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Critique my list

ok serious hounds...we have 3.5 days to eat at the 17 restaurants I've decided on. None of them are particularly fancy or expensive, but have great reviews from Yelp, friends and some food network shows. Please let me know if there are any I should avoid for whatever reason. And other suggestions are welcome. I need to narrow this list down. I don't need to eat at 35 Asian places.....

here goes:
Arabian Nights-(we have a groupon)
Anchor Steam Brewery (more for the tour for hubby)
Thirsty bear brewing company
Fog City Diner
Mandarin Islamic
Pier 23
Brandy Ho (I have been here once before)
Mission Chinese
King of noodles
Tommys Joynt
Penang Garden- Spicy crab
Mr Pollo-tasting menu
American Grilled Cheese kitchen

Thank you guys, so much for your input!

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  1. Seems like you'd like Z&Y (best Sichuan in SF).


    HRD is fun but I'd say not worth a detour and there's way better Korean. Consider To Hyang, My Tofu House, Han Il Kwan.

    Tommy's Joynt is a decent hofbrau but kind of a waste of a meal if you can get that at home.

    Fog City Diner's closing March 15 for a makeover.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      oh. We won't be there until May, so maybe FCD will be reopen?

      1. re: tattud_gurl

        The new Fog City might be open by May, but who knows if there will be any reason to go there? From what the owners have said, it will be a completely different restaurant.

        I think the general consensus here is that the place has been coasting on its reputation since Cindy Pawlcyn left 10+ years ago if not before.

    2. FYI there's no food at Anchor Brewing Company. The tour is well worth going on though (be sure to reserve in advance), and you can sample their beer at the end.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Mr_Happy

        I'm a big fan of the tour at Anchor. Reservations are a must so ring them well in advance of your trip.

        Another brewery tour I'm particularly fond of is Lagunitas in Petaluma. It's roughly an hour's drive up from San Francisco and might make sense if you have a car.

        The Hangar One (St. George Spirits) tour is outstanding if you like spirits. You can take the ferry from San Francisco to Alameda.

        1. re: steve h.

          Hey Steve. we won't have a car while in the city, but thank you for your recs

      2. I'd definitely de-prioritize Thirsty Bear Brewing Company and American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. They are both totally un-special in my opinion.

        I'd consider eating at Mandalay or Burmese Kitchen over Yamo, though I do like Yamo too. Might be nicer to be a bit more relaxed and have tables. Yamo is only a counter.

        I didn't love the tasting menu at Mr. Pollo. Probably wouldn't choose this with only 3.5 days, as the same amount of $ could get you a meal at places like Limon and Loló, which I like better and are more fun.

        I think Hakka is great for Chinese, and might be more special than King of Noodles. I also didn't love Mission Chinese when i went about 1 year ago, though many people love it.

        I liked the dim sum at Lai Hong Lounge (as you saw) and I think it's worth it to incorporate that, maybe instead of Brandy Ho)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dave MP

          Manny Torres Gimenez, who was doing the tasting menu at Mr. Pollo, moved to Roxy's Cafe in December. The landlord is trying to copy what Gimenez was doing at Mr. Pollo but it seems dubious that they'll be able to keep it up.


        2. I agree that Tommys Joynt is nothing special. It's a decent quick eat if you happen to be in the neighborhood, but not going out of your way for.

          I also agree that Yamo, while tasty and cheap, is not really a good idea for you guys. Thanks to its tiny size, it nearly always has a line going out the door. Burmese Kitchen and Mandalay are both excellent and won't break the bank.

          Old Mandarin Islamic is great. It's also in SF's equivalent of Siberia, and if you're relying on public transport and cabs, will be a pain to get to. There's not much other reason to be in that neighborhood.

          Where is your hotel? There are a lot of good cheap ethnic eats to be had in the Tenderloin, if you don't mind being in a coarse neighborhood. Not dangerous, though; there's too much nightlife in that area to be dangerous, really.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dunstable

            Old Mandarin's easy to get to. Take the L streetcar to 42nd and walk two blocks, that's a little over half an hour from Powell and Market. I'd say it's worth the trip for the hot pot.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              As a tourist, I'd agree that Old Mandarin is a schlep (think a good 45 mins each way from Union Square area) but there are a couple of dishes on their menu that make it worthwhile, especially the la si ni. That being said, I'd make sure you had a crew to try several.

            2. re: dunstable

              ew. We're staying at the Fairmont on Mason. Thank you for the info about the location. We'll skip it

            3. If you're looking to narrow things down, I'd skip Fog City Diner, and cross off Brand Ho's. There was a time when Brand Ho's was really great, but I think the consensus is those days are long gone.

              Mandarin Islamic really is far for what it is.
              A trip to the Tenderloin for Vietnamese, specifically a Saigon Sandwich visit, would be my suggestion over HRD and Korean.

              1. Anchor Steam Brewery - Big yes for the tour

                Thirsty bear brewing company - good food for a brewery

                Fog City Diner - cannot recommend

                Mandarin Islamic - Great, but out of the way

                Yamo - Burmese Kitchen is better

                Pier 23 - Touristy

                Brandy Ho - Would recommend Henry's Hunan instead, particularly the Marty's special for Friday lunch.

                Mission Chinese - worth a go. Must folks either love it or hate it. Bring an open mind.

                King of noodles - meh

                Tommys Joynt - it's mediocre hoffbrau food, but it's a SF institution. And the lamb shank lunch special on Thursdays is actually pretty good.

                Mr Pollo-tasting menu - Make sure you eat somewhere else first.

                1. Boccolone on Thursday or Saturday gives you the opportunity to sample other CH favorites at the Ferry Building Farmers Market.
                  Example thread

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: wolfe

                    damn. we're there Mon-Thurs. Leaving Thursday around 4pm. May stop there on the way to the airport

                    1. re: tattud_gurl

                      On the way to the airport pick up some snacks. A cold cut cone at Boccalone, a sandwich at Roli Roti or something at Namu.

                      1. re: wolfe

                        oh yes, Boccalone is on my list for SURE!

                  2. Pier 23 is awesome on a sunny day - overlooking the bay & great food.

                    Tommy's Joynt is overhyped in my opinion!

                    I would add Straw in Hayes Valley to your list. It has a really unique menu of food and drink! Something you really won't find anywhere else.

                    Have fun! :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChowDownSF

                      I would not go to tommy's Joynt either. A waste of calories.

                      Fog City Diner has said it will close. A recent report says service is aweful. It's far down from its hayday - everyone liked it 10 years ago (faded but still great). Replace it with AQ, Flour + Water, SQPR, Barbacco, Range, Absinthe, Zare, anything.

                      You're really staying tight in a few neighborhoods. You don't realize how small SF is. Going all the way out to Mandrin Islamic is one thing, but if you stay within North-of-Chavez, east of Van Ness, you'll cover 80% of SF's food in $7 taxi rides when you don't want to hoof it.

                      You're missing out on a lot of recent restaurants.

                      Add Nopa for sure. You'll love it.