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Visiting from Boston with my 15 yo daughter

She's a fairly adventurous eater, generally. She likes seafood and is fond of our local oysters. Will eat spicy food, but not fond of Indian. I'm thinking of one fancyish meal and maybe one at a good SF Chinese restaurant. I've got a reservation at Coi, should I keep it or go elswhere? Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building has awesome oysters (casual with some tables). If you are here on a Saturday, you should stop by the Ferry Building Sat morning for their farmers market.

    Bar Crudo, is a restaraunt, that has a good oyster selection and interesting takes on seafood dishes.

    There are also some good old school seafood houses, but I imagine coming from Boston those are not of much interest.

    1. Mission Chinese Food could be a good choice bc it's in the heart of the Mission and, depending on what you order, you can have a very spicy meal. Personally I don't like every dish to be spicy, so I try to vary it. Pig ears, numbing chicken, savory custard, and pork jowl are among my favorites there. Lers Ros is excellent Thai, the one in Hayes Valley gives you a chance to explore another fun neighborhood. Both are inexpensive (entrees < $15).

      1. Yank Sing in Rincon Center for lunch. The best dim sum in town.
        Bonus: Check out the WPA murals depicting the history of California in the old post office at the front of the building.
        Zuni is a good fancy-ish sophisticated place for a kid that likes oysters.
        The Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Bldg. is good too.
        Wandering around the Ferry Bldg. poking one's head into all the shops is fun. Lots of good food.
        Don't go to Swan's Oyster depot.
        It's the perennial favorite that's' really just a cheesy overpriced tourist rip off.

        9 Replies
          1. re: melvin

            This nontourist loves Swan's. Local institution with really fresh seafood.

            1. re: rubadubgdub

              I'm very curious on one point. Is Swan's the same type of seafood place one finds in Boston?

              1. re: goldangl95

                I think so, although I was a starving student when I lived in Boston and my dining out was very limited. Think fresh seafood served simply in what looks like a fish shop and you get the idea. I would recommend having Dungeness crab there or anywhere in town, even if it's not local, since you can't get that out East readily.

                1. re: rubadubgdub

                  Ditto on non-tourist loving Swan's. Great place, much prefer it to the really tourist-packed Hog Island Oyster Co.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    Yes but, if one is coming from Boston, would you pick Swan's over Saturday Morning Farmer's Market Ferry Building + Hog Island Oyster Co.?

                    I am not too familiar with the food scene in Boston (only been there twice) and I'm not very familiar with Swan's either..but I can imagine you can find a Swan's in Boston.

                    1. re: goldangl95

                      Yes but in Boston you would probably have to order lobster instead of Dungeness Crab.

                      1. re: goldangl95

                        No need to go to either Swan's or Hog Island for oysters since there are plenty of places that serve good oysters in more comfortable environments without being tourist traps (Bar Crudo, Waterbar, Zuni, Farallon, etc). The Ferry Building is definitely worth visiting but the wait for an uncomfortable seat at Hog Island will be pretty long on a Saturday. Might as well walk over to Waterbar, which is just a few blocks away.

                2. My soon-to-be 16 yr old loves Barbacco & Perbacco (contemporary Italian, casual upscale with latter being more formal, though not high end).

                  Also second the rec for Yank Sing...great SF institution. Afterwards, you can walk just around the block & find yourself right in front of the Bay Bridge.

                  I third or fourth the Hog Island Oyster Co. rec. Also at the Ferry Bldg, my girls love Acme Bread & Recchiutti chocolates.

                  1. I'll second Yank Sing for their dim sum, and would also suggest walking around Chinatown one afternoon. There's a fortune cookie factory on Ross Alley where they make fresh fortune cookies. They'll give you a free sample of a delicious warm fortune cookie.

                    Are you staying in Union Square? I'd also recommend hitting the Westfield Food Court (which is not really a "food court" in the traditional sense of the term) for a snack or lunch followed by some shopping. The food court has upscale versions of a traditional food court food, like Coriander Thai (I'm not sure if your daughter likes Thai if she's not into Indian), Buckhorn Grill (known for their grilled beef tri-tip), a specialty cream puff shop, and a high-end grocer with good prepared foods. There's also Out the Door, the fast/casual version of the popular Slanted Door in the Ferry Building has both a take-out and sit-down option there. My husband is from Boston, and his family loves the Slanted Door!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LaBuonaForchetta

                      The Westfield food court might not have outposts of Sbarro or McDonald's, but it still feels like a food court (loud, cramped and crowded) plus (minus?) it's in a mall basement. I stop there (Sorabol or Coriander) for quick bites because it's in between my gym and the Powell underground metro stop, but I don't recommend it to anyone unless the convenience makes it necessary.

                      Nearby, I'll vouch for La Boulange (on Market at 3rd, or the new one right nearby at Metreon), Super Duper Burger, Tropisueno, or The Grove (slightly farther away at Mission at 3rd). None of these is more expensive (in my experience) than the Westfield food court, but the atmosphere (perhaps excepting Super Duper) is far better.

                      Also -- Out the Door at Westfield is still closed and has been for months. I seriously doubt they'll be reopening at all, but I'm not sure.

                      1. re: Frosty Melon

                        I agree that the Westfield food court is unpleasant. In that area my son likes the Mexican food at Tropisueno. I think it's pretty good, too. He likes to follow up with a cream puff from Beard Papa's a couple doors down. (I loathe them, but teens seem to like them.)

                    2. Another suggestion for seafood: Farallon.
                      Close to Union Square.
                      It's worth asking for a table in the back room.
                      The food is fantastic and the place is beautiful.
                      Real eye candy for kids and adults.
                      it's fancy.
                      I don't know why I didn't suggest this right off the bat. Slipped my mind.
                      This has been a favorite spot for taking out-of-towners for a special night out for years.
                      The gorgeous (real) Italians loved it.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: melvin

                        Ack Melvin, not to be contrary to all your posts, but we are complete opposites and i feel compelled to offer another point of view...

                        Farallon to me is stuffy and overpriced for the food. beautiful but cold and sterile.

                        Although I do agree with wandering through Ferry Plaza.

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          Thanks for all the conitinued suggestions. I don't know where we'll stay, or even in town.
                          Anyone with comments on Coi? Should I keep the reservation or switch our "fancy" meal to Farallon?....or not maria. The dim sum sounds like a real winner.

                          1. re: justbeingpolite

                            Regarding Coi, I'd say it really depends on your daughter. At 15, I probably would not have appreciated Coi the way I would as an adult, but your daughter could be a different story. Dinner will be on the long side, and the dishes are unique and innovative. If she's really into food, she'd probably love the experience. But a lot of 15 year olds might find the meal too lengthy and would be put off by trendy preparations like foams or dishes that are "deconstructed".

                            Perbacco is another excellent suggestion for a "fancy" dinner. Its not as upscale as Coi, but might be more of what you are looking for. The food is excellent. Its a modern take on classic Italian, so the flavors would be familiar but very refined. I would feel comfortable recommending it to the most discerning diners, but have also gone with kids and teenagers who loved their meals.

                            If you are looking for something comparably "fancy" I'd consider Fleur de Lys. The atmosphere is very high-end, and the food upscale and sometimes whimsical. For example, I had the Fleurburger for dessert, which is a chocolate ganache sandwiched between 2 beignets and served with a mini milkshake.

                          2. re: mariacarmen

                            I agree with MariaCarmen on Farallon. It feels very formal in a late 80s early 90s way. The decor is very unique and interesting, but the crowd would probably read old for a 15 year old.

                            1. re: goldangl95

                              Thanks, all. I'll see if I can book either Perbacco or Fleur de Lys.

                              1. re: justbeingpolite

                                I think Fleur de Lys would feel very stuffy to a 15-year-old. If you're going to do high-end French, it should be La Folie.

                                If you want something that's more in the modern vein, I suggest AQ. They use some modernist techniques but the food isn't overly weird or precious, and it's got a less formal, more trendy vibe. I like Perbacco, but I'd suggest doing Barbacco for a more casual meal and do your "fancyish" meal somewhere else.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Agree with Ruth regarding Fleur de Lys. Very stuffy.
                                  She'll want to reconsider embracing adulthood.
                                  Boulevard is a perennial consensus favorite worth considering.
                                  It's fancy and beautiful without being uptight like FdL, and the food is very good.
                                  If the weather is nice, sitting outside on the patio at Foreign Cinema would be a blast for a kid (and her mom or dad). It's a really fun place.
                                  The food is good, and it's also a member of the fresh oyster cult.

                                  1. re: melvin

                                    One of my favorite experiences showing a 13 year old cousin Sf was strait's, before it closed, the baked oysters. And the cheese plate at Jardinere. I would try places a little more adventurous than FC or Boulevard - like Incanto, Aziza, Zare at Flytrap, AQ, Skool, Jai Yun, and even Delfina.. Once you've fed them uni flan, they can't go back to the farm.

                                    Some of the trucks - find out where The Chairman is, stop by the Toyense by the Best Buy almost-under-the-freeway.

                                    1. re: bbulkow

                                      Incanto is great, but somehow combining teenagers and offal didn't immediately spring to mind.
                                      Depending on the teenager it could work.
                                      That pig blood pappardelle with foie gras is out of this world.
                                      Which of the places you mentioned has the uni flan? That sounds amazing.

                        2. Here's the standard "get a Mission burrito" if you're not from California message. Closest to Union Sq is Taqueria Cancun.

                          1. Just wanted to thank you all for your help!! I tried to post a couple of times on the trip, but each time my iPad would refresh midway through and delete my post...frustrating!
                            Anyway, we had a great time.
                            Dinner at Coi was a highlight. My daughter didn't love everything on the tasting, but enjoyed enough, and loved the experience. The oysters on the oyster liquor gelee were a big hit, as was the pressed grilled artichoke. I loved the asparagus soup and the lamb (done two ways: tartare and grilled).
                            We had a nice brunch at the Squat and Gobble. A mini chain I guess, but with enough uniqueness to seem like it's own place. and nicely made huevos rancheros.
                            Dim Sum ended up at City View, on the recommendation of our hosts, and was fine. Not amazing, but fine.

                            Thanks again!!