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Seeking Supper Recommendations Near Balboa & Park Presidio, Richmond Area

My wife & I will be staying near Balboa St & Park Presidio Blvd intersection in early May for 5 days. We will be walking and taking the bus sightseeing, and would like to eat supper each evening within 1 mile of our apt. We hope to eat for approx $20 or under per person. We have very few restaurants representing different cultures where we live in the deep south (except southern-fried Chinese & faux Italian). Notwithstanding the lack of such restaurants, we enjoy meals from any cultural heritage or fusion that are made with care. Pleasant owners/cooks are appreciated; decor is secondary. Recommendations are welcome.

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  1. Singapore-Malaysian, Mandalay, Dong Bei Mama, Old Shanghai, Spices, Spices 2

    2 Replies
      1. Shanghai Dumpling King is definitely worth a visit at Balboa and 33rd.

        Beyond that, take a walk to Geary from Park Presidio to 22nd (2 blocks north of Balboa). You'll find an amazing mix of Chinese, Mexican, Italian, a few Kosher places, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian delis, Irish Bakery/bars that you won't see anywhere else in the world. I'd just walk down that stretch and then look it up here or Yelp for opinions. There will be 40-50 markets/restaurants places on that stretch. You will not be bored and have plenty to explore.

        One more block north is Clement, from Park Presidio to 1st Ave, there's just as many places but more Asian.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          SDK is probably closer to 2 miles from 13th/Balboa, so might be worthwhile to hop on the 31 bus. What are the Kosher places beyond the rather expensive and not-great Israel Kosher Meat on Geary?

          One mile from that intersection goes almost all the way to Arguello and Geary or 25th and Geary in the other direction. Some others in that stretch that I think may fit the bill of "meals made with care": Tawan's, Sichuan Home, Muguboka, Five Happiness. I would also recommend To Hyang but I suspect it will still be jammed from all the post-Anthony Bourdain hype. Maybe try for a weeknight.

          Anyone been to Okina lately? Keep meaning to try that place.

        2. Yeah, it's a nice area with lots of dinning options. But at the same time, it's not very safe. In the recent weeks, there has been numerous smartphone robberies going on in the neighborhood.


          2 Replies
          1. re: sparbanns

            The Richmond is one of the safest neighborhoods in SF. Yes it's a good idea to not walk around using your smart phone but if you do that, there shouldn't be too many worries, if any. I used to live in the Richmond and besides petty theft (car break ins) not much happens out there.


            1. re: sparbanns

              Okay, I need to weigh in on this one. As someone who lived 4 years in West Oakland and 3 in the lower Haight, a year in (then known as North Yemen), and 6 on the "wrong" side of the Mission, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The Richmond is absolutely PLACID in comparison. Little, if nothing, happens
              out here, apart from this awesomeness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0kGul....

            2. Lots of good recommendations listed above. Definitely do a search on here for each place's specialties since menus often lead you in the wrong direction.

              For desserts, try Cinderella Bakery (the freshest Russian desserts in the Richmond and good savory items) or Joe's Ice Cream (good classics and lots of Asian-style flavors such as mango, ginger, green tea).

              1. You have unlimited options on Geary and Clement, Burma Superstar is a bright spot and even a Korean place on 19th and Balboa which I have never been to. You can jump on the Fulton bus and get to Nopa on Divisidero if you want to get away from the mostly Asian fare of the Richmond. The academy of science has a great cafateria as does the de young museum in Golden Gate Park. On the east side of the park or pan handle I would hit Nopalito for some great mexican. The city is pretty small and you can get around pretty easy via the Geary or Fulton bus so I wouldn't just stay in the Richmond - check out the Tenderloin, Mission, and North Beach as well.

                6 Replies
                1. re: trespinero

                  Burma Superstar IMHO is overrated and it's likely going to be nuts trying to get in unless the OP shows up right when they open. The Korean place you're talking about is Han Il Kwan, which is good, but is also likely to be very crowded on weekends thanks to the Korean tour bus crowd that packs the place. That's the main reason I picked Muguboka instead - maybe I overinterpreted the original post, but from his description of "want something close by, inexpensive and made with care" it sounds like he wants to minimize the amount of hassle and schlepping he has to put up with for a tasty meal.

                  If that's a correct interpretation then Nopa should be out - I think the food is very good, but it's a zoo most nights, and order anything other than the burger (to say nothing of appetizers/drinks/dessert) and you'll immediately blow right through $20/person.

                  1. re: bigwheel042

                    Isn't Nopalito opening a branch at 9th/Irving? 9th and Irving is worth visiting if going to that side of GG Park. About as many options as Geary or Clement St.

                      1. re: ML8000

                        9th and Irving is a bit out of the mile radius, or a lot if you get lost on your way through the park.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Yes it is but if you visit that side of GG Park (Cal Academy of Science, DeYoung, Japanese Tea Garden, The Arboretum) it makes sense to visit 9th and Irving. Since those are very popular visitor attractions, I mentioned it.

                      2. re: bigwheel042

                        You can call Han Il Kwan to make sure they don't have a tour bus coming.

                        Mandalay doesn't have the lines that Burma Superstar does, otherwise the two places are similar.

                    1. - for breakfast/sandwiches until 7 pm
                      Lou's Cafe
                      5017 Geary Blvd
                      (between 14th Ave & 15th Ave)
                      San Francisco, CA 94118
                      Neighborhood: Outer Richmond
                      (415) 379-4429

                      for lunch or dinner
                      Dragon River
                      5045 Geary Bivd at 15th Avenue
                      San Francisco, CA 94118

                      for ice cream:
                      walk to Geary Blvd. at 18th Avenue
                      Joe's Ice Cream
                      5420 Geary Blvd.
                      try the Joe's It - another version of the It's It

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Cynsa

                        if you don't mind walking:
                        Kappou Gomi‚Ä®
                        5524 Geary Boulevard
                        (between 19th Ave & 20th Ave)
                        San Francisco, CA 94121
                        (415) 221-5353

                        5800 Geary Blvd
                        (between 22nd Ave & 23rd Ave)
                        San Francisco, CA 94121
                        Neighborhood: Outer Richmond
                        (415) 752-2222

                        The Richmond
                        615 Balboa St
                        (between 7th Ave & 8th Ave)
                        San Francisco, CA 94118
                        Neighborhood: Inner Richmond
                        (415) 379-8988

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          Kappou Gomi and Aziza are great, but above the price point requested by the OP. Kappou Gomi is fantastic though and it's small plates style. Getting some light dishes there before cheap and heavier eats elsewhere would make a nice evening.

                          1. re: hyperbowler

                            I checked Kappou Gorni & Aziza - The menus for both places look heavenly; but, yes, the prices are a bit beyond our budget.

                            1. re: FoodSearcher1

                              I think Oyaji would fit your budget, but it's a mile and a half.

                      2. La Vie Vietnamese restaurant at 22nd and Geary is very good. It use to be on the Chron's Top 100 way back when. Nice, clean mom and pop place. Walking back you can stop at Bob's Ice Cream.

                        Also around that area: Boudin Bakery at 10th/Geary for SF sourdough. House of Bagels on Geary and 15th.

                        1. Thank you all for so quickly providing recommendations, and for such a variety too. My appreciation to those who gave us context which is helpful in giving us a broader sense of the area & restaurant districts we can visit. Now, I will check out your restaurants' specialties & begin to narrow down a different restaurant to visit for each evening in SF. Your helpful, considerate responses exemplify what I treasure most about being part of the Chowhound community.

                          1. If you haven't had Burmese before you should really go to Mandalay, or another Burmese restaurant, while in San Francisco. If you go to Mandalay you should speak to the waitress and ask which dishes are Burmese and order that way. Do not miss the tea leaf salad (I wish I could find it in Toronto) and the Balada. We had chicken samusas too but found they didn't have much flavour. I can't remember the other dishes we tried there but the Balada and Tea Leaf Salad were both amazing. I hope you have a great trip.

                            1. Miki (Japanese restaurant), on Balboa, between 37th and 38th Ave. It's a little far (1.4 miles) but you can take the Balboa bus so it's a straight shot. Really good ramen with several choices for broth. You can add pork belly (so good)! Their large selection of dinner specials up on 2 white boards have never failed to please me. Stick with the specials, the menu is rather generic (but still decent). It's a small place so get there early. Service will completely depend on the waiter working that lunch or dinner: ranges anywhere from warm and fast to nonexistent. I have no idea why this board doesn't give this place any love.

                              Katia's Russian Tea Room (corner of 5th and Balboa) is actually a full restaurant serving lunch and dinner. I'm pretty fond of their pelmeni (both sauteed and in broth), piroshki, salade Olivier, vinaigrette, vareniki...heck! Even their Stroganoff is good. Cheery, quaint place, sweet owner. The portions are large so I would recommend sharing to keep the costs down. An order of sauteed pelmeni, vareniki, salad, a few piroshkis, and an entree are infinitely shareable for 4 and well under your budget.

                              I'll second Han Il Kwan, and throw in My Tofu House on Geary between 10th and 11th. I always get the soft tofu stew with dumplings. Not the greatest Korean place in the world but it satisfies.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: chaddict

                                Cinderrella is my go-to for a bowl of pelmeni with sour cream $6.99. It's also available as soup - with broth. Open until 7 pm. on Balboa Street @ 6th Avenue.

                                1. re: Cynsa

                                  Thanks, Cynsa, for your help re previous posts. Cinderella's is on our list, particularly for breakfast. It's clear that we can enjoy interesting and well-prepared meals near our apt. during the 5 days we're spending in SF.

                                  1. re: FoodSearcher1

                                    That's a great location for good cheap eats within walking distance.

                                2. re: chaddict

                                  My Tofu House is a great place. Ridiculously cheap. Their specialty, the soft tofu stew, is quite good.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Yep, stick with the tofu stews, and you can't go wrong! You can pick your level of spiciness.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Thanks to you & Chaddict. My Tofu House tofu stews are definitely on our list.

                                    2. re: chaddict

                                      My wife's eastern European heritage re-emerged when the details on Katia's & Cinderella became apparent. I see breakfast @ Cinderella & supper @ Katia's in our future.

                                      1. re: FoodSearcher1

                                        Don't know if you'll be able to cook anything but check out the Russian and Eastern European delis for house made sausage. My friends still live close by and go there before camping trips and just start pointing and ordering, fantastic stuff.

                                        1. re: ML8000

                                          Thanks ML8k for the tip on house made sausages. We will have an apt with kitchen, so we will try to sample the Eastern European delis. They would be a welcome change from our usual deep-south fresh & smoked pork sausages.

                                          1. re: FoodSearcher1

                                            If you have a kitchen, check out First Korean Market, next door to My Tofu House.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              We will do just that. Markets, indoor & outdoor, add an essential joy to our travels.

                                    3. I second Han Il Kwan, Katia's. I prefer B Star (love their Brussels sprouts) over Burma Star because not so crowded and they take reservations. Like Cafe Bunn Mee in Clement for pork belly and crispy duck Vietnamese sandwiches and their crab noodle soup. Taiwan on Clement for their Chinese donuts, noodles with peanut sauce, and Taiwanese dumplings. Could take the Geary bus to Japantown for soba or udon at Mifune's, Dosa for Indian dosas on Fillmore.