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Jan 28, 2012 06:43 PM

Where to eat in SF, any style of cuisine on a moderate budget

My partner and I are traveling around the US in September/October and are spending a little under a week in San Francisco and were hoping to get some suggestions on the best places to eat whilst there. We are really looking for what San Francisco is well known for,what it does best or where the locals eat. Some suggestions on well priced establishments would be great too. We are staying in the centre of town but will be traveling round.

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  1. PLEASE take 15 or 20 minutes to scroll thru the many posts and threads that are already here. The questions you are asking have been asked (and answered) many, many times before. I am not trying to discourage anyone from responding to your thread.

    It would also be helpful if you mentioned what kinds of food you might like to eat here...Italian? Thai? sushi? Mexican? seafood? Vietnamese? Indian? Cantonese? Sichuan? Pizza?

    For example, here is an ongoing thread on the current S.F. dining scene:

    Here is a past thread on "Where to eat for my 1st time visit to SF"

    17 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      I have spent all morning going through the other links as you have mentioned and they seem to be the more top end restaurants or the touristy places we could find ourselves. I couldnt find one that actually says SF is known for such and such or we visit on a regularly basis and enjoy... Like I said also above we like all cuisines so I didn't want to limit to certain kinds. I just want to know people's favorites

      1. re: Aussietraveller

        Also that my first visit thread is almost two years old, are those restaurants still open? Do they still serve decent food? a lot can change in two years

        1. re: Aussietraveller

          then you may find this one interesting

          Lauriston is a trusted source and anywhere I or friends have eaten on the list has been generally quite good (and besides it's only the Icarus type restaurants that crash and burn so fast. SF usu. holds on to its good ones as long as it can)

          1. re: hill food

            Thanks, that sure does give a lot of options! :)

          2. re: Aussietraveller

            San francisco cuisine is eclectic. Its not like say Paris, New Orleans or Bruge, where you could put your finger on an iconic dish like moulets frites or beignets, and say, "thats San Francisco." You could confine your culinary adventure to just the mission district, for instance, and enjoy a wide range of eclectic cuisines. If youre looking for old school san francisco, check out tadich grill or sams, but I think the newer more eclectic restaurants are a lot more interesting, like bar crudo or commonwealth, and plenty of ethnic gems. For me, San Francisco's specialty is diversity more than a specific food focus.

            1. re: Aussietraveller

              We travel to SF Bay Area twice a year specifically for the eats (the spectacular setting, parks, attractions and phenomenally friendly people are huge added bonuses!). We like to seek out things we can't get at home, such as Burmese food, which the Bay Area has some good examples of. The last time we visited in November, I tried my first Laotian food at Vientian in Oakland and I'm still thinking about it. The original Lers Ros location in the Tenderloin is a top bet for Thai, especially if you focus on their appetizers which I think are outstanding. We don't do too much Chinese as we have a lot of that in Vancouver where we live, but there are some great options if that is something you can't get at home -- just be sure to think outside the Chinatown box to get the top offerings. We love La Ciccia for Sardinian food (again, something we can't get at home) and would consider a trip wasted that didn't find us having dinner at Canteen. Roli Roti is a mobile rotisserie truck that serves the best porchetta that has passed my lips. You can find them at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which is worth a trip. It may seem touristy (and I have read that some locals find the produce prices too dear for them) but it really is worth the candle. We enjoyed our meals at Tadich Grill and Sam's on different trips for the old SF feel and the fresh, simply prepared petrale sole, a fish that I have since mounted a shrine to in my heart and will order whenever I see it. We had a delightful meal at Sociale, a neighbourhood haunt that is definitely not touristy but might not be considered a destination. A taco crawl through the Mission is way too much fun if that is something that appeals to you, and would be doable for a first time visitor. I liked our adventure to Fruitvale even more but it was not on our first visit. Get the Muni pass for a week of transit so you can hop on and off buses, street cars and most importantly cable cars if you are staying near Union Square. Use it and your feet to get you around the 7x7 "core" for dining and sightseeing and consider branching out on the very reasonable Bart system to get to Oakland and other food-centric areas quickly. Hope this helps a bit, and have a great time.

              1. re: grayelf

                No that's great! Exactly the info we were after... Thanks so much!

                1. re: Aussietraveller

                  We also are frequent visitors to the city from central California. Three places of note come to mind. For pizza try Gaspares at 5546 Geary. My sister raved about Bruces special (number 21) so much I had to give it a try. It was amazing. Anyway great Italian food very reasonibly priced. We recently stayed at the Hotel Kabuki in Japantown. We ate at a chinese food restaurant directly across from the hotel. I forgot the name but it is owned by the Wangs and they have a newspaper article in the front window talking about the Wang family. Again right across frome the Kabuki, very reasonably priced, and the food was very light and fresh for chinese, loved it. Lastly there is Santorinis at 242 O'Farrell, Greek and Mediterranean, their dinner and breakfast are both delicious. Enjoy!!!

                  1. re: Hakswife

                    Greetings, first time poster!

                    Gaspare's is an old-school red sauce italian place. I can't comment on the quality, but it's not part of the usual suspects. The hottest trend in Italian in SF is northern Italian, places like Frances, SPQR, A16, etc.

                    As a frequent visitor, can you comment on differences from the more accessible places downtown like Zero Zero, A16, La Ciccia, Aquerello, Flour + Water?

                    The restaurant across the street looks like San Wang. This appears to be one of the Korean / Chinese places somewhat endemic in Japantown. Did you eat the Korean dishes, or the Chinese? Which chinese cuisine? Was there anything in particular you would recommend? There is one Yelp comment about hand pulled noodles, which would be a find.

                    Santorini's looks like a fairly typical tourist-style menu - things like "new york steak" and "make your own pizza" which aren't particularly Mediterranean, and Adana Kebab (turkish) right next to Slouvaki (greek) on the menu without creating international incident. What did you like there?

                    I've been trying to sample some of the less expensive Mediterranean places around Polk Gulch. La Turca recently had a chowdown: . I recently had some decent eats at Zitouna - a good thread at - but I haven't been blown away by anything yet.

                    There seems to be a big upsurge in restaurants from the north african through middle east. In Palo Alto we're happy to finally have real Israeli hummus at Oren's Hummus - what a pleasure.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      A16 is southern Italian, named after the autostrada that runs between Naples and Canosa di Puglia.

                      Frances is Cal-pan-Mediterranean, in the Chez Panisse / Zuni vein.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        But how to they compare to Gaspare's?

                        You're talking about exactly the kind of compare and contrast I am hoping Hakswife will engage in.

                      2. re: bbulkow

                        Have you been to Old Jerusalem in the Mission? The hummus there is incredibly thick and rich. You can order it topped with "meat or shawarma" -- I asked for "meat," and honestly I'm not sure if I got lamb, beef, or both. But it was delicious.

                2. re: Aussietraveller

                  You might consider editing the title of your post to more specifically indicate what you're looking for or many might just skip it and it will help others in the future who are searching for the same thing.

                    1. re: Aussietraveller

                      I think you have to 'report' yourself to the moderators and request a change of title. they're usually cool about such things.

                        1. re: Aussietraveller

                          I thought it was easier. Kudos to you for giving it a try. Best of luck.

              2. I highly recommend googling Michael Bauer, the resident Food Critic of the San Francisco Chronicle. Every year he puts out two lists: The Best Bay Area Restaurants (organised both geographically and by cuisine) and another list called "Bargain Bites." As a 20-year resident of SF, now living in Brisbane, I always defer to these lists and keep the Bargain Bites handy for any impromptu stops where a light meal is desired. It was from B.B. that I discovered a great breakfast place at the Ferry Building where I went no less than 3 times in the week I was there - great view of the Bay Bridge. For a splurge, don't miss Rivoli on Solano Avenue, Albany (East Bay). Enjoy - SF is one of my favourite cities in the world!

                1 Reply
                1. re: nmbkiwi149

                  Bauer does the top 100 list on his own, which is two of the problems with that one. There's probably not a bad place on the list (unless it went downhill since April), but by his own admission there was no good reason for leaving 10 or 25 other places off, so it's unfair and arbitrary.

                  Bauer's a minor contributor to the Bargain Bites list, which has a lot of places that are not bargains and misses a lot of the best values in the area.

                  Commentary on the most recent: