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I want to add a couple of new places to our itinerary--can you help?

soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 03:09 PM

We visited your wonderful city three years ago for a wedding. We had not been in SF for quite a long time and we fell in love with it all over again. We've been back twice a year since then. I've used this terrific board (thank you, SF 'hounds) to find fabulous places to eat. But we have fallen into a pattern of going to the same (very good) places to eat at each visit. I'd like to add a couple of new places.

Here are the places we have been to and loved:
**Thurs Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market--Roli Roti chicken and potatoes are our favorite but we also love 4505 burgers, Acme bread, and Cowgirl cheese
**Sat Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market--chilaquiles at Primavera (sp? not sure of the name, but I know where it is). Plus, of course, all the wonderful fruit--such as perfect apricots--that we only dream of in MN. Candicots are on my list.
**Dinners and/or lunches at L'Osteria, Ideale, Zuni, Cotagna (lunch)
**Breakfasts at Tartine
**Burrito at El Faroliito (sp?)
**egg custards at Golden Gate Bakery
**fociccia at Liguria Bakery
**ice cream at Bite Rite and Michell's and Henry Slocumbe
**papusas at Balomie

New place we'll go to for sure:
Mission Bowling Club for a burger

I'd get to get a cocktail at Farallon---is that a good choice for a cocktail? Are the bar menu foods there good or should I save tummy room for something better?

You can probably tell from what I've listed that we like to get very good value for the dollar. FYI, I like almost anything except sushi. DH does not like Burmese. We can get excellent Ethiopian at home. We are staying at the Union Square Marriott. No car, but are skilled public transportation users.
Given that, which of the following do you think we'd like like?
**Range--highly recc by good friend. On line menu looks very appealing.
**LaCiccia (and going here would get also get us a look at a new neighborhood--that's a bonus)
**Bar Tartine
**Canteen (I've read great things about Canteen on this board but the menu did not look enticing)
**Citizen's Band
**or, are there places I've not listed that you think we'd like?

a few more questions:
**If we make it to Legion of Honor, is Shanghei Dumpling King worth a visit?
**DH likes a breakfast now and again. How's farm:table?
**Can anyone recommend a lunch place for Sunday? NOT a brunch place; we are not brunch fans. I've not found a lot of lunch options on Sundays. However, we can't leave SF without a burrito, so that could be our Sunday lunch. We usually get a good sandwich from Cowgirl to take to the airport with us to eat before we board.

Thanks so very much for any help you can give. And thanks for all the great posts I have consulted over the last few years on this board.

p.s. Pls excuse typos. I am multi-tasking.

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  1. Ruth Lafler RE: soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 06:51 PM

    Given the list of Italian places you've loved, I'd say definitely La Ciccia. I love Barbacco, too, and the value is excellent -- it's a good place to stop for lunch if you're in the area.

    The place that isn't on your list and should be is AQ.

    1. i
      i.luvuh.my.fooduh RE: soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 08:17 PM

      Ok. Shanghai Dumpling King is absolutely a must if you are in SF!!! It is really incredible. It is the restaurant for all special occasions in my family. We love it. Of course, their dumplings are great. If there are vegetarians in your party, it is a good place to go, but not vegetarian-centric like some places. If you are willing to spend just a little bit extra to get the pea sprouts, those are excellent, as are the green beans. On our most recent trip, we had this spicy fish stew thing that was amazing! Be careful when you go if you don't eat spicy food, as a lot is spicy, but the menu clearly lists what is spicy, so that shouldn't be an issue. Lastly, for dessert, they have these sugar-egg-puffs that are to die for! It is like a huge donut, but more hollow. There is a kind of custardy layer inside, and the outside is covered in sugar. All in all, you should definitely consider Shanghai Dumpling King!

      1. i
        i.luvuh.my.fooduh RE: soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 08:20 PM

        Also, if you like Indian, I would definitely recommend Curry Village, in the Inner Sunset. Yes, a name that sounds like average food, but actually very good! I happen to be half Indian and have lived in SF my whole life, and this is my current favorite. The service is very nice, and the Bollywood music videos can be either a little distracting if you are with friends, or a fun way to pass time alone. There is an evening buffet I LOVE! $15. Includes drinks from the best chai in the city to mango lassi to soda. Includes desserts from kheer (Indian rice pudding, also the best in the city), to khulfi (halfway between ice cream and frozen yogurt). Includes appetizers from pappadum to samosas (the only thing not so great there). And of course, there are also excellent curries, a good biryani, and excellent naans.

        1. b
          baloney RE: soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 09:11 PM

          You should try the ceviche tostada at the Sat FM, I get it almost every time I'm in town. I think it's from the same stand or next to the one with the chilaquiles.

          Second La Ciccia. Have you not tried any of the Delfina places? I think it's sort of a must try at least once.

          Love farm:table, always changing menu but always reliably delicious. Wouldn't travel too far for it but since you're staying Union Square, I think it'd be good option. Be aware it is tiny with only one smallish communal table and a few seats outside.

          For your airport lunch and if you are in or passing the Mission, I'd recommend sandwiches from Bi-rite market. I've not had a sandwich from Cowgirl(the store itself) but if you're talking Sidekick, I much preferred the sandwiches I got from Bi-rite. The roast beef may sound like a pedestrian choice but it's one of the better ones I've ever had and the ham and Swiss was GREAT at room temp though they offer to heat it up(I like my ham sammies cold/room temp).

          And depending on the type of burrito you are looking for, EF is ok but my favorites are La Corneta(shrimp) and El Castillito(any chicken or carne asada).

          1. grayelf RE: soccermom13 Jul 15, 2012 09:21 PM

            Of your "new places to try" list I love both Canteen (half dozen visits plus breakfast) and La Ciccia (three times). Canteen's menu never looks uber-wow but it's the comfort food elevated thing that I love. You don't necessarily reminisce about that one spectacular dish but more the whole meal, service and so on. Not to mention the value. My dad who is a major carnivore does still talk about the veg/mushroom main he had there several years ago. It was awesome. La Ciccia has a different sort of comfort food vibe, with the owner-chef in the back and the owner-manager his wife in the front. So satisfying and just that little bit different than the other Italian food you've tried, I bet. Neighbourhood is very quiet at night, just so you know, but very easy on transit.

            We also really enjoyed farm:table on our April trip and it is firmly on the list for the kind of breakfast I think you are describing -- smaller plates, not a big honkin' brunch, made with love and finesse. Great pastries too -- get the kouign amann -- and very respectable coffee.

            Shanghai Dumpling King and Shanghai House are a great one-two punch before or after the Legion of Honour (our favourite museum in SF FWIW). Get the egg puffs mentioned by i.luvuh and the xlb at SDK, then toddle down to SH for your preordered deepfried salt and pepper pork knuckle and tea smoked duck. We couldn't go in April because they were closed for holidays and I'm still grumpy about missing that meal. So glad the OP is going to try the Mission Burger. That puppy haunts my dreams!

            2 Replies
            1. re: grayelf
              baloney RE: grayelf Jul 15, 2012 09:26 PM

              farm:table no longer carries Belinda Leong's kouign amann's(I learned the hard way). But their other offerings are still great.

              1. re: baloney
                grayelf RE: baloney Jul 16, 2012 08:19 AM

                Gah! Thanks for the heads up, baloney. I'm going to be checking out her new place B Patisserie for sure next trip but you've saved me disappointment.

            2. s
              soccermom13 RE: soccermom13 Jul 16, 2012 04:10 AM

              Fabulous responses, 'hounds. Thank you so very much.

              Brand new question---are SF restaurants good about allowing couples to split an entree? We would of course pay any sharing fee and we tip well. Sharing is a nice tool to enable us to try more foods.

              Thanks again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: soccermom13
                CarrieWas218 RE: soccermom13 Jul 16, 2012 08:24 AM

                My BF and I routinely split entrees - not a problem whatsoever...

                We tend to get one or two appetizers, split an entree, and share a dessert.

                I will concur on the other Canteen recommendations and a few other options for bargain food would be to consider one of San Francisco's amazing Burmese offerings. Obviously Burma Super Star is the most-often recommended and the most expensive, but consider Mandalay or Larkin Express Deli.

                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  mariacarmen RE: CarrieWas218 Jul 16, 2012 09:52 PM

                  her hubby doesn't like Burmese....

                  i'll also concur on Canteen, and also on the burger at mission bowl as grayelf affirmed. it's to die for.

                  La Ciccia is wonderful.

                  Range is very good but not STELLAR as it used to be. if someone wanted to go there and wanted me along, tho, I'd still go.

              2. b
                BAnders RE: soccermom13 Jul 16, 2012 08:59 AM

                Just had a truly excellent dinner at Range--it is a great time of year to eat there given what's in season; their cocktails are also terrific. I always like Canteen; agree with earlier poster that the online menu doesn't really capture the full experience.

                1. b
                  bythebay RE: soccermom13 Jul 17, 2012 01:02 AM

                  What about Delfina maybe?

                  1. s
                    soccermom13 RE: soccermom13 Jul 17, 2012 04:49 AM

                    I appreciate your responses, 'hounds. I learned on another thread (thank you Robert Lauriston) that La Ciccia will be closed this week when we are in SF. Bummer. But it does make choosing where to go a bit easier by virtue of reducing the number choices.

                    Anyone want to comment on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of going to Farallon for a cocktail?


                    5 Replies
                    1. re: soccermom13
                      Melanie Wong RE: soccermom13 Jul 17, 2012 08:43 AM

                      Here's my post from last year on a happy hour stop at Farallon. Bar menu small plates that I tried were a good deal, drink selection at discount was limited and not top shelf.


                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        soccermom13 RE: Melanie Wong Jul 18, 2012 03:09 AM

                        Thank you very much, Melanie. Do you think the non-discounted drinks at Farallon would be good? If not, what place do you recommend for very good cocktails?

                        New question for everyone:
                        **I read good reviews of Craftsman and Wolves on this board so we'll stop there for a treat. Anyone think that's a waste of time and calories?

                        Thanks very much.

                        1. re: soccermom13
                          Melanie Wong RE: soccermom13 Jul 18, 2012 09:20 AM

                          If you have questions about Craftsman and Wolves, you'll probably get more attention if you post to the current thread about it here,

                          We get so many visitor inquiries on this board, many locals don't bother to read them.

                          Haven't been to Farallon for a drink otherwise, so can't help you. The Burritt Room is also downtown,

                          1. re: soccermom13
                            CarrieWas218 RE: soccermom13 Jul 18, 2012 09:36 AM

                            VERY Good cocktails:
                            Bar Agricole
                            Bourbon & Branch
                            Smuggler's Cove

                            1. re: CarrieWas218
                              soccermom13 RE: CarrieWas218 Jul 18, 2012 04:42 PM

                              Melanie and Carrie,
                              Thanks for this info. I appreciate it.

                      2. c
                        cyssf RE: soccermom13 Jul 18, 2012 05:57 PM

                        Consider Bouche on Bush on top of the Stockton tunnel. Teeny weeny restaurant and I am amazed at the food that comes out of that minuscule kitchen. I live near Shanghai Dumpling King and we have to eat there once a month and it's the food I crave after being in Europe for a while. Only get the dumplings (many different types) and Lion's Head meatballs and the donuts. The other items IMHO are not that great. It's packed unless you go very early (like 5:30 pm). I like Mario's Bohemia Cigar store for foccacia sandwiches in the North Beach area. Thanh Long for Vietnamese roasted crab and garlic noodles. Just ate at Dosa's last night and had forgotten how good the food was. I'll be going back. I like Perbacco better than Barbacco. Also Cafe Bunn Mee for their unusual Vietnamese sandwiches (pork belly, crispy duck), B Star instead of Burma Star (they take reservations and you can get in to it - unlike Burma Star.) I know you said your DH doesn't like Burmese food but I think this will change his mind. Aziza ! Nothing like this in MN. Also Nopalito for Oaxacan style food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cyssf
                          soccermom13 RE: cyssf Jul 18, 2012 06:26 PM

                          Thanks, cyssf! Just printed your response off.

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