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Need a foodie finish to a day at Golden Gate Park [San Francisco]

After a week on the central coast my wife and I will be spending Saturday, 8 June in Golden Gate Park before heading out to SFO and our red-eye back to Virginia. What do you recommend for two Easterners with a budget of about $100-$120?

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  1. I would head to North Beach for Cioppino at Soto Mare; hearty, filling, and quintessentially San Francisco.

    8 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      I wouldn't send someone across town to North Beach, especially when they have to then head off to SFO.

      I think Burmese is a good idea, since it's a cuisine that's under-represented almost anywhere else. For something more traditional, maybe Chapeau!?

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        The only reason I sent them across town was because they referenced a red-eye, indicating considerable time before having to be at the airport...

        But, yes, Burmese would be a great choice as well!

        1. re: CarrieWas218

          All this talk of Burmese has me wondering if we've just been extraordinarily unlucky. We've eaten at Burma Superstar and Mandalay numerous times and apart from the tea leaf salad I'm not sure what the big deal is. The food at these places is good but doesn't seem worth waiting an hour for.

          1. re: Josh

            There's nothing that exciting about Burma Superstar. Without the line, it would be an upscale Americanized Burmese restaurant with cute decor.

            1. re: Josh

              I end up pretty much ordering the same thing every time I'm at Mandalay:

              - Tea leaf salad - Always great

              - Samosa soup (although I don't love it, to be honest)

              - Mandalay special noodles (possibly my favorite Asian noodle dish in the entire country)

              - Pork and pumpkin curry (it's on the sign outside the restaurant when they have it, which seems to be often/always)

              - Eggplant w/ basil - Not amazing, but very good.

              I sometimes get the prata too, which is very good.

              1. re: Dave MP

                The thin fish soup and the samosa salad are worth adding to your go-to list, Dave.

              2. re: Josh

                I agree, Burma and Mandalay especially, are just okay. I feel like Burma Superstar went downhill a little. Without a line, it's still worth dropping in for a tea leaf salad.

                1. re: Josh

                  To be honest, I never wait in that line either, but Burmese is the one cuisine that is almost totally absent back east.

          2. I always say go Burmese, which is close to the park. Burma Superstar (the most popular choice), Mandalay (which some people, including me, prefer). Burma Superstar usually has a line, so be prepared for that.

            Nopalito is another popular choice. Mexican food. There is one in the Inner Sunset near the park.

            1. I'd second the recommendation for Nopalito. I live pretty close to Mandalay and Burma Superstar. They are decent but the crowds are ridiculous and nonsensical, and they're not as close to the park.

              Nopalito is upscale Mexican with locally sourced ingredients. Their food is excellent.

              Another option you could consider is Alembic on Haight St. It's pretty close to Golden Gate park and has interesting cocktails and very tasty food.

                1. re: Windy

                  Were budget not an issue, I'd agree. But Aziza for $120 total? I'm not sure that's possible anymore. Without cutting corners, you're looking at about $75 per person including tax and tip to sample their best stuff. A sample bill would be:

                  2 drinks: $20
                  Appetizer : ~$13
                  Basteeya : $22
                  Couscous : $19
                  Entree : $27
                  Dessert : $12
                  += 113 + tax & tip

                  1. re: hyperbowler

                    Yes, it is possible to eat at Aziza for less than $120. I'd really rather let 54howell look at a menu and decide.

                    The Richmond district is full of great food. It's not far to go downtown, but I agree, you may as well eat out by the beach while you're on the west side of town.

                    You might also consider going to La Costanera, south on a beach on highway 1. It's upscale Peruvian, with a bar or a more formal restaurant upstairs. (Close to the park, Pasion has a similar upscale Peruvian approach, but not the same view.)

                    1. re: Windy

                      The chef/owner of Pasion recently opened a new restaurant in Pacifica. Puerto 27

                      http://puerto27.com/

                      A little more casual and a bit less expensive than La Costanera, but quite good and it's located right across the highway from the beach. It's on a little hill so the views are nice.

                      1. re: pamf

                        I've been twice and have been completely underwhelmed... It seems to be more of a "place to be seen" by the beautiful people. The food is okay, but it is LOUD and too much of a scene.

                        Also, for someone coming from the Central Coast to go to Golden Gate, it would be counter-intuitive to backtrack to Pacifica before going to SFO.

                        1. re: CarrieWas218

                          That's too bad about the food. I liked Pasion when I ate there.

                          The point of going to the beach (or La Costanera) for the sunset is going to the beach for the sunset--it may be a detour on the way to SFO, but it's a detour with a spectacular view. Less important for someone that's been on the coast though.

                            1. re: 54howell57

                              Windy made a great point; lots of folks head to the beach for the view and it is sad that there are so few good eateries to complement the atmosphere.

                  2. How about La Ciccia? That's on the way to SFO and one of the best places in SF in that price range.

                    If you're dropping off a rental car at the airport, you could go to Little Yangon for Burmese.