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Three low/mid-range lunches - narrow down my picks?

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I'm going to be around for 3 lunches in the SF area - what's people's opinions from these? Any of them must eats? Should I avoid any? Are there any standouts I'm missing? I like all ethnic food, especially Thai and anything from the Mediterranean/Middle East. I'm not a fan of French or American food - and looking for something a little more adventurous than deli sandwich-style lunches.

Il Cane Rosso
Dosa on Fillmore
Lers Ros

Also, I'm meeting a friend for coffee at the Mint Plaza Blue Bottle one day. Any other similar places nearby?

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  1. Well you didn't list any Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisines, which you are a fan of, so I would add Zitouna or Ala Turca to your list and see how other Hounds weigh in as to what to eliminate.

    1. What day are you going? Dosa on Fillmore is not open for lunch on Mondays or Tuesday - and, frankly, I think they are way overpriced for what they are. It is FAR from low- or mid-priced...

      If you are mobile, I'd head to Lavash in the Sunset or Cafe Zitouna (and save a ton of money) if Middle Eastern is your craving.

      Are you dining with anyone? I

      2 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        I will be dining alone on a Thursday, and with company on a Friday and Monday

        Cafe Zitouna looks really good actually, so I'd like to lock that in for Friday, but their website indicates that they are temporarily closed - anyone know if they'll be open in a few weeks?

        1. re: nroot

          I'd call Zitouna. They have been known to not update their website before...

      2. Dosa is definitely not a "must eat". I might add Mandalay for a unique experience of Burmese cuisine.

        4 Replies
        1. re: escargot3

          Neat, thanks, I've never tried Burmese before!

            1. re: escargot3

              I prefer Burmese Kitchen which might be more conveniently located.


              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                just so nroot has perspective - a lot of people loved Burmese Kitchen but have felt the quality has slipped a bit. I've felt that. I was much more wowed by Mandalay the last time i went. But, Burmese Kitchen IS in an easy to get to locale, and they are very nice people. You could still get a very good meal there.

            2. Lers Ros is a must eat. duck larb and Koh Moo Yang - smokey grilled slices of pork shoulder - to die for. also Koong Chae Nam Pla - raw prawns with chili and lemon grass.

              Cotogna is also fantastic, but maybe that puts you over the mid-range....

              1. OK so I found out my friend is taking me to Appertivo at Adesso and Scopa in Healdsburg over the weekend, so for variety + taking everyone's suggestions into account I'm tempted to bias away from the Italian/European and go for:

                Thursday: ???????
                Friday: Zitouna
                Monday: Mandalay or Lers Ros

                Keeping in mind that Thursday is the day I'll be eating alone, what should I go for? How about Monday's call? I've never had Burmese - is it very different from Thai? How does Lers Ros compare to Pok Pok in Portland?

                2 Replies
                1. re: nroot

                  NRoot, go to Mandalay on Thursday and Lers Ros on Friday.

                  Burmese is very different from Thai in that (for me) it is more varied and interesting. As a solo diner, I go and get the Gin Dok (ginger) salad although many people prefer the Tea Leaf salad (I'm a huge ginger fan). I accompany that with the Sumosa soup and a Ginger Lemonade.

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    ditto what CW said! Tho I adore the tea leaf salad at mandalay, the ginger salad is amazing and unique, and perhaps better for a single diner. Love the sumusa soup.

                2. Hi - For South Indian food in SF, Dosa is a great place, its dosas and south indian curries and starters are excellent. It has some modern takes that are interesting if you have eaten south indian often, they are not revolutionary, but they are all perfectly executed and the ingredients are always fresh fresh. I'm Indian, I love it, so do my non-Indian friends. I would call it low/mid-range for San Francisco, aside from drinks. I go to the original location on Valencia, so I don't know if Fillmore prices are higher. (If you want lower-priced dosas, there is a spot on the same block on Valencia, I forget the name and I haven't tried it, so I can't vouch for quality/freshness/etc.)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: RBofSF

                    I find a classic problem with south indian places is it's hard to just order a Dosa for american-style dinner. You end up with a good appetizer, then what? My go-to dishes, now are nethili fry (best described as tandoori smelt, although it's actually anchovies, and there's no tandoor but it's a similar red paste), and chettinad chicken, either dry style or with gravy. chicken 65 if it's wet style not deep fried (then a good veg curry to finish). Most S indian non-veg places will have something like that. Sometimes I get suckered into a desi dish like Gobi Manchurian and that usually goes badly - the indians like it goopy, that's part of the desi style and not having the childhood association, I don't dig it. Or a biryani, but those are 90% rice and are very starchy & high glycemic index --- doesn't do well for a late meal for me.

                    Dosa is actually more of a california / s-indian hybrid --- the have _SLIDERS_ on the fall menu --- these comments are more about real S Indian dosa houses, the kind very common in greater sunnyvale.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      yo bb, basmati rice ain't so bad for you as you might think:

                      basmati rice has a "medium" glycemic index (between 56 and 69), thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour

                      but everyone has their own response to carbs.

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        BB - to me, a masala dosa is the main dish & it's so filling, at a typical So Indian place I can hardly think of having an appetizer too! Maybe an idli or something like that. But the apps at Dosa are all so good & so interesting, I always order a couple at least, then a masala dosa (or one with a seasonal veg filling) for main. Their sambar (the soup that comes with the dosa) is really really good too, I usually beg for a second bowl even though I'm so stuffed.

                        Their sliders are potato patties ... I think it's a re-shaping of a classic indian street food ... but haven't tasted them.

                      2. re: RBofSF

                        I second the Dosa rec. South Indian food is hard to come by outside of the Bay Area so it's unique - it's well done - it is pricier then the whole in the wall/small places in the South Bay but it's good food, well done - and if you lack South Indian food where you are coming from I think it's an excellent choice.

                        1. re: RBofSF

                          Udupi Palace, ingredients are fresh and I like the Chana Bhatura.
                          1007 Valencia Street

                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              I also love the corned beef sandwich at Sentinel but the OP should know that both Golden West and Sentinel are service windows only. Nabbing a corned beef and heading over to Yerba Buena Park across from SF Moma for people watching is on my best-of-SF-lunching list, though.