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Mar 12, 2012 01:39 PM

Several days in San Fran

HI all,

I'm excited to be posting for the first time on a San Fran chowhound board! If you can believe I'm about to turn 40 and have never been to this fantastic city! I will be here on Easter weekend - Thursday - Sunday. We like American food, some Asian, no sushi, Italian, Pizza, Seafood.

This is what I have so far, but am also looking for 'snack' ideas. Things that you must get in san fran...

Tadich Grill (I know this get mixed reviews but we love this type of old school seafood places). Maybe for lunch.

House of Nanking or Burma Superstar. If I had to pick one, which would it be?

Delfina for pizza
Humphre Slocombe for ice cream
Tartine for morning pastry

As a Sat plan, I thought it would be good to go to the Ferry Building market and browse/eat and then take the Ferry to SausaIito where I also need recs... I'm thinking if we take the Ferry early, we can go to Lighthouse Cafe for pancakes. Are they good? If not, maybe Fish for lunch?

Lastly, and I know this is a food board... but if anyone could let me know if Beach Blanket Babylon is worth it that would be great.

Also, does the city shut down on Easter... are shops/restaurants primarily close?


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  1. If you love places like Tadich, you might try Sam's Grill (very similar to Tadich but slightly lower prices and takes reservations) or Alfred's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks Robert... I will check both out!

    2. I would avoid House of Nanking.

      1. There's far better regional Chinese food and American Chinese food around here than House of Nanking. I'll admit that House of Nanking has a few items on the menu that you won't find anywhere else (in SF or Nanking...). But even for what it is, the quality has consistently gotten worse.

        Burmese food is a much better pick because, I'm guessing, that's not available in D.C. Burma Superstar is good, but the wait is always long. I prefer Mandalay, which is only a few blocks away, and has a fantastic hot sauce. I find the salads to be the best items on the menu (e.g., the rainbow, mango, or ginger salads; tea leaf is popular, but I find it too bitter). Both places have menus scattered with Chinese inspired dishes that are no better executed than what you'd get in DC, so avoid those (Mandalay's smoked tea duck, e.g. is pretty bad). Note that both places are in the Inner Richmond, on the western side of SF.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          Great, thanks for the feedback. Burmese is indeed hard to come by in DC. I will check out Mandalay. I've had too people recommend nanking so that is also good to know. Are there any good straight up basic Chinese places that are good? And what about Thai?

          Also any Mediterranean/Greek places would be good...

          Thanks again,

          1. re: jodik

            Lers Ros is great Thai.

            Kokkari is excellent high-end Greek.

            1. re: jodik

              Lers Ros is great, and has lots of items not common at Thai places elsewhere. Some tips on their specialties, but do some more searches too:

              As a replacement for House of Nanking (on the North Beach/Chinatown border), three options come to mind. Yuet Lee has good and not too pricey Cantonese food, especially seafood. They post a "top 10" items list inside there, and all the items on it that I've tried have been great. For classy (and pricey) dim sum, Yank Sing is further south. For Shanghai style, there's Bund, and for Sichuan style, there's Z & Y. There are also several good, if not better, places further away if you're interested.

              I think the Greek is generally better in the midwest or East Coast than SF. Sticking with the Northeast part of the city ... I haven't had Turkish in SF proper, but use the search function to identify some Turkish places, especially those w/ housemade pita. At a higher pricepoint, Saha does Yemenese Arabic Cuisine but with a California spin. Great stuff and lots of small plate options. Maykadeh does good Iranian food, especially their kebabs.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Thank you for all the great recs! And Lers ros looks fantastic!

          2. Bar Crudo is quite good if you like seafood and small plates. Tadich can be good but it's a good idea to sit at the dining bar and ask your waiter for a recommendation.

            1. Beach Blanket Babylon is one of those "only in San Francisco" kind of shows, and they have a Sunday matinee. My guess is that they'll still have one on Easter Sunday, but you should check their website. Going to the matinee puts you in North Beach at dinner time (show time is 2 pm, the show ends around 5) and lots of choices there. You didn't request a rec for Sunday eve so I don't know what your plan is for that day.

              6 Replies
              1. re: alwayshungrygal

                That's a. Food plan for Sunday! I will try to get tickets on Easter. What else is in north beach that's good outside of the above Asian recs from hyperbowler? I'm thinking light meals or snack like stuff...

                1. re: jodik

                  Many of the Italian places close shop on regular Sundays, so you may want to call any recommended places to ensure they'll be open on Easter.

                  1. re: hyperbowler

                    I personally LOVE Burma Superstar, although the waits are long. Their sister restaurant, B-Star, is just down the street and does accept reservations.

                    For Mediterranean/Greek Kokkari is phenomenal. Very nice ambiance, great cocktails/wine menu, food is consistantly delicious and service is usually spot on. A little pricy though. You could also check out Saha... a somewhat hidden but well-reviewed spot in the Hotel Carlton. It's Yemeni-fusion. Intimate space, lots of small plates for sharing. If you do make it to Saha, try the Yemeni Helba.

                    1. re: jdinsf

                      I don't think any trip to SF would be complete without a proper SF burrito.

                      this is my favorite (not gourmet - but really good).... simple but very good. I am sure other can recommend their favorite.

                      1. re: sparky403

                        As CH Wolfe has said before...the burrito is California's slice of pizza.

                        The closest real taqueria to get a Mission burrito to downtown and Union Square is Cancun at 6th and Market. I'd get the al pastor.

                  2. re: jodik

                    There's a great little market on Grant Street in North Beach called Little Vine with wonderful cheeses and gourmet snack items that might be what you are looking for. There are tons of cafes on Columbus where you can get a cappuccino and/or biscotti in the afternoon.

                    If you are looking for something more substantial, Park Tavern on Washington Square Park has great food, including a bunch of small plates that you could enjoy at the bar. If its not raining or too chilly, you could also eat outside and look out at the park.

                    Another excellent option is Rose Pistola on Columbus, which has a great selection of small plates perfect for an afternoon snack or light lunch. It can be a little pricey, but the food is wonderful and atmosphere is quite pleasant. The marinated octopus and potato appetizer is delicious, as are the thin crust pizzas.

                    You could also hit Gelateria Naia post or pre-show.

                    Have fun!