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Seeking Supper Recommendations Near Balboa & Park Presidio, Richmond Area

FoodSearcher1 Apr 19, 2012 11:50 AM

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.

  1. c
    cyssf Jun 10, 2012 09:36 PM

    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.

    1. chaddict Apr 21, 2012 12:47 PM

      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
        Cynsa Apr 21, 2012 02:22 PM

        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
          FoodSearcher1 Apr 22, 2012 01:17 PM

          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
            Robert Lauriston Apr 23, 2012 08:16 AM

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

        2. re: chaddict
          Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2012 03:58 PM

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

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            chaddict Apr 21, 2012 05:40 PM

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

            1. re: Robert Lauriston
              FoodSearcher1 Apr 30, 2012 12:41 PM

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

            2. re: chaddict
              FoodSearcher1 Apr 22, 2012 01:11 PM

              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
                ML8000 Apr 22, 2012 02:39 PM

                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
                  FoodSearcher1 Apr 30, 2012 12:39 PM

                  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
                    Robert Lauriston Apr 30, 2012 12:44 PM

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

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      FoodSearcher1 Apr 30, 2012 12:56 PM

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

            3. t
              TeacherFoodie Apr 20, 2012 05:03 PM

              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. f
                FoodSearcher1 Apr 20, 2012 01:28 PM

                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. m
                  ML8000 Apr 20, 2012 11:12 AM

                  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. Cynsa Apr 20, 2012 10:53 AM

                    - 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
                      Cynsa Apr 20, 2012 03:05 PM

                      if you don't mind walking:
                      Kappou Gomi

                      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
                        hyperbowler Apr 20, 2012 04:29 PM

                        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
                          FoodSearcher1 Apr 21, 2012 11:41 AM

                          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
                            Robert Lauriston Apr 21, 2012 03:56 PM

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

                    2. t
                      trespinero Apr 19, 2012 11:28 PM

                      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
                        bigwheel042 Apr 20, 2012 02:08 AM

                        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
                          ML8000 Apr 20, 2012 08:53 AM

                          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
                            Cynsa Apr 20, 2012 09:44 AM

                            opening 4/23 at 1224 Ninth Avenue

                            1. re: ML8000
                              Robert Lauriston Apr 20, 2012 10:34 AM

                              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
                                ML8000 Apr 20, 2012 10:40 AM

                                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
                              Robert Lauriston Apr 20, 2012 09:07 AM

                              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.

                          2. h
                            hyperbowler Apr 19, 2012 06:04 PM

                            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. s
                              sparbanns Apr 19, 2012 03:37 PM

                              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
                                ML8000 Apr 19, 2012 03:48 PM

                                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
                                  chaddict Apr 23, 2012 10:44 PM

                                  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. m
                                  ML8000 Apr 19, 2012 01:15 PM

                                  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
                                    bigwheel042 Apr 19, 2012 01:59 PM

                                    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. Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2012 12:31 PM

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

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      TeacherFoodie Apr 19, 2012 02:53 PM

                                      +1 for Mandalay - Yum!

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        Cynsa Apr 20, 2012 11:06 AM


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