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Aug 23, 2012 12:06 PM

Weekend SF Trip Report

My wife and I stopped over in San Francisco on the way home from Denver for 3 nights, mostly to relax, shop a bit and eat some good food. Now Denver is a great city and the food there is pretty decent, but nothing compared to the sheer diversity of great offerings at all price points like San Francisco.

Our first night we decided on a return to Tadich Grill, one of our favorite restaurants. We arrived, gave our name to the bartender and within 30 seconds were called for a table, we lucked out as there were several larger parties waiting to be seated ahead of us. The cioppino came piping hot, hearty and delicious as usual. The petrale sole was outstanding, the best I've had here yet, one large filet, beautifully broiled, moist and tender. But as good as the sole was, a special that evening was the whole branzino which looked and smelled fantastic. I saw these after ordering and wished I had known about it earlier, so maybe next time.

Lunch the next day was at Yank Sing at Rincon Center, our first visit. The past few years we've been eating dim sum out in Millbrae and Daly City, so this was a great opportunity to finally give this place a try. Very nice restaurant with prompt, efficient service from the staff. We had the soup dumplings, crispy taro balls, roast duck bun, shu mai, har gow and steamed gailan. Everything was well prepared, tasty and met our expectations of very good dim sum at a very high price. But we were glad to finally have eaten here.

Dinner our second night was a last minute decision. We tried to get reservations at House of Prime Rib but the seating options were before 5:00 pm or after 10:00 pm. So we decided to try Alfred's Steakhouse which has been around since the 1920's. Very old school restaurant on the edge of Chinatown and the Financial District, we had a great meal here which we really enjoyed. My wife and I split a salad to start, then split the crab cake appetizer. What a surprise, these were some of the best crab cakes I've tasted anywhere, crispy and light, just delicious! We then shared the 20 oz. bone-in NY steak with ravioli. Perfect medium rare, tender and juicy, an excellent steak which slightly made up for the disappointment of not getting into HOPR.

We had been going for coffee at the Blue Bottle on Mint Street the last few days and noticed they served breakfast, so our final morning we decided to eat here. Hard to find it you don't know where this is, with just a small blue bottle picture on the front, but very popular with great coffee. We had the organic poached eggs and toast with cafe ole. The eggs were perfectly done, mine came with spicy sausage and greens, my wife had it over kale and spinach. A perfect start of our morning.

Our final dinner was at Ristorante Milano, a small, intimate neighborhood Italian restaurant on Pacific Ave. Every table was taken, so reservations are a must, since there are really no other places to walk to nearby if you are turned away. We started with the broiled chicken liver skewer wrapped in bacon, with grilled radicchio and greens. The livers are quite rich, so this is a perfect dish to share, nicely done, smokey and tasty. Next was the fresh angel hair pasta with tomato and basil. Simple clean flavors and one of the best pastas we've had in recent memory, very enjoyable. Our entree was the veal piccata, moist and tender, but not my favorite veal preparation. I would have preferred mushrooms and marsala sauce or saltimboca, but every night the chef makes a different preparation, so what can you do. It was well done, just not to my personal taste. This is a great spot and since Antica Trattoria closed, we intend to return and explore their menu further.

As usual we couldn't get to everyplace we wanted to eat at, but it simply gives us an excuse to return for another visit. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions and gave their comments and suggestions while planning for this trip.

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  1. Reservations are essential at Milano, but there are half a dozen restaurants around the corner on Hyde Street.

    1. I loved reading about the places you chose, so many of them happen to be favorites of mine. When Milano is good, it is very good, and it seems you mostly had that experience.

      IMHO, you were lucky not to get into HOPR. It's mediocre prime rib in a Disneyland-like setting. I did it once, but don't need to go back -unless it's to have a drink at the bar, which is quite fun and old-school.

      Great report and nice stops for a short trip!

      1. Im so glad to hear Alfred's was good. last few times i have been have been dissapointing, mainly because of the Maiter d

        2 Replies
        1. re: smatbrat

          I've been to Alfred's twice this year and the host was very friendly. Great service all around.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Robert, I read your review of Alfred's and I also found it odd they don't season their meat, but a bit of table salt solved that. We also thought service there was fine, very gracious, no issues at all.