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Aug 21, 2012 07:41 AM

Booked at State Bird, but where else?

I'm tagging along while my husband attends a conference in SF beginning Sept 19th. We're at the Hyatt downtown, and I'd like to spend the entire three days eating and learning about the local food scene. We have reservations at State Bird Provisions, and I can't wait to go to the Ferry Market. But what else do folks recommend? It's my first time in SF, in fact my first time in California; we live at the far Eastern edge of Canada.
Thanks in advance!

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  1. I'd definitely do Italian. Near you is Perbacco and Barbacco which are great, but they are in the middle of the financial district, so it doesn't give the neighborhood feel - but they are very conveniently located and good food.

    Further afield, there's Cotogna, Flour + Water, Locanda or Incanto (among others).

    I'm also starting to hear about Seven Hills, but I don't really know much about it and how much it's generic American Italian vs. more innovative cuisine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thanks! I wondered about Flour + Water - it looks beautiful.

    2. What do you like to eat? What have you heard about eating, but have never tried?

      9 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow

        Open to everything except shellfish (tragic allergy) but love Italian, Middle Eastern and Thai the best. I'm most excited about the fresh produce and wine in your part of the world. I've never eaten anywhere even remotely like Mission Chinese, and wonder if it's as amazing as the hype suggests.

        1. re: halichris

          You may want to try Aziza for innovative Californian/Morrocan food. It's very out of the way unless you are going to Golden Gate Park.

          1. re: halichris

            How do you feel about cocktails?
            It seems you generally like the novel and cutting edge.
            Zare at Flytrap is VERY underrated for exactly what you said, and it's downtown - worth one of your precious dinners. Also consider the slightly touristy but still good Slanted Door. Don't be put off by the "I can get better Viet cheaper everywhere else" - not with that quality of ingredients, not with that view. Even though it's no longer cutting edge. Aziza is said to be great, but I have never managed a reservation, and it's far away from the north-east corner of the city.
            Zero Zero is younger and hipper than Barbaco - both are good - italian is strong right now. 00 is more "now". Incanto is worth a look, if you're willing to consider darker meats - it still has an edge - it's californian and italian but not in the Delfina way, in its own way.
            I suggest lunch at the Streat Eats in SOMA - it's so SF it almost hurts - just opened a few months back - you'll bust a gut trying to try a lot of trucks. Grab some Sunrise Deli if you like middle eastern.
            Thai isn't that great here, other than Lers Ros, try Burmese instead, but not Burma Super Star. 'Star's star passed a few years ago.
            And eat a few tacos - al pastor, chorizo, and/or carnitas - don't do boring old pollo - you'll thank me. A good taco is a freaking revelation, if the meat's just right and spice, lime, and tortilla are in harmony. Just say "tres tacos, everything, spicy, al pastor, chorizo, carnitas", at any taqueria selling $1.50 tacos. Each taco is two or three bites, and you can hit the next taco place in another 60 minutes.

            1. re: bbulkow

              you've never managed a reservation at aziza? part of the reason my husband and i love aziza is that it always seems to be possible to get in and there's almost no other place in town with consistently amazing food and no wait that i can think of off the top of my head. i blame the location. if/when they actually move downtown, we'll be sad to lose our last-minute standby.

              1. re: possumspice

                I checked right when I wrote the post. There were no reservations this evening, otherwise I might have made the drive. Right now, it looks like there are tables for tomorrow and thursday, then OpenTable says "no tables available for next 30 days". I tend not to plan dinner further ahead than about 8 hours.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  Did you follow up with a phone call?

                  Opentable right now shows tables for two for just about any night you might want to go. For Aziza, it chokes on tables for one.

              2. re: bbulkow

                Love cocktails! Thanks for this and for all the recommendations. My husband is very excited about the STreat Eats, so we may have to do that before his thing starts. And, yeah tacos are on the list...Nova Scotia is so far NOT known as a hotbed of Mexican food. :) You guys are great.
                One more question - is it worth trying out a food tour in the city, or even a bus tour up to Napa? I'll be solo while he's at ONA, so I'm also looking for things to do during the day.
                Thanks again!

                1. re: halichris

                  Zare, Slanted Door, Zero Zero, Aziza are all very good for cocktails - very strong in SF right now, you'll want to do a separate search for that.

                  Few of the mexican places have good cocktails, ditto chinese/burmese places.
                  Check out Jai Yun for chinese, noted elsewhere on the board, they'll make a "tasting menu" for you, so you can warn them off the shellfish - probably unlike what you get at home

                  This is a very good "what's happening in SF" list, since it seems you have few restrictions. All but one have been heavily recommended on CH.

                  Napa tour - Napa valley is great, depends on the tour, never taken one myself, most people 'round here like Sonoma Valley more than Napa because it's less touristy, certainly good eats there if you plan ahead, the joy of Napa is really soaking in the sunlight and atmosphere and eating and drinking. The town of napa is boring, it's all about the valley. The smaller the tour the better, the less shopping the better, you can probably judge the tour by the size of the vehicle and the wineries they take you to. Ask for a list & do your research. Anything that includes wineries that are "invitation only" will be better.

          2. The current most only-in-SF places to me are AQ, Bar Tartine, and St. Vincent.