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First time in San Fran

This will be my first time visiting....arriving in the evening on a tuesday, thinking of going to Fishermans Wharf as my first thing to do.....any other suggestions?? Looking for nightlife and awesome food...staying near the financial district

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    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      First of all, don't go anywhere near Fisherman's Wharf.

      1. re: allyoucanet

        I agree; Fisherman's Wharf isn't a great place to really experience the food of San Francisco.

        1. re: allyoucanet

          If you want to be a tourist -- go to Fishermans Wharf. Feel free to ride the Rocket Boats, check out the USS Pampanito submarine and the other San Francisco Maritime Museum features, and be sure to go to tour Alcatraz -- it's worth it.

          Then check out the rest of the City for its excellent restaurants, dining and food. Seach this board for what you're interested in -- seafood, Chinese, Italian, etc., then you can get some more detailed recomendations here.

            1. re: buttercream68

              2 places I recomend if you haven't been here.

              Sotto Mare for seafood in North Beach. Simple, casual, no reservations. You may have to wait in line depending on time of day. Very fresh seafood, including Cioppino, which is big enough to split. Also in Noth Beach is Capp's Corner, a fun family-style American-Italian place that's been there for years.

              Yank Sing, Rincon Center branch, for Dim Sum. More expensive than some alternatives but very nice surroundings and high quality ingredients.

            2. re: Calvinist

              I stayed up in Fisherman's Warf my last trip up north. Although the area is not an epicurean paradise, (a) I got to wade through the crowds to see the sea lions cavorting on the pier, and (b) had a jaunty morning walk to Liguria Bakery to get some focaccia that I still dream of.

          1. Absolutely go to Saigon Sandwiches (http://www.yelp.com/biz/saigon-sandwi...). They have wonderful bahn mi sandwiches and be sure to check out the amazing food trucks (http://offthegridsf.com/). Have fun!

            1 Reply
            1. re: kriinsf

              I have an addiction to the food at Henry's Hunan. There's several around the city. The one at Sansome and Broadway would probably be the closest to where you're staying.

            2. where are you visiting from?
              what is your budget?
              anything in particular in other places you've visited that you've liked?
              anything you don't like to eat?
              anything in particular you really like?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Dustin_E

                from arizona...fish fish and more fish!!! I dont want touristy places.......planning on public trans the whole time....I've been reading up on certain parts of the city.....would love to see live music...anythning Indie....food means everything

                1. re: buttercream68

                  Still, I would avoid Fisherman's Wharf for fish (and like the similarly named South Street Seaport in NY or Navy Pier in Chicago, Fisherman's Wharf is the sort of tourist trap that is halfway to being a cheap carnival.). My personal fave seafood place is Waterbar; it's a little expensive, but worth it. Much cheaper is Woodhouse Fish Company, which I think is a good bargain. There are also many, many places with good sushi (a thread in itself, just search). Also I would check out one of our Peruvian restaurants -- a lot of kickass ceviche can be had in San Francisco.

                  For live music, just pick up an SF Weekly (available in a red dispenser around the city or online) and leaf through the music section. It will have fairly comprehensive city listings. For venues, my faves are the Independent and Cafe du Nord, but there are plenty of great places to catch music here.

                  1. re: buttercream68

                    gary danko
                    la mar

                    are my favorite places for fish, fish and more fish.

                2. From Fisherman's Wharf you're not far from some options near Jackson Square, North Beach, maybe somewhere like Lark Creak steakhouse depending on where you're from, and lots of fun, cheap eats in the Tenderloin (which is our skid row, only filled with art students and great Vietnamese food).

                  Check out Farm:Table, and Sightglass Coffee.

                  Beyond that general advice, you'll need to give us more direction what you like, or check out some of the other threads for people staying downtown.

                  1. You can dine quite happily at Fisherman's Wharf...

                    ...so long as you've selected Gary Danko or Albona. Otherwise, what everyone else said.

                    1. Thank you all!!!! I will slowly scroll through all of these recomendations!!!

                      1. Just a tip...while you are here, do not call San Francisco "San Fran" - marks you as a tourist. It's "the City" or just plain San Francisco.

                        Also, if you want to cross the bay via BART - I suggest taking a ride to Rockridge (Oakland) and have dinner at Uzen - really good quality fish and sushi made by Japanese sushi chefs - sort of a novelty around here. Also, College Avenue has a lot of really nice shops and coffee spots.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jaimeabdilla

                          You forgot "SF." and really for a first timer, there isn't too much reason to go out to the east bay (except the warmer weather if it gets really cold).

                          Anchor + Hope
                          Waterbar (food isn't the best, but it is really nice atmosphere right by the water)

                          Fun, nightlife type areas with also good food:
                          From Union Square, down through South of Market, are the big box clubs. South of Market has huge apartment complexes, and the occasional good restaurant, but definitely doesn't feel like a walking neighborhood.
                          Marina (North side of SF) has a lot of bars, a very frat boy feel, tons of cool boutiques, and restaurants with slightly overpriced, but decent food and atmosphere. A16 is a highlight that way. Tacolicious and Mamacitas are decent.
                          Mission (South of Union Square): has lots of dive type bars and pubs. Very "hipster" feel. Tons of good food. It's a gentrifying neighborhood, so some people feel its unsafe at night, but I don't really feel that way. There's a lot of Mexican, but also a lot of good high-end places like Tartine, Range etc.

                        2. For fish (especially since you're already in the Financial District), my vote is for Sam's or Tadich. Both are old-school places that serve fresh fish, simply prepared, served by waiters that came with the building. You can avoid the crowds by going on a weekday, mid-afternoon.

                          A couple of my other favorites are La Taqueria in the Mission for burritos, Brenda's French Soul Food Cafe in the Tenderloin for great breakfasts, and, if you're around on Saturday morning, the food stands at the Ferry Plaza farmer's market -- I especially like the crabcake sandwich at the Hayes Street Grill stand, although if you do a search, there are many other favorites.

                          Have a great time!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Steve Green

                            Sam's or Tacdich is old school, as in the waiters, ambiance and to some degree food all invoke say the 1940s-50s.

                            1. re: Steve Green

                              "served by waiters that came with the building" -- so true! I still remember our vintage waiter at Tadich's warning us off the sand dabs ("not fresh") and nodding in approval as we chose the petrale sole instead. FWIW we've also tried Sam's on a visit to SF and gave Tadich the edge for nicer ambiance and better sourdough (Sam's was burnt). The fish was good at both places, sticking to the simplest preps. We had reservations at Sam's (dinner only) but lucked out at Tadich, waiting only ten minutes at prime time on a Thursday. This is apparently easier as a table for two. And sitting at the bar can speed things up, I've read.

                              We tried Sotto Mare for a late-ish weekday lunch in April and there was plenty of room. The petrale was perfectly cooked and a very generous portion for $19 (much bigger than at Sam's or Tadich). The sand dabs were a tad overdone.

                            2. Oh PLEASE stay away from Fisherman's Wharf! Excellent seafood can be had at many places: My favorites: Bar Agricole, Contigo, Foreign Cinema, Boulevard. Contigo sources all seafood locally.... and is in a great neighborhood. Boulevard is classic San Francisco. I would NOT go to The Waterfront- overpriced and poorly executed food (touristy/business meeting type place). If I did stay by the bay, I'd go to Pier 23 for funky outdoor seafood or to the Ferry Building (Slanted Door).

                              1. My top recommendations for fish / seafood in SF:

                                - Swan's Oyster Depot (prepare to wait in line, but well worth it, a true SF institution)
                                - Hog Island Oyster Co
                                - Sushi Aka Tombo
                                - Okina Sushi

                                Have fun!!!