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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?

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: moto

      That's outside the area I was asking about, but a great reminder in any case! I had a fantastic meal during his pop-up in the Mission, and I've been meaning to head over to the new location.

    2. 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.

      5 Replies
      1. re: BernalKC

        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.

        1. re: BernalKC

          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.

          1. re: BernalKC

            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.

            1. re: BernalKC

              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.

              Webpage: http://www.darkhorsesf.com/food.html
              Beer menu at: http://www.beermenus.com/places/3632-...

              The Dark Horse Inn
              942 Geneva Ave @ Mission St
              San Francisco, CA 94112

              1. re: BernalKC

                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..

              2. 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.

                3 Replies
                1. 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.

                  1. re: psb

                    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.

                    1. re: ...tm...

                      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.

                2. This is an old discussion that could be helpful: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/498266

                  Los Planes Pupuseria was good when I ate there, back in 2008 it looks like. Definitely worth a try!

                  1. 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.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: BernalKC

                      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:
                      http://www.yelp.com/biz/v2-burger-san...

                      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.

                      1. re: psb

                        Interesting mention. It's been a few years since there was a report on here, but the Spanish Cultural Center's restaurant is called Patio Espa┼łol Restaurant.

                        http://www.patioespanol.com/index.htm