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Nov 26, 2012 01:16 PM

San Fran Meal Recs--Help Please!

Hi all,

I tried to do some searches for similar stuff on here but didn't have a ton of luck. If I've missed something please let me know.

So, I'm headed to San Fran for 4 nights. Coming in Tuesday, staying Wed and Thu for a work conferences, then Friday just to hang around, leaving Sat. I'm staying at the Intercontinental in Nob Hill. From what I've read Nob HIll itself isn't an awesome spot for dining, but is near the street car?

I could use recs for breakfast and lunch around the area and then I'm willing to venture for dinner. I'm from Virginia and really excited to try some awesome California food. I pretty much like anything and I'll be able to expense my meals so budget isn't really an issue. I like any kind of ethnic (saw some lists of places on here) and anything inventive/cool/I won't be able to eat it in Richmond.

Basically, I'm looking for recs of places I can easily get to (streecar would be cool, but I'd be fine with not too pricey cab too) and that's good for dining alone as a female.

Also, I'm hanging around town Friday myself. Debating on signing up for some sort of tour to Napa or wandering in San Fran. Suggestions on this if you have any would be appreciated too.


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  1. You're staying at the Mark Hopkins? Easy walk or cable car down the hill to Barbacco or Perbacco.

    My current favorites for solo dining are Barbacco, Perbacco, Cotogna, Txoko, AQ, Bar Tartine, and Incanto. The latter's exceptionally comfortable as there's a wide step for your feet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      We really have the same favorite restos Robert.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I can't say enough good things about Perbacco. One of the pastas I had there was the best pasta I have ever had. It was a pasta filled with duck and then had an amazing duck jus as sauce.

        1. re: aasg

          Mmm, sounds like a duck variation on agnolotti dal plin, which I find it almost impossible not to order there.

      2. What kind of wines do you like?
        There are certainly more choices than just Napa and some of the more exciting wines I've had of late have come from the East Bay urban wineries like Dashe and Stage Left.
        And if you do come over the Bridge, Ajanta in Berkeley has excellent Indian food.
        Lots of great local transit info:
        It's fairly easy to get around on public transit here
        Also, another fun idea is going on a (self-guided or guided) Chocolate tour since we have quite a number of chocolatiers in town or eat your way through the Ferry Building.
        Have a great time!

        5 Replies
        1. re: BigWoodenSpoon

          Ooh chocolate tour also sounds like an awesome idea. I have a feeling I might like wines outside Napa more than the traditional big wineries as I tend to choose hidden gems with unique flavors over the traditional big cabs and chardonnays. But I'm pretty much up for anything. So excited!

          1. re: princsoreo

            Is this your first trip to San Francisco? Three evenings and one full day isn't enough time to really see much of the city.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              It is. I know it's not nearly enough, but I'm hoping for a start : )

          2. re: BigWoodenSpoon

            Donkey and Goat for urban wine joy. Lousy transit options though.

            1. re: bbulkow

              The H transbay bus stops two blocks away, but for somebody with only one free day to tour SF, I wouldn't recommend it.

          3. Thai -- Lers Ros -- 2 locations check either of them out. You may want to hit a Dim Sum Place -- Yank Sing is great in the downtown area. Plenty of great Burrito joints in the Mission from Pancho Villa to La Taqueria -- does not have to be expensive.

            3 Replies
            1. re: belomiser

              Love Lers Ros in the Tenderloin but would hesitate as a female on my own, for sure get a cab. Hayes Valley location nicer but uneven reports on food. Same comment for some Mission spots -- do your homework and take a cab.

              I'd sit at the bar at Canteen for a prix fixe dinner, and it's close to the OP's hotel by cab.

              1. re: grayelf

                I think Lers Ros in Hayes Valley would work well for a solo diner from Richmond; you can sit at the bar and it's pretty comfortable. Do some scouring here for good choices at this location. It can be uneven, but careful ordering can help with that.

                If budget isn't an issue, you might consider Atelier Crenn or Aziza, probably tough to get similar to either in your neck of the woods--but I'm not sure what the dining scene is like where you are.

                Agree with the AQ and Barbacco recs above (cab to/from AQ). And get something from a taqueria somewhere.

                You also might consider Canteen, which is down the hill from your hotel and has counter seating.

                An aside: I know many people prefer bar/counter seating when dining solo, but I personally prefer a small corner table with a good view of the dining room for excellent people-watching/scenario-imagining. I also find high-end restaurants tend to be very gracious to solo diners.

                1. re: Leely2

                  I lived in Richmond VA for seven years before relocating to the Bay Area--welcome! I haven't been back for five years or so, and I know there's been a lot of change in terms of shopping sources and restaurants, but based on my experience of what's available there, I think Leely2's list is a particularly good one for both quality and giving you a chance to taste things not available in Richmond. To add to it, if you like 8 1/2, you might want to try pizza at Cotogna or Flour + Water or Pizzeria Delfina for a comparison. If you like Mamma Zu/Edo's, Cotogna (or Barbacco, listed above) would also be a fun comparison. Maybe add Bar Jules in Hayes Valley to the list too--Acacia is probably the closest in terms of cuisine style and sourcing, but Bar Jules is more casual and obviously CA focused rather than VA.

            2. For Friday, if it's not raining, I'd suggest getting your hands on a copy of "Stairway Walks In San Francisco". It is a wonderful book that guides you through one of SF's most unique and wonderful features, our hillside stairways. The book has several walks that are near where you are staying.
              I might go for one that takes you to Coit tower and down the Filbert or Greenwich steps.


              For restaurants, I would recommend my current favorite innovative high-end place -- Atelier Crenn. Very current, very Northern CA, very inventive, very very very delicious.

              If you like Japanese, I'd recommend Kiss Seafood for a perfect 5-6 course omakase meal of varied dishes.

              3 Replies
              1. re: pauliface

                That book opened up SF to me--- best $18 a local or visitor could ever spend. Grabbing some focaccia at Liguria Bakery (sells out by 11AM typically) before hitting the Coit walk is a great way to start the day.

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Only $12.21 on amazon!

                  And, yes, princsoreo, if you do get the book and pick a walk, we can help you find tasty spots for snacks along the route...

                2. re: pauliface

                  Oh, I love the stairs so much! I'm actually looking at some pics of the Lyon Street steps right now... Sigh. So homesick!

                3. I just returned from a delightful stay in "charming town".
                  I feasted at upscale places like Gary Danko's and lower than low of the Elite Cafe, but my heart belongs to a small, neighborhood spot with delicious Italian fare done right on Hyde St called Seven Hills.
                  It is small and tight but surprisingly not noisy like Danko's was (and wouldn't be expected to be).
                  The host aims to please and if something goes wrong (like the wrong order) she is truly sincere and apologetic about it.
                  There is a talented chef hiding back in that kitchen.
                  Highly recommend it.