In search of awesome lunch options
My girlfriend and I are taking a week-long, food-focused vacation in the Bay Area. We've booked a number of well-regarded, modern-American-French places for dinners (Coi, Saison, Crenn, Benu, Sons & Daughters, Manresa, Meadowood) and are looking for amazing lunch options. Given that many of our dinners will be large, we might heir on the light side. On the heavier side, however, we would love some great Chinese and Mexican. What are the current thoughts on Slanted Door or Catagna, both of which I know serve lunch?
For something light and enjoyable, I'd recommend a big plate of oysters at Hog Island Oysters at the Ferry Plaza.
Given the places you are going for dinner, I'm assuming that by "amazing" you mean you want lunches that are also really memorable, if cheaper/lighter. So, I don't want to set your expectations too high for the Chinese and Mexican choices here, and I should start by saying that I think other cities do both these cuisines better (LA or Hong Kong for Chinese, Chicago or Oaxaca for Mexican).
But if you aren't going to those cities any time soon, then Yank Sing is my usual recommendation for high-end dim sum (plenty of threads here recently). Nopalito is probably the best in San Francisco for Mexican.
You can search for some recent opinions on the Slanted Door, but, basically, it's reviews are mixed.
I wouldn't say Cotogna is particularly "light" and it's not my favorite Italian place in the Bay Area. Given the places you are going for dinner, I know I wouldn't go there for lunch, if I even had any lunch at all. When I plan trips to famous restaurants with long tasting menus, I usually skip lunch unless the reservation is very late (and I say this as someone with a high metabolism and who works out with a backpack full of bricks and sand for 24+ hours).
All that said, I think there are a lot of other more "amazing" options in this city for lunch. I'm not sure exactly what kind of restaurants you are looking besides some being "light", so search this board and see what comes up for lunch favorites.
We travel to SF a couple times a year and have been loving lunch at Cotogna. From our we sample (two lunches and a dinner), they've excelled in the smaller plates area, so might work out for you, especially if you share.
Just north of the GG Bridge in Sausalito is Le Garage, a casual French bistro on the water in a non-touristy location. Great food with many ways to have a lighter meal, for example share a large salad and an order of mussels (their mussels are great and usually offered two different ways).
http://www.legaragebistrosausalito.co... (the photos on their home page don't seem to be working)
If you have time to explore, my favorite lunch spot is Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria in Geyserville. Yes - it's about an hour and fifteen minutes away from SF, but it has always been worth it for us. Easily my favorite pizza in the Bay Area with memorably delicious entrees as well. Good photos on their Facebook page. Good wine tasting nearby with one spot in the same little strip they are in.
For Mexican, I'm a fan of Cosecha in Oakland. Not a fancy place - more like a huge open-air market (which it used to be), but they have some tasty dishes (pork belly or wild shrimp tacos). This is not Crenn, but it would be tasty and could be light.
I also believe that when visiting San Francisco, one should find a spot in the Mission to either have a burrito (maybe too heavy) or some tacos. For tacos, I love Taco Vallarta. They make the tacos to order right in front of you and there is a bar for dressing them as you wish. Around $2 each - maybe not amazing, but very good. Don't miss the Balmy Alley murals literally right around the corner or the popular Humphry Slocombe about a block east and a 1/4 of a block north.
Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria
21021 Geyserville Ave
Geyserville, CA 95441
3033 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94110