HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Friday night and all day Saturday.

Hi we are in our early 40's, well my husband is, I'm not 40.... yet.... anyway, coming to SF the end of June late Friday to all day Saturday. Then we head up to Sonoma where my husband has business

. We are looking for a place to go for dinner Friday night. We are foodies. We don't like played with food. We like good food, good service. OK, OK, I know this is SF and known for chinese, but we're not into it. We like steaks, lamb, pasta bolognese with interesting meats, etc... we like good wine, nice cheeses. We also like different.

I was told about Piperade. Sounded interesting. Can't find a menu, but read reviews and my brother has been there. We are on the waiting list for Gary Danko...I know its played with right? But we have gotten so many rec's for it. I'm not hold my breadth being on the waiting list. So where else is good for dinner?

We are going to Mama's for breakfast. Then I wanted to know what to do for the day? We thought about a few tourist -y things like lombard Street and taking a cable car and all. We even thought about a walking tour of the bridge. We do not want the warf or alcatraz. So where can we go for a nice walk, take in the view, a bit of boutique and unique shopping, but not Guess and the Gap if you know what I mean, I have that at home, lol!

Also is there a separate board for Sonoma? I am on my own while my husband does business all day Sunday. Shopping, nice place for lunch etc... No spa, we will do that before dinner on Saturday night. and then dinner at the girl and the fig.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is the right board for Sonoma.

    1. The Marina (Chestnut/Union Street/Lombard) has nice boutiques if you walk North West you get some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, A16 (Italian) is probably the best restaurant in the neighborhood Mamacitas and Tacolicious OK.

    2. Not in this area, but not too too far away is Cotogna, also Italian, has excellent reviews atmosphere, in a casual setting. Quince next door is more formal.

    3. The Ferry Building is a nice place to go (esp. Saturday morning farmer's market) lots of artisan food vendors, and pretty views of the Bay Bridge. Waterbar (seafood) and La Mar (Peruvian/Seafood) both are right on the water by there.


    Sonoma the town, has a few cute boutiques, but is pretty quiet besides the wine tasting room. There's a bookstore etc. so with a stretch you could fill the whole day. El Molino Central, (a drive or walk) about two miles North is a small place turning out unique mexican. In town and more formal, El Dorado Kitchen. There is also LA Salette (Portuguese.)

    The Di Rosa art preserve is something to look into.

    1. For Friday night you might want to try Incanto (www.incanto.biz). There's a sample menu here:
      http://incanto.biz/food-wine/sampler-.... It's delicious Italian food made with some less than common ingredients.

        1. Danko is not "played with" -- it's pretty straight-up Cal-French.

          If you're going to be here on a Saturday morning, the Ferry Plaza market is a must. Lots to eat there. A much better use of your time than standing in line for Mama's.

          If you like Italian and you like "different" then I'm going to suggest La Cicca, which is Sardinian.

          1. I think the main reason people on this board don't recommend Gary Danko to tourists here for a short time is that it's not a very San Francisco-specific experience. You can find similar menus in major cities all over the world.

            1. Thank everyone. I just found out that we will be in SF by the afternoon on Friday and leaving for Sonoma by 4:30/5 on Saturday. So I have more time in SF than I thought.

              I am going to look into all of your restaurant rec's. Now that I saw the menu for Piperide (thank you Robert) I'm not 100%. I actually spoke to our hotel ( The Huntington Hotel) a bit ago and he also gave me a few to look at.
              I also was thinking The Ferry Blg for breakfast on Sat. instead of mama's. But maybe lunch instead.

              Trying to work out our itinerary. On Friday 1PM we were going to get lunch The hotel suggested nob hill cafe for lunch, haven't looked at it yet, then to take the cable car to Haight st walk down lombard for fun. Or have lunch on Haight street. Not sure yet. Then look around there. By 5 we booked the spa at our hotel before our 7:30 dinner.

              Sat AM after breakfast whatever we decide to do, we will drive up market st. to twin peeks for the view and come thru Alamo square park, have lunch in the Castro area and check that out too. By 3 or so before we head out to Sonoma, we will take a 45 min walking tour of the Golden Gate bridge.
              Any other ideas?

              Sonoma: I see there is not much to do and the town square seems like I can do it in an hour.I remember Napa was like that. I was looking at a safari for 2.5-3 hours or a bike tour, which seems interesting. Any other ideas?


              4 Replies
              1. re: teachermommy

                My aunt just took her grandkids there last month and enjoyed it. I have no idea how long the tour takes or if it is even worth your time (maybe someone has personal experience).

                1. re: teachermommy

                  Sounds like a busy itinerary. You can't take the cable car to Haight Street -- it doesn't go anywhere near there, nor is Haight anywhere near Lombard. Perhaps someone has confused it with Hyde Street, which has a cable car line that goes by Lombard Street.

                  Where are you coming from? That might give us a better idea of what to concentrate on that might be the most different from what you have at home (i.e. I wouldn't recommend steaks to someone from Chicago or Texas, wouldn't recommend Mexican to someone from the Southwest, wouldn't recommend seafood to someone from Seattle or Boston, etc,).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    the seafood out here is totally different from the seafood in boston

                    1. re: vulber

                      True. But then you have to get into a long discussion about what to order/not order. Unless it's Dungeness season, I still wouldn't recommend seafood for one dinner in SF for someone from a seafood-rich city.

                2. There are fun little stores scattered all over the city, but there are few if any shopping districts in SF that are not essentially outdoor malls (here I include high-end brand outlets; if you want that, Union Square has them). The closest we have to a boutique district is Hayes Valley, which has fun little shoe shops and some clothing stores, but only perhaps ten or twelve of them. Fillmore St. north of Sutter also has a fair number of fun shops, as well as a lot of food choices. After that, you could try Union St between Fillmore and Laguna or so... and after that, ask someone holding a lot of shopping bags.

                  If cost is no object (and Gary Danko is not for the thrifty), then Coi is amazing. Best meal I've ever had in SF.

                  If you're taking a cable car for its own sake, don't get on at Powell and Market. There is nearly always a long line at that station. Take it at an end point (Google a cable car map), and you won't have to wait in the line.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dunstable

                    I haven't been to Coi because, like the OP, I do not care for played with food. Have I been ill-advised?

                    1. re: Civil Bear

                      Is that what she meant by "played with"? I thought she meant like chemicals and things. Um, well it does tend to be creative in construction, so no, sounds like you were correctly advised.

                  2. So busy today haven't had a chance to look until now.
                    So I am from Philly.
                    I may have been confused with some of the streets. I did find it a little overwhelming. I spoke to the concierge at our hotel. He is supposed to email me a solid itinerary, but I have not gotten it yet.
                    FYI "Played with" I do mean creatively placed food. The photos on coi and La something or other has photos of what I mean. Once I see that I am turned off immediately. You don't have to play with the food for it to be delicious and plated well.
                    Thanks all.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: teachermommy

                      The few times in my life I have received guidance from a concierge, I was led badly astray. My theory is that they pick the safest possible restaurants, since not everyone who asks a concierge about restaurants is a foodie. You should probably have the hounds here vet the itinerary for you.