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Suggestions in Tenderloin [San Francisco]

I'm flying to NYC for 2 weeks with my wife later this month and before we leave for any trips, I like to celebrate the night before in the city.

Since we have a very early a.m. flight, I wanted to stick with something nearby. I made reservations at Tradition because we're huge fans and regulars at Bourbon & Branch but have never been to this new bar yet. It has to be an early night, so I'd like to do something casual and nearby. Not thai though! We do that all the time. Not really a fan of Bourbador(sp?) either, in case anyone suggests that.

Something really good, fairly quick (give or take an hour) and nearby Tradition would be ideal. It doesn't have to be anything special and nothing too heavy or costly as we'll be getting our fill of that while on vacation. I can't think of anything good nearby though (apart from thai/pho). I don't want to go to some corner deli either. Was thinking Olive might be a consideration... anything else?

I have no other ideas.

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  1. Tradition is closer to the Nob Hill/Downtown end of the Tenderloin, so you might as well consider places in those areas too.

    You'll be near the Indian places, and the less Tenderloin options like Farmerbrown, Sons and Daughters, Bouche, etc.

    7 Replies
    1. re: sugartoof

      That could work... though no Indian because we'll be at Tamarind the following night!

      Any suggestions then in the lower Nob Hill or Tenderknob, I suppose?

      1. re: OliverB

        Just the ones I mentioned....

        Back in the Tenderloin direction have you tried A la Turca, which is pretty good, though not mindblowing. The new Turtle Tower location or one of the Vietnamese would be an obvious choice too. Sounds like you know those options well though.

        1. re: OliverB

          There's also Gitane, some of the French places near Belkin Place, Hops and Hominy, Barbacco, Tadich, and Harrow. I'd take a look at Harrow which closes at 9pm anyway.

          1. re: sugartoof

            Thanks, we don't want to do any the divey spots in Little Saigon because those are our go-to places when we're unimaginative. We'll usually eat at Lers Ros, Turtle Tower, Yemeni's, Aziza, etc. Bourbador used to be on that list too, but we've had some pretty poor experienced there lately and cut it out.

            We've been to Hops & Hominy once before and left entirely unimpressed. The atmosphere is little to none. Sports broadcasting on tv's around the overpacked bar area with the after work Financial District crowd filling up the room. It's noisey and difficult to have a conversation. Moreover, the food was really nothing special. The only dish that I would order again was the macaroni and cheese. Even the cocktails (which all sounded great on paper) were really nothing special. So all that to say... H&H is off the list! :)

            Tadich is a bit of a hike, no? It's possibly my favorite restaurant in all of San Francisco, but seems a bit out of the way. I'm not familiar with Harrow but will look it up now...

            I've made reservations at Canteen because it's a 3.5 block walk from Tradition and my wife has never been. 6:00pm at Canteen and 7:45 at Tradition - do you suppose that works well time-wise?

            1. re: OliverB

              You're right, Tadich would be a walk. I was just trying to come up with alternatives to walking towards Larkin. Harrow is on Kearny, so there's a walk there too.

              Canteen is the obvious choice, location wise. I'm not so much of a fan or it would have been one of the first places I suggested.

              You'll probably be early to your reservation at Tradition, which works nicely.

              1. re: sugartoof

                What about Canteen do you not like?

                I felt pretty underwhelmed the first and only time I ate there, and was expecting much more. It seems to garner a lot of great reviews though, so I'd like to give it one more chance. I'm curious to see how the new tasting menu format is handled. The price is pretty reasonable and it's probably the best in the immediate area...

                1. re: OliverB

                  I just think the quality of the ingredients is pretty low for San Francisco, and what I expect of a Chef driven restaurant that's won so many accolades. I also found the food to be just ok, in some cases lacking in technique.

      2. Does Canteen only offer price-fixe or table 'dhote menus as well? I've been once before (last Jan.) and wasn't blown away but I'd like to give it a second chance. Is an hour for dinner a tight squeeze and what's the avg. price range for dinner for 2, no drinks?

        Thanks

        1 Reply
        1. re: OliverB

          Canteen switched to prix fixe only in late fall 2012 IIRC, and it seems to come in around $55 for four courses. I'm a huge fan but we've only been for the prix fixe once in Nov 2012 because it is just too much food for us. No concerns whatsoever about the quality though.

        2. It sounds like you've already made a choice (and Canteen is a fine choice) but I'd also suggest checking out Sweet Woodruff. It's run by the chefs from Sons and Daughters and has very good food in a very casual atmosphere. Order at the register and then grab a seat at the bar looking into the open kitchen or at the bars looking out into the street. Good food, a decent wine and beer list, and no pretension.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jacquesf

            Thanks, it looks great and I've passed by a few times and have been curious. How would you describe and rate the food?

          2. If Olive's not too far, Lers Ros.

            I keep meaning to try Colibri.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Colibri is not bad—above average—but I think Nopalito is better. Lots of dishes at Colibri were a touch overcooked and none of the sauces were especially flavorful.