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Jul 10, 2013 10:00 PM

LA resident coming to Oakland and SF what's good?

Hi Chowhounds!

I'd like to try mexican, I like carne asada and carnitas most. Pizza, thin crust, ny style, chinese - american style, and burgers with good fries. Any suggestions?
Thank you!

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  1. Mexican is better in LA. Especially when it comes to taco culture - I wouldn't bother - but maybe others on this board would have suggestions.

    Pizza - Zero Zero, Cotogna, Flour + Water, Pizzaiolo (in Oakland)

    Burger - Kronnerburger

    7 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      I haven't tried Kronnerburger yet (they had a flood or something the day we tried to go) but maybe consider Mission Bowling Club for their burger. It is my top choice at the moment.

      I also love the pizzas at BaoNecci in North Beach and consider a visit to SF a bit of a waste that doesn't see us in front of one on a Saturday afternoon.

      1. re: goldangl95

        I'm not so sure that "better" is the right word, rather the Mexican is just "different" between SF and LA.

        If you want to try some Mexican in SF, I would recommend taking a stroll through the Mission District, esp. in/around Mission and 24th.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Do you have specific suggestions? I would genuinely be interested in hearing them. I haven't had any tacos around that area that stand out in my memory very much - but I may just be going to the wrong places.

          1. re: goldangl95

            If you're just talking about taquarias, then I would suggest La Taquaria and El Farolito.

            Taqueria CancĂșn is also pretty good, but I haven't been in years so I'm hesitant to recommend it.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              El Farolito and La Taquaria, for me, are solid neighborhood tacquerias e.g. you just got off BART and are hungry and have a craving. It's the same quality as any solid neighborhood tacqueria in California. I'm not sure it's tourist/destination worthy.

              I, however, tend to get Al Pastor tacos at taquerias so there may be other items to get that stand out more.

              Will have to check out Taqueria Cancun.

              1. re: goldangl95

                I go to Taqueria San Jose at 24th and Mission for al pastor. Best I've had outside of Mexico.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I do like the Al Pastor at Taqueria San Jose - I haven't had it in awhile for whatever reason. Ha! now I have a huge craving.

                  I do want to clarify that San Francisco has really solid tacquerias I just don't think there's anyone doing anything different from what you can find all around LA (and I've found just as good in LA).

                  It's just not the same fervor of the Great Taco Hunt


                  or this:


      2. Best NY-style thin-crust pizza is at Nizza la Bella in Albany. Baonecci is the best Roman-style thin-crust. Zero Zero, Cotogna, and Flour + Water all do versions of a contemporary local style that sort of splits the difference between NY (thin and crisp) and Naples (light and tender). Same goes for Pizzaiolo though it skews more Neapolitan.

        Oakland is better for Mexican.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          The style Zero Zero et al. do around here is more or less the style I had at Pizzeria Mozza.

        2. Thank you! I forgot I posted this. Going to look up your suggestions and come back if I have any questions. No chinese food recs?

          8 Replies
          1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

            Good Chinese-American is tough. Are there specific dishes you like?

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              kung pao, shrimp fried rice, orange chicken, sweet n sour pork, egg rolls with meat (chicken or pork)in them. stuff like that. Thanks

                1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                  Better to call it Cantonese rather than American-Chinese, but Great Eastern in Chinatown is a solid choice. You will find good renditions of all the Cantonese comfort food favorites there.

              1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                China Village in north berkeley is open now.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  I've never ordered anything but Sichuan dishes there. Do they do above-average versions of Chinese-American dishes?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Was there recently with workmates; one of them ordered the Mongolian beef. It was above average, although that's not my first menu choice either.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Chinese-american dishes are good there.

                      I admit I misparsed the OP's request for "chinese-american style" (I thought I saw chinese, american).

                      I would not recommend CV for chinese-american, but it might be a strong choice.

                      I had a dinner party including family from the east coast, and we ordered about 1/2 "chinese-american" and 1/2 "adventerous". The lemon chicken was widely hailed - a factor not often investigated on CH.

                      OP, if you are interested in having some chinese-american and dipping your toe into Szechuan, this is an excellent choice.

                      Granted, this was a while ago - maybe 2005 or so.

                2. Well frankly LA is much better for Mexican food than SF/Oakland.. Maybe for Chinese , Mission Chinese..
                  Chinese American Style.. nothing good here.. I think you are barking up the wrong culinary tree here for the things you want, LA is better.
                  And for a good square slice, Golden Boy

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: jason carey

                    Una Pizza Napoletana is one of the top places for traditional Neapolitan-style pizza, but it is nothing like thin NY crust.

                    Golden Boy is closer to focaccia, very thick and bready.

                    1. re: jason carey

                      Jason, So what food would you suggest I try?

                      1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                        Like I said above, for thin-crust NY-style pizza, Nizza la Bella.

                        I haven't had any great pizza in that style in SF proper. Amici's (small local chain) is OK.

                        Tony's may do a good job sometimes but the coal-oven "New Yorker" I had did not come close to hitting the mark for that style:


                        1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                          Indian (esp. South Indian) is much better up here than in L.A. county. Dosa is great for formal South Indian. Udupi Palace for informal.

                          "Californian" cuisine on the formal/molecular front is better. Places like AQ, Commonwealth, Atelier Crenn,

                          Coquetta would be interesting to try.

                          We have a better variety of Cal-Italian. See Cotogna, Locanda, Flour + Water, Incanto, SPQR, etc. etc.

                          We have a ton of new bakeries such as B Pattiserie and Craftsman & Wolves but there are many many more.

                          Coffee - Philz, Blue Bottle, Ritual, Four Barrel, Sight Glass etc.

                          Craft Cocktails - Local Edition, Rickhouse, Novela

                          1. re: goldangl95

                            Dosa's somewhat more upscale than the average dive but it's hardly formal.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Right I was speaking contextually as it's about as formal as Indian restaurants get, but it actually has the atmosphere of a mid-tier hip place.

                              1. re: goldangl95

                                Ajanta in Berkeley's the only white-tablecloth Indian place I can think of.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Amber India in Mountain View tries for a more formal vibe as does Sakoon on Castro in Mountain View. The service is friendly and more attentive - but not professional in the way formal american/european/western restaurants are.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    dosa is more expensive than ajanta, but it is very loud, almost club-like in the evenings. at least the one on fillmore.

                        2. If you are in the east bay, for pizza try Boot and Shoe Service in Oakland (same owner as Pizzaiolo). Gather in Berkeley also has excellent, if unconventional pizza and is generally an interesting place to eat. It also has a good burger. For Mexican (sort of Cal-Mex), my husband loves the tacos al pastor at Tacubaya in Berkeley.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: merylnet

                            Also, I hear good things about Victory Burger in Oakland.

                            1. re: merylnet

                              For pizza I like Dopo over Pizzaiolo and Pizzaiolo over its semi-clone Boot & Shoe.

                              Boot & Shoe:

                              Victory Burger: