HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

Discussion

Need Small Bite Suggestions For San Francisco Itinerary

Hi Everyone. My wife and I are flying to San Francisco for a vacation. We lived in the East Bay (Dublin) for a few years, but currently live in New Brunswick, Canada. This trip is to visit some friends and enjoy some of our favorite restaurants, with some newer placed sprinkled in. Take a look at our initial itinerary and offer up suggestions on meals you would change. I am particularly interested in small bites between meals, close by the areas we will be visiting. Strong preference for ethnic foods as they are hard to come by where we live. We are staying in Oakland at the City Center Marriott and will be relying on public transportation and walking to get around. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Wed:
Arrive after supper. Plan to go to Trappist and enjoy some great beer. Likely eat something there.

Thurs:
Tartine Bakery for breakfast. - I dream of this place!
Explore Bi-Rite Market
Take a look at the murals in the Mission (never did this while we lived there)
Lunch at Poc Chuc - Never been. Good choice or should we go with something else?
Head to Ferry Plaza Market to explore - Only ever been on Sat mornings. Hoping we will be able to explore inside without huge crowds.
Walk to Chinatown.to eat Egg Custard Tart from Golden Gate Bakery. What other small tastes do we want in Chinatown?
Supper with friends at Barbacco - Never been but menu and prices looks great. We get the choice of restaurants. Barbacco seems to get great reviews.

Fri:
Breakfast near hotel. Suggestions?
Public transit to Academy of Sciences.
Spend morning.
Public transit to Shalimar. - Only been to the one on Jones and loved it. Any location closer?
Wife wants to shop so off to Union Square area. Need some snack ideas here.
Supper with friends at Canteen if we can get a reservation. - How far in advance do they take reservations? Better choice?

Sat:
Morning at Ferry Plaza Market.
Assume this covers breakfast and lunch.
Need some afternoon plans. Hoping for a walk somewhere with sample a bunch of small tastes as the focus of the trip.
Need a supper spot. Something Asian I think. Suggestions?

Sun through Thurs - out of town.

Fri:
Staying in Millbrae at the Fairfield Inn
Need breakfast spot
Lunch - Figured this is the time for dim sum and looks like Hong Kong Flower Lounge is rated highly
BART to Berkeley for the afternoon. Need snack suggestions
Supper somewhere in Berkeley. Need suggestions. Been to Chez Panisse many times but would like to try something different.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Friday you could graze the Old Oakland farmers market for breakfast.

    Oakland's Chinatown (which is about half Vietnamese) is right by your hotel and arguably better than the historical SF Chinatown these days.

    1. For your Berkeley supper, I'd suggest Corso or Gather. Each place is an easy walk from the downtown BART station, and on the way to Gourmet Gulch.

      Canteen is a good call for one of your dinners. Not sure about the reservation policy.

      I want to suggest a meal at Bocadillo (in the FiDi, near the Pyramid). It fits your small plates preference, and is Basque-influenced for your ethnic preference. Although Barbacco is very good, and the two are an apples&oranges comparison, I might like Bocadillo a little more than Barbacco.

      If you have the chance while you're in Oakland, you could go to Jack London Square for a Blue Bottle coffee at the Mothership/Warehouse cafe. No food, other than a few cookies and biscotti, but probably the best coffee you'll have.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Rapini

        Both of the Berkeley spots look great and I do like the convenience of easy access from BART.

        Bocadillo looks fantastic. We cannot get Spanish food where I live. Just to clarify, I don't need to restaurants to be tapas style small bite places. The small bites is in reference to snacks I would like while going through the various neighborhoods.

        I have had Blue Bottle coffee many times and it will be definitely on the list at some point, likely on Sat morning at the Ferry Plaza Market. Are they there on Thursdays too?

        1. re: JonH

          I think Blue Bottle now has a permanent space at Ferry Plaza.

          I understand your "snacks" criterium. I just wanted to plug Bocadillo because I'm a fan, and thought you'd like it. There's also a new bar/tavern near there called Comstock. I haven't tried it yet, but it's at the top of my list. Perhaps a cocktail there and a nosh at Bocadillo?

          1. re: Rapini

            Thanks for the great suggestions.

            Then I will be having Blue Bottle at least twice!

            Bocadillos officially made my list. I think I will plug it into the Sat supper. I'll take a look at Comstock too.

      2. I recently tried a lot of Chinatown bites listed at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822325

        If you're going to be at Barbacco in a few hours, you'd probably want to skip savory and go for sweet. My picks would be the Dou Sa Bo Low Bau (red bean in pineapple bun) at Garden Bakery, and the Fortune Cookies at Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. I don't like yolky tasting things, but everyone else loves the Egg Custard Tart from Golden Gate Bakery. It certainly has a good texture. You might want to pack some of their Moon Cakes for a later snack-- they're good, but they'll spoil your dinner!

        Not sure what you can do after Ferry Building on Saturday. Check out this thread though: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815418

        Lers Ros or Thai House Express would be good Asian dinner options. I can only personally vouch for Burma Superstar and Mandalay, but Larkin Express is another Burmese place that gets recommended a lot here.

        In Berkeley, Masse's for sweets, Cheeseboard for cheese.

        If you like small plates, Ippuku is a great Izakaya place in Berkeley.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          Thanks for the great suggestions.

          I have read both of those threads before but forgot about them. I added a few things for Chinatown to my Thursday afternoon.

          Since I already plan to spend some time in the Mission, I think I would like to explore another neighborhood.

          I added Lers Ros as a possibility for Sat night.

          We tried the Izakaya craze (or at least it was at the time) in Vancouver. Maybe it was the places we went, but I didn't love the food.

          1. re: JonH

            Hmmm... Alemany Farmer's market is an option. Depending on how you get there, it can take from 20 min to 1 hour to get there. They're open til 2:30, and have lots of vendors you won't find at the Ferry Building. After that, take a .8 mile walk to Cortland in Bernal Heights. Avedano's meats, Paulie's Pickles, Anda Piroshki, & Sandbox Bakery are all good. If you're not hungry when you hit Cortland, pick up foods from those places, and take a late picnic in Holly Park ... or Bernal Heights Park for a great view.

        2. Breakfast in downtown Oakland: OB's, without a doubt. A bit expensive, but worth it. The proprietor/cook is an perfectionist with breakfast. He makes his corned beef from scratch, meaning he even does his own cure. Best corned beef hash I've ever had.

          This is very close to your hotel: 729 Washington between 7th and 8th.

          2 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            I am a huge fan of corn beef hash and southern food in general but this would not be a place my wife would want to go. Plus I think we need something a bit faster as I want to get to the Academy of Sciences somewhat early. Thanks for the suggestion though.

            1. re: JonH

              You might just go across the street to the Marriot Courtyard for their buffet breakfast, then.

              BTW, OB's is not southern, it's creole. The owner is from Puerto Rico.

          2. Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions so far. Here is my modified plans. Ready for the next round of suggestions.

            Wed:
            Arrive after supper. Plan to go to Trappist and enjoy some great beer. Likely eat something there.

            Thurs:
            Tartine Bakery for breakfast. - I dream of this place!
            Explore Bi-Rite Market
            Take a look at the murals in the Mission (never did this while we lived there)
            Lunch at Poc Chuc - Never been. Good choice or should we go with something else?
            Head to Ferry Plaza Market to explore - Only ever been on Sat mornings. Hoping we will be able to explore inside without huge crowds.
            Walk to Chinatown. Get the Xiao Long Bao from Bund Shanghai, Egg Custard Tart from Golden Gate Bakery and You’s Dim Sum for a Baked Pork Bun .
            Supper with friends at Barbacco

            Fri:
            Breakfast near hotel. Good coffee. Just looking for muffins, baked goods. Suggestions?
            Public transit to Academy of Sciences.
            Spend morning.
            Public transit to Shalimar for lunch.
            Wife wants to shop so off to Union Square area. Need some snack ideas here.
            Supper with friends at Canteen if we can get a reservation. - How far in advance do they take reservations? Better choice?

            Sat:
            Morning at Ferry Plaza Market.
            Lunch at Lers Ros
            Need some afternoon plans. Hoping for a walk somewhere with sample a bunch of small tastes as the focus of the trip.
            Supper at Bocadillos

            Sun through Thurs - out of town.

            Fri:
            Staying in Millbrae at the Fairfield Inn
            Need breakfast spot
            Lunch - Figured this is the time for dim sum and looks like Hong Kong Flower Lounge is rated highly
            BART to Berkeley for the afternoon. Need snack suggestions
            Supper somewhere in Berkeley. Like the Corso and Gather suggestions. Which would you pick or would you choose something else?

            13 Replies
            1. re: JonH

              For your Oakland breakfast, Caffe 817 isn't far from your hotel (817 Washington Street)
              Modern Coffee could be another option near the hotel (it's off Broadway at 14th I think)

              Don't think Awaken Cafe is open yet in full, but they had a small set up inside a store a few blocks from your hotel, but not sure how early they open.

              These should all have good coffee, can't vouch for the pastries.

              In Berkeley, The Local Butcher makes some great lard fried potato chips. They don't always have them but it might be worth a look. They are at Cedar & University, not far from Chez Panisse.

              1. re: Celery

                Caffe 817 looks like what I am looking for. Plus they are open nice and early.

                The Local Butcher might be a possibility. The sandwiches look great on their website. I'm a sucker for a good meatloaf sandwich.

              2. re: JonH

                For good coffee and pastries near your hotel, Blue Bottle.

                With Great China closed, Corso, Gather, Revival, and Ippuku are my top choices around Berkeley BART. Snacks, Cheese Board Pizza, Cesar, PIQ.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Hi Robert. Revival looks interesting. What are some of your favorite dishes there?

                  Pizza at Cheese Board will likely be on my list.

                2. re: JonH

                  Even though I like both Gather and Corso, Gather might give you a more interesting food experience to take home to New Brunswick.

                  1. re: Rapini

                    It does have an interesting menu and vegan/vegetarian options are fairly limited where I live but the non-vegan/vegetarian options seem a bit limited.

                  2. re: JonH

                    You's Dim Sum is on Broadway (Stockton location is closed). They might be out of baked pork buns that late in the day.

                    PIQ's olive flute is the right size for a snack, and one of their best items. Their desserts aren't great.

                    The housemade pita at Turkish Kitchen is great. Their baked savory pies are good as well, but probably too much for a snack.

                    Gregoire's potato puffs are snack worthy.

                    Gather's vegan charcuterie is always good and looks great now with all the wild mushrooms. It would be a very nice snack. Take a look online to see if the rest of the menu looks interesting to you. It could be a good follow up to a meat heavy day of dim sum, but note that thought they prep their meat dishes fine, there aren't as many meat/seafood options as Corso, Revival, or Cesar.

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Too bad about You's. Hopefully they still have them. I am a big fan of baked pork buns, any pork buns really :)

                      Turkish Kitchen looks very tasty. It is a possibility.

                    2. re: JonH

                      We've been to Poc Chuc several times on our SF trips. Try the platillo maya for a mix of their small corn based items and then order more of your favourites a la carte (I especially like the panuchos and empanadas FWIW) and/or get an order of the salpicon to share. Lovely people, clean and pretty restaurant, slightly dodgy stretch of road mainly because there's not much else around.

                      Re Canteen I like to book at least three weeks in advance but have booked earlier -- I always phone rather than using Open Table but that's just a personal foible! It is a small place and can fill up though most nights there are three seatings so earlier or later is a possibility. Later they may be sold out of an item or two. I love Canteen a lot so of course I think it is the best choice :-).

                      We were a bit disappointed with the XLB at Bund as we eat a lot of them at home and didn't find them competitive.

                      If you want to stay in SF proper, you might consider a stroll along Fillmore after Lers Ros. A good frozen yogurt place called Fraiche, one of the Delfina pizza outposts to share a pie (though perhaps not the best one), a stop for shrimp tacos at Tacobar and coffee/coffee cake at Jane makes for a nice couple of hours, combined with a bunch of pretty nifty shops and boutiques if that happens to be your thing.

                      Have a wonderful time!

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I'm not sure if the platillo maya is available at lunch. It only shows on the supper menu. I would order similar options anyways.

                        Thanks for the info about Canteen. I will call and get reservations as early as possible. Menu looks great.

                        Even bad XLB are impossible to get where I live and I'm a fan. Think of any other place to try them based on my itinerary?

                        I like the idea you put out there for Fillmore. I'll look into it a bit.

                        1. re: JonH

                          Sorry, forgot you are from NB -- I've actually eaten at a decent Chinese resto in F'ton and had fun in Doaktown :-) but no XLB for sure, it was old school Canto-Canadian. As for xlb options I prefer in SF, I'm no expert but I liked the ones at both Shanghai Dumpling King and Shanghai House much better. Unless you are going somewhere like the Legion of Honour (which is my favourite museum in SF FWIW and a stunning setting too) both of these are out of the way. They are just a couple short blocks apart if you decide to be obsessional like we did. Start at Shanghai House and get the tea-smoked duck, the soy pork hock (which you need to pre order) and xlb. Then wander over to SDK and get more xlb (for comparison, y'unnerstand) and an order of their marvelous egg puffs for dessert, sort of a mini-Shanghainese food crawl.

                          If you are able to make a reso for lunch at Poc Chuc, I bet you they would do the platillo for you with notice. They've been especially kind to us as visitors each meal there. I get the impression people don't make reservations that often...

                          1. re: grayelf

                            If you're biking through GGPark, Shanghai Dumpling King is a small detour from the north side. I've had Shanghai Dumpling King's XLB twice. The first time, several of the XLB had leaked. The second time they were all intact. Both times they had a good flavor broth and skin.

                            According to some reports I've read, Bund is better in the afternoon than in the evening. I went once in the daytime, and all of my XLB were full of soup. It was a weak broth, but at least they stayed together. If you don't have a chance to go to the other places, definitely stop here for XLB.