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5 Days in SF/Napa

Hi,

Since most of the questions here are very general, I'm going to try to be a little more specific.

Here's how my trip with my wife is scheduled:

June 25 - San Francisco - staying right on edge of Chinatown

June 26/27/28- staying in downtown Napa (Westin Versasa)

June 26 - San Francisco - staying right in the Mission (near 18th/Valencia)

Here are my questions:

1. Decent place for lunch in Chinatown. I've been to China 15 times. Is there anything in SF Chinatown that isn't super touristy? Good dim sum?

2. Diner first night. Since day #1 will be tourists,

1. is the Slanted Door worth the money/wait?
2. Is there a restaurant in North Beach worth eating at that isn't a typical chicken parmagian type restaurant?

My time in Napa:

1. Ad Hoc - feelings on this. I've eaten at Bouchon in Las Vegas and the French Laundry isn't in my budget since my daughters need to go to college someday

2. Bottega - I like Michael C. Is this place worth the money. Looks nice online.

3. Downtown Napa - Zuzu - have heard good things

4. Any particular Vineyards that are worth eating at?

5. Last day in SF. Is there any chance I am going to be able to eat at Mission Chinese for lunch on a Saturday? I really want to eat here

6. Any other foodie recommendations in Mission/Castro/Haight. My entire last day will be spent roaming around this area to eat and drink.

Thank you for the help.

Mark Adamowicz
Sutton, MA

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  1. 1. is the Slanted Door worth the money/wait?

    Opinions are divided on this matter. I personally believe it to be okay, though I wouldn't wait on line for it.

    2. Is there a restaurant in North Beach worth eating at that isn't a typical chicken parmagian type restaurant?

    Albona, which serves Istrian food, which is like Italian food with an Eastern European slant. I like that place a lot.

    5. Last day in SF. Is there any chance I am going to be able to eat at Mission Chinese for lunch on a Saturday? I really want to eat here

    They do take out and delivery. If you're staying in the Mission, this should be easy.

    6. Any other foodie recommendations in Mission/Castro/Haight. My entire last day will be spent roaming around this area to eat and drink.

    The Mission has a million things to eat. The Castro and Haight, on the other hand, you can skip, at least from a food perspective. Frankly, I think you can skip the Upper Haight completely, as it is essentially a shopping district for tourists and teenagers (if you must eat there, go to Alembic), but in any event, if your primary concern is food, stay in the Mission. I'll let others compile the list...

    2 Replies
    1. re: dunstable

      For your Napa choices, I'd consider these over ZuZu (all are walkable from the Westin):

      * fancy: Morimoto for lunch, dinner or late night drinks. We go for lunch where the sets are delicious and good value.

      * medium: Hog Island at the Bar: vibrant and still fresh and inventive. The Italian Fisherman's stew is a must.

      * cheaper: Gotts (formerly Taylor's Refresher). Going there tomorrow for my favorite: rare ahi sandwich with sweet potatoe fries. Lunch or dinner.

      * drinks: upstairs at the Thomas. Third floor outdoor deck overlooking the river towards the Oxbow.

      Moving upvalley, I'd skip Bottega and taste Chiarello's new Coqueta in SF as suggested above. Redd is a must. Lunch on the front patio is a steal and the most pleasant locale in Yountville. As to Addendum, I loved it last year but not anymore. They've seriously reduced portion size of the fried chicken. No longer special. Ad hoc is great if you sit at the bar. Don't need reservations and can order a la carte rather than the whole set menu which is too voluminous. Skip Jeanty-- too old school French. Reddwood is good for Pizza, pasta and cured meats.

      Have fun!

      1. re: cortez

        I will admit that The Thomas has a great view, but that is about all it has going for it...

        I hated the "scene" of over-dressed 20-somethings drinking and partying too loud and I found the food beyond mediocre; small portions, uneven combinations, and generally over-wrought service.

    2. For North Beach, I adore Sotto Mare's and Rose Pistola's cioppino. Wouldn't bother with chicken anyway... I also think Slanted Door is incredibly over-rated and LOUD.

      I am a huge dissenter on Bottega as the food is heavy and over-wrought (in my opinion). Others love it, but I have been extremely underwhelmed.

      I am also not a huge fan of Ad Hoc only because you are relegated to whatever they are serving that day, with no choice of options if you don't like a particular ingredient.

      I *LOVE* Zuzu and would, instead, direct you to Redd for something more interesting and cutting edge, Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Angele, and Bistro Jeanty.

      For vineyard recommendations, it really helps to know what you are looking for in a winery experience; styles of wine you like, money you are willing to spend on tastings, interest in wine-making versus art and architecture, etc...

      1. Getting into Mission Chinese should be no problem.

        The Mission's where the action is as far as food and drink, skip the Castro and Haight. There are so many options it would help to know more about your interests.

        1. My wife and I really like Slanted Door. That said, we usually make it a lunch spot and spend some time at the Ferry Building before or after.

          Bottega, IMHO, is definitely not worth the money. We had good enough food, far from great or even very good, but just terrible service. Almost two hours for two courses. No offer of dessert, coffee, after dinner drink...nothing. There are so many other good options. Bistro Jeanty, Redd, Redd Wood, Ad Hoc, Bouchon all in the same general area.

          1. You might want to check out Chiarello's new restaurant, Coqueta, in SF instead of Bottega. That's probably where his attention is right now. The initial reports,
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901640