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Please critique my itinerary for 5 night trip to San Francisco (DID LOTS OF RESEARCH)

I'd like to thank you San Francisco Hounds for making such great posts - I had lots to choose from for posts to help me pick restaurants, as well as a few tips for sightseeing as well.

We are visiting in March for 5 nights from Toronto. Below is our itinerary which is followed by a list of other restaurants that I was interested in, but could not fit in. We like all types of food except Indian.

We will be using BART and public transit (taxis when necessary). For our day out of the city we will be renting a car.

As you can tell from the restaurants chosen below, our price range is moderate for the most-part. I looked for a restaurant for a really expensive meal for one of the nights, however when looking at menus, found that I preferred the ones listed below.

Please let me know your thoughts. Is anything missing? Should I swap anything for the restaurants in the list at the end? All advice is appreciated! Thanks for your time!

Day 1 (Sat.) – arrive late (9:30 pm - flight arrives), taxi to hotel (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway)

"Dinner" - Late night snack near hotel at Grubstake or Lers Ros(delivery until midnight) or Thai House Express (delivery until 11 pm) or Ozone Thai (my husband has his heart set on visiting a triple D restaurant, so may end up going to Grubstake)

Day 2 (Sun.)

Breakfast –Mama’s (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early

Sightseeing – Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghiradelli Square/Pier 39 (sea lions)/The Embarcadero (grab some take-out dim sum from Yank Sing for the hubby - Is there another place I can get take-out of something that is not dim sum or Indian so that we can "picnic" together?)

Late Lunch/Sightseeing – Mission District - Poc Chuc (Mexican) then walk along Valencia and stop at Tartine bakery and get ice-cream at Bi-rite Creamery

Sightseeing – North Beach – head to the roof (5th floor) of the Vallejo St. garage in North Beach, day or night, for a great view

Dinner – Sotto Mare or Café BaoNecci

Day 3 (Mon.)

Breakfast – Café Bean (open 7 am, closed Sundays)

Sightseeing – Golden Gate Park (and Haight district?)

Sightseeing – Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito (bike or bus over and take ferry back)

Late Lunch – Le Garage or FISH or The Spinnaker or Horizons or Kitti’s Place

Sightseeing - Sausalito (need idea of where to get a snack before Alcatraz, either in Sausalito or near ferry departure for Alcatraz)

Sightseeing – Alcatraz Night Tour (boarding at 5:40 pm)

Late Dinner – Nopa or Globe or Scala’s

Day 4 (Tues.)

Breakfast – Zazie’s

Sightseeing – Ferry building Farmer’s Market (Roli Roti – porchetta sandwich, or Boccalone – Miss Piggy sandwich)

Late Lunch – Boudin Bakery (Market Street)

Sightseeing – Chinatown (Golden Gate Bakery – pork buns and custard tart)/Coit Tower/Filbert Stairs all the way to Sansome, and back up the Greenwich steps

Dinner - Tadich Grill or Delfina or Foreign Cinema

Day 5 (Weds.)

Leave early! (May need to pick up rental car the night before)

Day out of the city – Monterey/Carmel - restaurant ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner needed

Take scenic route (route 1) along the coast to get there and take highways to get back.

Breakfast - in city or on the way to Monterey (is there anywhere along route 1 with a good breakfast and maybe a good view as well?)

Sightseeing - Carmel

Lunch -

Sightseeing - Monterey (and Aquarium)

Dinner - ? (could be in monterey or area, or in san jose, or anywhere along route back to the city)

Return rental car

Day 6 (Thurs.)

Breakfast – Dottie’s

Sightseeing - Union Square? Walk down Lombard Street?

Lunch – Delfina Pizzaria and dessert at Humphrey Slocumbe

Return to hotel to collect bags and leave for airport.

Flight leaves at 4:00 pm

OTHERS (I could not fit these in - just too many good choices)!

Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous (ice cream)
Greens (lunch or breakfast)
Mamacita (Mexican)
Early morning stop to Liguria Bakery (Foccaccia)
Gorilla BBQ
R and G/Yum’s Bistro (Cantonese)
Zuni (Roasted Chicken)
Gialina (pizza)
Nopalito or Don Pisto’s or Tacolicious (Mexican)
Burma Superstar (Burmese)
Out The Door or Slanted Door (Vietnamese)
La Taqueira (Mexican)
La Boulange
HRD (Korean)
Dynamo Donuts

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  1. For your Monterey/Carmel day: In Carmel, Casanova is a charming little place for lunch (or dinner). The restaurant (not the cafeteria style one, but the white table cloth restaurant) in the aquarium itself is excellent and has ocean view dining. You can (and probably should) make a reservation there but you can only enter after paying the aquarium entrance fee. Management of the restaurant was recently taken over by Cindy Pawlcyn who owns several Napa Valley restaurants of renown (Mustards Grill, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and the one that was recently renamed ??after she closed Go Fish).

    Your San Francisco itinerary sounds great and testifies to your excellent research. Have a great time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobpantzer

      Thank you - I added your suggestions to a list I started for Monterey/Carmel. I will post what I decide once I have had a chance to do some more research.

    2. Just a couple of comments.

      For your husband at the Grubstake, Portuguese style pork chops, a DDD type of dish.

      Breakfast at Mama's is pretty filling, so maybe either a take out dim sum snack or lunch would probably be sufficient rather both.

      If you drive to Carmel via Half Moon Bay, Linda's Seabreeze Cafe in Santa Cruz has a pretty good breakfast. Haven't been recently but enjoyed the food and coffee last time there. Plus the drive down Highway 1 is pretty nice.

      You've done a lot of research, looks like you and your husband will eat very well on this trip. Enjoy your visit!

      http://www.yelp.com/biz/lindas-seabre...

      1 Reply
      1. re: curiousgeo

        Thank you. Portuguese pork chops noted. Great suggestions!

      2. Welcome from Toronto! This looks like a very good itinerary. A few notes:

        Day 2:
        While one of you is waiting in line at Mama's, have the other get some focaccia at Liguria Bakery across the street

        Any day of the week, picnic items can be obtained at the SF Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Acme bread, Boccalone meats, Cowgirl creamery cheese, etc.

        Poc-chuc is closed on Sundays (much to my devastation when I first went there!)

        Day 3
        Sounds really busy, but doable. I'm not sure you'll have time to see much of the Haight--- most of the interesting stores in the Haight aren't open too early, and the more interesting architecture is further from GG Park (e.g., the row houses on Central b/w Haight & Page, and the Victorians on Waller b/w Masonic and Delmar).

        Day 4
        I wouldn't shlep all the way to Zazie in Cole Valley if you're going right back to the Ferry Building for Lunch. On the other hand, you can get to Zazie, walk the North side of South Side of Haight as far as you want, return on the North side of Haight, head back toward Zazie and stop at the awesome new Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley (opens at noon), and then take the Muni N car to Montgomery and walk up to Chinatown. In that case, skip the Ferry Building and boudin, and have more Chinatown snacks or dine at R&G http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822325

        edit: Making the Coit tower walk on an engorged stomach from Chinatown isn't a great idea, so use more judgment than I recently did :-) The egg custard tart and pork bun you suggested would be fine.

        Besides, Roli Roti only serves their porchetta on Thurs & Saturday http://roliroti.com/markets/intro

        Day 5
        Check out the California board for Monterey/Carmel. I've only eaten there once, but liked Fishwife's fried calamari for lunch (I think it's actually cuttlefish) and everything we ate at Passionfish for dinner.

        Day 6
        Delfina is a 1.3 mile walk to Humphrey Slocumbe, but it can be a pretty one. If you haven't during an earlier day, don't miss Clarion Alley and Balmy Alley for murals and Paxton Gate & 826 Valencia for bizarre shopping. Melanie Wong has a nice mural and snack tour that'll be erased from Chowhound soon, so check it out soon: http://www.chow.com/lists/465

        3 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          I had read somewhere on the board that the best days to visit the Ferry Building was on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If I switch to Thursday, will it be a mistake?

          1. re: TeacherFoodie

            I've never been to the FB on Tuesdays, but in terms of the things I bring people to on the Saturday, all those things are there on Thursday. They have several good vendors (Namu and even Tacolicious, which you mentioned in your OP) and produce outside, and all the regular stuff inside.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              Thanks. I've changed it to Thursday. Your suggestions were great!

        2. Day 5:

          I'd consider reversing your plan and taking the coast route back. You can enjoy the sunset and maybe stop at Costanera for drinks/small plates/dinner.
          http://www.lacostanerarestaurant.com/...

          Also, Day 2 -- Yank Sing isn't very close to the rest of the places you've listed, and personally I wouldn't go there for take out, as the delicate dumplings they're known for won't hold up well. If you do go to Yank Sing, you can stop in the Ferry Building right across the street for non-dim-sum munchies (and a spot to picnic).

          6 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Thank you for your suggestions! La Costanera looks nice.

            1. re: TeacherFoodie

              At La Costanera, avoid the octopus - WAY over-salted! It is a cute place, but the food has left me wanting... I'd suggest Cafe Gibraltar in El Granada over La Costanera; less atmosphere, but way better food.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                The thing to do at Costanera is eat outside by the firepits at the bar. They have a great happy hour, it's on a beautiful beach, and the bar snacks especially fried chicken are very good. The restaurant upstairs is considerably more expensive.

                1. re: CarrieWas218

                  I agree that the food at La Costanera is just not very good. The view and the fire pits are charming though. But I don't much like Cafe Gibraltar either. I think I would have a drink and a small nibble at La Costanera and then head to dinner at either MoonRaker in Pacifica-killer views and very good food or Barolo in Pacifica no views but great Italian food and equally great service.

              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                i've gotten take-out from yank sing many times -- even trucked it all the way over to golden gate park

                their combination plate for $8 is a real bargain, and i think it holds up pretty well. the dining room is better, but not worth the 3x price increase.

                if you want something else, get a sandwich from boccalone, or a breakfast sandwich from golden gate meat company.

                1. re: Dustin_E

                  There are many past threads on where to get food near the wharf.

                  I highly recommend both the Tanguito truck (empanadas, burgers, paella aka saffron rice) and Delise dessert cafe (sweets, cookies, coffee, tea, and snack-sized sandwiches). Nearby Cafe Capriccio has very good sandwiches and superb espresso drinks.

                  -----
                  Caffe' Capriccio
                  2200 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  DeLise dessert cafe
                  327 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Tanguito
                  2850 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              3. Day 1 (Sat.) – arrive late (9:30 pm - flight arrives), taxi to hotel (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway)

                "Dinner" - Late night snack near hotel at Grubstake or Lers Ros(delivery until midnight) or Thai House Express (delivery until 11 pm) or Ozone Thai (my husband has his heart set on visiting a triple D restaurant, so may end up going to Grubstake)

                Day 2 (Sun.)

                Breakfast –Mama’s (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early and while one of us is in line here, the other will be in line at Liguria Bakery (Foccaccia) for onion foccaccia
                Sightseeing – Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghiradelli Square/Pier 39 (sea lions)/The Embarcadero

                Late Lunch/Sightseeing – Mission District - Delfina Pizzaria (share something because we’ve just pigged out at mama’s, and on foccaccia) then walk along Valencia and stop at Tartine bakery and get ice-cream at Bi-rite Creamery

                Sightseeing – North Beach – head to the roof (5th floor) of the Vallejo St. garage in North Beach, day or night, for a great view

                Dinner – Sotto Mare or Café BaoNecci

                Day 3 (Mon.)

                Breakfast – Café Bean (open 7 am, closed Sundays)

                Sightseeing – Golden Gate Park

                Sightseeing – Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito (bike or bus over and take ferry back)

                Late Lunch – Le Garage or FISH or The Spinnaker or Horizons or Kitti’s Place

                Sightseeing - Sausalito (need idea of where to get a snack before Alcatraz, either in Sausalito or near ferry departure for Alcatraz)

                Sightseeing – Alcatraz Night Tour (boarding at 5:40 pm)

                Late Dinner – Nopa or Globe or Scala’s

                Day 4 (Tues.)

                Breakfast – Zazie

                Sightseeing – Visit the Haight district - walk the North side of South Side of Haight as far as you want, return on the North side of Haight, head back toward Zazie and stop at the awesome new Ice Cream
                Bar in Cole Valley

                Lunch Poc Chuc (Mexican) and dessert at Humphrey Slocumbe

                Sightseeing – Chinatown (Golden Gate Bakery – pork buns and custard tart)/Coit Tower/Filbert Stairs all the way to Sansome, and back up the Greenwich steps

                Dinner - Tadich Grill or Delfina or Foreign Cinema

                Day 5 (Weds.)

                Leave early! (May need to pick up rental car the night before)

                Day out of the city – Monterey/Carmel - restaurant ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner needed

                Take scenic route (route 1) along the coast to get there and take highways to get back.

                Breakfast - in city or on the way to Monterey (is there anywhere along route 1 with a good breakfast and maybe a good view as well?)

                Sightseeing - Carmel

                Lunch -

                Sightseeing - Monterey (and Aquarium)

                Dinner - ? (could be in monterey or area, or in san jose, or anywhere along route back to the city)

                Return rental car

                Day 6 (Thurs.)

                Breakfast – Dottie’s

                Sightseeing – Ferry building Farmer’s Market (Roli Roti – porchetta sandwich, or Boccalone – Miss Piggy sandwich)

                Lunch – Yank Sing/Boudin Bakery (Market Street)

                2 Replies
                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                  If you're doing fisherman's wharf etc, which locals hate, me included, there are two high points. One, _make sure_ you take a cable car to get there. If you really want to hoof it, walk all the way around Ft Mason to St Francis to the Water Harmonica. Second, do your picknick supplies in the area by looking for the seafood houses that steam crab curbside. Pick your crabs, watch them get steamed, cracked, cleaned (say "cracked and cleaned"), they'll get wrapped in paper. The people there will try to sell you these measly sad excuses for crab in plastic wrappings, tell them you want the whole crab. Only go to a place where you can watch the crab being steamed and pick the individual crab. It will not be cheap - upward of $20 per crab. Dungeness is famous for a reason and is 100% best unadulterated right out of the shell, it's sweeter than blue crab, and this actually gives you a mission - finding the real seafood places. If you like alcohol, add the famous Irish Coffee place; it's kind of worth it. I think when I did this last I found real crabs at Alioto's. Of the tourist attractions, look for the Hyde Street Pier and the O'Brien.

                  This also frees up the ferry building from giving you too many picknics. The hit is exactly as stated: Acme, Bocolonne (sp), Cowgirl. And get a little box of Rettuchi, too. There is nothing more san francisco than some salumi, a bit of sonoma cheese, and an acme sourdough batard - add a really good bottle of red wine if you'd like. Alcatraz is fun, really, but the local thing is the ferry to Angel island, where the hiking is better, they have the new museum, and an awesome view from the top. Regrettably, it's an either/or proposition.

                  There "was" a branch of Pancho Villa next to the ferry building, where one could reliably get an al pastor burrito and take with. According to Google, it's closed now. Sorry. The mexican place in the ferry building is OK.

                  Late dinner monday - sadly, there have been downhill reports at Globe. This is _VERY SAD_ because they were my favorite late night option - very san francisco in a new way. Unless someone says otherwise, try somewhere else.

                  Dinner - the dining options in Monterey are slim (not non-existant, but slim). If you're coming back up the coast the whole way, consider Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay. You'll be tempted by the fish roadhouses, but Pasta Moon is pretty good.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    I could eat Pasta Moon's artichoke and arugula pizza once a week and be very happy about it.

                2. Ferry Plaza Marketplace is a good spot for picnic supplies any day. The Saturday farmers market is amazing, the other two not so much, though Thursday is a sort of top 10 of local food trucks. You can compare the vendors on their Web site:

                  http://www.cuesa.org/markets

                  Yank Sing takeout is not very good, like a different restaurant. The takeout places in Chinatown are cheaper, maybe better, and definitely more fun.

                  Boudin, sad waste of a meal.

                  Lots of Monterey recommendations on the California board.

                  1. For your Day 1 dinner, there's no reason to go anywhere but Lers Ros for thai food. It has to be the only fully-authentic Thai restaurant the Bay Area has had in quite a while (since Y2k, at least). Its opening, in my opinion, also coincided with a marked decrease in the quality of Thai House Express on Larkin St. (new owners, slight but important drop-off in execution).

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: mikeh

                      You may want to include at trip over to Oakland since it is now being touted as the "New Culinary Capital of the West Coast"

                      1. re: Mission

                        We could eat there on the way back from Monterey. Any reccommendations?

                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                          No, you couldn't. It's the wrong direction, and Monterey isn't really a day trip to start with.

                          1. re: Windy

                            Perhaps we should consider Sonoma/Napa instead... I just thought the drive along the coast would be nice.

                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                              The drive along the coast is gorgeous. No need to cancel. It just deserves all the time you can give it (rather than a detour).

                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                What Windy said.

                                The drive down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco is pretty special.
                                Passion Fish in Pacific Grove is pretty good, 1833 in Monterey is very good. Sunset views (drinks, not food) from the deck at Nepenthe in Big Sur can be pretty special. Crown and Anchor is an authentic pub in Monterey. I like it a lot. Cafe Fina on Fisherman's Wharf has decent Italian food and good pizza from a wood-fired oven.

                                I visit the Monterey peninsula every August for car week. The place is pretty special.

                              2. re: Windy

                                I'll disagree -- Monterey isn't a quick day trip, but it's a worth-doing all-day trip the way I suggested it: take freeways down, spend a few hours in Monterey, and then do a leisurely late-afternoon/sunset drive up the coast.

                                Alternatively, you can drive north and do the Marin/Sonoma coastline in a shorter loop.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Their revised plan is to spend the night in Monterey and drive to SFO for the flight home, so the leisurely part has to be the trip down.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Ah. This thread has gotten so long I've lost track. Leisurely down is good, too, and there's not much traffic going counter commute.

                          2. re: mikeh

                            +1 for lers ros. that place is a very worthy destination.

                            their papaya salad with raw crab is my favorite dish there.

                            1. You did a brilliant job on research, the restaurant l would not miss in the city is Aziza, one of the most exciting spots l have eaten in many years. Truly blew me away. Aziza cannot be praised enough. On this recent trip ate at all the places in Ferry Building, Benu, Pizzeria Delfina, The House, Comstock Bar, but the two most memorable to me were Aziza and Swan's Oyster Depot.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Should I consider Aziza for dinner after Alcatraz? It seems to allow me to do a 10 pm reservation on opentable. This would be instead of Globe, NOPA or Scala's.

                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                  Aziza closes at 10, it might be fine but I'm wary of starting dinner at closing time, especially on a Monday. Check recent reports on Globe before risking that.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Scala's or NOPA? They were the three on my list for late night dinner - Scala's seems better location-wise.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Done! Keeps the hubby happy too with Grubstake on the first night.

                                2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  I cannot seem to fit Aziza in, unless we eat there after our day out - trying to figure out if the day away is worth it, also considering Sonoma or Napa intead.

                                3. I'm going to add that on your Day One itinerary, you are criss-crossing the city too much in site-seeing at Fisherman's Wharf, heading to the Mission for lunch and then coming back to North Beach.

                                  The Wharf and North Beach are VERY close to one another and you would be better served planning lunch in North Beach after the Wharf before heading to the Mission.

                                  Otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time back-tracking.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                    In that case, they can do Sotto Mare for lunch in NB, and Pizzeria Delfina for dinner in the Mission. The only drawback would be missing the fresher Tartine pastries. On the other hand, that would enable them to get Tartine's great bread, available after 5PM with a 3-day pre-order http://www.tartinebakery.com/bread.html

                                  2. i think taddich is a much better choice than delfina, and i think delfina would be a better choice than foreign cinema. i've visited all three in the past couple weeks, and would probably only go back to taddich.

                                    to me, delfina tasted like stuff i could make at home (without much difficulty.) and the (pasta) portions were small and the service was super-slow.

                                    foreign cinema felt overpriced, the service was slow, and the food was good, but not great. the only redeeming quality was i liked the movie that was playing.

                                    taddich unique old-school atmosphere, and huge portions of high-quality ingredients (crab, lobster). even their side of pasta with meat sauce and apple galette were among the best of either i've ever had.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Dustin_E

                                      wow, i'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this. Taddich is cool old school, but not a not-miss, and certainly not better than Delfina, nor even Foreign Cinema, especially with respect to quality of food.

                                      different strokes, but i thought the OP should have a different opinion.

                                      1. re: Dustin_E

                                        Gotta side with Dustin on this one, at least in regards to Foreign Cinema.

                                        1. re: Dustin_E

                                          If you are judging by portions then yes Taddich wins but if you are judging by taste then I don't personally think I would agree. I still prefer Delfina over flour + water. I don't feel foreign cinema is overpriced especially if you are judging by portion size although I will say I like foreign cinema more for brunch or group meals.

                                          Of the three I would pick Defina as the must go one, then a toss up depending on how stuffy people want their atmosphere. Taddich is where I bring the conservative parents, Foreign Cinema and Defina is where I bring my much cooler mother in law and my sister-in law and friends.

                                          1. re: tjinsf

                                            so agree with this, right down to the brunch--over-dinner at FC.

                                        2. i think yum's is way better than r&g (at least for the crab -- haven't tried many other dishes), but for a short trip, it is not worth the drive to fremont.

                                          Burmese kitchen is good too, in a perhaps more convenient area.

                                          La Boulange is easy to drop into -- so you might wander by one and pick up a snack to go. i like their ham+cheese croissants, their sticky buns, and their fruit tarts.

                                          I would not have mamacita high on a list for visitors, but that's just me.

                                          1. Third revision

                                            Day 1 (Sat.) – arrive late (9:30 pm - flight arrives), taxi to hotel (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway)

                                            "Dinner" - Late night snack near hotel at Grubstake or Thai House Express (delivery until 11 pm) or Ozone Thai (my husband has his heart set on visiting a triple D restaurant, so may end up going to Grubstake)

                                            Day 2 (Sun.)

                                            Breakfast –Mama’s (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early and while one of us is in line here, the other will be in line at Liguria Bakery (Foccaccia) for onion foccaccia

                                            Sightseeing – take cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghiradelli Square/Pier 39 (sea lions)/The Embarcadero

                                            Sightseeing – North Beach – head to the roof (5th floor) of the Vallejo St. garage in North Beach, day or night, for a great view

                                            Late lunch – Sotto Mare

                                            Late Dinner/Sightseeing – Mission District - Delfina Pizzaria then walk along Valencia and stop at Tartine bakery (pre-order bread) and get ice-cream at Bi-rite Creamery
                                            Day 3 (Mon.)

                                            Breakfast – Café Bean (open 7 am, closed Sundays)

                                            Sightseeing – Golden Gate Park

                                            Sightseeing – Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito (bike or bus over and take ferry back)

                                            Late Lunch – Le Garage or FISH or The Spinnaker or Horizons or Kitti’s Place

                                            Sightseeing - Sausalito (need idea of where to get a snack before Alcatraz, either in Sausalito or near ferry departure for Alcatraz)

                                            Sightseeing – Alcatraz Night Tour (boarding at 5:40 pm)

                                            Late Dinner – Lers Ros

                                            Day 4 (Tues.)

                                            Breakfast – Zazie

                                            Sightseeing – Visit the Haight district - walk the North side of South Side of Haight as far as you want, return on the North side of Haight, head back toward Zazie and stop at the awesome new Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley

                                            Lunch Poc Chuc (Mexican) and dessert at Humphrey Slocumbe

                                            Sightseeing – Chinatown (Golden Gate Bakery – pork buns and custard tart)/Coit Tower/Filbert Stairs all the way to Sansome, and back up the Greenwich steps

                                            Dinner - Tadich Grill

                                            Day 5 (Weds.)

                                            Leave early! (May need to pick up rental car the night before)

                                            Day out of the city – Monterey/Carmel - restaurant ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner needed
                                            Take scenic route (route 1) along the coast to get there and take highways to get back.

                                            Breakfast - in city or on the way to Monterey (is there anywhere along route 1 with a good breakfast and maybe a good view as well?)

                                            Sightseeing - Carmel

                                            Lunch -

                                            Sightseeing - Monterey (and Aquarium)

                                            Dinner - ? (could be in monterey or area, or in san jose, or anywhere along route back to the city)

                                            Return rental car

                                            Day 6 (Thurs.)

                                            Breakfast – Dottie’s

                                            Sightseeing – Ferry building Farmer’s Market (Roli Roti – porchetta sandwich, or Boccalone – Miss Piggy sandwich)

                                            Late Lunch – Yank Sing (take-out combo $8 or dine-in more $$$) and items collected for picnic at Ferry Building (Tanguito truck/DeLise/Café Cappricio/steamed crab curbside – maybe Alioto’s –ask for the whole crab/Acme sourdough batard/cowgirl cheese/salumi from boccalone/box of rettuchi/

                                            Return to hotel to collect bags and leave for airport.

                                            Flight leaves at 4:00 pm

                                            21 Replies
                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                              I searched for your post on the California board; we had a wonderful dinner in Pacific Grove at Passionfish and an excellent lunch of lobster bisque and an omelette at Andre's Bouchée Bistro and Wine Bar Restaurant in Carmel on Mission Street, two doors south of Ocean Avenue.
                                              http://www.andresbouchee.com/
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827092

                                              (I'd go to Sonoma for a day trip. Drive north on HWY One and then River Road east to Hwy 101 which will give you options north to Healdsburg or south to Hwy 12 to Sonoma) From Hwy 101 to 116 is scenic through Sebastopol and the Bohemian Hwy will take you to the coast... lots of options in Sonoma County. http://www.bohemianconnection.com/

                                              We met family in Petaluma for breakfast and drove to Healdsburg for lunch, then to Sonoma for dinner and back to Petaluma in one day with winery visits in between - unfortunately there was not time for a coastal drive

                                              note: In Golden Gate Park, stop at the deYoung museum and take the elevator to the Tower for stunning views - no admission charge/access to the Tower closes at 4:30 pm.

                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                Considering going to Sonoma or Napa instead. So many decisions to make!

                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                  Food + Wine/Beer wise. You'll do much better heading up north to Sonoma/Napa than down south to Monterey/Carmel.

                                                  Monterey/Carmel is a beautiful area though, and the 17 mile drive between Monterey and Carmel is something to see if you've never done it before. Also, not worth making a special trip, but if you are in the area and hungry:

                                                  Tico's Breakfast and Lunch off the 101 before Monterey turns out great, casual meals

                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                    Napa/Sonoma are gorgeous and everything and have better food/wine selections (we are of course on Chowhound...), but if I were coming from Toronto to CA, I think I'd be more interested in seeing the coastline. Just expect a 2.5 hour drive to Monterey, and a 2 hour ride back.

                                                    1. re: hyperbowler

                                                      Yes, I'd give Napa/Sonoma the edge for food wine, but Highway 1 the edge for beauty.

                                                      If you do stick with Monterey/Carmel, other options that you might include are Cantinetta Luca for lunch. In Monterey, Parker Lusseau (a few locations) is great for pastries/sweets.

                                                      I don't know about trekking all the way over to Poc Chuc after the Haight, but I'm a lazy, low-energy local. I'd probably just got to Nopalito, which is terrific. And I prefer Mr. & Mrs. Misc to HS for ice cream.

                                                      You have many great choices. It's more a matter of how much city crossing you want to do each day.

                                                      1. re: Leely2

                                                        Is 22nd street the only Mr. and Mrs. Misc. location? Where do you think I can best fit it in to my itinerary?

                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                          Yes, none of the great ice cream shops in SF is a chain. Mr and Mrs is in Dogpatch, not near 22nd in the Mission.

                                                          Another option for ice cream is Delise on Bay and Powell, near the Wharf. I prefer both of these to HS and BiRite.

                                                          1. re: Windy

                                                            Any reason to visit the dogpatch other than Mr and Mrs Misc?

                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                              Flour and Water is around there. Not a lot of love for it on this board, but I like it very much.

                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                Dogpatch is a great neighborhood to live in if you commute to the Peninsula, but If you're only visiting for a few days, I'd skip it.

                                                                Flour + Water is in the Mission, a couple of miles away. Great place but not worth the hour-plus wait.

                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                  only if you are baseball fans, in which case you can get a tour of ATT Park, have a meal at Sepentine and cross the street for Mr. Mrs. afterwords.

                                                            2. re: Leely2

                                                              Thinking about spending the last night in Monterey/Carmel - this would mean we would not get to drive the coast route at sunset. We would do the breakfast at Dottie's in the morning and then leave for Carmel/Monterey. This would give us more time to enjoy the drive there, go to the aquarium, stay overnight, and head back after breakfast on our last day. Thoughts?

                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                Great idea. You'll still be at the coast at sunset. Asilomar is an especially lovely spot.

                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                  Agree with Windy, spending the night is a great idea and you won't feel as rushed. Breakfast favorites in the area are Katy's in Carmel and First Awakenings in Pacific Grove, both excellent spots. For dinner in Carmel I've enjoyed Cantinetta Luca for Italian and the restaurant at the Mission Ranch Inn for basic American.

                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                    I agree with spending the night. If you end up doing Carmel/Monterey as a day trip, I would still recommend driving the coast in the morning and having dinner in the area rather than trying to catch the sunset on the way home. I just think you'd be too rushed. My preference would be to spend sunset on the beach and eat after. I grew up there (now live in Marin) and have done many, many day trips down and back.

                                                                    The food and wine in Napa are wonderful, but I wouldn't recommend going there over Carmel. To me, the area is just not that interesting as a destination. Just my opinion.

                                                                    As other posters have mentioned, Lers Ros is great.

                                                                    Have fun and enjoy your trip!

                                                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                      Monterey/Carmel are wonderful, but does that mean you will skip the Ferry Bldg altogether? I would tell any friend (who is into food and had to choose because of time constraints) to choose the Ferry Bldg over Fisherman's Wharf. I wouldn't try to deter the average tourist from going to the Wharf because it's geared to them. However, after all of the time you've taken to research and plan your meals, I'd hate to see you end up with some slightly-better-than-average chocolate and an overpriced sweatshirt. If you want the cable car experience, the California line cable car is less than a block from your hotel and practically takes you straight to the Ferry Bldg. Plus, you don't have to wait an hour+ at each end to get on (like the other lines.) Granted, the Cal line doesn't go by crooked Lombard St, but what can you see anyway in a cable car packed like sardines? Alternately, you could take the Cal line to the Ferry Bldg, then you could take the F street car to the Wharf. Then to go back, you could wait in line for the Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car or take the 47 bus back which stops 1 block from your hotel.

                                                                      Love these on your latest itinerary: Pizzeria Delfina, Ler Ros, The Ice Cream Bar, Humphrey Slocombe

                                                                      I like Dottie's, but IMHO Brenda's is better. Also, now that Dottie's has moved, Brenda's is closer to your hotel. http://frenchsoulfood.com/

                                                                      Tadich Grill is popular, but I would go to Kokkari or Perbacco instead.

                                                              2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                You seem to be going to Fisherman's Wharf two or three times (Sunday, return from Alcatraz, lunch Thursday). In nice weather the views might justify walking past once but it's a disgusting tourist trap that has been coasting on its reputation for at least 30 years.

                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                  If you decide to drive south on Highway One in the morning, Duartes in Pescadero is well worth a stop. Excellent breakfast and homemade pies in a real small-town coastal california atmosphere.

                                                                  For my money, the coast road doesn' t get really good until you get south of Carmel, but the section between SF and Monterey is still worth a look if you' ve never been. As others have mentioned, Nepenthe is a spectacular place to stop and have a drink on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Big Sur coast.

                                                                  A little further south is the Henry Miller Library, and the Post Ranch Inn with it's Sierra Mar restaurant perched on a cliff over the Pacific. A restaurant with views as amazing as this will almost always have lousy food, but this place is the exception to the rule. Everything we ate here was first class for both lunch and dinner. Enjoy!

                                                                  1. re: Foodlum

                                                                    Duarte's is fun. The menu is a mix of good stuff and crap, as is the pie (great filling, garbage crust), but you can eat well there if you order right.

                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604804

                                                                2. Where to go for lunch somewhere in the haight or on the way to Chinatown from the Haight?

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                    Citrus Club in the Upper Haight is good. Huge portions. Love their BBQ-tofu spring rolls...

                                                                    I think it's a major loss if you don't eat at Burma Superstar while you're here. That place is life altering. Seriously. And don't walk to B Star if there is a huge line at Burma Superstar. B Star has an abridged (and crappier) menu.

                                                                    1. re: blissfork

                                                                      Burma Superstar is good but Burmese Kitchen has better food without the wait or the problem of avoiding the mediocre Chinese and Indian dishes.

                                                                      1. re: blissfork

                                                                        Burma Superstar did not do it for me either, certainly not bad, maybe if l lived in SF, but IMHO better choices elsewhere. Piperade gets little mention here but Hirigoyen did a great job for me about a year ago.

                                                                        1. re: blissfork

                                                                          Not crazy about Burma Superstar or B Star either.
                                                                          Go to nopalito — good food, great service & reasonable prices. http://www.nopalitosf.com/
                                                                          Or Bar Crudo — excellent seafood chowder, interesting raw fish combos, great beer list. http://www.barcrudo.com/

                                                                      2. Sounds like quite a well-planned trip. You should certainly enjoy yourselves. If you are into this sort of thing you might consider doing a mural tour in the mission from Precita Eyes
                                                                        http://www.precitaeyes.org/

                                                                        I think you will have no problem finding food in Sausalito as a snack. Throw caution to the wind on that one and see what you are in the mood for at the time.

                                                                        1. Thanks everyone for all your recs. I have decided we will stay our last night in Monterey/Carmel area. Now I need to decide a place to stop for lunch on the way to SFO. Will be leaving Monterey/Carmel around 9:30 am - should we just return the rental car and have lunch in SF, or is there a great lunch spot on the way?

                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                            Koi Palace in Daly City is about 10 minutes north of SFO and would be a great end to your trip. What day of the week are you departing? It might be insanely busy on a weekend morning, but would still save time over going back to SF (which it sounds like you are also considering).

                                                                            I think they open at 11 on weekdays.

                                                                            http://www.koipalace.com/

                                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                              Your drive to Carmel should be down Hwy 1. You'll be on the ocean side of the road which allows for much easier stops and much better views for the driver (but keep your eyes on the road!)

                                                                              Spending the night in Carmel is a wonderful idea. The town is very compact and easy to walk around. Casanovas is an incredible restaurant (ask to see Van Gogh's table!) with a spinach gnocchi that I'd kill for. You can save a few $$ by having lunch there, same menu lower prices.
                                                                              Park down at the beach and walk the ocean road south to see how the rich and famous live.

                                                                              Are you dropping your car off at the airport? The City is a good 25 minute BART ride each direction so you'd need to give yourself plenty of time to get back

                                                                              If you have time I'd go see Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach. It's on the same street as Sotto Mare ( my favorite seafood Italian in SF) it's been running in SF since the 70's and is hilarious. They are always changing the characters in the play and it deals with current events. Only in San Francisco could you see something like this complete with the biggest hats you'd ever imagine.

                                                                              Take the California street cable car to the Fairmont hotel and have a cocktail at The Tonga Room. It's somewhat corny but it's the birthplace of the Tiki bar (it also rains indoors) DON'T eat the food, it's crap but the drinks are a kick.

                                                                              Have an amazing trip!

                                                                              If you've never had a Animal Style hamburger at In-N-Out burger you might find one and try it. Yes I know it's a chain, but it's a California thing...you'll thank me later!

                                                                              1. re: servpro8912

                                                                                If the weather is nice one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is take a long walk on Ocean beach near the Cliff House. The sound of the roaring pacific is very soothing. And the Sutro bath ruins are very unique and interesting to see (for more info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutro_Baths). After the walk have a drink downstairs at the bar at the Cliff House restaurant. It’s a marvelous view of the ocean while you are enjoying a cocktail. The Cliff house restaurant is supposed to be just ok (we have never eaten there), so don’t plan on eating dinner there. My advice to you would be to skip Fisherman’s Warf. I dread when I have visitors who ask to go there. It’s touristy, filled with tacky shops, crowded and boring. Go have a nice walk on Ocean beach and visit the Sutro bath ruins instead.

                                                                                1. re: Ridge

                                                                                  I haven't heard much good about the Cliff House since the last time they experimented with having a name chef.

                                                                                  Louis' just up the hill has had some favorable reports here. http://www.louissf.com

                                                                                  1. re: Ridge

                                                                                    .. stop at the windmill
                                                                                    http://www.dform.com/projects/windmil...
                                                                                    After the Sutro Baths walk the Lands End trail, or continue across the road to Sutro Heights Park.
                                                                                    Have the popovers been removed from the menu at the Bistro at the Cliff House?

                                                                                  2. re: servpro8912

                                                                                    +1 on the Beach Blanket Babylon suggestion - it's great campy fun and fantastic music. We like to walk around North Beach after and do some bar-hopping for a couple of hours.

                                                                                  3. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                    Are you changing your schedule so you're spending Wednesday night in Monterey? The California board is the best place to get recommendations of places to eat down there.

                                                                                    http://www.chow.com/search?query=mont...

                                                                                    Try to pick up a car in SF that you can return at the airport, that would save you the extra trip to SFO and possible parking charges.

                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                      Yes, Wednesday night will now be in Monterey. I am hoping to use Priceline to get a good price on a hotel.

                                                                                      Will try to pick up a car that can be returned to the airport.

                                                                                      Not sure I can fit in Sutro Baths.

                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                        No worries. Slow it down. You'll be back.

                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                          You must try Roli Roti at the Ferry Building but I believe they are only there on the Farmers Market Days of Thursdays and Saturdays.

                                                                                          You have Mamas for breakfast which is in North Beach then leaving and returning later. One suggestion; hit Mamas early, then walk up the hill to Coit Tower down the Filbert Steps to the Embarcadero, head to The Ferry Building then along the waterfront to Pier 39 ( yes it's touristy but it's still crowded and fun) You could stop for a Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista at the Powell Hyde cable car line at Ghirardelli Square then take the Powell/Hyde line up the hill to stop at Lombard (crooked street) walk down Lombard to get you back to North Beach. It's a walk but a great day!

                                                                                    2. I'm planning on revising my plan to visit the Ferry Building on the Sunday. I checked the website and it seems most vendors are still open. Some hounds have mentioned that Saturday and Thursday are the best days though... Saturday is not an option, and Thursday we will be driving back from Monterey (with the new itinerary). Should I consider different days for Monterey (than Weds-Thurs)?

                                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                        You should be fine. A small hint for the Ferry Building. You can go up the main set of stairs from the outside to the second floor. Ignore the security guy at the top. It's a different view of the shops from above and (my wife's favorite) there are nice bathrooms that no one ever knows about or uses! The womens bathrooms downstairs seem to always have lines.

                                                                                        Have fun!

                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                          Some more ideas...

                                                                                          Make sure to order the specialties as Lers Ros and Thai House Express. These threads have led me to have very good meals at both:

                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761753
                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320246

                                                                                          Also, if you're feeling the Monterey trip is going to eat up too much time... consider cutting out Fisherman's Wharf, which this thread hasn't given a lot of love. Just to give you a sense of the good and bad of Fisherman's Wharf & Ghiradelli Square... the good stuff is somewhat redundant with what you'll see in Monterey--- water, boats, sea lions. Besides that, it's pretty much the same stuff you'll see at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (crowds, street entertainers, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, etc.).

                                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                            The Ferry Plaza Marketplace (that is, the stores and restaurants inside of the building) is open every day. The Saturday farmers market is the big one. I don't think the much smaller Thursday market is worth rearranging your schedule.

                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              Here is the day I am having the most trouble deciding on - should I cut out Fisherman's Wharf but still go to the Ferry Building? Any other advice is appreciated!

                                                                                              Day 2 (Sun.) – Fisherman’s Wharf/Chinatown/North Beach

                                                                                              Early Breakfast –Mama’s (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early and while one of us is in line here, the other will be in line at Liguria Bakery for onion foccaccia

                                                                                              (Try to fit in Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths? Louis for lunch?)

                                                                                              Sightseeing – take cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghiradelli Square/Pier 39 (sea lions)/The Embarcadero /Ferry building Farmer’s Market opens 11 am (Roli Roti – porchetta sandwich, or Boccalone – Miss Piggy sandwich)

                                                                                              Lunch – Picnic - Yank Sing (take-out combo $8 or dine-in more $$$) and items collected for picnic at Ferry Building (Tanguito truck/DeLise/Café Cappricio/steamed crab curbside – maybe Alioto’s –ask for the whole crab/Acme sourdough batard/cowgirl cheese/salumi from boccalone/box of rettuchi)

                                                                                              Sightseeing – Chinatown (Golden Gate Bakery – pork buns and custard tart)/Coit Tower/Filbert Stairs all the way to Sansome, and back up the Greenwich steps

                                                                                              Sightseeing – North Beach – head to the roof (5th floor) of the Vallejo St. garage in North Beach, day or night, for a great view

                                                                                              (If you have time I'd go see Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach. It's on the same street as Sotto Mare ( my favorite seafood Italian in SF) it's been running in SF since the 70's and is hilarious.)

                                                                                              Late Dinner (8 pm or so) – Tadich Grill or Sotto Mare

                                                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                The wharf's a waste of time and you'll be going down there to catch the boat to Alcatraz anyway.

                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                  +1 on skipping Fisherman's Wharf. If sea lions are what you're interested in, you will see many (many) of them in Monterey and Pacific Grove.

                                                                                                  1. re: TerriL

                                                                                                    Not so much anymore. Not that I miss the smelly, noisy things. Where have they gone?

                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                      Point Lobos, the Coast Guard Pier, the wharf . . . ?

                                                                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                    The ferry to Alcatraz is no longer all the way at the worst of the wharf; it's an easy walk from the Ferry Building.

                                                                                                    No reason to go to the wharf but I'd still walk over to DeLise for ice cream and then walk back up Columbus into North Beach.

                                                                                                    And yes, return the rental car to the airport. Anything else will cost you time and money (airport is south of the city).

                                                                                                    You could have Burmese for lunch at Mingalaba in Burlingame close to SFO. Also lots of great Chinese in Millbrae near the airport, including Shanghai Dumpling.

                                                                                                    1. re: Windy

                                                                                                      The Alcatraz tour leaves from Pier 33, which is at the foot of Bay St., two blocks from Pier 39.

                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                        Yes, which is what I said. Tourists no longer need to go to Pier 39 or the Wharf.

                                                                                                  3. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                    Depending what time you get out of Mamas, the Ferry Building may be open. There are no cable cars that run from North Beach to Fishermans Wharf, its only about a 10-15 minute walk down Columbus. Additionally, the Ferry Building and Fishermans Wharf aren't right next to each other. If you cut out the wharf just walk up to Coit Tower from North Beach and down the Filbert Steps hang a right and go to theFerry Building

                                                                                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                      Re: Yank Sing -- I love this restaurant but do not like the take out section. And, the Chinese chicken salad is awful.

                                                                                                      The GG Bakery pork buns and custard tarts are great.

                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                        How late can you get dim sum in Chinatown? Is there a good place near GG Bakery?

                                                                                                2. I absolutely love Le Garage on a warm, sunny day. It's possible to imagine you are in the south of France if you eat on the patio..... Horizon'a and The Spinnaker are really just view restaurants with mediocre food.

                                                                                                  If you are on bikes Le Garage will be easy to bike to, but it is a long walk from the ferry drop off. To me one of the best things to see in Sausalito is the Bay Model which is conveniently close to Le Garage http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/bmvc/

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: artychokeasana

                                                                                                    If you visit the bay model (is it fully operational now?), then it's just a few blocks more to FISH: good food, good views. Maybe grab a burger at "Hamburgers" on Bridgeway near the ferry landing on the way back if still peckish.

                                                                                                    1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                      The burger at Fish is actually pretty good.

                                                                                                      1. re: TerriL

                                                                                                        Ordering a burger at FISH just seems so wrong. It's like ordering a burger at Roscioli in Rome, one of my favorite lunch spots. I just can't do it.

                                                                                                  2. I agree with other comments that there are definitely some great vendors in the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, it would be a good place to grab a light snack to go with the dim sum. It would also be a good spot to grab a bite before Alcatraz.

                                                                                                    I would switch the breakfast at Zazie to Monday. Golden Gate park and the Haight are both really easy walking distance from Zazie in Cole Valley. I take public transit in San Francisco all the time be prepared for it to take longer than you expect so it is better not to rely on it if you have a tight deadline to be somewhere.

                                                                                                    Lappert's Ice cream on the main drag in Sausalito is a delightful afternoon treat.

                                                                                                    Hope you have a wonderful trip!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: jaspersi

                                                                                                      Routesy Pro is an app I've relied on for years. It gives you real-time arrivals/departures for BART, Muni, Caltrain, etc. It saves me a lot of grief when I need to meet a dinner reservation. When driving, the MapQuest app works well in California (turn-by-turn voice navigation). It's ok for walking directions to restaurants.

                                                                                                    2. Revision 4 - I have starred ** the parts of the itinerary that I want advice on, but please feel free to critique the other parts of the itinerary as well.

                                                                                                      Thanks so much for all the help! The advice here has been great!

                                                                                                      Day 1 (Sat.)

                                                                                                      Arrive late (9:30 pm - flight arrives), taxi to hotel (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway)

                                                                                                      "Dinner" - Late night snack near hotel at Grubstake

                                                                                                      Day 2 (Sun.) – Fisherman’s Wharf/Chinatown/North Beach

                                                                                                      Early Breakfast –Mama’s (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early and while one of us is in line here, the other will be in line at Liguria Bakery for onion foccaccia

                                                                                                      **Depending on what time it is, I may need something to fill time here before the Ferry building opens at 11.

                                                                                                      Then go to Coit Tower and take Filbert stairs down to Ferry building

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Ferry building opens 11 am (Roli Roti – porchetta sandwich, or Boccalone – Miss Piggy sandwich)

                                                                                                      Lunch – Yank Sing (take-out combo $8 or dine-in more $$$) and items collected for picnic at Ferry Building (Tanguito truck/DeLise/Café Cappricio/steamed crab curbside – maybe Alioto’s –ask for the whole crab/Acme sourdough batard/cowgirl cheese/salumi from boccalone/box of rettuchi)

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Chinatown (Golden Gate Bakery – pork buns and custard tart)

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – North Beach – head to the roof (5th floor) of the Vallejo St. garage in North Beach, day or night, for a great view

                                                                                                      (Perhaps go see Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach. It's on the same street as Sotto Mare ( my favorite seafood Italian in SF) it's been running in SF since the 70's and is hilarious)

                                                                                                      Late Dinner (8 pm or so) – Tadich Grill or Sotto Mare

                                                                                                      Day 3 (Mon.) – Golden Gate Park and Bridge/Sausalito/Alcatraz

                                                                                                      Breakfast – Zazie

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Golden Gate Park (stop at the deYoung museum and take the elevator to the Tower for stunning views - no admission charge/access to the Tower closes at 4:30 pm)

                                                                                                      Sightseeing - Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito (bike or bus over and take ferry back)

                                                                                                      Late Lunch – Horizons if weather is nice (or Fish or Bar Bocce)

                                                                                                      Sightseeing - Sausalito (Lappert’s ice cream on the main drag)

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Alcatraz Night Tour (boarding at 5:40 pm – grab a snack at the Ferry building before departure)

                                                                                                      Late Dinner – Lers Ros

                                                                                                      Day 4 (Tues.) –Haight/Mission/Ice-Cream Day

                                                                                                      Breakfast – Café Bean

                                                                                                      **Sightseeing – Visit the Haight district - walk the North side of South Side of Haight as far as you want, return on the North side of Haight

                                                                                                      Late Lunch – Mission District - Poc Chuc (Mexican) and dessert at Humphrey Slocumbe

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Mission District - walk along Valencia and stop at Tartine bakery

                                                                                                      Late Dinner - Delfina Pizzaria get ice-cream at Bi-rite Creamery (possibly pre-order bread from Tartine and pick up after 5) or Tadich Grill (if we go to Sotto Mare on Sunday)

                                                                                                      Pick up rental car somewhere near SFO (our hotel deal was with free parking)

                                                                                                      Day 5 (Weds.) – Monterey/Carmel

                                                                                                      Breakfast - Dottie’s or Brenda’s (closer to our hotel)

                                                                                                      Leave for Monterey/Carmel (May need to pick up rental car the night before)

                                                                                                      Take scenic route (route 1) along the coast to get there and take highways (or scenic route again, depending on weather) to get back.

                                                                                                      **Lunch – PassionFish or Fandango

                                                                                                      Sightseeing – Monterey Aquarium

                                                                                                      ** Dinner – 1833? Dametra Café? (would like somewhere in Carmel) – have asked for advice on California board as well

                                                                                                      Day 6 (Thurs.) – Drive back from Monterey

                                                                                                      Breakfast – in Monterey area (at Katy’s?)

                                                                                                      ** Lunch – ? (Koi Palace, Mingalaba, Shanghai Dunpling or other) – Would it make sense to have lunch in San Jose on drive to SFO?

                                                                                                      Return rental car near/at SFO

                                                                                                      Flight leaves at 4:00 pm

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                        The Greenwich and Filbert upper-tier stairs from Coit to Montgomery are both pretty. Hard to choose which is nicest, but for Montgomery to Sansome, Greenwich is prettier and generally has more parrots.

                                                                                                        Most interesting shops open at 10AM on Haight. Not many snacking or breakfasty options either. It looks like you'll have plenty of time to shop and relax in the Mission district that day.

                                                                                                        There's an active dim sum discussion right now.
                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835201

                                                                                                        Is Toronto known for dim sum? If so, focus less on that, and check out a Burmese recommendation since I'm fairly certain you can't get that easily in Ontario:

                                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                          I have to say as someone who does a lot of traveling/eating (we're retired), you may be overscheduling yourself. Especially in San Francisco, where rush hour traffic, hills, narrow streets, erratic buses and downtown construction make crossing town once, let alone three or four times, a real problem. Frankly, it is better to see a few places in depth to appreciate them, than to cram so much that what you remember most is your feet hurting and that crowded smelly bus with the sticky seats!

                                                                                                          In SF I'd suggest:
                                                                                                          - take that recommendation of Aziza seriously. There is no one in the US, maybe the world, cooking the way Mourad Lahlou is. And pastry chef Melissa Chu is a genius, pure and simple. If you go there – it isn't close to anything else you're doing – plan to try at least 4 or 5 starters, and order flatbread (there's little or no starch included otherwise). The entrees are small; you're expected to have several starters. Most of the starters are brilliant, imaginative creations that go far beyond the simple descriptions.

                                                                                                          - If you stay downtown, Perbacco is outstanding – not just for food but also for service. Some of the best trained waitstaff in the city, bar none. We have had both small plates meals and regular entrees with various friends, and each time the dinners were amazing, although occasionally they falter on dessert.

                                                                                                          - What I would recommend above Perbacco for a "splurge night" is Fifth Floor. When Chef David Barzigan is "on", there is no one better, not even Roland Passot of La Folie. Wonderful food start to finish, including dessert and coffee.

                                                                                                          I will post separately about traveling outside SF – again, just my thoughts!

                                                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                            Traveling around: One tip: don't hassle breakfast. Eat at the nearest cafe, or McDonald's if you have to. In fact, McD's special coffees are better and cheaper than Starbucks anyway (which isn't difficult to accomplish). Keep it quick and simple, concentrate on lunch and dinner.

                                                                                                            AND MAKE RESERVATIONS! This is the Bay Area, we eat out a lot. It always astonishes me that people come here for a 'once in a lifetime' trip and then get frustrated by having to constantly wait to get into good restaurants. And do not 'stiff' a restaurant. If you make a reservation and can't keep it, call them and cancel it. It's basic courtesy, and too many people ignore this.

                                                                                                            5 days is frankly, not enough time to appreciate Monterey/Carmel and also make it up to Napa or Sonoma. If I had to pick as a first-timer, Monterey wins hands down. Sonoma has more rugged, magnificent scenery as well as the prettiest small town square; but the restaurants are the poorest overall (despite the media hype; for example we didn't really like our last meal at Cyrus in 2010), and the Hwy 101 traffic is hideously slow at commute times. Napa has the better restaurants, but the cities aren't that interesting and the scenery is okay but not as breathtaking as Sonoma or Monterey.

                                                                                                            We have gone 4x in the last 2 yrs to Monterey/Carmel, all on midweek 3-4 day trips. Our favs are:

                                                                                                            For breakfast, quick lunch/to go, pastry and coffee stop: Parker Lusseau. Two locations close together in downtown Monterey, which is 1.5 miles north of the Aquarium (easy drive but tiring walk). Opens early, closes late afternoon. Magnificent croissants and ethereal quiches are usually sold out by end of lunch hour rush. Their cakes and fruit-topped kouign amans are killer. How much do we like PL? This is one of the two places we drive 125 miles each way, to patronize in this area. We stop by when we arrive in town, order massive amounts of food for pick-up, and when we're ready to leave town, we return and pack everything up in ice to bring home. We have never found any bakery in the immediate Bay Area to match them.

                                                                                                            Lunch: Fifi's Bistro Cafe in Carmel. Out of the main drag and patronized almost exclusively by locals. Terrific French food, great value at lunch.

                                                                                                            Dinner: Passionfish is good, Montrio is more lively and more interesting, we disliked 1833 because the chef was erratic (when good, very good, when bad – oversalted and even sloppy) and the service is ridiculously amateur, disgraceful at this price. Andre's Bouchee is the second of our two reasons for visiting Monterey/Carmel. Chef Andre Lemaire is a genius with sauces; we adore his sweetbreads, lobster/lobster bisque, lamb, and beef dishes. His son Stephen competently handles lunch, and the service has finally risen to a level that supports such amazing food. It is cheaper than 1833 and frankly, much better. Note that Carmel-by-the-Sea does not use street numbers; Bouchee is on Mission St., between Ocean and 7th.

                                                                                                            Since you will have a car, go out to Asilomar State Park in Pacific Grove if the day is nice. It is glorious, and hardly any tourists ever get there. Nice beach, but even better is that it is midway on the Pacific Coast trail that leads (for over 10 miles) from the Monterey Aquarium all the way around the edge of the coast to Carmel. Midweek you will hardly find anyone, even locals, walking the narrow trail that is right next to the water. It is amazing, a true California experience.

                                                                                                            Returning to SFO? Avoid San Jose, where the traffic will snarl you up. We like Astaria in San Mateo, just a short distance from the airport. Central Park Bistro, also in SM, was pretty good too, but you have to like olive oil, it's on everything. Their lamb chops and lamb-pesto pizza rocked.

                                                                                                            Have fun, and enjoy your trip!

                                                                                                            1. re: tre2012

                                                                                                              1833 has recently been nominated as "Best New Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation.
                                                                                                              It's a pretty good restaurant.
                                                                                                              Here's a link: http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/w...

                                                                                                              1. re: tre2012

                                                                                                                Fifi's is indeed good, but it's in Pacific Grove last I heard.

                                                                                                                Agree about Parker Lusseau--I mentioned upthread but it bears repeating: fantastic bakery. Some friends shared a galette du roi from PL with me a couple of months ago. I'm still thinking about it and even had some other friends bring canneles back to the city for me a couple of weeks ago.

                                                                                                                1. re: Leely2

                                                                                                                  Yes, Fifi's is on Forest Ave, Pacific Grove. I suggested it to the OP on Trip Advisor. We are there often and it is excellent with a fine wine selection at reasonable prices.

                                                                                                              2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                I don't think you need to worry about killing time on Sunday morning. If you're starting at Mama's, Coit Tower and the Filbert steps are on your way. I'm not sure what the "minimum hours" on ferrybuildingmarketplace.com mean but many of the shops are open at 8am and most by 10am. RoliRoti's only there during the Thursday and Saturday markets.

                                                                                                                I'd skip Yank Sing takeout in favor of any of the Chinatown places (and after breakfast at Mama's and grazing the Ferry Building you probably won't be ready for a sit-down meal).

                                                                                                                Taking 1 down the coast you're probably going to want to stop for lunch around Santa Cruz. There's great cheap dim sum in San Jose, and that would break up the long drive.

                                                                                                                Check the prices for picking up a car in the city and returning at SFO. BART to pick up at SFO would cost you $16.

                                                                                                              3. I'm originally from Toronto, and live in the SF Area now so this is interesting to me. Commenting on your 4th revision, I would actually remove all the Chinese-related foods since T.O. has better Chinese in general. The egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery are not particularly good if you've had any at the bakeries in Markham or Scarborough, and Yank Sing is way too expensive for what you can get comparatively back at home, so I'd cut them out. With that same reasoning, I would also ignore Koi Palace on your way back up to the Bay and focus more on the Vietnamese in San Jose or Indian on the Peninsula. Mingalaba is good, but it fills up QUICK. Downtown Burlingame is also kind of unexpectedly cute.

                                                                                                                re: day 2's free time, I'd just wake up later instead. Your vacation's so packed with activities already!

                                                                                                                For day 3, you've packed even more activities in, which I'm not sure how much you'll actually enjoy since you're running from place to place. The view from the deYoung's tower is pretty but in a day packed with the Baths, Ocean Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito AND Alcatraz, I'd leave it out. You can spend an entire day just doing the walk from Ocean Beach over to China Beach, let alone also including Sausalito in it (speaking of which, how are you planning on getting from the Baths over to the GG? Walking around Land's End to the Legion of Honor is one of the most beautiful walks in SF I think). Also, if you're planning on riding a bike across the bridge, I'm not sure if that's possible given that you're coming from the west. The only places that I'm aware of where you can rent bikes is closer to Fisherman's Wharf. And there are no MUNI buses that can take you from SF to Sausalito. There might be some Marin Transit but I don't think they stop where you'll be.

                                                                                                                On day 4 of your itinerary, as a replacement to the no-deYoung, you could just take the 6 or 71 to Buena Vista Park, walk to the top, get some views, and then come back down going west to explore Upper Haight. From there, you could just take either of those buses back to Fillmore then catch the 22 down to the Mission. Also, are you walking down Mission St from Poc Chuc to Humphrey, and then back up on Valencia? I think someone else mentioned this but 826 Valencia is adorable and Paxton Gate is kind of great too. If the sun doesn't set too early, you should make your way out to Dolores Park (one big block west of Valencia at 18th) and hang out there. Also, I probably missed this, but is there a particular reason why you need to pick up your car that night from SFO? It's a lot easier to just do it in the morning, unless you're concerned that you'll run out of time?

                                                                                                                re: day 5 - haven't been to Fandango but Passionfish was pretty good for dinner. Is there a reason why you're driving down to Monterey/Carmel but not seeing Big Sur?

                                                                                                                I also noticed that you don't have much in the way of Peruvian or Burmese. These are two cuisines that definitely stand out here, so you should try to squeeze them in if possible. I particularly like Burmese Kitchen on Larkin north of Civic Center and Inkas Restaurant on Mission St down in the La Lengua neighbourhood.

                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: timeo

                                                                                                                  Vietnamese in San Jose is a great idea. The food court at Grand Century is something you won't find the like of many other places and it's just a few blocks off 101.

                                                                                                                  Grand Century Shopping Mall
                                                                                                                  1001 Story Rd, San Jose, CA

                                                                                                                  Detouring to SFO to pick up a car before driving down the coast to Monterey would add up to two hours to the travel time and not be much fun. The wait in line at Dottie's doesn't fit so well with the rest of the day, either.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                    Vietnamese in SJ is a good idea, Indian is better. It's just hard to recommend because there are many good places and few great places. My taste buds are still ringing from Aachi Aappakadai this weekend, but it's not what I would call one-time-trip-special. The real joy of the south bay is south indian, not sure if you have that in toronto.

                                                                                                                    This is on your last day on the way to the airport -- that would be kind of perfect, as much as I liked a recent trip to Millbrea's Shanghai Dumpling. Hit one of the excellent Indian places in Sunnyvale.

                                                                                                                  2. re: timeo

                                                                                                                    For the love of god..please replace Tartine with Knead Patisserie...

                                                                                                                    1. re: yanks26dmb

                                                                                                                      Knead closes at 3 and does not make bread.

                                                                                                                      1. re: yanks26dmb

                                                                                                                        They win out in terms of not having any lines, but does Knead stock most of their breakfast items throughout the day? The last time I was there (October?), they were sold out of their croissants at 8:30AM, and that wasn't the only time that's happened.

                                                                                                                      2. re: timeo

                                                                                                                        Should I still make a visit to Chinatown, even if not for the food?

                                                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                          We head to SF twice a year and used to live in TO, so I'll chime in to agree with everything timeo said, and to suggest that you walk through Chinatown one way on Grant ("touristy" stuff) and the other way on Stockton (greengrocers, herbalists, dry goods etc) if you can just to compare it with Toronto's several Chinatowns. There are a couple of worthies in here (e.g. I like Dol Ho for really old school dimsum where you can stuff yourself for well under a tenner) but maybe the food doesn't need to be your focus.

                                                                                                                          Do try to get some Burmese in ya (I like Mandalay best at the moment, Burmese Kitchen is second, would love to try Mingalaba) and don't miss the fried chicken at Inka's per timeo's post. Or the yellow sauce. Drool.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                            I mean, the problem of visiting tourist areas in general is that those places usually have awful food and aren't particularly representative of where locals normally hang out. In SF, Fisherman's Wharf is one of those areas. Downtown Chinatown is kind of another one of those areas. Union Square isn't much better either, but at least it has shopping. If you want to visit those places just for the sake of checking them off the box and not so much for eating, I'd say go do it - but do know that those are not generally areas that locals frequent for food. If you do go to downtown Chinatown, I would follow what grayelf suggested (ie. walking down Grant for the ridiculously touristy stuff, ALSO make sure to stop at Li Po Cocktail Lounge at 916 Grant Ave for a blast from the past, and then walk back up via Stockton just to see the street where Chinese people actually shop).

                                                                                                                            I mean, I think part of the experience of visiting a city is seeing the touristy stuff, but if you're okay with doing a non-standard tour of the city, all the more power to you. Otherwise, I'd just do it since Chinatown is kind of on the way to North Beach anyways.

                                                                                                                            1. re: timeo

                                                                                                                              Actually, there are a bunch of places in Chinatown that people on this board recommend. It's touristy but still has a large Chinese population that demands good food, or at least great value.

                                                                                                                              The Wharf, not so much.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                Z and Y in Chinatown is outstanding. It’s our goto place for dinner is SF. And we are picky foodies.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ridge

                                                                                                                                  Sorry, should've been more specific with my terminology. I don't disagree that there are decent places to eat in downtown SF Chinatown - just that there aren't many, hence "kind of another one of those areas"; emphasis on the kind of.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: timeo

                                                                                                                                    There are a lot of good places to eat in Chinatown, just not as many destination spots as in newer Chinese areas such as Clement St., Noriega, and Milpitas. You can easily find a good place in Chinatown by looking at who's eating there.

                                                                                                                                    It's nothing like the Wharf, where if you don't research carefully chances are 50-1 that you'll end up in a tourist trap.

                                                                                                                            2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                              While your walking through Chinatown you might as well stop in and take a look at the fortune cookie factory that has been running forever. I believe it's in Ross Alley. They still have an antiquated machine running and you get the opportunity to pay .50 to take a picture of the set up. " looks like a sweatshop right out in the open!" You do get to taste fortune cookies though. Only takes about 5 minutes and it's on your way.

                                                                                                                            3. re: timeo

                                                                                                                              We split some great suggestions for Carmel and Monterey over to our California board, so that more people will be able to find them in the future. Please check them out here:
                                                                                                                              http://www.chow.com/topics/836752 And if you've got any more suggestions for the areas outside the SF Bay board, please add them there, as well. Thanks!

                                                                                                                            4. Thanks so much to everyone who has posted ideas and advice for our SF itinerary.

                                                                                                                              Need advice - is this one day itinerary doable? It is enough to do? Ideas for lunch on this day (missing from our Itinerary are Peruvian and Burmese, so if there is a good restaurant with either of these types of food in this area that would be great - a few people suggested Inka's for Peruvian, menu looks delicious, but it seems out of the way so it can't be our Peruvian place).

                                                                                                                              Breakfast – Zazie

                                                                                                                              Sightseeing – Golden Gate Park (stop at the deYoung museum and take the elevator to the Tower for stunning views - no admission charge/access to the Tower closes at 4:30 pm)

                                                                                                                              Lunch -

                                                                                                                              Sightseeing - Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach

                                                                                                                              Late Dinner (8 pm or so) – Aziza (plan to try at least 4 or 5 starters, and order flatbread)

                                                                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                The owner of Aziza came out with a beautiful cookbook last October:

                                                                                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Mourad-New-Moro...

                                                                                                                                Order the basteeya.

                                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                  Someone prolly already said this but the cocktails at Aziza are really interesting and (most importantly) delicious.

                                                                                                                                2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                  That's easily doable. Burma Superstar would fit for lunch.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                    Thank you.

                                                                                                                                    If there is another great restaurant in the area we should consider for lunch, that isn't Peruvian or Burmese, please let me know!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                      That sounds like a full and relaxed itinerary, and will give you the opportunity to see some of the best sites in SF. Across the street from the baths is Sutro Heights Park. It's a quick stop, and will give you a great view of Ocean Beach's length.

                                                                                                                                      Aziza aside, the neighborhoods surrounding GG Park (the Richmond and Sunset districts) are strongest for Asian foods and Eastern European foods. Since you'll have eaten Thai already, and the Chinese/Japanese/Ukrainian are great in Toronto, I think Burma Superstar, or the less crowded and IMHO better, Mandalay a few blocks away, are good picks.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                      It will be a Sunday - will BS have a big line at lunch?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                        I don't think so. Troya (Turksh), Singapore-Malaysian, Spices 1 and 2, and Pizzetta 211 are some other good places out there open for lunch.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                          A couple blocks away from BS is Mandalay, which I like better for Burmese. Much less crowded and no lettuce in their Tea Leaf Salad :)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                            What are the prices like at BS? The website's menu doesn't list prices.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                              http://www.allmenus.com/ca/san-franci...

                                                                                                                                              While I'm writing, Zazie opens at 9AM on Sunday and there's usually a wait. That means shops will be open on Haight afterwards, so you can visit there for about an hour before heading to the park if it's a priority.

                                                                                                                                              There's so much to see in GG Park (Japanese Tea Garden, Arboretum, Botanical Garden, De Young, Academy of Sciences), that it can take as much or as little time as you want. An extensive loop of Lincoln Park, Legion of Honor parking lot, Sutro Baths, & Sutro Heights takes me 2.5 hours including many photos.

                                                                                                                                              Finally, the sun sets a bit after 6PM, so good call on being at Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach at that time. You'll have plenty of time to get to Aziza.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                                                I'm assuming we won't need to go back to the hotel to change for dinner at Aziza - jeans/sneakers are okay here?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                  They're not going to turn you away for wearing jeans and sneakers, and jeans are fine everywhere. I would, however, say you will stick out/clash with the atmosphere in say a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers.

                                                                                                                                                  I would try to change shoes, or at least wear a nice jacket or sweater instead of, say, a sweatshirt or windbreaker.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                    People in SF wear whatever they want wherever they go. There's maybe one restaurant with a formal dress code and thousands of foodies who never wear anything but jeans and sneakers, which are under the table anyway.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hyperbowler

                                                                                                                                                    We should again remind OP - if it's foggy (which it shouldn't be in March, but with this crazy weather lately, who can tell?) going out to Sutro Heighs to see the sunset will be a waste of time! I used to feel so sorry for the tourists in the sightseeing buses as they rolled through the Outer Richmond, trying to see the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog beyond the Legion of Honor, LOL.

                                                                                                                                                    Layer, layer, layer. At night it gets really cold in CA, not temp wise but it totally chills you to the bone. Microfleece is the greatest invention since sliced bread, literally.

                                                                                                                                                  3. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                    Re Burmese,we went to BS once for lunch at 2:30 and had to wait on a Tuesday. We may have ordered badly but nothing we had was salutary and I would not return. Mandalay was walk in at lunch though it got busy. We have needed reservations there for dinner the two times we have gone on weekday nights, both slammed, and will be going again next trip. Just be sure to ONLY order the Burmese dishes (they have Mandarin or something as well).

                                                                                                                                                    Also re dress code at Aziza, I would have felt a wee bit funny there in full-on fleece etc so maybe try to wear a "nicer" top under your warm woolies. As Robert points out, your feet and legs are under the table, so it's really only the top of you that anyone is looking at :-).

                                                                                                                                                2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know about Peruvian in that area, but there is a Peruvian restaurant right by your hotel. La Fina Estampa on Bush btw Van Ness & Polk. I've only been there once, but I liked it. The beef in the lomo saltado was very tender. They also bring an interesting trio of sauces with bread to the table.
                                                                                                                                                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-fina-estam...

                                                                                                                                                3. Revised Day 3 - Where to go for lunch in North Beach? I know they are known for Italian... I'm still missing Peruvian though... Lunch could be somewhere else in the area as well.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm not looking for lunch in Chinatown as it seems I can find the same or better in the Toronto area.

                                                                                                                                                  Breakfast – Café Bean (opens 7 am)

                                                                                                                                                  Sightseeing – Chinatown

                                                                                                                                                  Lunch and Sightseeing – North Beach (lunch at ?)

                                                                                                                                                  Visit Ferry building have a bite to eat before ferry to Alcatraz.

                                                                                                                                                  5:40 – Boarding for Alcatraz

                                                                                                                                                  Dinner – Lers Ros

                                                                                                                                                  The list of restaurants I could not fit in is as follows:

                                                                                                                                                  Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous (ice cream)
                                                                                                                                                  Greens (lunch or breakfast)
                                                                                                                                                  Mamacita (Mexican)
                                                                                                                                                  Gorilla BBQ
                                                                                                                                                  R and G/Yum’s Bistro (Cantonese)
                                                                                                                                                  Zuni (Roasted Chicken)
                                                                                                                                                  Gialina (pizza)
                                                                                                                                                  Nopalito or Don Pisto’s or Tacolicious (Mexican)
                                                                                                                                                  Burma Superstar (Burmese)
                                                                                                                                                  Out The Door or Slanted Door (Vietnamese)
                                                                                                                                                  La Taqueira (Mexican)
                                                                                                                                                  La Boulange
                                                                                                                                                  HRD (Korean)
                                                                                                                                                  Dynamo Donuts

                                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                    I could go to Sotto Mare for lunch? But I already have Italian at Perbacco a different night.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                      My choice for lunch would be the crab at R & G Lounge, Kearny near Clay. The crab is fresh and delicious. (Chinatown and North Beach adjoin)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks. Would you consider Perbacco for lunch instead of dinner? Or is it better for dinner? I have Perbacco, Sotto Mare and R&G now as possibilities for lunch that day.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                          Perbacco's great for lunch but it's not in North Beach. Neither is the Ferry Building.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                            Also, aren't Perbacco and Sotto Mare different styles of Italian? A local friend of mine (born & raised & Italian to boot) keeps telling me that I should go visit L'Osteria del Forno in North Beach, but I can't vouch for whether it's any good or not - just that it's not too hard on the wallet and kind of an old school standby in the neighbourhood. Do note that they only take cash. Maybe other CHers can comment?

                                                                                                                                                            Other options in the Chinatown-ish range (+/- 1 mile) are Muracci's Japanese Curry & Grill which serves Japanese curry which isn't super common in T-dot's scene. It does a takeout business lunch kind of thing though, so the inside isn't particularly spacious and it's more of a brief stop than an actual sit down kind of thing. You can also go to Ramen Underground next door (both are on Kearny St south of California, on the west side of the street) for better ramen than Kenzo or Ajisen in Toronto, but Santouka is coming to T.O. in the summer so I'm not sure if you should waste a meal on that)

                                                                                                                                                            Another option is that you do your sightseeing in Chinatown and North Beach then take MUNI back to the Ferry Building where you get food there. You could also eat at The Slanted Door there (which I don't particularly like both taste or value-wise) and then take the F out to Pier 33 for the Alcatraz Tour.

                                                                                                                                                            ps if you're going to Humphrey Slocombe, you could potentially get to Dynamo Donuts since it's just a few more blocks down (okay well maybe more than a 'few', but it's still on the same street, 10 minute walk max) but it's closed Monday and only stays open to 5 on most days (4 on Sunday). You can also get some coffee at Philz Coffee at the corner of Folsom/24th (mmm Silken Splendour).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: timeo

                                                                                                                                                              Sotto Mare is closed on Sunday and Monday, so it won't work for your Day 3 (btw, the historical roots of cioppino aside, there's little overlap between Perbacco and Sotto Mare)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: timeo

                                                                                                                                                                Perbacco and Sotto Mare are radically different in many ways. L'Osteria is another good Italian option in North Beach, so is Ideale.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                              I really vote for R & G but if you go to Perbacco, they have had an out of this world app:

                                                                                                                                                              Truffle egg yolk raviolo.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                How about something simple but tasty for lunch like Tony's Pizza Napoletana in north Beach? Probably some of the best pizza you'll eat, at least on the West Coast!

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                              You know just a few blocks from where you plan to have breakfast is Bobs Donuts. Reaaally good donuts! Or there is Cafe de la Presse at the entrance to Chinatown which has good eggs benedict excellent cafe au lait, outdoor seating and your looking at the Chinatown gate. Just a few more ideas to confuse you lol. The City is a food lovers paradise!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: servpro8912

                                                                                                                                                                There are so many good choices! And I am extremely indecisive so building this itinerary has been very time consuming! I spend a bit of time every day after work salivating over menus as I try to make a plan!

                                                                                                                                                                Here is the latest up to Day 4 (I need to know if I can fit Lombard Street in anywhere, and am wondering if I need a whole morning in the Haight on Day 4 since I am going to that area on Day 2 now - perhaps I can fit in something else before heading to the mission that day)

                                                                                                                                                                I've tried to minimize criss-crossing the city, and hopefully have therefore minimized the amount of walking as well.

                                                                                                                                                                All advice is appreciated! Thank you all!

                                                                                                                                                                Day 1 (Sat.)

                                                                                                                                                                Arrive late (9:30 pm - flight arrives), taxi to hotel (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway)

                                                                                                                                                                "Dinner" - Late night snack near hotel at Grubstake

                                                                                                                                                                Day 2 (Sun.) – Golden Gate Park

                                                                                                                                                                Breakfast – Zazie (opens 9 am – be there before to line up)

                                                                                                                                                                Sightseeing –Golden Gate Park (stop at the deYoung museum and take the elevator to the Tower for stunning views) to

                                                                                                                                                                Lunch – Burma Superstar or Mandalay or Burmese Kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                Sightseeing - Ocean Beach and then to Sutro Baths

                                                                                                                                                                Late Dinner (8 pm or so) – Aziza (closed Tuesdays) (plan to try at least 4 or 5 starters, and order flatbread) (order the basteeya)

                                                                                                                                                                Day 3 (Mon.) –

                                                                                                                                                                Breakfast – Café Bean (opens 7 am) – then Bob’s donuts OR Café de la presse

                                                                                                                                                                Sightseeing – Lombard Street? Chinatown (Coit Tower and Filbert Stairs)

                                                                                                                                                                Lunch and Sightseeing – North Beach (lunch at Tony’s Piiza or l’osteria del forno or Perbacco – Truffle Egg Yolk Ravioli?)

                                                                                                                                                                Visit Ferry building have a bite to eat before ferry to Alcatraz.

                                                                                                                                                                5:40 – Boarding for Alcatraz

                                                                                                                                                                Dinner – Lers Ros

                                                                                                                                                                Day 4 (Tues)

                                                                                                                                                                Breakfast –Mama’s (closed Mondays) (1701 Stockton Street) - get there early and while one of us is in line here, the other will be in line at Liguria Bakery for onion foccaccia

                                                                                                                                                                ** (I think I don't need this here -what should we do instead?) Sightseeing – Visit the Haight district - walk the North side of South Side of Haight as far as you want, return on the North side of Haight

                                                                                                                                                                Late Lunch – Mission District - Poc Chuc (closed Sunday) (Mexican) and dessert at Humphrey Slocumbe/Bi-Rite creamery/Tartine/Dynamo Donuts

                                                                                                                                                                Sightseeing – Mission District - walk along Valencia and stop at Tartine bakery (pick up breakfast/snacks for drive to Monterey)

                                                                                                                                                                Pick up rental car somewhere nearby? (our hotel deal was with free parking)

                                                                                                                                                                Late Dinner – Perbacco (closed Sundays) or Sotto Mare

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                  I think Tony's Pizza is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays--better check though.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                    We've eaten at Cafe Bean once as we stay in that area-ish every trip. It was okay to good. I'd prolly pick Cafe de la presse over it for the bennies or the oeufs a la meurette (red wine and lardons for brekky, nice). Too bad it's not a Sunday or you could try Canteen's breakfast. None of these places have third-wave coffee if you care about that.

                                                                                                                                                                    Re Lombard we drove down it accidentally on our first trip to SF at sunset and that was great. We've been back in the daylight on foot and it wasn't as cool. Something about going around those hairpins in a vehicle, even slowly, I guess... also as a frequent visitor, I thought the Haight was fun for a stroll but that's about it, per others' comments. I'd rather spend time in other hoods personally, particularly for food. Toronado in the Lower Haight is worth a stop if you love beer as mentioned below.

                                                                                                                                                                    I really really like the "appetizers" at Lers Ros and have had less luck with the mains on our three visits. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                              2. For Sunday evening I've chosen Aziza, should I consider going here early for a "light" dinner (6:00 or 6:30) and then eating somewhere else on the way back to the hotel at Van Ness/Pine Street? I noticed if we take transit back we go through Japantown. Is it worth a stop there after Aziza either for Dinner 2 or a snack and look around?

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                  In my opinion, Aziza should be the main event. I think walking around Japantown is more fun in the day time when all the shops are open.

                                                                                                                                                                  Since your hotel is only 2 blocks from Swan Oyster Depot, you should go there, at least for a snack. They close at about 5:30 and are closed on Sun. The to-go line is much shorter. Really fresh crab & prawn salad, seafood cocktails, oysters.

                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe it's just me, but I don't find Haight St all that interesting. If you like to drink, some bars (like Alembic) are very popular.

                                                                                                                                                                  Do go to Bi-Rite for ice cream. If there is a line, I'm told you can skip the line if you're buying a pint. Must have flavor: Salted Caramel.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                    I agree, Haight's not that much of a foodie destination. Alembic, Magnolia, and way down the hill Memphis Minnie's and Toronado. Upper Haight is mostly obnoxious panhandling hobos and shops aimed at suburban teens.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                      Good or bad, the Haight certainly gives a unique flavor (and patchouli/BO smell) of SF that they're not going to find elsewhere on this trip. I think it's a spot worth visiting for the shops and experience (or drinks at night), but there's no need to visit there twice. If you go there, don't forget to look up-- there are many nice Victorians in that neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                      Scratch of Burmese Kitchen--- wrong side of town

                                                                                                                                                                      SF's doughnut scene is pretty lackluster. Bob's probably makes the best standard cake doughnuts in town, but I'd focus on a local specialty instead.

                                                                                                                                                                      After Mama's, walk to the twisty bit of Lombard. Take the Cable Car down the hill to Bart and head to the Mission

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                        I completely agree. If you are a connoisseur of schlock this is the place to go, otherwise avoid it. The Lower Haight, however, is more than BBQ and beer. NOPA, Nopalito, Bar Crudo, to name a few. (Alright, if you want to be picky these three are officially in the Western Addittion.)

                                                                                                                                                                        The coast either north or south is beautiful but the advantage of going north is that you wind up at Bodega Bay and THE BEST CHOWDER IN THE WORLD! at the Spud Point Crab Company.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                        also there are two windows at bi-rite, one for soft serve and one for hard ice cream. the soft serve is good to and usually has no line.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Just booked my Aziza dinner! Looking forward to it. If we do L'Osteria del Forno or Perbacco for lunch will I need a reservation? If we end up going to Tadich or Sotto Mare are reservations required there? Lers Ros takes reservations - is the only way to do so by calling them? We will be there around 10 or so on a Monday night - will it be busy? One of the reviews said it's best to get a table by the window or wall otherwise you are squished amongst other customers.

                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                        No reservations at Tadich, you give your name to the bartenders when you enter. I've always enjoyed the Tadich experience myself.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: curiousgeo

                                                                                                                                                                          No reservations at Sotto Mare either, which is why I haven't made it there... yet!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                          L'Osteria and Tadich do not take reservations. You probably wouldn't need one at Perbacco for lunch, the place is huge. Lers Ros won't be busy at 10 on a Monday and the tables aren't all that close together.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                            Will there be a wait for lunch around 1 on a Monday at Tadich, Perbacco or L'Osteria?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                              Any place near the financial district (e.g. Tacich and Perbacco) will be packed between 11:30 and 1:30 as all the bankers etc. have lunch meetings.

                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure about L'Osteria.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goldangl95

                                                                                                                                                                                Tadich is always slammed for lunch but not because of bankers having lunch meetings. Bond traders dining solo at the counter at their favorite server's station? Perhaps. I go there around 2:30 p.m., sit at the counter, order a martini and ask the waiter what's ok. A little daily guidance helps.

                                                                                                                                                                                A few doors down is Perbacco. It's trendy with good Italian food/wines. It's earned its popularity. It gets slammed at lunch. One Market is another favorite of the FiDi denizens. This is where the meetings are held.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                              I was at Perbacco on a Tuesday recently for an unplanned lunch meeting. We went at noon and the wait for 4 people was 45 minutes. The restaurant was packed. As we were standing there, someone with a reservation called in and cancelled, so we got their table. The hostess said they are often that busy at lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: artemis

                                                                                                                                                                                There is also Barbacco downstairs which does lunch. We needed our lunchtime reservation on a Tuesday last November.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. For Day 4 of the trip we are going to Mama's for breakfast and Poc Chuc for lunch. I am considering Delfina Pizzeria for dinner to stay in the area. What other places should I consider for dinner in the mission or close by?

                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                              Poc Chuc is probably more something you can't get at home. If you want to try that local style of pizza, you might do Cotogna for lunch instead of Perbacco.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry Robert - I meant Mama's for breakfast and Poc Chuc for lunch (I edited my post). So, are there other options in the mission or nearby I should look into? Peruvian maybe?

                                                                                                                                                                                Or are there any other neighborhoods I should consider eating at and visiting for dinner that night?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe you could fit in Inka's after all. It's in a different part of the Mission but it is still the Mission. Lots of buses around here to hop on and the BART is pretty handy too (very near Poc Chuc actually). Don't forget the salpicon de res at PC!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                    Since you asked about the Mission, here's a nice summary and helpful graphic of new-ish places in the Valencia corridor:
                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.7x7.com/eat-drink/latest-r...
                                                                                                                                                                                    addendum to the article:
                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.7x7.com/eat-drink/state-mi...
                                                                                                                                                                                    (I had a great dinner at Locanda)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've skimmed this thread, so sorry if this has been said, but a late lunch followed by ice cream after Mama's strikes me as a bit ambitious. There's a lot happening in the Mission, so it deserves more of a late pop in.

                                                                                                                                                                                Also best to combine the picnic/Yank Sing day with your Ferry Building visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                I personally don't think Zazie or Azziza are worthy destinations, but others will passionately disagree. Outerlands is an option closer to Ocean Beach.

                                                                                                                                                                                Liguria Bakery is a take what you can get situation, but unless you have a preference for onion, that doesn't strike me as their go to best offering. Even the raisin is really good. If they offer to cut it, let them. That way it's easier to eat in strips while on the go.

                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                                                  I am now planning to spend lunch and dinner in the mission.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Where would you go instead of Zazie for breakfast on a Sunday (open at 8 or 9 am) that offers lots of non-egg options for my husband and is either close to our hotel (van ness/california area) or on the way to golden gate park?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                    Check out the breakfast and brunch menusat Brenda's French Soul Food which is about a 10 minute walk from your hotel.

                                                                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                                                                    Brenda's French Soul Food
                                                                                                                                                                                    652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobpantzer

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks - it's on my list as a possible stop before leaving for Monterey another day, but maybe it would be better to go here before Golden Gate Park.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                      Brenda's was also going to be my suggestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/840126

                                                                                                                                                                                          Day 1 and 2 reports are now posted (Canteen, Mandalay, Cliff House, Aziza, Brenda's French Soul Food, Ferry Building, and Lers Ros).

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                              TeacherFoodie, I'm also a Torontonian heading to SF in may for 4 days.. thanks so much for posting all of your research! I am getting some great ideas...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                Have a great time! Don't forget to eat cioppino and dungeness crab! I would probably go to Scoma's or Tadich Grill at some point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't miss Aziza, it was my favourite SF restaurant of the trip and definitely get some tea leaf salad at Mandalay, or another Burmese restaurant! Since returning we tried to make some ourselves and got some in Ottawa, but it just didn't compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, the pomme d'amour at Knead was life-altering (as my brother-in-law likes to say about food).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aziza was top of my list, but the friend that I was going checked out the menu on-line and decided that nothing there appealed to her, which shocked me!! I was drooling over half of the menu (despite being a frankly picky eater). Hope that the Burmese appeals to her...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Condolences on having a friend who won't go to Aziza!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go by yourself to aziza and send the friend elsewhere!!! I am a bit of a picky eater and loved everything we tried at aziza. It can't hurt to try!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Amazing! Enjoy. Go to ocean beach before or after and have a drink at cliff house. Best to go while it is still light out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey TeacherFoodie.. we did end up going, and it was a truly fabulous meal! Great recommendation...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rstuart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I am glad you enjoyed! What did you order?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had a wonderful drink with meyer lemon, cognac and sparkling wine. I am not much of a drinker,but it went down alarmingly quickly! We split the dips with flatbread..so good. There was a smoky one that I just adored. I had the farro with legumes and truffles (!!), and my friend had the couscous with artichoke. Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert. Great value for what we had...