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Nov 27, 2012 10:18 AM

24 hours in SF

Hi all. A friend and I are doing a mileage run to San Francisco from Chicago and we're thinking about making the whole trip revolve around food. I land at 1:00 p.m. Saturday and depart at 2:15 Sunday. I'll be in the city by 2ish on Saturday and have to leave the city around noon on Sunday.

We're thinking about doing a late lunch, small plate pre-dinner snacks, dinner, drinks and late night ramen or something. Then an early lunch/brunch or Dim Sum so we can depart the city around noon.

I love Incanto and eat there almost every trip to SF. I recently ate at Aziza and while good, wasn't blown away.

While I'd live to try Swan Oyster, I have no intention of waiting in that massive line. We've been thinking about doing lunch at Hogs & Rocks, but aren't sure about anything else yet. We're not looking at spending $200 each on dinner and really don't want some huge 20 course degustation. We like comfortable places with great food. If you've been to Chicago The Bristol, Vera, and Yusho are among our favorites.

For Ramen (something sadly lacking in Chicago) we are thinking about Katana-Ya.

We're staying on Nob Hill and will have a car but have decided to cab it around due to drinking.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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  1. Frances and Cotogna are among my favorite SF places with a local/neighborhood vibe and excellent food. Baker & Banker is up there as well. I really like the food at Locanda but it can be too hectic/loud/hip service wise.

    I'd try State Bird Provisions if you can get in.

    In addition to Hog's and Rock's substitution for Swan Oyster could be Hog Island in the Ferry building (mostly raw stuff).

    Best beer list with good food - Abbott's Cellar

    Best wine list with good food - St. Vincent's

    Cocktails with good food - AQ (though not my favorite food wise - is a favorite with the board), Locanda, Gitane

    1. Namu Gaji
      State Bird
      St Vincent
      Bar Agricole
      ... for oysters, hit the place in the ferry building.

      Also, if you are flexible, hit places right when they open, with no reservation, and sit at the bar. A few places, like Frances, this technique is well known and doesn't work any more.

      Then sketch out where your desert is --- and where your after dinner drinks are --- if you only have one night, you can hit 3 places easy, 4 or 5 if you try.

      ( here's a post regarding a 6 stop day : )

      1. Incanto's one of my longtime favorites. AQ, Bar Tartine (basically a new restaurant under the new chef), and St. Vincent are my favorite new places.

        Hog and Rocks is great. Zuni Cafe is open all afternoon and arguably has the best oysters in town.

        Katana-Ya's open until 1am and a fun scene.

        1. This is very possible.
          I like the suggestion of skipping Swan and doing Hog Island.
          Bar Agircole would be a suggestion as well as Range.

          This is my post from a progressive dinner in the mission is possible to do!

          1. Thanks all for your input.

            Here's what we've planned for now. I know it's some back and forth across town but we are fine with that.

            Lunch Hogs and Rocks. Then off to Hog Island Oysters in the Ferry Building. We'll check into the hotel then head to Aub Zam Zam for a Martini. We'll find a wine bar after that or just go to the hotel to freshen up for dinner at Barbacco. After dinner drinks at sites to be determined (Couldn't get in at Bourbon and Branch) maybe Rickhouse? Then we'll wind up the night with Raman at Katana-Ya.

            Trip report to come.

            12 Replies
            1. re: JMLenart

              Hog Island can have a pretty long line on a weekend afternoon. Zuni would be easier.

              Hotel Biron (not a hotel, opens at 5) and Pause (4:30) are two wine bars right around the corner from each other and more or less on the way from Aub Zam Zam to Nob Hill. There's also Terroir, (noon) if you're into natural wine, it's just down the block from the amazing City Beer.

              Rickhouse makes excellent drinks, as do Comstock Saloon, 15 Romolo, and Txoko.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks for the Terroir rec. Sounds right up my alley.

                1. re: JMLenart

                  You may want to try Local Edition or Wilson & Wilson (both Bourbon & Branch offshoots).

                  Just as a warning. I would not under any circumstances go to Tradition (another Bourbon and Branch offshoot). Almost all the seating area is reserved, and it's not a particularly nice venue - so it seems a waste to box in your evening by reserving. It is a lot like Rickhouse (as in walk-ins are welcome) but the bartenders can't keep up with demand resulting in very long waits, slow service etc.

                  We originally did not realize that the seating at the bar was also reserved and so sat there for a good 15 to 20 minutes. None of the bartenders informed us that they weren't going to serve we just sat and sat until the pit boss/manager told us that since we hadn't reserved the bartenders were not going to serve us. We then moved to the other side of the bar and were ignored by the bartenders until our reserved table arrived and sat down. Left a very bad taste in our mouths.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Does Aub Zam Zam still serve a good martini after the old guy passed? You might consider Tadich, unless you're in the mood to traverse over to the upper height.

                  Warning re: Zuni : the cocktails there are _highly variable_ and recently I've had them more on the downside. It's the only place I'll order a cosmo. Pick a decent crisp white wine or champain with your oysters. Love that classic zinc bar, though.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    So it sounds like the consensus is Zuni for oysters. Is that correct?

                    1. re: JMLenart

                      Open in the afternoon, no wait, high quality, a modest slice of SF-ness, Zuni is a great choice.

                    2. re: bbulkow

                      The new owners of Aub Zam Zam cleaned the place up but didn't change anything. Well, it's probably a lot harder to be refused service.

                      Zuni's hard to beat for oysters and it's very pleasant between lunch and dinner. They always have excellent Champagne and Muscadet by the glass.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I stopped into to Aub Zam Zam about a year ago and was served one of the worst cocktails ever, completely watered-down and tasteless. So if the OP wants to check it out, just for the history factor, well you can take your chances. Remember that the Alembic is just a couple of blocks away and they do excellent cocktails and small plates.

                        1. re: pamf

                          Thanks. I'm thinking Aub Zam Zam is off the board now. Pus its sorts of out of the way for us. We'll likely do Terroir.

                          Food is looking like Hogs and Rocks, Zuni, Barbacco and Katana-Ya. We may try to get into A16 right as they open for seats at the bar just to have the tripe dash too.

                          Thanks again everyone.

                          1. re: JMLenart

                            A16's a long schlep across heavily trafficked parts of town and they don't always have tripe. I hesitate to suggest Bocadillos since the tripe was scorched the last time I was in there, but everything else was great as usual so it was probably a one-time fluke.


                            If you're innards fans, the headcheese dish I had at Txoko was stellar.


                            1. re: JMLenart

                              Hog and rocks, do a walk through the mission to stretch your legs, see some murals, coffee at sightglass, grab a doughnut at dynamo or ice cream at hs, if you want a cocktail there are a bunch of places, then Zuni, barbacco, katanya, good choices.
                              Put that back in, try tadich
                              You have mixed your classic herb caen cocktail thing.

                        2. re: bbulkow

                          If you're going to zam Zam, try Bar Crudo instead of Swan's. Smaller line, if at all and better seafood.