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Whats the best sandwich/picnic food you can get for a a day at Golden Gate Park? [San Francisco]

I am planning a day in Golden Gate Park. I know they have the food trucks near the De Young Museum, but I figure there is better food you can buy and bring to the park for a picnic.

I would be happy with a sandwich from Togos or a bento from Nijiya, but I figure the people might know something special.

Looking for either a good sandwich or bento type of thing that I would be able to buy early and bring to the park. Hopefully something I can get near Union Square(where I will be staying) or in-between there and GG park.

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  1. The turkey sandwich on a Dutch Crunch roll is famous at the Arguello Super Market ( 782 Arguello at McAllister Street). Vella Rouge for coffee on the corner of 798 Arguello & McAllister. It's an easy walk from the Conservatory of Flowers.
    The cafe at the deYoung has really decent fare and there are cafes at the Academy of Sciences... restaurants at Lincoln and Ninth Avenue near the SF Botanical Garden.... along Irving Street ...and in the stretch on Balboa Street & 6th Ave. with no shortage of good food. I like Cinderella for a piroshki on Balboa near 6th Ave.(unless it's cold and foggy, then I like the pelmeni) and Muguboka or, Katia's Russian Tea Room.
    Will you be biking in GG Park? Riding through the Park to the Great Highway to the Pacific Ocean has the Beach Chalet with WPA murals and Park Chalet for outdoor seating... the Cliff House for ocean viewing... stop at the windmill
    if you are truly adventurous, continue on to Sutro Heights Park... cross the road and take the Lands End trail to the Legion of Honor and have a rest at the cafe in the museum.
    There is a Whole Foods market at Stanyan Street and Haight for picnic shopping — and Safeway Market is on Cabrillo at 7th Ave.
    MUNI #5 goes along Fulton Street for stops to get to the park... with a bus stop at McAllister and Baker at Green Chile Kitchen on your way to the park... one block south is Chile Pies for pie and ice cream at 601 Baker @ Fulton if you have never enjoyed Green Chile apple pie. Good coffee at Matching Half.

    Muguboka Restaurant
    401 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Cinderella Bakery
    436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Green Chile Kitchen
    1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Katia's Russian Tea Room
    600 5th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

    Matching Half
    1799 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

    Arguello Super Market
    782 Arguello Blvd, SF, CA 94118

    8 Replies
    1. re: Cynsa

      If the De Yong museum cafe is good, I might just do that to save time.

      Right now the plan is to be biking, but I don't know about the return ride to downtown. I guess putting the bikes on the bus's rack is an option. However, still debating if I should just rent a car or not. (Parking looks pretty bad on saturdays at the park, I will be going on a Thur though).

        1. re: theFuj46

          You could just take a bus from your hotel, the 5 Fulton and 38 Geary run every eight minutes all day. Or you could sign up for one of the by-the-hour car rental services that let you pick up and drop off in different locations.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I am thinking bicycles will be easier to get around the park itself. Also, the parking doesn't seem to be that great. I guess biking there and catching the 38 Geary gack would be the best overall.

            1. re: theFuj46

              I was at the de Young this week (Weds and Friday). No problem parking if you can stand a quarter-mile walk. Lots of parking further away-- four-hour limit in many places. Parking will be difficult on a weekend, but should be fine since you are going Thursday.

              There are bicycle rental places on Arguello (just northeast of the park). Take the bus there, rent a bike, return it, take the bus back.

              I had a nice lunch at the deYoung cafe: big bowl of soup with roll, $7. I sat outside overlooking the sculpture garden.
              They continue to sell snacks and tea/coffee later on, but the kitchen closes at 3PM. Food is high-end, well-prepared.

              1. re: Joel

                thats sounds good. I might just eat there to save the hassle of having to pick up something on the way.

                1. re: theFuj46

                  Also the cafe at the de Young is open to the public -- you don't need to pay the museum admission to get in to the cafe.

          2. re: theFuj46

            Since you're going on a Thurs., do the bike ride and then plan to go to the Thurs night Acad of Sciences. They close at 5 pm, reopen at 6 pm to 10 pm, adults only and it's only $10 instead of $30. You can chain your bike up outside. Their cafe has great food. I'm not sure if you can buy the food w/out an admission ticket.

        2. At 9th/Irving area near GG Park (close to the museums) there's quite a few places to grab food, sandwiches, etc., perhaps 3 dozen.

          Gordo Taqueria on 9th Ave.
          Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Ave. (interesting pizzas and baked goods...related to Cheese Board)
          The Yellow Submarine on Irving St., good sandwiches

          1. I like the picnic thing, do it quite a bit.
            Most times I tap the Ferry Plaza for bread, cheeses, cured meats, olives, fresh fruit, wine and beer. It's one stop shopping. Boccalone will build you a killer sandwich if you're pressed for time. Outside the Door will contribute plastic knives, forks and paper napkins if you ask nice. I like to bring real napkins and glassware from my FiDi hotel but that's just me. You can catch your bus across the street on Market.
            It doesn't get much easier.

            1. Biking is a fun way to see the park, and you can bike through the park to the beach pretty quickly, whereas walking would take a lot longer. Lots of people bike in the park, and you can rent bikes on Stanyan. But if you want to go to specific spots in the park and not necessarily cover the entire park, a bike might become more of a burden, as you'll have to park it and lock it and so forth. Either way, you have plenty of options with public transportation. Parking a car is pretty easy during the week, and there's an underground parking lot near the deYoung. Cafe at the deYoung is actually quite good. Several takeaway options on either side of the park if you're biking, plus food trucks often frequent the area around the Tea Garden. So if you're sightseeing, use a bike; if you're going to the museum, take the N Judah or the 5 on Fulton.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chuckl

                thanks for the advice. I probably will just eat at the de Young. As far as the bikes, I am thinking that they would be helpful because I want to go from the de Young to Stow Lake and down Kennedy to see the Bison and the Ocean. I figure I can just go past cliff house to Geary and catch a bus from there. Since it seems that the buses come often, I figure even if one bus has a bike on it already, I can wait a bit and another should be there so I can load the two bikes on it and ride it straight back to around the van ness area, from there we can start to ride again.

                If there is anything I am missing and this would actually be harder, let me know. Thanks again.

                1. re: theFuj46

                  You might want to stop in Beach Chalet for the murals and a beer. I'd skip the food and stick to your picnic items.

              2. You could also hit Clement Street first (get amazing pork belly or crispy duck Vietnamese Sandwiches at Cafe Bunn Mee) or char siu bow and other dim sum then go to the park which is 6-7 blocks away. By bike would be easy. That would be the northern side of the park. The southern side would be the 9th and Irving neighborhood suggested by others. I also like Katia's tea room for Russian food but not open for lunch all days. If you are way out by the ocean you could stop at Outerlands on Judah. Just made the top 100 restaurants in SF although it is very modest. Excellent homemade breads for grilled cheese sandwiches with soup which would be perfect on a foggy day.

                1. This thread is two months old so I'm guessing the OP has already made his/her GGP excursion but for further reference, I think Wooly Pig Cafe is pretty picnic-suitable. One block off the N-Judah and an easy walk into the park at 9th.

                  1. We particularly like Ironwood BBQ at the Golden Gate Golf Course. http://www.goldengateparkgolf.com/bbq...

                    1 Reply
                    1. this is a helpful thread already! to add on: we have a picnic planned for a sunday in late june in golden gate park... there will be 20 or so guests. i want sublime food, but i'm restricted by the fact that i'm from out of town and staying at the seal rock inn (with rental car) so i am led to believe i will have a kitchenette, but probably no major appliances. i also didn't want to have to re-buy all of the basics i have at home, like olive oil, vinegar, spices, etc. so other than some simple grill fare i might resort to getting large platters from restaurants, and supplementing our meats with perhaps a make-yer-own-taco buffet. oh, and i'm also on a limited budget, as this is the kickoff to a 3-month vacation! so, in addition to the rest of this thread, any suggestions for:
                      - baguettes, cheeses, spreads
                      - perhaps a thai or chinese takeout place to order a ton of spring rolls & other snacky things
                      - or a mexican place? the gordo place sounds like it might fit the bill?
                      - really any delicious/cheap/large-scale-friendly ideas at all.

                      i'm also gonna attempt a crab-avocado salad in the kitchenette of the seal rock, and perhaps a radish butter and a spicy gazpacho if i'm feeling really ambitious. maybe the hotel has a spare food processor laying around. :)

                      as an aside, golden gate park sounds like a perfect launching ground for my dream business, picnic-to-go!

                      thanks in advance, all!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rabidog

                        You could go to Kim Son on 3614 Balboa St (between 37th Ave & 38th Ave) and order spring rolls to go. There are several take out dim sum places on Clement but I love the sandwiches at Cafe Bunn Mi. There is also Hard Knox Cafe on 24th and Clement for takeout ribs/fried chicken and other southern food. Or Korean BBQ short ribs from any of the Korean shops around Geary between 10th and 11th Ave - they have the meat marinated and you just need to grill them. Plus they have other Korean dishes ready to go.

                        1. re: cyssf

                          thank you!!! this is exactly what i'm looking for. will report back!!!

                      2. Fredy's Deli! Only a few blocks off Ocean Beach, at the end of the park. Expect a 30 minute wait to get a sandwich and make sure to get it on sourdough with everything. To die for.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: debbie421

                          Anyone know why it's closed? Is it closed for forever?