easy on stuff there and get to Sotto mare, the menu and reviews for there look great.

                                    1. re: theFuj46
                                      r
                                      rubadubgdub Jan 24, 2012 12:21 PM

                                      If you want something within the hotel vicinity, how about Perbacco or Barbacco to satisfy any Italian urges? They will taste as good as A16 or F+W (or better, IMO).

                                      Don't forget that SF is hilly and there will be at least one prolonged uphill from Ferry Bldg to GGB and more between the bridge and GGP, depending on how you travel. But you're right, SF is only 7 miles across, so if you have any legs on you, you should be able to conquer it. Rain may be an issue at this time of year however.

                                      Crab on the street is one of the best options in FW actually.

                                      1. re: rubadubgdub
                                        Robert Lauriston Jan 24, 2012 02:11 PM

                                        Barbacco and Perbacco both close at 10.

                                    2. re: Dustin_E
                                      t
                                      theFuj46 Jan 24, 2012 04:59 PM

                                      At this point I am cancelling Cha Cha Cha and Campton Place bar and looking for two or one good place with tapas style food. I don't need it to be "tapas" but for those who know, I usually eat at izakaya style places. I don't want Japanese food, but I do want that type of small plates with a large variety. Hopefully that was a decent explanation.

                                      So...what ideas does everyone have? I would want it to be from in between Golden Gate Park and Embarcadero. IF possible a suggestion for a place that is open in that odd 3-5pm time would also be nice. It is difficult because I will be have a weird early lunch late breakfast at the farmers market that morning.

                                      Once again, really appreciate all the excellent advice.

                                      1. re: theFuj46
                                        r
                                        rubadubgdub Jan 24, 2012 07:35 PM

                                        Previously mentioned Bocadillo and Barbacco fit this bill, though the latter doesn't serve dinner until 5p. You might consider happy hour at Farallon, starting at 430, where they serve a handful of bites, including $1 oysters. Most places won't be open 3-5p as they use that time to prep for dinner service.

                                        1. re: rubadubgdub
                                          rworange Jan 24, 2012 09:25 PM

                                          Haven't been there for ages, but Coco500 is open during that time

                                          http://www.coco500.com/

                                          If you go, for dessert the vacherin is a great sharable dessert.

                                          However, from Golden Gate Park, I'd go to the Cliff House and have a drink 9don't eat there0, enjoy the view and then head over to Aziza ... though on a bike there is a steep hill.

                                        2. re: theFuj46
                                          Robert Lauriston Jan 25, 2012 08:38 AM

                                          Bocadillos is great and open all afternoon on weekdays.

                                          1. re: theFuj46
                                            r
                                            rubadubgdub Jan 25, 2012 05:38 PM

                                            A few more possibilities: Bar Agricole, Nopa, Nopalito, Bar Crudo. The latter three are within spitting distance of one another. While they aren't the izakaya/tapas format (except for maybe Bar Crudo), their menus have enough smaller plates to compose an interesting meal.

                                            1. re: rubadubgdub
                                              Robert Lauriston Jan 25, 2012 05:58 PM

                                              Nopalito's the only one of those open between 3 and 5.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                r
                                                rubadubgdub Jan 25, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                I've given up on finding good 3-5p places and hopefully OP will too :-) The three places that are close together could be done as a food crawl if desired, as the food is quite different at each place.

                                        3. t
                                          theFuj46 Jan 28, 2012 08:25 PM

                                          Ok, I think I got a good idea of what I am going to do. The main changes I am thinking of doing is after alcatraz, having lunch and going to the golden gate bridge. After spending some time at GG park today, I realized how nice it is and how i would rather spend most of Thursday there and visit the museums.

                                          I was planning on going to GG park by bicycle, however, even though the ride there is bearable and somewhat interesting...its a long ride back to Union Square. Anyone have any other recommendations of how to get around there? I am also thinking about catching a cab there and just renting a bike there to get around the park. OR riding bikes there and putting them on the bus to get back. Renting a car would also work, however I don't know how the parking situation would be. It seems there is not a lot of parking, it was a saturday that I visited GG Park so maybe a thur would be better.

                                          As far as dinner on thur, I decided to not go to Cha Cha Cha. I tried Bocadillo today, I might have just had terribly bad luck, but every dish I tried was way to salty and strong flavored. I drank before i went there so usually when I have a little buzz I like salty foods. The three dishes I tried were just too salty. Even the chorizo croquettes tasted like balls of fried cream cheese. Does anyone have any recommendations for a real casual place. Now I am looking for a place that has entrees for around $10-15 that is good and clean. Looking to spend about $50 for two people to eat(w/o alcohol).

                                          Thanks again

                                          1. t
                                            theFuj46 Jan 31, 2012 09:55 PM

                                            Ok, I have a somewhat finalized itinerary. The main things I still am questioning are:

                                            1. I know I need to take my fiancee(soon to be wife) to one crab stand type place in FW. Where would be the best option? She definitely wants to eat crab.

                                            2. (not food related) Time wise, i am thinking about doing a boat tour over going to the bridge from FW and walking it. What do people think about this? Is it efficient? or am I wasting an opportunity?

                                            3. Still can't figure out my second nights dinner. Went to Barcadillios, I guess they had on off night because it was one of the most disappointing meals I have had in a while. I am sure they must have their good spots, but I just don't want to risk lighting striking twice and it being another bad meal there. I am liking the menu from Barbacco and B44 is open early so I might try both. If worse comes to worse, I don't think it would be a waste of a meal to go to Slanted Door either.

                                            4. Right now the plan for my last day is to go to chinatown and then go to north beach for some pizza or this famous burger from Don Pistos. However, we might just want to stay in China Town. Where would you guys recommend for some good chinese in chinatown? Its kind of hard since I am from Hawaii(with supposedly the only china town in the US bigger than SF's) and my wife is from Japan(kind of close to China). So we are not expecting to be wowed by the food, but just have a fun lunch.

                                            Below is the updated itinerary. As always, thanks in advance for the help, I don't know what I would do without the help from this message board.

                                            Tue
                                            8:55pm: Arrive at SFO
                                            10:30: Arrive at Union Square(taxi? Limo?)
                                            11:00: Dinner: Katana-ya(open till 1am) or Hana Zen (open till 12am) Ryokos (till 1am)

                                            Wed
                                            7:30am Breakfast
                                            8:30 Ride Cable Car(Powell Hyde line) to Fishermans Wharf
                                            9:00 Explore Fishermans Wharf : Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee
                                            10:00 Alcatraz
                                            12:30pm Lunch: Some light food around the wharf. Lunch at Sotto Marre or Umami Burger on the way to GGB.
                                            1:30 Golden Gate Bridge(walk or boat tour?)
                                            2:30: Shopping around Union Square
                                            5:00: Hotel to change for dinner
                                            6:00pm: Cocktails and Foie Gras at La Folie (opens @ 530)
                                            7:45: Steak at Harris’s Jazz Lounge

                                            Thur
                                            9am: Rent Bicycles
                                            10am: Breakfast/Lunch: Random food at the Ferry Building (Opens @ 10am) (Porchetta sand, burger from 4505, Oysters from Hog Island)
                                            12pm Golden Gate Park (Picnic Lunch from either Boxed Food Company(union Square) or eat at de Young Café)
                                            3:30pm: Cliff House?
                                            4:30pm: Catch bus back to downtown
                                            5pm: Dinner at Barbacco(res at 630)? B44(open from early)? Slanted Door?

                                            Fri
                                            8am: Breakfast (in hotel?)
                                            9: Chinatown
                                            11: North Beach Sotto Mare or Tony’s Pizza Napoletana? Hamburguesa @ Don PIsto?
                                            Afternoon: Going to Napa

                                            45 Replies
                                            1. re: theFuj46
                                              w
                                              walker Jan 31, 2012 10:40 PM

                                              Did you know that on Thursdays only, Academy of Sciences (great aquarium, penguins, etc.) closes at 5 pm (charge during day is $30 each) then they reopen at 6pm - 10 pm, adults only, for only a $10 charge? Their food was great, too. Great fried chicken -- I assume they have the same food on Thurs. night.

                                              Cliff House is good idea for a drink during day time so you can enjoy the ocean view.

                                              I really enjoyed the hamburguesa the one time I was at Don Pisto (it's kinda loud in there). I've been wanting to try the pizza (marguerita) at Tony's -- people have told me they loved it.

                                              In Chinatown get the egg custard tarts and pork buns (as suggested above) from GG Bakery on Grant near Jackson.

                                              The Aziza suggestion is great -- he's just come out with a beautiful cookbook. (It's at Geary/22nd Ave, on the way to Cliff House and ocean.

                                              1. re: walker
                                                t
                                                theFuj46 Jan 31, 2012 10:47 PM

                                                Thanks for the info. The only problem is I don't wanna be in the area that late. Since I have pretty much ruled out driving there, I want to be leaving the park by at least 3pm. If I was driving that would have been a great deal though...I stil don't know if I want to go to academy of sciences. Is it worth it? The de young looks interesting. Should I go to both or will one of them be enough? the park is so big and nice, I wish I could spend two days there.

                                                1. re: theFuj46
                                                  mariacarmen Feb 1, 2012 01:37 AM

                                                  i have not been to the "new" Academy of Sciences as the lines have been prohibitively long, tho i don't know if that's still the case. The de Young is always worth it - it's a beautiful space. I would recommend doing only one in a day. the de Young cafe has decent-to-good food, but of course it's overpriced. but it's really nice to sit outside with your lunch in their garden among the sculptures.

                                                  barbacco is, arguably, much better food than B44... BUT.... b44 is in a very festive european-style alleyway that is very lively, fun and pleasant to spend an early evening in, and i do love their food too. Slanted Door - you'd not be wasting your time, it's just that it's very .... fancified Vietnamese. Cal-Vietnamese. they do a good job. It's in a beautiful spot. I just don't love the scene, myself. people may argue B44 (Belden Place) is a scene but i think it's different.

                                                  I don't know Sotto Mare - i LOVE Tony's.

                                                  Bfast Friday - check out Goldenwest, which is a takeout window on Trinity near Montgomery - with chef Timothy Leary (of Canteen's deserved fame) often cooking there - great casual bfasts that you sit outside to eat - http://theauwest.com/ oh, that's not the bfast menu, but it changes everyday.

                                                  1. re: mariacarmen
                                                    Cynsa Feb 1, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                    Dennis Leary

                                                    1. re: Cynsa
                                                      mariacarmen Feb 1, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                      AHAHAHAHA! Timothy Leary would put out an interesting breakfast, wouldn't he? Thanks Cynsa. of course, DENNIS Leary. and not the comedian.

                                                  2. re: theFuj46
                                                    r
                                                    rubadubgdub Feb 1, 2012 09:19 AM

                                                    BART from SFO Intl works very well and will be a lot cheaper than a taxi esp if you don't have much luggage. Your hotel is just 1/2 a block from Powell St station.

                                                    Your Weds itin is pretty unrealiistic, here's why:
                                                    Buena Vista @ 9a may not be open and do you want booze that early? There's a healthy shot of Jameson's in the irish coffee.

                                                    Alcatraz and the GG bridge walk or boat ride on the same day will soak up your entire afternoon. I really don't know how you will squeeze in lunch. Most people allow half a day for Alcatraz bc they take the tour of the interior. That said, I do think it's fun to get on the bridge, but perhaps not walk all the way across it. If you are going to be biking through GG Park the next day, how about just continuing on over the bridge? You can bike on the left side, walk on the right. I would allow an hour to get from Embarcadero to Marin at a leisurely pace (tour the Presidio on the way there) and then see the De Young on the way back. Best routes can be found here: http://www.sfbike.org/download/map.pdf. Let me know if you need more details as I have done that ride plenty of times.

                                                    Do the DeYoung. The do have a serious collection of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas artifacts that I haven't seen the likes of elsewhere in the world. Cal Academy is more educational in tone and can be overrun with kids.

                                                    1. re: rubadubgdub
                                                      d
                                                      Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 09:32 AM

                                                      at the very least take the elevator to the top of the DeYoung for the view. it is free to do this and has a great panoramic view over the whole city.

                                                      1. re: rubadubgdub
                                                        rworange Feb 1, 2012 10:10 AM

                                                        >>> BART from SFO Intl works very well and will be a lot cheaper than a taxi esp if you don't have much luggage. Your hotel is just 1/2 a block from Powell St station

                                                        They are getting in late. It is there HONEYMOON. Personally I'd be thinking divorce if I had to schlep to the city on bart. At the least, I'd have a headache that night.

                                                        Buena Vista is open and I've had an Irish Coffee that early. You know, the food suchs at buena vista, but they do serve breakfast if you want to kill two birds with one stop

                                                        1. re: rworange
                                                          d
                                                          Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                          taxi to the city costs ~$50.
                                                          bart is not particularly nice, but is very convenient from SFO to downtown.
                                                          i don't know how frequently it runs late at night.

                                                          1. re: Dustin_E
                                                            r
                                                            rubadubgdub Feb 1, 2012 02:47 PM

                                                            Personally, I'd spend the taxi fare going to and fro other places since it's such a straightforward, quick BART ride to the hotel (30 mins, train leaves every 15 mins). Last BART train leaves SFO @1154p.

                                                            Love knowing where people stand on Irish Coffee first thing!

                                                            1. re: rubadubgdub
                                                              d
                                                              Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 02:51 PM

                                                              i'd also suggest this, if you're going to economize on taxi fare.

                                                              1. re: Dustin_E
                                                                t
                                                                theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                                Yeah, I think I allowed peoples strong opinions to get the best of me earlier. I guess I will save the money and use the BART. I know my fiancee won't really care because shes not picky about things like that. We use the train in Japan for everything when we are there. I figure the bart will be a quick trip anyways, ive rode it from SFO to East Bay before without any complaints...cept the homeless guy that smelt like piss, but Ill try not to sit near one this time.

                                                                1. re: theFuj46
                                                                  rworange Feb 1, 2012 11:45 PM

                                                                  >>> cept the homeless guy that smelt like piss, but Ill try not to sit near one this time.

                                                                  Which will make a lovely start to the honeymoon..

                                                                  1. re: rworange
                                                                    mariacarmen Feb 2, 2012 12:28 AM

                                                                    apparently he and his bride-to-be won't be that worried about it. at all. there are a lot of cars on a Bart train.

                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                      rworange Feb 2, 2012 12:45 AM

                                                                      um ... yeah ... around the first anniversary that's when you hear what the other person really thinks. still ... really sweet of him to take such care planning the rest of the trip with all those test runs and all.

                                                        2. re: rubadubgdub
                                                          CarrieWas218 Feb 1, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                          Buena Vista opens at 9:00 a.m. and, personally, when it is cold and foggy, a shot of Irish Coffee is best breakfast in the city...

                                                          1. re: rubadubgdub
                                                            t
                                                            theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 06:15 PM

                                                            I originally wanted to do the biking route from GG bridge to the park, but it seemed like it would take too long and involve to many hills.

                                                            As far as Buena vista, its just an idea, and yes, I do like to booze it from early when I don't have work.

                                                            Does walking around alcatraz really take up that much time? Their website recommended setting aside 2 1/2 hours from the dock to the island and back.

                                                            I keep going back and forth on the biking thing...I think the decision was mainly to do the boat because I know my fiancee wouldn't care either way and this way it kills FW, GG Bridge and alcatraz in one day, leaving the next day at a more relaxed pace with just GG park.

                                                          2. re: theFuj46
                                                            w
                                                            walker Feb 1, 2012 11:48 AM

                                                            I would skip the de young (except for the free view area from the top) and do the $10 adult only 6-10 pm Thurs night deal; I really think it's worth it. You can take a cab back or walk a few blocks to 9th/Irving and catch the N Judah streetcar back downtown. (I'd feel safe doing this walk alone.)

                                                            In the daytime, there are Segway tours in the park that are fun .. my daughter did it and loved it and she's lived here since age 6.

                                                            1. re: walker
                                                              d
                                                              Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                              you might consider doing this -- i don't think any of your dining options for that night are all that compelling -- and you could always do late night flour + water or something afterwards.

                                                              1. re: walker
                                                                h
                                                                hyperbowler Feb 1, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                                The Moss room (i.e. the dining option) is closed right now. The Cal Academy night deal must be bought online a few days ahead of time, and you need to get there early to ensure admission to the planetarium. Most people don't get there early enough because they have work (e.g., I've never made it in time). Also, the vertical ecosystem closes early too. This is a fun, hip, event and there is alcohol. But it's always crowded. If you did this early (1-2 hours) and had a later dinner at Barbacco, it would be a fun night:

                                                                http://www.calacademy.org/events/nigh...

                                                                1. re: hyperbowler
                                                                  w
                                                                  walker Feb 1, 2012 01:33 PM

                                                                  At least, there are not kids and strollers to get in your way. Are you SURE tickets must be bought online a few days ahead?

                                                                  1. re: walker
                                                                    h
                                                                    hyperbowler Feb 1, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                                    I've been rejected at the door two times not long after 6PM, but have been able to get tickets by noon the day of. Out of towners sure get tickets as soon as they want to commit to an event there.

                                                                2. re: walker
                                                                  t
                                                                  theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 06:26 PM

                                                                  I pretty much am set on the de young, mainly because I don't want to have to translate anything to Japanese from English for her from the academy. It seems art would be easier.

                                                                  If the academy is the type of place you can enjoy without knowing much English, than I guess its worth considering.

                                                                  How can you catch a taxi at night from there? Would I have to just call one? or do they usually queue up nearby?

                                                                  1. re: theFuj46
                                                                    w
                                                                    walker Feb 1, 2012 06:58 PM

                                                                    You don't need English to enjoy the Academy of Sciences -- look at all the fish in the aquarium.

                                                                    Get those Thurs evening tickets on line and get there at 6pm, like hyperbowler advises.

                                                                    One art museum I really like is the Palace of the Legion of Honor at about Clement/34th Ave (even closer to ocean). It's easy to see all that's there in one go.

                                                                    Cabs will line up out front of Acad. Sci but if you don't see one, you can walk to 9th/Lincoln and wait in bus stop and try to flag one there.

                                                                    1. re: theFuj46
                                                                      mariacarmen Feb 2, 2012 12:29 AM

                                                                      there is nothing not to love about the deYoung! you will enjoy.

                                                              2. re: theFuj46
                                                                CarrieWas218 Feb 1, 2012 06:00 AM

                                                                Your timeine of lunch at Sotto Mare or Umami at 12:30, 1:30 Golden Gate Bridge, and then Union Square by 2:30 is wildly unrealistic unless you are driving yourself, taking a taxi, and not doing any walking and rushing through it. The bridge itself is almost 2 miles long and to walk across is quite an endeavor once you get there. A bridge excursion for most is a half-day endeavor unless - again - you drive there, look from the park, and drive back.

                                                                Lastly, you mention going to Napa on Friday afternoon but haven't asked questions about dining here? Any thoughts or plans on that accord? How long in Napa? There are a TON of great restaurants to be considered depending on your length of stay and interests.

                                                                1. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                  t
                                                                  theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 07:41 AM

                                                                  The time line isn't exactly how it is gonna go. Lunch that day is still really up in the air. Probably gonna do something around FW. Even the In and Out in FW might work since my fiancee has never been there.

                                                                  As far as the bridge, I am gonna just do a boat trip under the bridge and back.

                                                                  As far as Napa, I am open to any suggestions of must visit places. However, a friend that has lived in the bay area for a while is gonna be with us so I am just letting him take care of most of that planning.

                                                                  1. re: theFuj46
                                                                    rworange Feb 1, 2012 08:45 AM

                                                                    If all you want is a taske of crab from one of those walk up crab stands, it is irrelevant which one you select. They are all the same. Just select the one that looks the fresest. Restaurant-wise it is different as there are some really cheesy joints there. Having tried most of them, as I told you Scomas has the best tasting fish.

                                                                    it is good you dropped the bridge walk. Not only is it time-consuming, it is unpleasant. The traffic is noisy and the fumes from the cars are gross.

                                                                    That being said, that boat trip under the bridge is one of the single most worst boat rides i've taken in my life ... unless you are into corny and touristy in a bad way ... a real bad way.

                                                                    Take the ferry to larkspur instead.

                                                                    i know i suggested the limo ... as a reaction to bart ... but a taxi works really well and if the plane is late you don't need to deal with the limo dealing with that.

                                                                    1. re: rworange
                                                                      mariacarmen Feb 1, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                      well, just for a different opinion... i really enjoyed our walk across the GG Bridge - well, half of it - with our never-been-to-the U.S. Italian friend a few years ago. I found it very pleasant, actually.

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                        grayelf Feb 1, 2012 04:11 PM

                                                                        I've never done the boat tour but I've heard the loudspeakers from shore, nuff said. Walking halfway across the bridge and back is pretty spectacular on a sunny day and we've actually done it twice. Weather is a big factor so a game day decision may be in order.

                                                                        If you just need a snack near Fisherman's Wharf, you might enjoy an empanada from Tanguito, which is a truck with some outdoor seating directly across from the streetcar terminus (another fun thing to do if you have time, as you go along the Embarcadero on one of many antique cars from around the world). They do sell out so try to go earlier if you can. And ask for extra chimichurri. I hope that Robert's post below is not sounding a death knell for this truck which we missed visiting again on our last trip!

                                                                        1. re: grayelf
                                                                          512window Feb 1, 2012 07:47 PM

                                                                          I've done the boat tour of the bay, Alcatraz, and walked across the bridge. I'd watch the weather and decide that way. If it's nice, do the bridge; if not, do the boat tour. I think Alcatraz is better for Americans, it's not exactly the Bastille or the Kremlin. And if you do that, you will walk for 2 1/2 hours.

                                                                          Crab cocktail at FW is OK - much much better than the crappy clam chowder that you get in San Francisco.

                                                                          1. re: 512window
                                                                            Robert Lauriston Feb 3, 2012 10:11 AM

                                                                            Shrimp and crab cocktails at the Wharf date back to when there were fishermen there.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                                              512window Feb 3, 2012 11:38 AM

                                                                              Gosh, I guess I do too.

                                                                              My point was, if you are doing the wharf and want to eat something (which the OP indicated that he did), the crab cocktail is a better bet than the bread bowl and clam chowder. We don't seem to have a knack for making good clam chowder out here.

                                                                              1. re: 512window
                                                                                Glencora Feb 3, 2012 11:55 AM

                                                                                I don't get why people want to eat New England clam chowder (or Manhattan, for that matter) in California.

                                                                                1. re: Glencora
                                                                                  CarrieWas218 Feb 3, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                  Because we in California harvest clams as well and don't have a signature dish to showcase them?

                                                                                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                                                                                    z
                                                                                    zfalcon Feb 3, 2012 03:56 PM

                                                                                    Sure we do, cioppino.

                                                                                    1. re: zfalcon
                                                                                      CarrieWas218 Feb 3, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                                      But that is just one type of seafood amongst many others; crab, mussels, bay scallops, etc...

                                                                2. re: theFuj46
                                                                  Robert Lauriston Feb 1, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                  Swan is less than a mile up Polk from no-Fishermen Wharf and locals line up to eat there.

                                                                  Locals avoid the Wharf and what we know about it tends to be the exceptions to the rule, like the Argentine empanada place that used to be down there.

                                                                  1. re: theFuj46
                                                                    d
                                                                    Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 09:19 AM

                                                                    for your last day, i'd recommend z&y for their fish in chili oil, green onion pancake, soy milk, white rice. it is a nice lunch for two people. I know they have whole crab here too that looks good, but i haven't tried that yet.

                                                                    sotto mare: their specialty is basically pan-fried fresh fish served in large portions at reasonable prices in a fun atmosphere. wasn't impressed by their seafood ravioli (though it wasn't bad, and was a large portion.)

                                                                    i've been to both in the past 2 weeks and really enjoyed both. you couldn't go wrong with either. i've never been to tony's pizza, but i'm sure it is good if you want pizza.

                                                                    1. re: Dustin_E
                                                                      mariacarmen Feb 1, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                      oh yes, i was going to suggest z&y!

                                                                    2. re: theFuj46
                                                                      d
                                                                      Dustin_E Feb 1, 2012 09:21 AM

                                                                      >> 4:30pm: Catch bus back to downtown

                                                                      depending on where you're leaving the park, it might be more convenient to catch the N-Judah than take the bus.

                                                                      1. re: Dustin_E
                                                                        t
                                                                        theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 06:18 PM

                                                                        can I bring bicycles on the N-Judah? Thats the main reason I was thinking bus, just because I can still enjoy riding around the park w/ bicycles and return them back at Union square later.

                                                                        1. re: theFuj46
                                                                          Robert Lauriston Feb 1, 2012 06:43 PM

                                                                          No bike racks on the streetcars.

                                                                      2. re: theFuj46
                                                                        h
                                                                        hyperbowler Feb 1, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                        I would skip the hamburguesa at Don Pisto's. It tastes like a good quality meatloaf, and there are better burgers in town. The owner wanted to take it off the menu, but it's got picked up by a local magazine, and the hype has prevented him from ditching it. Besides, Tony's and Sotto Mare are better representations of the food in North Beach. Tony's is great and has a fun menu. Sotto Mare is a high priority on my to try list.

                                                                        The Academy has some gorgeous sea life exhibits and is a beautiful place, but unless you're science geeks, I would think the de Young would be a better option for a honeymoon.

                                                                        1. re: hyperbowler
                                                                          t
                                                                          theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 06:28 PM

                                                                          good to know about the burger. At the end of the day, there are so many burger options in SF, I know thats a thread on its own.

                                                                          I will probably end up at the z&y or just give up and check yelp for the closest well rated italian place to me at the time. Sotto Mare seems like the portions are large so I might be tempted more to try Tony's.

                                                                      3. t
                                                                        theFuj46 Feb 1, 2012 08:21 PM

                                                                        Nearing the final. I think the main thing that has swayed me was people saying how good the thur night event at the cal academy is. It works out with my plan of having a bite at Cliff House in the middle of the afternoon. So I think I will try to go and see it.

                                                                        My plan is to now just walk to the ferry building from Union Square. Have a interesting morning there and spend all afternoon at the GG park. I will just use taxis to get to and from GG park.

                                                                        ONE REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION

                                                                        How hard is it to get taxis around the ferry building and GG park? Can they be flagged down fairly easily? Is there a "main" taxi company in SF that I can just call whenever and they should have someone there within 15 minutes or so? I don't know how the taxi's are in SF since I have never used them. I rarely use them even where I am from(Hawaii), so that is why I have little confidence in trying to rely on them so heavily.
                                                                        Tue
                                                                        8:55pm: Arrive at SFO
                                                                        10:30: Arrive at Union Square(taxi? Limo?)
                                                                        11:00: Dinner: Katana-ya(open till 1am) or Hana Zen (open till 12am) Ryokos (till 1am)

                                                                        Wed
                                                                        7:30am Breakfast
                                                                        8:30 Ride Cable Car(Powell Hyde line) to Fishermans Wharf
                                                                        9:00 Explore Fishermans Wharf : Buena Vista Café for Irish Coffee
                                                                        10:00 Alcatraz
                                                                        12:30pm Lunch: Some light food around the wharf. Lunch at Sotto Marre or Umami Burger on the way to GGB.
                                                                        1:30 Golden Gate Bridge(walk or boat tour?)
                                                                        5:00: Hotel to change for dinner
                                                                        6:00pm: Cocktails and Foie Gras at La Folie (opens @ 530)
                                                                        7:45: Steak at Harris’s Jazz Lounge

                                                                        Thur
                                                                        9am: Walk to Ferry Building for Breakfest
                                                                        11am: Catch a taxi to Golden Gate Park.
                                                                        1130am: Rent Bicycles
                                                                        12pm: De young Museum
                                                                        1pm: Lunch at de Young Museum
                                                                        2-5pm: Go around the park, visit Cliff House for a snack.
                                                                        6pm: Night at the Museum
                                                                        830pm: Dinner at Barbacco? Gitane? Around Union Square…

                                                                        Fri
                                                                        8am: Breakfast (in hotel?)
                                                                        9: Chinatown
                                                                        11: North Beach Sotto Mare or Tony’s Pizza Napoletana? Hamburguesa @ Don PIsto?
                                                                        Afternoon: Going to Napa

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: theFuj46
                                                                          rworange Feb 2, 2012 12:12 AM

                                                                          If you must have more than drinks at the cliff house, then the donwstairs restaurant is better than upstairs. the only advantage of upstairs is that they have popovers.

                                                                          as long as you are not in rush hour ... and you are not ... taxis in cental sf are easy to get. coming back you might need to call. I always use yellow cab ... mainly because i can remember the name. They are reliable.

                                                                          As much as i think a bart ride at night from the airport is not the best way to start your trip, you might just consider taking the bus to gg park. you aren't saving much time grabbing a cab from union square. At night, i'd take the taxi back.

                                                                          1. re: theFuj46
                                                                            w
                                                                            walker Feb 2, 2012 01:13 AM

                                                                            Re: Thurs .. sometimes hard to find a taxi in front of Ferry Bldg, so walk across to taxi line at Hyatt Regency -- should be easy there.

                                                                            After Acad Sci at night, if you don't see any cabs lined up in front, you can either walk to Fulton/8th Ave, OR walk to 9th/Lincoln to try to flag one. It's a better bet than calling for one.

                                                                            (Do you know where you are going to rent the bikes?)

                                                                            1. re: walker
                                                                              t
                                                                              theFuj46 Feb 2, 2012 07:49 AM

                                                                              There is a stand in between the Japanese garden and the academy that was renting bikes. I forget their name. Does anyone know? I wanted to double check their website on their hours. I figure I would work out perfect if I have the taxi drop us off before noon. We would have around 3 hours to see the de young, stow lake and other parts of the park. Got 330 reservations for Sutro's at the Cliff House for a light snack(this can be changed, but I figure I would make the res just in case since last sat I went there and there was a line out the door for the regular bar side). Then we can take our time going back to the academys area by 530 ish and return the bikes.

                                                                            2. re: theFuj46
                                                                              d
                                                                              Dustin_E Feb 7, 2012 09:08 AM

                                                                              For your Thursday night dinner, you might consider sitting at the bar at Gary Danko. They have an a la carte menu that, if you order right (and skip the booze), i've found to be a great value. Two appetizer portions of seafood dishes, when combined with the bread and the starters they give you, are a perfect amount of food, at least for me. Appetizers run ~$20 each.

                                                                              I like their seafood dishes and have had good luck with their ahi tuna, salmon medallion, and one of their white fish dishes (can't remember which one.) Desserts are overpriced at ~$20 each -- i'd skip them. I also am not a huge fan of their meat dishes -- i'd rather go to a steakhouse for these.

                                                                              The space is beautiful and filled to the brim with huge fresh flower displays. i'd say use the money you save from taking bart to the city to go here instead of barbacco. I think this place would definitely be worth the trip from union square.

                                                                            Show Hidden Posts