SF destination eats south of 280 & west of 101
I recently moved from the East Bay to near Glen Park Bart. The boards have tons of great tips for neighborhood restaurants (thanks!), so I'm set on those for now. I'm also pretty set with places north and west of where I live.
I'm looking for some unique places south/east of Sunnyside (the region encompassing Excelsior, Outer Mission (i.e., south of Geneva), Crocker Amazon, Mission Terrace, & Portola). Just to keep this focused, let's keep this within SF's borders (a related Peninsula thread is at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/850140 ).
I'm more looking for dishes and/or cuisines I couldn't get elsewhere in SF. Or if a place has a better X than any other place in SF, I guess I'd want to know that too. However, I'd just as soon eat a great X with friends in the Mission than eat an equal or slightly less good one by myself in the Excelsior. Here's what I've preliminarily come up with:
Been to and would recommend:
Zanze : heavenly cheesecake (must pre-order during holidays
)Queens Louisiana Po Boy Cafe : oyster po-boy, gumbo
Beijing restaurant : late night Beijing style street food
Tortas voos boni : top notch tortas, need to explore rest of menu ...
South Pacific Island Restaurant : Samoan food is not my thing, but I'll mention should someone else crave it
Present todo list:
Roxie Food Center : subs
Batter Up : wide selection of corndogs, made to order, and various deep fried desserts
Lucky River : Zhenjiang Sweet and Sour Pork Chops (not on menu), complementary house soup
Broken record : I understand the new chefs are doing interesting stuff
Baby's Eatery and Palabok : Filipino
Pampangeuna Cuisine : FIlipino
Hilda's Mart & Bake Shop : Filipino bakery, go early before it sells out of good stuff
What else should be on my radar?
Rice Valley Shanghai Bistro just opened up on Monterey, next to the Safeway and across the street from Shanghai Dumpling King. No one has yet identified a dish done better here than elsewhere in SF, but the #3 pan-fried pork buns (sheng jian bao) are the strongest item I've had:
Shanghai Dumpling King opened their 2nd location in Sunnyside a month or so ago.
I'm not a huge fan of SDK, but someone could have a really nice regional food crawl including some of SDK's small plates, the Zhenjiang Sweet and Sour Pork Chops at Lucky River across the street, and Beijing Restaurant 1.2 miles away.
Went to the monterey blvd SDK a few weeks back for dinner with my friend and her kids. IT was a rare summer night and still around 80 degrees and sunny at 6:30 pm.
We got there at ^:30 and my firend was late, but i told the host/server that we would be 5. she said she coudln't seat us until everyone arrived, so i was a little worried cause within 5 minutes there was a line out the door! however, as soon as my firend showed up, she seated us at one of the big tables (that she had been holding for us!) so i thought that was very nice.
we ordered two orders of the xlb's and bok choy with tofu skin and mongolian beef. the xlb's were excellent. they came out fairly quickly and were jsut as good as a i remember.
the bok choy was ok, but WAY too salty. i mean, like almost burn your lips salty. it was dissapointing, but i wanted it, so i ate it anyway. but no one else did. the mongolian beef was unrealistically spicy hot. i took about three bites and stopped. so did my firend. so did her son. and we are all spicy food lovers, but this was almost impossible to eat. she took it home for her husband, and he also agreed that it was too spicy and didn't eat it.
i will be back for the xlb's when i have the craving, but as for the rest of the food...maybe it was an off night, maybe we ordered the wrong thing, but it is pretty much as i remember SDK on Balboa. you go for the dumplings, and maybe you have some good luck with some veggie sides (the stringbeans, or the peapood stems or the eggplant)
Stick with what they are known for.
re: Dave MP
They don't serve them on the house, at least as far as I know! I think that when someone orders them, they make an entire batch, and then they try to get other tables to eat them at the same time (but they still charge for them).
It would surprise me if the donuts were available at lunch but not dinner....maybe nobody had ordered them that evening? Anyone have experience?
re: Dave MP
Excelsior near Geneva Ave and beyond...
Tortas Boos Voni (Excelsior) : Great tortas. Also recently tried:
Chilaquiles : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888740#7943730
California burrito (french fries inside it) : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/477746#7973889
Agua frescas are a little watered down, and the chips are stale half the time, but the banana shake is delicious.
Pan Lido Bakery (Excelsior near Geneva Ave, not the place with the same name in the Mission
Stopped in here for pastelitos thanks to a tip from an 2011 sfgate article by Jonathan Kauffman. I liked the prune and the guava filling more than the pineapple or apple. Crust is fantastic, and is nicely described at:
Quesadilla Salvadorena and a few other items are on par with the other good Salvadoran bakeries, but not destination worthy
El Porteño / Chifa Peruano (Excelsior
I haven't eaten here, but noticed that this place used to be called "Chifa Peruano." Still has Chinese Peruvian food.
Little Yangon (Daly City)
Burmese Fish Paste Salad was excellent. Strong and bright flavors.
Mohinga: not as good as Mandalay but better than at most other places.
8 oz. containers of balachaung (shallot and dried shrimp condiment) are $3 or 2/$5. Perfect on leftover rice.
Mission Terrace and Excelsior near Persia Ave.:
Roxie Food Center (Mission Terrace)
Their Roxie Special (mixed Italian meats and artichoke hearts) on dutch crunch is now one of my favorite sub-style sandwiches in SF. Great picnic food. They can run out of dutch crunch in the evening, and it's not quite the same on other bread.
Los Planes de Renderos (Persia Ave, Excelsior)
Very good pupusas, but they lack the elasticity and chewiness of the pupusas at La Santaneca near Holly Park. It was interesting to watch the kitchen staff mix curtido in a (hopefully food-grade) 44-gallon garbage can.
Sorrento Delicatessen --- out of business!
Beijing Restaurant (Excelsior) : Very lucky to have this so close by. For late night dining, this is a million times better than New Gold Medal in Oakland.
Highly recommended dishes:
Slice Fish with Preserved Vegetable in Warm Pot (酸菜魚片砂鍋) : very fresh fish, and as tender as the fish soups at China Village. Vegetables taste like a fresh sauerkraut.
Beijing style stired fried pancake with sliced pork ( beijing chao bing ) : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892914#7946315
Beef pancake ( xian bing ): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892914#7932104
Beijing pancake ( jian bing ): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8565...
Shrimp with pine nuts : A variation on honey walnut shrimp. Instead of having an earthy contrast from walnuts, the pine nuts amplify the level of creaminess from the mayonnaise based sauce.
Beijing style tofu : great egg crust and viscous but savory sauce
Beijing zha jiang mein (北京炸醬麵)
Wide Rice Noodle Salad (雞絲粉皮) : mung bean noodles with slivers of chicken and cucumbers and a sichuan peppercorn flavored oil.
House eggplant (comes with shrimp)
House Special Three-Flavor Vegetables
Hot and sour cucumbers
House special steamed meat ball : homey, but I prefer giant meatballs when they're in the richer braise sauce available at Shanghainese restaurants
Wouldn't get again:
Mixed flour balls: I liked the texture of these dice shaped dumplings, but don't really like the peas and carrots. Difficult to eat with chopsticks, not much easier with a fork.
Beijing Style Noodles with Brown Paste
Jiao Liu Meat Ball Beijing Style : overcooked when I had them
I don't know if there's a different chef in my many late nights there, but my recent three experiences at Beijing Restaurant at ~8pm resulted in pancakes that were too floppy and a jian bing that was a bit too bland. BTW, the "family style pancake" doesn't have any filling, so it's more for pairing with other dishes than for eating by itself. The jing dong pancake needed some garlic chili paste to bring it to life.
The Beijing fried chicken, which is reminiscent of bone-in Chongqing chicken, had sichuan peppercorns that were either old or overcooked. The dumplings continue to not be great.
On the plus side, their Shredded Pork with Braised Sauce and their cumin lamb are both fantastic. Pea shoots in garlic sauce are consistently good.
News from the front in a few posts. North of 280 but in my neighborhood:
Monterey Deli (Sunnyside)
Nice selection of craft beer: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892557
Gialina (Glen Park)
I've had a few pizzas here and at Ragazza and I just don't like their crust. Not crunchy enough to my liking, and they get progressively soggy toward the center, especially the Amatriciana. That said, the Amatriciana, which has a fried egg, pancetta, chilies, and pecorino is inspired and downright delicious.
I live in the area, too! (We are few steep blocks up and around the bend, from Lucky River)
I concur with jupiter: K's Kitchen is a pretty good Japanese place in the 'hood. They have some interesting dishes (that I can't seem to think of right now - sorry) and some only so-so (I was extremely disappointed in their ramen).
If you're in the mood for a good brunch (or breakfast or lunch), check out the new and improved Big Joe's Broiler. A new trio of owners has taken over the place, re-done the interior and drafted a new menu. Went for breakfast a couple of weekends ago... the coffee was excellent and the food was healthy and tasty. The owners told us that they are working on beer and wine licensing and will change their name and signage when they get their license stuff in order.
We're always looking for great local eats, too. So, thanks very much for this post -- I'll keep an eye on it and chime in if I have anything more to add.
Big Joe's Broiler (#2) -- but soon changing their name
717 Monterey Blvd San Francisco, CA 94127
Taqueria Menudo in the Excelsior is under new ownership and I thought it was pretty good. They have a couple of Mexico City-ish meat options you don't see at many other places: alambre and sarape (similar to alambre, but adding bacon).
Pamonhas in Daly City near Crocker-Amazon has unusual central Brazilian dishes.
I live a block away from Lucky River and have to say, that while i have never eaten there, i am consistently underwhelmed with the takeout. i keep going back hoping that it will be great, but it is always just so so. I find the takeout at Hong Sing in Glen Park to be better.
Across from Lucky River further up monterey is a japanese place called K's kitchen, and while they are not the most amazing sushi, they do have a few standout rolls and appetizers like the "killer hamachi" and the "good roll". service is very hit or miss though.
Here is a link to my experience with Sea Garden on Ocean ave. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857114
Also Pho Ha Tien on Ocean serves consistently good bowls of pho and bun, not a destination spot per se, but the best pho i have had in that neighborhood. They have a deep fried quail appetizer that i really like and haven't seen at many other places.
Unfortunately you missed the hey day of Ocean Taqueria, which had the best freaking steak nachos! but for some reason they shuttered their doors about 6 months ago without any notice as to what was happening. alas...i keep hoping they will re-open, but i am starting to lose faith.
One of the posters also mentioned Viking subs. i have not eaten at the one on Ocean, but the one in Glen Park does some killer teryaki subs! even though you are not interested in GP, i thought i would mention it.
Have fun exploring!
I completely agree about Lucky River. We tried it a few times and then stopped.
I had very good dim sum at Sea Garden thanks to your rec and have wanted to go back. I also love Imperial Garden on San Bruno for dim sum. I think they go all out on Sundays. They have old school Cantonese for dinner too, but I haven't gone after dark in a while.
Also located in this backwater of the SF food scene: Cable Car Joe's and Manila Oriental Market
Others have mentioned the Ocean Ave Whole Foods and Canyon Market, but neither one is in the specific area you've specified. Manila market is, and it is really noteworthy. For me, the butcher is my go-to guy for pork, especially pork shoulder cuts. Their fish market is very interesting provided you don't much care about sustainability and sourcing. Lots of really good values and a near-Ranch-99 breadth of offerings.
Cable Car Joe's? Great burgers. Great shakes. Really great, fresh ground burgers. But value is the problem. I was willing to pay top dollar for their burgers because they were that good, but when they switched to plastic cutlery they lost me. I'm a greasy spoon kinda guy, but paper plates and plastic forks just seem wrong when you're paying $14-$17 for a 6oz burger. But if you haven't tried their burger, forget the atmospherics and check it out.
Cable Car Joes in an inexplicable abomination.
>is in the specific area you've specified
oh come on, the 280 is just a convenient demarcation. the time to drive from MOM to Canyon Mkt is less than half the time to drive to Broken Record. Not to mention Zazie ... that's most of the way to West Portal. Not to mention the to-go prepared foods of WF and CM re closer substitutes for some of the to-go-oriented restos than MOM.
the driving times here are heavily affected by some details of freeway crossings and exit/entrances.
Anyway, back to food:
I have put V2 burger on my to-try list:
Baby Filipino and the other Filipino place more or less across the street from the Excelsior Pub Lib have ok chicken and pork skewers for $2.25-$2.50 ... sometimes quite good, other times a little too fatty or a little under cooked.
Has anybody been to the Spanish Cultural Center on Allemany?
The VN place next to the Subway on Mission is ok ... acceptable VN sando, given that Saigon Sando is far away.
The tacos at the Taq Vallarta down here are still $1.50 eventhough they went up to $1.75 at the 24th street location. I've only been to the one down here once but they didnt taste as good ... maybe an off day. It tasted like worse quality meat, but I find that hard to believe.
I'm reducing carbs a bit, so less pizza, pupusas, mexican/asian bakeries, fruit drinks etc for me these days.
Most of my favorite places in this geographic area are already on your list: Beijing Restaurant, Lucky River, Broken Record, Queens...
If you are willing to expand just over the border into Daly City, there's Little Yangon. I tried it last week and didn't think it matched in quality to places in SF, but it was also a very busy night for them and our orders came right after a large group, so it's possible they were in a rush. Some major oversalting and undersalting issues. But others have really liked this place, so could be worth a try.
re: Dave MP
My current homebase is in that area as well, so I am quite interested in this thread. Thanks for the update Broken Record has replaced their food crew. Planning to try Dark Horse too.
You know, w.r.t. Little Yangon, I think I have now gotten past the cognitive dissonance phase ("if I drove to this crazy place, i must have done so for a reason") ... I dont think it is that great.
I am curious if among the boat load of hole-in-the-wall/modest asian places on Mission or Ocean there are any to single out ... or maybe individual dishes at certain places. I dont mean Yao Ming Beijing ... that place as obviously already made it into a known entity.
BTW, I havent been to Viking Sando in a while (on Ocean), but I seem to remember what I had there ... probably something like a philly cheesesteak ... was pretty good. I sometimes go to Bello Coffee in Glen Park and keep wanting to to go the the GP branch of Viking, but they close early.
There is of course decent prepared food at Canyon Mkt, but that's essentially seems a substitute for Ocean Whole Foods w.r.t. price/quality.
I dont like the space much at Foglifter Cafe (Ocean Ave) but their Blue Bottle coffee is pretty good.
Though there are some frequently hound-mentioned places in this area always on the list this has always seemed like virgin chow territory to me. I'm the sort of person who likes to take local roads instead of freeways just for fun and every time I drive up Mission from Daly City I am overwhelmed with the density of unheard of restaurants and bakeries. Unfortunately this has usually been after full meals at friends' houses (and my lack of love of sweets has prevented me from stopping at any of the Salvadorean, Chinese, and other bakeries for a snack for later).
One that isn't on your list, but is occasionally mentioned on food sites is Little Joe's Pizza, mostly mentioned for it's old-school booths and atmosphere. In any case, the street is lined with places, nearly all of them Mom and Pop, which could either be charming, or survive solely by the value-priced menus.
The locals to this area, many of whom are on this thread, can probably give more insight.
For whatever reason, the press/websites don't have a lot of covereage of this area. SFGate/SFoodie is the only one with tips that excite me. Grubstreet has some too. 7x7 and SF Eater have barely a mention beyond Broken Record. Lots of Yelp ratings, but most of the reviews don't sound very knowledgeable about the restaurant's specialties, or food in general for that matter.
I can verify that the new crew at Broken Record is serving some very interesting dishes. Our party shared the three entres: mac & cheese, oxtail stew, and steamed mussels with chorizo in a cream sauce. Everything was great, but the mac & cheese was the consensus winner. The starters looked interesting too. The food was heavy, but a bit less so than I remember.
I would also add the Dark Horse Inn, just down the block from Broken Record, to your list. A friend swears by their Sunday Dinner menu. I haven't tried that, but the two times I went their bar food was quite good.
Excellent, thanks for the confirmation about Broken Record. I was getting bummed about moving here only to find the chefs of my top priority todo spot to have relocated,
Dark Horse Inn sounds great--- I just joined their e-mail list. Whoa, looks like they have Almanac's Biere de Chocolat right now.
Dark Horse Inn is great. John and I really like their burgers (I particularly like the one with blue cheese and bacon jam -- delicious!!) and they have a very good rotating tap beer list. See http://www.beermenus.com for the most current list and see their website (http://www.darkhorseinn.com) for their menu. They also have live music on Saturday nights. And, finally, they will be participating in SF Beer Week with a couple of dinners and some tastings.
Beijing Restaurant was closed before 10PM yesterday (new hours?), so I went to Broken Record last night. The Arkansas apple and crouton salad was heavily overdressed with a citrus vinaigrette. Pulled lamb sandwich with fennel slaw and, presumably house made, cucumber pickle slices was fantastic.
I watched the chef slice some house smoked pastrami for someone else's order--- some of the juiciest pastrami I've ever seen. Can't wait to return to try some.
Yes, this is definitely not light fare.
I had an enjoyable smoked chicken, roasted red pepper, and brie sandwich last night at the Dark Horse Inn. The smoking is done in-house, and the chicken was very juicy. The crunch of the bread, color of the roasted red peppers, and smokiness of the chicken trick the senses into thinking there's bacon in the sandwich.
With a bunch of beers I hadn't had before and a Gary Cooper western playing on the TV, the Dark Horse Inn is more my speed for a neighborhood bar than Broken Record. Thanks for the tip!
Their website describes brunch, a Sunday night menu (corned beef this Sunday), and Saturday-only flatbreads and beer flights.
The Dark Horse Inn
942 Geneva Ave @ Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
Another nice meal at Dark Horse Inn. This place is the embodiment of a neighborhood gem-- good beer and quality housemade food for those in the area.
The burger was big and juicy. Straightforward and meaty, and with a very good bun.
The Vietnamese pulled pork sandwich was excellent, though my DC disliked it as much as I liked it. YMMV. Unlike the pulled pork banh mi at Southern Pacific, which is American pulled pork served on a "banh mi style" sandwich, the flavorings of the pulled pork at Dark Horse Inn are to what "Vietnamese" refers to. They don't hold back... the meat is bold and very spicy, and it's contrasted with fresh mint.
I was glad to see that the deep fried pickles were crinkle cut-- none of the batter slipped off these pickles or the fried jalapenos. The flavor of the pickles was well matched to the light and relatively greaseless cornmeal batter. Giant portion of pickles and, appropriately, much fewer fried japalenos..
if Bayview fits within your geographic parameters, you might like Radio Afrika. though the owner's background is east African, it's not an injera-centric menu but more like caribbean- soul food fusion with a lighter, cali-influenced touch. oxtail was the our favorite dish when we went.