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SF Itinerary

Just your standard SF itinerary help thread for a LA hound...

I'm going to be in the Bay Area 12/27-29, staying at a friend's house in Mountain View. I plan to take the Caltrain up to SF on 12/27 and hang out at Ferry Building Marketplace most of the day (since the Farmers Market is that day too). Here are some of the places I plan to hit up (prepared food-wise):

4505 Meats
Boulette's Larder
RoliRoti
The Slanted Door

Also planning a 2nd possible day in SF, and this is where help is most needed. I'm most likely taking the train up, and walking around in the city. So I would like to choose an area where various places are densely populated to make walking around easier. I was thinking about Swan Oyster Depot, but it's a bit further and nothing else is really close by. Or I can go to Mission and visit Tartine Bakery, Mission Chinese Food, etc. I also put places like Marlowe and Little Skillet on my radar because they're so close to the Caltrain station.

Might even be in the city on 12/29, because some friends want to try Burma Superstar (so do I). Any suggestion is greatly appreciated. But I was trying to prioritize places we don't have or have better versions of here in LA. Oh, and I do want to try 1-2 more $$$$ place(s) for dinner during the trip. Choices so far are Benu, Manresa, and Wakuriya (since latter 2 are closer to where I'm staying).

Thanks again. Sorry if this was a bit TL:DR or needy :(

EDITED: Are there are any must-visit places in the South Bay? I made a map of to-dine places, and only 4 of them are in the area (and all $$$$ places - Manresa & Wakuriya, as well as Baume and Plumed Horse, but don't consider the latter 2 must-try).

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  1. Go to La Costena in Mountain View at some point.

    Re: 2nd day in SF, you could try Hakassan which just opened or M.Y. China for lunch. For $$$$ I like all your options. I'd probably go with Benu right now.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hungree

      Will take a look at La Costena :)

      Is Hakkasan open in SF already? I'm not too excited about it though...

      1. re: chrishei

        They both just opened on monday, although I haven't been yet. I think Hakkasan SF is aiming for 2 Michelin stars.

      2. re: hungree

        I wouldn't say M.Y. China is $$$$. Maybe just $$$.

      3. Ferry Building/Farmer's Market great I agree but can't see staying there the majority of a day.

        3 Replies
        1. re: walkoffdinner

          Probably not the WHOLE day. Get there early enough for breakfast @ Boulette's Larder. Then go to 4505 Meats/RoliRoti around 10am and Farmers Market after. Then go inside for shopping and maybe The Slanted Door for lunch. But I'm sure I would be very full until dinner.

          1. re: chrishei

            boulette's larder doesn't serve breakfast on saturdays (though is open for other ingredients / cakes etc), and 4505 meats is only there during farmer's markets

        2. For the kind of LA-friendly, glitzy trendy places you're suggesting, you should consider Mayfield to some extent, and Station 1. Stay away from Baume - please - although it has a nice layer of trendy on top.

          There are some excellent eats in the south bay, but not of that sort.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bbulkow

            I'm actually trying to stay away from "glitzy trendy" places.

          2. If you can convice your friends to change it up....

            Mandalay is far superior to Burma Superstar.

            14 Replies
            1. re: yanks26dmb

              Concur on Mandalay - easier to get a table and better food...

              The only reason I think BS got so much fame is because of the Food Channel.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                There were long waits at Burma Superstar before they were on TV.

              2. re: yanks26dmb

                Mandalay is fantastic. Don't miss it!

                1. re: yanks26dmb

                  I've actually never heard of Mandalay - shows how much I know about SF!

                  1. re: chrishei

                    Do some searches on here for Mandalay-- at Mandalay and other Burmese places, there are lots of fool's gold dishes not of Burmese origin. Mandalay is a good deal older than BS, and is more popular on Chowhound, but doesn't get the press that BS gets or have as hip a name.

                    Little Skillet has great fried chicken, but that seems like a distraction when the Mission has so many offerings, interesting shops, murals, etc. Within a few blocks and on the 18th St. corridor you'll find Bar Tartine sandwiches, Tartine Bakery, Craftsmen & Wolves bakery, Delfina Pizza, Bi-Rite Ice Cream, Namu (Korean/Japanese fusion).

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Burma Superstar's been around for 20 years, only eight less than Mandalay. Why it's so much more popular is mysterious to me.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I would hazard to guess that Mandalay is more popular because it is consistently good and ALWAYS easier to get a table without having to wait.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          Burma Superstar is the one that's more popular, at dinner rush the wait is an hour or more.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Popular is relative; I've waited an hour for lunch there...

                            I've never had to wait at Mandalay and found their food comparable.

                            1. re: CarrieWas218

                              I think everyone's saying Burma Superstar is the more popular one because of the long waits, which would indeed make it more popular to the masses.

                    2. re: chrishei

                      Given that you're up for a day and taking the train, I can't imagine spending that time going to either Mandalay or Burma Superstar. It is out of the way and there isn't much else in that area worthwhile -- relative to all the other places in SF you could visit.

                      You might want to consider the Mission -- there are a lot of newer places on or near Valencia in Lower Mission, and it can make for a good walking tour.

                      If you have a particular desire for Burmese, however, then I guess it could be worth the trek.

                      1. re: calumin

                        I don't have a specific preference for Burmese (we actually have a couple of options in LA, although I haven't tried yet), but my friends are all crazy for Burma Superstar. Must be a Yelp thing :/

                        1. re: chrishei

                          Rangoon Ruby is a new Burmese restaurant in downtown Palo Alto, so closer to where you're staying. The chefs came from SF's Burma Superstar and they're beating their former employer handily. That said, Mandalay is better. Here's more about Rangoon Ruby.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/867818

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Interesting - will take a look. It is MUCH closer. Thanks!

                  2. for your 2'nd day and $$$$ meal, i'd suggest swan's and manresa, respectively.

                    for your first day, you won't want more than a 2-3 hours at the ferry building. you could go to the mission on this day in the afternoon. dolores park is always happening on weekends when the weather is nice.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: Dustin_E

                        The hour or two wait at Swan Oyster Depot makes it not a great fit if you're trying to cram a lot in one day.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Yeah, but if it's worth it I just might do it. We don't have such places in LA, although I suppose I can just go to Hog Island when I'm at the Ferry Building. But what time do I have to go if I want to get in around opening (10:30?)?

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            If you just want a crab salad, it's not that long a wait in the "to go" line; you could take the Polk bus (or a quick cab ride) to Polk and Beach and eat it at Aquatic Park if weather is good. (This comment is re: Swan Oyster Depot on Polk near California St.)

                            Have an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe for dessert.

                        2. Haven't read through all of these - But here's my two cents....
                          I had one of the best and most fun meals that I can remember at State Bird Provisions - cart service but not Asian.... we had a great time - waited an hour around the corner with a nice glass of wine and then sat at the bar - enjoyed the owners, the bar/waitstaff, our neighbors and of course the food! 12 dishes and five glasses of wine was $75 each including tip - For me the highlight was the burrata and garlic bread - awesome!
                          http://statebirdsf.com

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: harryharry

                            I really want to try State Bird, but figured the wait will be ridiculous.

                            On a separate note, made reservations for Benu on 12/28 :)

                          2. Any recent reports on Hachi Ju Hachi? Not much about the restaurant on CH, but seems more to my liking than the majority of places I see in the South Bay.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: chrishei

                              I never really figured out what you were looking for in the south bay. Indian is strong, Korean (on par or a little below LA), there's a couple of decent "californian" places, there's some plausible sushi better than most but not with the top of LA's, strong chinese but not to LA standards either. So there's places I can recommend but "must eats"? Not so much.

                              1. re: bbulkow

                                Yeah I realized that I wasn't being specific at all - sorry. But I was hoping for some "destination" places in the South Bay (outside of the Cal-Ital Michelin types that cater to older generations), however unlikely it is. Maybe Indian it is, since you're right in me not preferring sub-LA cuisines.