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Only two days in SF for the first time! How to choose???

pixellle Jun 27, 2013 08:13 AM

We're from Connecticut, going to San Francisco for the first time. It's part of a colleges-visiting trip, so we only have time for two dinners. We're staying in the Financial District but don't mind a stroll or taxi ride. I love tasting menus, but my husband gets tired and bored, although he's a good sport. My 16-yr old daughter loves good food and special places. Love the local/seasonal thing. Love sushi, seafood, just about all ethnic food, and anything New American/Californian etc. that's creative/unusual and of course, delicious. I guess we all just love great food!

Price-wise, maybe one place for a splurge (up to $100, maybe $150 per person) and one more moderately-priced place. So far, I'm considering Boulevard, Coi, Jadinere, Sons and Daughters, Nopa, rich table, AQ, State Bird Provisions and Slanted Door.

I'm sure there are plenty of places to consider that I don't know about. How can I possibly choose from so many fantastic-sounding places?? Please help! Any guidance appreciated, either feedback on my tentative list or other suggestions. Thank you so much!

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  1. Ruth Lafler RE: pixellle Jun 27, 2013 10:09 AM

    AQ, definitely. More creative than Boulevard and Jardiniere, not as precious as Coi (which I think your husband would hate).

    Nopa I'm not sure it's worth going out of your way for on such a short trip. Slanted Door not for dinner, but maybe for lunch.

    What colleges are you visiting? There might be some good options in those neighborhoods as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      pixellle RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 15, 2013 12:46 PM

      We land at 10:45 and see Berkeley in the afternoon. The next day is Saturday and we'll sight-see and dine at AQ. Then the next day we leave at 3 pm for Porland, OR to see Reed. I'll be looking for dining options there, too, but that's a discussion for another board... :)

    2. g
      goldangl95 RE: pixellle Jun 27, 2013 10:28 AM

      State Bird Provisions is a cool concept, food execution is variable, not worth a long wait on a short trip.

      I'd say AQ, Nopa or Rich Table from the list you picked. I wouldn't do Coi or Slanted Door.

      Cotogna, Flour & Water, Incanto or Locanda could be options as well - I really enjoy the Cal-Italian thing.

      1. a
        absc RE: pixellle Jun 27, 2013 11:04 AM

        I'd opt for State Bird, Nopa, Rich Table or Cotogna, as I am not as in love with AQ as many on this board.

        Ruth's query about the colleges you are visiting is a good one as there might be something nearby to give you a better sense of the neighborhood/s.

        1 Reply
        1. re: absc
          grayelf RE: absc Jun 27, 2013 01:27 PM

          Since the OP's daughter is 16, I wonder if she might enjoy Canteen? I've always liked the diner-turned-upscale-dinner feel, and the recentish reno still managed to keep a fair bit of that. Plus the food is deffo New American/Californian.

        2. bbulkow RE: pixellle Jun 27, 2013 04:10 PM

          Honestly, you should choose by picking some of the favorites that you've mentioned. The more elusive "second tier" can be part of your next visit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bbulkow
            pixellle RE: bbulkow Jul 15, 2013 12:55 PM

            Well, it's really a matter of finances. We can't afford the luxury, high-end places for every dinner. Plus the first night we'll be tired from the trip. (That wouldn't matter to me, actually, but I have to be mindful of my husband, who has less stamina for food than I do.) I am looking for casual, less expensive but still fanatastic places for that first night. Any thoughts? Thanks!

          2. little big al RE: pixellle Jun 28, 2013 08:22 PM

            Why not bring the prospect to someplace where a collich stoont could actually afford the tariff. I'd suggest Yuet Lee for dry fried chow fun (any variety) scrambled egg and "prawns" and salt and pepper squid. Real chowhound stuff. Oh yeah, some greens too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: little big al
              bbulkow RE: little big al Jun 29, 2013 09:02 AM

              Because half the adult family likes tasting menus, and the student likes "good food and special places". Give the kid a few last hurrahs with the parent's dime, that would be my plan with only two dinners. Wouldn't send them to turtle tower.

            2. Robert Lauriston RE: pixellle Jun 29, 2013 11:53 AM

              Another vote for AQ.

              If you want something in the Financial District, Barbacco, great food at surprisingly reasonable prices.

              1. s
                superbigeater RE: pixellle Jun 29, 2013 09:14 PM

                Another vote for AQ. Try Ebisu in the Sunset district for sushi

                1. p
                  pixellle RE: pixellle Jul 15, 2013 12:43 PM

                  OK, I decided that AQ will be our special meal. I've made a rez and requested the "chef's counter" or "chef's table" area. Thank you so much, all who responded!

                  Now I'm looking for a more casual, inexpensive but fantastic place for our first night, close to the hotel. We're staying at the Westin on Third Street; I guess it would be considered the Financial district. Any advice here? Again, thanks in advance!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pixellle
                    Robert Lauriston RE: pixellle Jul 15, 2013 01:01 PM

                    Fang, Pazzia, Umbria, Henry's Hunan, B44, Zero Zero, South Park Cafe

                    1. re: pixellle
                      Melanie Wong RE: pixellle Jul 15, 2013 01:13 PM

                      Zare at Flytrap

                      1. re: pixellle
                        grayelf RE: pixellle Jul 15, 2013 02:42 PM

                        Lers Ros for some tasty Thai appetizers?

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