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Best Veal Parmigiana In SF?

Hoc Feb 24, 2012 10:11 PM

Up until a couple of months ago, if anyone asked me, I could say that Little Joe's has the best Veal Parmigiana in San Francisco. I've been eating it since 1983, when I lived there. After that, I moved to Orange County, where we have not a single decent Italian restaurant I've found. So, I would travel to SF every couple of months, and without fail, always have at least one meal of Veal Parmigiana at Little Joe's on the trip.

Now, I've heard that the restaurant has closed for good. I've heard that many times in the past, when they had just moved. But now, it looks like it truly is gone for good (Franco looked sick when I was there a few months ago, and last time I was there, he was conspicuously missing from the restaurant -- very unusual for him).

So, given that there are still no decent Italian places down in Orange County, I will still need to go up to SF for my Veal Parmigiana. However, with Little Joe's closed, does anyone have any recommendations on where to go for the best? Not merely good, but outstanding Veal Parmigiana?


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  1. wolfe RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 01:41 AM

    I haven't been there but since you are a VP expert please report on the version at the new Original Joe's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe
      Hoc RE: wolfe Feb 25, 2012 10:28 AM

      Not an expert, just a lover. Original Joe's VP was just adequate when it was in the tenderloin. I don't suspect that it changed just because it moved to North Beach.

    2. v
      vulber RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 09:29 AM

      little joe's didn't close, it just relocated to 7th and market

      4 Replies
      1. re: vulber
        Robert Lauriston RE: vulber Feb 25, 2012 09:49 AM

        Yeah, 1106 Market, in the Renoir Hotel. Same old menu.


        1. re: vulber
          drewskiSF RE: vulber Feb 25, 2012 10:05 AM

          FWIW, there's a 2/20/2012 post on Yelp saying this new location is now closed.

          1. re: drewskiSF
            Robert Lauriston RE: drewskiSF Feb 25, 2012 10:25 AM

            Oh well, in that case, Original Joe's is probably the best bet.


          2. re: vulber
            Hoc RE: vulber Feb 25, 2012 10:24 AM

            I heard that it relocated to 7th and Market, and then that location closed.

          3. d
            DavidT RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 09:43 AM

            If you are willing to cross the city limits, Joe's of Westlake in Daly City serves a serious VP.

            14 Replies
            1. re: DavidT
              Hoc RE: DavidT Feb 25, 2012 10:27 AM

              How far is it from the Daly City BART stop?

              1. re: Hoc
                Robert Lauriston RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 10:28 AM

                It's about a mile.

                1. re: Hoc
                  drewskiSF RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 10:30 AM

                  about a mile

                  1. re: drewskiSF
                    Hoc RE: drewskiSF Feb 25, 2012 11:30 AM

                    A long walk, but doable.

                    1. re: Hoc
                      Robert Lauriston RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 12:56 PM

                      I've done it going to Gerry's (sadly now closed) in the mall across the street. Eight blocks, pretty much flat, good sidewalks. There are also a couple of buses. It's very suburban, the new Original Joe's is in a much more interesting neighborhood (North Beach).

                  2. re: Hoc
                    walker RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 12:06 PM

                    You can find cabs at DC Bart.

                    1. re: walker
                      Hoc RE: walker Feb 25, 2012 12:49 PM

                      I generally don't take cabs when in SF. I walk, BART or Muni.

                      1. re: Hoc
                        pamf RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 03:22 PM

                        Daly City is not like SF. It's very suburban, like Robert said. It's not that long of a walk but you have to cross a huge intersection with freeway entrances and then cross a bridge over the freeway, it's not that pedestrian friendly. It's usually pretty windy and cold there too. There are buses (the #110 and #120) but they run infrequently and not very late at night.

                        There usually cabs waiting at the station, it would definitely make dinner more pleasant to take a cab at least one way.

                        1. re: pamf
                          DavidT RE: pamf Feb 25, 2012 05:55 PM

                          I don't think the "huge intersection" is quite that huge. I am almost positive that the roadway that crosses over the highway (#280) does have sidewalks for pedestrians and I am sure that a number of people who live in the area do walk to & from the BART station to their homes regularly.

                          Should you decide to visit Joe's of Westlake, I would suggest sitting at the counter and watching the line cooks do their thing. They put on quite a show.

                  3. re: DavidT
                    ChowFun_derek RE: DavidT Feb 25, 2012 12:54 PM

                    I second Westlake Joes' ..big portion crispy breaded veal (or chicken) piquant tomato sauce, good fresh crispy bread...fun through the looking glass-time machine ..mid century modern place...! I have mine with a side of spaghetti with butter and garlic...
                    When you arrive at Bart it is downhill all the way to the restaurant...HOWEVER... after you're stuffed..it is all uphill after that!

                    I also remember having a good veal parmigiana at Gold Mirror..out on Taraval...the Muni Metro goes right by...

                    here's a link:


                    1. re: ChowFun_derek
                      DavidT RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 25, 2012 05:59 PM

                      Marcello's, a little further out on Traval (at 30th Ave.), is another old-school Italian place that serves VP. I have not had it there so I cannot recommend it one way or the other.

                      1. re: ChowFun_derek
                        Hoc RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 26, 2012 10:15 AM

                        Just FYI -- I don't care about the portion size. Most US Restaurants serve too much food as a portion, anyway. What I care about is the quality and taste. Rather have a thimbleful of good soup than a bucket full of slop.

                        1. re: Hoc
                          chocolatetartguy RE: Hoc Jun 27, 2012 05:23 PM

                          Speaking of US Restaurants have you tried the US Restaurant on Columbus? Pretty sure they used to have veal parm and the menu now lists a US Parmigiana made with a beef cutlet. Don't think I ever had it in all the times I have been there over the years.

                          1. re: chocolatetartguy
                            Hoc RE: chocolatetartguy Jul 3, 2012 02:17 AM

                            I've eaten there. Very disappointing.

                    2. w
                      waldrons RE: Hoc Feb 25, 2012 06:55 PM

                      You could also try Sodini's Green Valley at 510 Green in North Beach.

                      1. c
                        Calvinist RE: Hoc Feb 27, 2012 12:10 PM

                        I had the Veal Parmigiana at The Gold Mirror last summer. I quite enjoyed it, as well as the old-school SF vibe of the place.

                        And regarding the new North Beach Originals Joe's. I would recommend trying it as reports are they have seriously improved quality in their new location. They are trying to make a big splash in the new space.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Calvinist
                          ChowFun_derek RE: Calvinist Feb 27, 2012 04:42 PM

                          I was told that the prices reflect its' new surroundings....has anyone been? Can you share about the cost as well as the food quality?

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek
                            DavidT RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 27, 2012 04:51 PM

                            Here is link to the menu pages for the new Original Joe's. You can check out the prices for yourself.


                            1. re: DavidT
                              Hoc RE: DavidT Feb 29, 2012 08:17 AM

                              Well, the price for VP is about double what it was at Little Joe's, but if it's great, I'll certainly try it.

                            2. re: ChowFun_derek
                              Robert Lauriston RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 27, 2012 04:52 PM

                              Prices are online: http://originaljoessf.com/menus/dinner

                              Reports say portions are smaller than the old meal and a half: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/830364

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                ChowFun_derek RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 27, 2012 05:30 PM

                                Thank you both.....the prices were higher than I had even imagined....25 dollars for sweetbreads? What a difference...

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                  Robert Lauriston RE: ChowFun_derek Feb 28, 2012 12:27 PM

                                  Old-school food at old-school prices, go to Sam's. I think sweetbreads are still $16, though I wouldn't be surprised if the new Original Joe's cooks them more carefully.

                                2. re: Robert Lauriston
                                  vulber RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 27, 2012 11:14 PM

                                  reports also say that quality has improved too; no more canned vegetables, no more pre-cooked spaghetti (in the examiner review)

                                  1. re: vulber
                                    walker RE: vulber Feb 28, 2012 12:15 PM

                                    When I went to the one on Taylor (for many years) the veggies were fresh.

                                    1. re: walker
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: walker Feb 28, 2012 12:25 PM

                                      Most of the vegetables at the old place were fresh but Unterman's remark in her review was that they're now using fresh beets rather than canned in the chopped salad.

                            3. The Chowhound Team RE: Hoc Mar 1, 2012 10:49 AM

                              We moved a recommendation for Veal Parmigiana closer to home back to the LA board at: http://www.chow.com/topics/836564

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                Hoc RE: The Chowhound Team Mar 5, 2012 03:02 PM

                                Thank you.

                              2. h
                                Hoc RE: Hoc Jun 27, 2012 05:01 PM

                                OK, so I tried Westlake Joe's on Sunday. It was pretty meh. Veal was soggy, sauce was OK, but nothing to write home about, and the ravioli were so-so. Original Joe's in San Jose serves a better Veal Parmigiana, but even that one doesn't come close to the one that used to be served by Little Joe's in SF.

                                1. a
                                  alfairfax RE: Hoc Jun 28, 2012 07:24 AM

                                  Marin Joes, in Corte Madera (no BART, only Golden Gate Transit busses for mass transit; sorry) was started by cousins of the original family of Original Joes and was a virtual imitation of that. Menu largely unchanged for many decades and of course has Veal Parmigniana.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alfairfax
                                    Hoc RE: alfairfax Jul 3, 2012 02:18 AM

                                    I never really was impressed by Original Joe's Veal Parmigiana. The one in San Jose is OK, but nothing to compare to Little Joe's in SF.

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