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great eats in the Mission [San Francisco]

spending a couple of days in SF next month, with a place to stay in the Mission. One of many many trips to SF over the years, but first time staying in this area. My idea is to 'pretend' we are in a little village called The Mission and only go to places that are walkable from where we are staying: around 17th and Guerrero (but not purists -- if needed a taxi here and there would be ok too). Would so appreciate your recommendations.
about us: coming from Portland OR so no strangers to great West Coast and innovative well-prepared food. If we had our druthers, wonderful food at a great value is the best. We are pretty adventuresome eaters and love all sorts of ethnic but creative fusion is also fine too. Wherever what is done, is done well/uniquely/creatively/authentically, at a 'reasonable' price (not into breaking the bank on this trip). For us, a great food cart is right up there with Chez Panisse along with the best dim sum in Daly City -- in other words, all are fine for us -- it's 'mediocrity' we don't go for!!
thanks in advance for your help and suggestions

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  1. how long are you in town?

    what is a 'reasonable' price?

    the mission has great cheap eats all over. depending on how long you're there, you could just do a lot of experimenting yourself.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dustin_E

      Though you come from a land of beer and burgs (I split my gastrotourism dollars between the Bay Area and Portland these days; RIP Matchbox Lounge), may I suggest Abbot's Cellar for interesting beers on tap and an outstanding pretzel and Mission Bowling Club to try the somewhat-polarizing-but-beloved-by-me burger there? Best bet is during happy hour when it is served solo for $10 vs $15 with fries regularly. Sit outside on the little patio.

    2. La Ciccia
      al pastor taco at Taqueria San Jose
      Craftsman & Wolves
      Bar Tartine
      Tartine Bakery
      Poc Chuc
      burger at Mission Bowling Club
      lamb shawarma at Truly Mediterranean
      St. Vincent
      Old Jerusalem
      Mission Cheese
      Wise Sons
      Humphry Slocombe
      La Santaneca
      Izakaya Yuzuki

      22 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        This is a pretty darn good list right here.

        1. re: virtualguthrie

          Mr. Lauriston is pretty darn good at judging restaurants. I always respect his suggestions.

          1. re: Tripeler

            I'm probably missing some newer places since I don't get to the Mission that often.

            It's probably the best restaurant neighborhood in the world.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Robert and I think alike, although I would also suggest burgers (Sunday only) or a hotdog at 4505 Meats and Local Mission Eatery/ Knead.
              My top 3: Bar Tartine, St Vincent and La Ciccia (30th & Church so a hilly walk or easy ride on the J.)

              1. re: absc

                La Ciccia isn't a hilly walk if you go Valencia > Mission > 30th.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Should the OP get a Kronnerburger before they move to Oakland?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Though Valencia to Tiffany to 29th to Church is a better route than taking Mission.
                    I walk that way daily.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            adding on to the above list (to be fair, not all of these are unique to SF/the mission, but they're all tasty and reasonably priced)

            trick dog - one of the few places i know with amazing food and cocktails

            i actually prefer arabian nights to old jerusalem (but the latter is still solid)

            delfina the restaurant for excellent cal-italian

            san jalisco for authentic sit-down mexican (better than chava's IMO)

            taqueria vallarta for authentic street tacos

            dynamo donuts (a bit of a walk, though)

            pastries at knead patisserie (also available at grand coffee)

            ritual coffee both for coffee and their amazing pastries from black jet bakery.

            philz for coffee and their amazing pastries from starter bakery (it's so nice to see coffeeshops taking their pastries seriously)

            flour and water for excellent pizza and pasta

            little star for amazing deep dish

            burrito at taqueria cancun

            lolinda for cal-argentinian (and one of the few rooftop views of SF).

            brunch at foreign cinema



            range for drinks and apps

            hog and rocks


            phat philly

            pica pica

            bacon wrapped hot dogs (found on nearly every block of mission street between 16th and 24th most nights, especially weekends)

            limon rotisserie.

            thursday market on bartlett street always has some great stuff

            namu gaji

            i don't think the food at yuzuki or st .vincent is reasonably priced (though if you're a wine person, st. vincent is great). yuzuki seems to have gone downhill recently (need to write about in separate post)

            avoid: mission chinese, farina, chinese food, thai food, vietnamese food (though i haven't checked out MAU yet), sushi (if you must, go to ichi)

            i'm sure i am of course forgetting some....

            1. re: vulber

              Flour & Water is great but the waits are crazy so either make a reservation or have a bar or two in mind to hang out at while waiting.

              How could I forget about Little Star? Could be the best Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in the country. Too bad they stopped selling slices at lunch but splitting an "individual" pie would be reasonable.

              St. Vincent's prices seem on the low side of average to me. Yuzuki's prices are high but when I went the quality justified that.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                also, flour and water is open until 11 on weekdays and midnight on weekends (and usaully not packed later at night); so if you're like me and like to eat two dinners when going to a new city, could easily do an early one somewhere else and a late one there. i happen to really liek flour and water because it's hard to find an italian place that does both pizza and pasta really well (often, one is amazing and the other is just OK)

                not to mention if one does want to wait it out at F&W, there are some truly great bars in that area (shotwell's, homestead, asiento, bender's) that will truly give one a sense of "local flavor", as they're far away enough from the valencia commerical stretch to avoid the overcrowding of hipsters/marina people (not that i don't like zeitgeist, but it's a different atmosphere entirely) that some of the more popular/more written-up bars attract. bender's actually sometimes reminds me of what zeitgeist might have been like in an earlier incarnation.

                also robert, i think you're forgiven for forgetting one place; it's hard to recall quite everything in the mission :) , not to mention little star is still most-often associated with its original divis location.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Well...maybe the best Chicago-style *outside of Chicago!* :-)

                  I've had Little Star several times and like it a lot but even so.

                  1. re: Violatp

                    Maybe there's deep-dish in Chicago as good as Little Star's, but it's better than what I had at the original Uno's before it went downhill. I think Little Star has improved on the Chicago tradition by focusing on balance rather than excess.

                    Obama ordered deep-dish from Pi in St. Louis, the chef there trained at Little Star.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I like Little Star too, but I would not put it above Lou Malnati's, which I have had in the last two years.

                      Not sure when you went to Uno's, but it has been many years since that place was considered the standard for deep dish in Chicago. I'm not even sure it's considered average these days -- my Chicago friend scoffed that it was "tourist BS" when I asked him about it just now.

                      1. re: dunstable

                        Totally. Giordano's is terrible, too.

                        1. re: Violatp

                          what don't you liik about it? it's nothing amazing, but the tap beer selection is great, and the sandwiches are cheap and delicious

                          1. re: vulber

                            I think she means Giordano's pizza in Chicago

                            1. re: oranj

                              Yes, Giordano's pizza in Chicago. To be fair, I've never had anything else from there, so I'll qualify my statement by saying that Giordano's stuffed pizza is terrible, especially in comparison to any pizza from Malnati's. Or even the pan pizza at my neighborhood joint (Chicago neighborhood joint.)

                  2. re: vulber

                    farina is excellent but expensive. reasonable for sunday brunch.

                    1. re: Dustin_E

                      $20 for a pasta appetizer at brunch is not reasonable.

                      and honestly, my main critique with farina is that they're attempting to replicate food exactly how it is made in italy, using expensive, imported ingredietns, despite the fact taht it will never quite be as good as in italy.

                      delfina is one block away, charges $5-10 less for everything, makes food that tastes better, and takes advantage of all the local ingredients.

                      1. re: vulber

                        i should have said "more reasonable". it's not much, if any, more expensive than AQ or foreign cinema. and imo it tastes a lot better. i think their baked items at brunch are better than tartine, and no more expensive.

                        farina is very good, very authentic italian food. serving that in sf, in a nice space, has a price. of course it is not going to be as good as in italy. do you really travel to italy frequently enough that there isn't a place for authentic italian food in sf?

                        delfina is a wanna-be chez panisse cafe that isn't nearly as good. the dishes are neither interesting nor inspired, and the food quality is not materially better than countless other places around the city.

                2. sorry for lack of clarity:
                  we will be in SF for 2 1/2 days
                  'reasonable' of course depends on so much -- forget 'reasonable' and just any recommendations that you think offer 'great value for money spent' (irregardless of price point, high OR lo) will be appreciated.
                  thanks for all recommendations so far.
                  keep them coming!

                  1. you must must go to
                    -craftsmen and wolves.
                    get anything and everything. worth it.
                    -St vincent
                    is great for probably the best glass of wine in the mission. owner/somm david lynch has quite the palate. food is ok. new wine bar called
                    -20 spot, not too far from st vincent. really good food, wine and room. nice and quirky-we really enjoyed this place.
                    -ritual and four barrel for coffee.
                    -dandelion chocolate,
                    dont sleep on this one, a treasure.
                    bi-rite creamery for ice cream. people love it, not the best best in sf but kind of a must try.
                    i know its wildly popular, but
                    -mission chinese is good, even if the people who work there are usually rude, its tasty.
                    get a carnitas taco at
                    -la tacqueria
                    plus, pretty much anything on roberts l's list is spot on (yamo is awesome!)

                    1. I like the conceit, though the "village" may seem a little small when you are not eating. I have a couple of suggestions that are outside the Mission but walkable. The $6 Tuesday lunch burger at Rosamunde in the Lower Haight combined with a dollar-off draft from the extensive selection at Toronado next door is an unbeatable combination. I would walk 16th to Sanchez to get there from where you are staying. A bit further, but better than any Mexican I have had in the Mission, is Nopalito; to get there, continue up Haight to Scott, then up to Oak and over to Broderick. This also gets you to the vicinity of the new Bi-Rite Market with its ice cream counter, or you could head down Hayes to Octavia and have made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream at Smitten, leaving you a short distance from home.

                      Back in the Mission, you could compare and contrast a carnitas taco from the El Gallo Giro truck (23rd and Treat) with a chile verde taco on a fresh handmade tortilla from La Palma (24th and Florida), have an ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe (24th and Folsom), then continue up 24th to Valencia and, for a neck-snapping contrast, have a glass of wine at St Vincent before heading home.

                      1. THANK YOU ALL so very much
                        we will have so much fun considering your suggestions and winnowing them down. The recent poster who suggested the 'compare and contrast taco adventure' and all the walking routes will be especially helpful but again, we will pour over all your suggestions. We have a gigantic used+new bookstore here in Portland whose T-shirts say, 'so many books, so little time.' Of your suggestions, we would say, 'so many restaurants to try, so little time'!! again thanks and if more suggestions, please continue!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: sarosenthall

                          If you have only two and a half days and plan to spend most of your time eating and drinking, I say don't bother leaving the Mission.

                          Get on St. Vincent's mailing list so you'll hear about the weekend "shop hours" lunch, if they have one while you're here.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            it depends - despite the plethora of amazing food, the mission still has a severe lack of good asian restaurants (excluding indian places). if you want good authentic chinese food, you can take the BART to chinatown and go to places like (Z & Y, R & G), or the tenderloin for vietnamese and thai food, sunset/richmond for authentic korean food (though namu gaji makes some delicious non-authentic korean food).

                            1. re: vulber

                              authentic chinese is something portland doesn't do well and sf does. but agreed -- don't make mission chinese the one you go to.

                              1. re: vulber

                                But you know, if the OP only has 2.5 days, they may as well just stick to the Mission, eat morning to night, and not waste time on Muni!

                            2. re: sarosenthall

                              Don't forget to report back and tell us about your experiences. Enjoy!

                            3. particularly agree with Robert's and Vulber's lists, tho i'm the only one who doesn't think much of Flour + Water.

                              most everything seems to have been covered, but i'd just add:

                              Mission Local Eatery



                              and Garcon
                              seriously overlooked here, but quite a little gem in the neighborhood.

                              you can't swing a dead gato in the Mission without getting a good meal - enjoy!

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                I don't get waiting an hour or more for Flour + Water. It's great but I think Cotogna does that style of food the best and Pizzeria Delfina, Zero Zero, and probably at least half a dozen other places do it equally well.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  agree. F+W didn't blow me away, after having made a res a month in advance. (this was awhile ago.)

                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    I'm with you on F+W. Overhyped and (for me) ridiculously precious/expensive for what you get. Never again.

                                2. re: mariacarmen

                                  Went to Lolo last night on a lark, no reservation but early enough we could walk in and eat at the bar -- and we loved it. I think your glowing review, mariacarmen, was why its been on my mind to go there for a while now. Now I'm sure we'll be back. Simple but inventive small plates that really sang. Nice mescal cocktails too. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                  1. re: BernalKC

                                    Yay! i need to get back there. i think i finally went after having read pauliface's (i think, i'm not 100% sure anymore) glowing review, years ago.... i'm glad you enjoyed!

                                3. Chilaquiles Veronica at SanJalisco restaurant, 901 South Van Ness.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: emu48

                                    I was torn about recommending San Jalisco. The food is solid but not outstanding. But the atmosphere of the place is quite pleasant. I enjoyed watching the cooks, the servers, and the diverse mix of patrons almost as much as I enjoyed my meal. The word "authentic" is quite fraught these days, so let me just say that it felt very real to me.

                                    1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                      you know, i liked the place too, but i agree, we had a mixed experience and haven't been back. one of our group ordered Caldo De Res, which was really good. my BF had a carne asada burrito and hated it. and he'll eat most anything. i BELIEVE i had a goat special, which i remember liking....

                                      i would try the Chilaquiles tho....

                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                        I had the goat special (birria) also, though the caldo de res was tempting. I tend not to order chilaquiles in restaurants, as I make a version at home (not difficult).

                                      2. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                        the soups and the chilaquiles are definitely the best things to order there (and the drinks). that being said, the impending move of the mexican place i love by 14th and folsom (blanking out on the name) to a more central location will definitely give me more choice.

                                        getting a burrito at a sit-down family-run authentic mexican restaurant is pointless.

                                          1. re: vulber

                                            Is the "14th and Folsom" place Gallardos? I tried to go to their new 16th St location for pozole one day, but it was not open yet.

                                            1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                              yes! was blanking on the name. i hope they keep all the cool movie posters from the old location. they generally make some great braised meats

                                              1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                                The new location is on 18th, btw Folsom and S. Van Ness. Not sure what's taking so long to open, their pozole was great.

                                        1. you all are the greatest!
                                          We are overwhelmed with all your ideas and thoughtful input.
                                          And i think we will be overwhelmed with SO so many choices -- but I am going to work out a system (somehow).........for winnowing it down. We were thinking of going to Lolinda our first night, more because of the rooftop view than anything else.
                                          Will definitely give you all feedback once we return (not there until 8/10 so feel free to keep any more ideas and suggestions coming!)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sarosenthall

                                            so you should know that the rooftop - El Techo - while part of Lolinda, is a different menu. a much more casual menu, i was not super impressed with the couple things i tasted. also, a cocktail i had there was uber-sweet, even though i was assured it was the least sweet of the bunch. what i would recommend is that you make a res at Lolinda (or anywhere else) and go up there for a drink. Hopefully by the time you're here our foggy & chilly summer will have cleared some and you'll have a nice view and not freeze up there.

                                          2. whoops, I forgot to include a link to an article in our local (Portland, OR) paper's monthly magazine, about the Mission: thought you all might be interested in what is being said 'about' it up here in the NW. Of course,
                                            many of the restaurants you recommended, no surprise:

                                            33 Replies
                                            1. re: sarosenthall

                                              No bad recommendations there, though it's a kind of a misleading take. The Mission was the trendy neighborhood for young adults in the dot-com era 15 years ago and had been for a while before that. Gentrification has been going on for 30+ years but parts of Mission St. are still as sleazy as ever.

                                              The Mission was never a Mexican neighborhood, it has always been diverse, with the demographics reflecting California immigration trends. Asians started moving in around the same time Latinos did. Most of the Mexican restaurants were and are run by Guatemalans and Salvadoreans.

                                              Bar Tartine's not a new project, it's been in business since 2006. Even the new chef isn't that new, he's been there for over two years.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Agreed, the historical perspective is a bit laughable. Poor portland guy new to our city trying to write an article.

                                                The restaurant scene there has been around 75% mexican until 5 years ago, rough guess, the advent of the reverse-commute busses has rapidly changed the mission, there has never been a decent chinese restaurant in the mission IMHO, but places like Andalu, Slanted Door, Ti Couz, Sunflower, Pakwan show diversity. Anyone who ate at Flying Saucer or Mua or Delfina in the 90's would agree to a slice of cutting edge cuisine.

                                                Lots of good smaller music joints (Make Out Room, Elbo Room, 12 Galaxies, etc) are concentrated in the mission, although also scattered elsewhere (Utah, Red Devil, Du Nord).

                                                The mission was always a bar area, with Beauty Bar opening in, what, around 1998.

                                                1. re: bbulkow

                                                  I don't think the Mission's restaurants were 75% Mexican even when I moved there in the 70s, though people out of the neighborhood often had no clue about that. Off the top of my head I remember Salvadorean, Nicaraguan, Peruvian, American, several kinds of Italian, pizza, barbecue, Danish pastries, Italian pastries, Italian deli, ice cream, gelato, American diner, American soda fountain, and Filipino within ten blocks of my apartment. Also Irish bars, Chinese butchers, Arab grocers, and espresso cafes filled with hipsters with notebooks.

                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                    Let me change "mexican" to central / south american.

                                                    I fully agree that all of those things were there - although I don't remember an American diner - the question is the balance.

                                                    1. re: bbulkow

                                                      I'm pretty sure that Mexican, Central, and South American places never accounted for more than maybe 25% of the restaurants in the Mission, though they were almost the only places that drew people who didn't live or work in the neighborhood.

                                                      There were lots of basic American breakfast & lunch diner-type places, probably averaged more than one a block on Mission. Chat & Chew was immortalized in comics by R. Crumb and Spain. Many of them were owned and run by Asians.

                                                      There were lots of bad Chinese restaurants, too.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        I can't think of a way to measure that - maybe it could be done by business licenses and/or alcohol licenses? You always seem to have the "hook up" on alcohol license latest - is there a DB that goes back 30 years ?

                                                        We'd then have to define "the mission" - and guess / remember the types of food - kind of a fun project.

                                                        1. re: bbulkow

                                                          El Faro, which was then a grocery store, served the Mission District's first retail burrito on its second day of business in 1961.


                                                          Interesting question when the number of taquerias peaked. That piece cites a 1991 study that said of 150 eating and drinking establishments along the Mission corridor, 100 were "Hispanic." Maybe the bad Chinese places and greasy spoons mostly switched to burritos to meet the demand.

                                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                                            There are City directories online for San Francisco for most past years that list all the restaurants in town. Unfortunately, they are listed alphabetically and not by location, so it takes a bit of work to pull them all out for a neighborhood. Here's an example of a SF restaurant listing for 1962, extracted from an on-line City directory.


                                                    2. re: bbulkow

                                                      12 galaxies has long been closed (and the place that replaced it is also closed); they're now trying to make into some weird artsy club serving cajun food (actually pretty good, but place is always empty).

                                                      love makeout room and elbo room, but they're primarily more DJ-focused, other than the super intimate shows at rev room and the unappealing shows at savannah jazz club, mission doesn't have any real dedicated live music venues other than brick and mortar.

                                                      actually, i guess there's the chapel, but nothing has ever really seemed appealing there.

                                                      1. re: vulber

                                                        In the 90's, these places were all doing intimate live music. The fact that the economics of live music is dying is another subject.

                                                        1. re: vulber

                                                          Potrero Hill is not the Mission but I'm adding Bottom of the Hill to the mix:

                                                          1. re: vulber

                                                            there's the new Chapel. i haven't been yet. http://www.thechapelsf.com/

                                                            There's also Amnesia.

                                                            ETA: oh sorry, just saw that you mentioned The Chapel

                                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                                              The Chapel proper is lovely, always was I suppose but it's nicely lit now. I liked that the upstairs bar had a different selection of draft beer than the downstairs.

                                                              I didn't check out the various other establishments in the complex, seemed like there were several different bars and/or restaurants.

                                                          2. re: bbulkow

                                                            "The restaurant scene there has been around 75% mexican until 5 years ago ..."

                                                            Mission District restaurants listed in the first edition of Patricia Unterman's "Food Lover's Guide to San Francisco," published in 1995:

                                                            Angkor Borei
                                                            Fina Estampa (Peruvian)
                                                            Flying Saucer (Cal-French)
                                                            La Taqueria
                                                            Le Trou (French)
                                                            Los Jarritos
                                                            Pancho Villa
                                                            St. Francis Fountain
                                                            Ti Couz (French)
                                                            Timo's (Spanish tapas)
                                                            Val 21 (Cal-eclectic)
                                                            Woodward's Garden

                                                            First edition of Unterman & Sesser's "Restaurants of San Francisco," drawn from reviews published in the Chronicle in 1981-83:

                                                            Bruno's (Italian)
                                                            El Tazumal
                                                            Il Pirata (Italian)
                                                            Joy 'N Bee's Club (American)
                                                            La Cumbre
                                                            La Rondalla
                                                            La Traviata (Italian)
                                                            Taqueria Tepatitlan

                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                              And this means what? Extrapolating from Unterman's tastes to overall restaurant demographics is just not meaningful.

                                                              I've lived in the Mission since '81 and I have absolutely no idea what the prevalence of Hispanic/Latino restaurants is or was. I will point out that the Mission has never been especially Mexican. My seat-of-the-pants guess is that we've always enjoyed a larger proportion of Nicaraguan, Salvadoran and other Central American immigration and restaurants than is found in SoCal. But lets lump all that together for this discussion.

                                                              Another factor that confounds this "analysis" is the fast food tastes of these immigrant communities. There has always been a lot of choices for cheap Chinese greasy spoons, fried chicken places, fast food burger outlets... So the 75% figure might be muddled by the abundance of these places.

                                                              Another point I'll make is that the gentrification has been happening for a lot longer than 5 years. Off the top of my head, these have been around for a long time: Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Flying Saucer, Ti Couz... followed by Blue Plate, Range, Dosa, Farina, Luna Park, Limon... all well older than 5 years. Its been an accelerating process, so it might appear to have taken off 5 years ago, but its been building for a lot longer.

                                                              1. re: BernalKC

                                                                I just data points supporting my view that the diversity of the Mission's restaurant scene is nothing new.

                                                                Around 10+ years ago:

                                                                Alma, Andalu, Burger Joint, Butterfly, Charanga, Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Last Supper Club, Limon, Lorca, Luna Park, Slanted Door, Walzwerk

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  No point in discussing the 90's at all, since that post dates gentrification, tourism, and the prevalence of destination restaurants.

                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                    It does, but bbulkow said that happened in the past five years, thanks to the private buses for Google et al.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      He also cites Beauty Bar as a landmark opening, though he's got the date wrong by about 5 years.

                                                                      I guess he was just noting paradigm shifts, so to speak. I think the revamping of Bruno's, and closing of Radio Valencia. Ti Couz really anchored the neighborhood for what was to come, and then became a victim of it. We also can't forget that there was a period of time where La Boheme was one of the few places anyone traveled to the Mission for, unless they were picking up a burrito at El Faro.

                                                                      The boundaries of what's now considered Mission were entirely different as well.

                                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    I think a bunch of these were early-to-mid-nineties, yes? Lots of tech gentrification of the mission seemed to happen then. (much more than 5 years ago).

                                                                    1. re: bbulkow

                                                                      Tech boom was around 1995.
                                                                      Dogpatch, and SOMA saw the most drastic changes.

                                                                      The Mission's gentrification wasn't directly influenced by the tech world until after 2007 and the most recent influx of dot com incubators. The were no Google or Yahoo buses in the 90's. The Mission still had cheap rent, and was in close proximity to a growing crop of hip shops and affordable food, plus the weather was closer to what people associated with their fantasy of California sunny climates. People like to show disdain towards gentrifiers so it's easy to pin it on the dot com tech types, but in actuality it was the NPR types romanticizing the Mission and giving much needed crossover business to local shops. Valencia had a pocket regarded as a Lesbian stronghold before they moved on to Bernal Heights, but these conversations always leave out the bearded women running cafes.

                                                                      Foreign Cinema, Slanted Door, and the original Limon opened during that same time period, and did benefit from young people with stock options, but no more than the rest of the city. When Slow Club, and Universal Cafe opened, they were considered as being in different neighborhood. In the other direction, El Rio started to draw the Mission crowd, and paved the way for a place like Blue Plate to consider opening, and that stretched the boundaries.

                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                        "... Jon Varnedoe, who owns Foreign Cinema and is selling Bruno's, [said] 'We just came out of an absolutely golden age for restaurants. You could experiment with so many different cuisines.'"—from "Check, please: Now that the dot-com glory days are done, S.F. restaurants are cutting back - and closing down," SF Chronicle, July 13, 2001

                                                                        There were no cheap rents in the Mission (or anywhere in SF) during the dot-com era except for people who'd moved in earlier and had rent control. Young techies I worked with were paying $1000 and up for bedrooms in shared flats.

                                                                        "Stand on any corner in the Mission District and you see evidence of the real estate boom that is forcing out longtime residents and businesses and altering the area's Latino and working-class character."—from "Out-of-Control Rent Leads 9th District Issues, Ammiano favored to win over four rivals," SF Chronicle, October 13, 2000


                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          I'm talking about 1995, and you come back with quotes circa 2001? Ammiano was not referencing the dot coms, as is evident by your first quote calling the dot-com glory days "done" by the time his quote complaining about a hot real estate market. Your timeline is muddy as can be.

                                                                          Also this: "There were no cheap rents in the Mission (or anywhere in SF) during the dot-com era"

                                                                          Just wrong. Off topic and wrong.

                                                                          You thought you were amongst neighbors and local Missionites at La Boheme? That's funny.

                                                                          Bruno's was like the Gold Mirror or Marcello's only with more of a lingering boozer crowd until they revamped it to capitalize late on the lounge/supper club craze some time after Swingers came out.

                                                                        2. re: sugartoof

                                                                          I hope you honestly don't think you're lecturing me about something I was a part of, as I moved to Dogpatch in 1996 - which wasn't called Dogpatch then - and have been doing tech in the bay area since 1989.

                                                                          1. re: bbulkow

                                                                            As discussed in Susan Shepard's 1981 book "In the Neighborhoods," the name Dogpatch had been used by local residents for a long time.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              [wanding way OT...] dogpatch was also a colloquialism that referred generically to shanty-ish locales. Think L'il Abner.

                                                                              I've heard the term applied to the East side of Bernal back when many of the roads were dirt. This usage can probably be distinguished from the modern day use by real estate agents.

                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                It was not in wide use when I lived between 20th and 22nd. Of course the term existed, but there was no Dogpatch Saloon or large street banners that said Dogpatch and even the real estate people who started selling the lofts that were just being built didn't call it Dogpatch.

                                                                                1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                  Dogpatch marketing started in the mid-90's, but it's an old nickname. There were already articles on web startups in old Victorians. I don't recall any flags in any neighborhoods announcing them, at that point. North Beach may have just painted the Italian flag stripes on the poles, but that's it. Maybe Japantown?

                                                                                  It's good to remember that tech is a pretty generic term, so working in that field circa 1989 has a very different meaning than a kid with a web job and stock options in 1996, or someone getting bused to South City for a biotech job today.

                                                                                  We can trace major shifts in the food scene to each major tech boom though, and that would probably be more on topic to Chowhound. People don't really think about Alice Waters coming out of the Buckminster Fuller inspired scene, but that's what happened. It's a lot more relevant and interesting that arguing about city demographics on a food forum.

                                                                                  1. re: bbulkow

                                                                                    People who lived there before the condos, when it was a semi-secret low-rent paradise of old Victorians and funky live-work spaces in converted factories and warehouses, knew and used the name. The Dogpatch Neighborhood Association split off from the Lower Potrero Hill NA in 1998.

                                                                            2. re: bbulkow

                                                                              There were lots of dot-com employees in the Mission from around 1997 until the bust, though I thought the restaurant gentrification of that period was more in SOMA, around their offices.

                                                                              People went to La Boheme from out of the neighborhood? In the early 80s I lived two blocks away and thought it was only locals. In those days La Traviata, which opened in 1975, got a lot of customers from out of the neighborhood, as did Bruno's, which opened in the 40s and was then similar in style to Original Joe's.

                                                                              Flying Saucer opened in 1990, Woodward's Garden 1992

                                                                    2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      "The Mission was never a Mexican neighborhood"

                                                                      Sure it was.

                                                                      And it's not to say there wasn't a strong Latin presence, but they had not staked their individual identities until later, as many of the South American owned restaurants were serving Mexican-American food.

                                                                      The area has gone through a lot of phases (Polish, Irish, pockets of Jews, Italians, etc.)

                                                                    3. re: sarosenthall

                                                                      Strictly speaking, the Mission was once a Mexican neighborhood, from 1834 to 1846.

                                                                      It has been diverse since the latter part of the 19th century, when "in addition to the English, Scottish, Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians that characterized the Mission population, smaller groups from other backgrounds were present, including Russians, French, Italians, Greeks, Latin Americans, and a few Chinese. … A substantial portion of the newer residents of the Mission in the early 20th Century were either Irish-born immigrants or their children, although many other ethnic groups lived in the area, including Italians, Germans, and Scandinavians. Several churches in the survey area indicate the presence of several smaller groups, including Armenians and Greeks. During World War II, in-migration of African-Americans from the southeastern U.S. occurred, followed by Hispanic immigration in the 1950s and Asian immigration in the 1960s. The 1960s and 1970s also saw an influx of artisans, bohemians, students, and other counter-culture types to the Mission. … As American-born residents abandoned the Mission in the 1950s, they were gradually replaced by Mexican, Salvadoran, and Nicaraguan immigrants. … The proportion of Hispanics in the overall Mission population grew from 11% in 1950, to 23% in 1960, to 45% in 1970." It was 51% in 1990, 46% in 2000, and 38% in 2010.


                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        That's an false history, but it's OT to explain why.

                                                                        As far as identity politics go - The Mission was a Mexican neighborhood.... and while it's great to recognize other ethnic lineages, rich in their respective histories, nobody can deny that The Mission is the cultural epicenter of Chicano American culture in San Francisco, especially for food.

                                                                    4. My husband and I recently were visiting in SF and we went to a bunch of great places in the Mission.
                                                                      -Craftsmen & Wolves- must-visit- really creative and delicious baked goods!
                                                                      -Dandelion chocolate- high quality chocolate with lots of samples!!
                                                                      -Mission Cheese- a cute place for a little cheese plate and some wine
                                                                      -Bi-Rite- delicious ice cream!
                                                                      -The Sycamore- laidback bar with outdoor patio and nice beer selection
                                                                      -Southern Pacific- open air brewery, cool design, though only OK beer

                                                                        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                          I just saw the other day that Rheas opened a cafe...i think on Bryant?