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AQ or Rich Table. Also safe to walk to AQ at night? [San Francisco]

Hi guys,

so i'll be visiting SF this december for holidays. Just looking for opinions on AQ or Rich Table. Rich Table is a bit of a trek from my hotel, and AQ is fairly close by.

Also, i notice AQ is on mission st. Is it safe to walk to AQ at night? I'll be staying near union square.


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  1. It's not truly that bad over there, in my opinion. Just don't walk down 6th Street and you should be fine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dunstable

      Sixth St. isn't as bad as it used to be. There are a bunch of restaurants and bars that attract non-skid-row patrons: Miss Saigon, Dottie's, the cleaned-up Tu Lan, Pearl's, Cancun etc. Last time I walked through there was even a doorman with a velvet rope.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Yeah I don't personally think it's that bad either, but when directing a tourist, may as well tell them to avoid it.

        1. re: dunstable

          6th Street isn't so much dangerous as gross.

    2. I think the question is safe vs. comfortable. It is not a nice, comfortable walk. You are on major traffick-y streets, a lot of the homeless congregate in that area etc.

      Will you actually get assaulted? Probably not, overall crime rates are low, and that's not an area where random shootings occur, but I wouldn't feel comfortable walking there from Union Square alone.

      I appreciate what AQ does (mildly experimental/molecular Californian cuisine), but it didn't fully "work" for me. My understanding is Rich Table is less technique experimental.

      1. I am a big fan of Rich Table, and from Union Square you can pick up any of the underground Muni lines at Powell, get off at Van Ness, and have a brief walk to the restaurant.

        1. Re: AQ

          Are you walking alone? Are you male/female?

          If I were alone (female) or two females, it wouldn't be the most pleasant of walks with uncomfortable catcalls from homeless people and other randoms down there.

          If you do decide to walk, go up Market until 7th, then down 7th. Don't go down Mission around 6th.

          1. It's absolutely fine to walk alone if you use your common sense. Nobody's going to mess with you if you don't start anything with them. I was just there the other night (yes, female walking alone) and parked my car on 6th st. and it was fine.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jtikky

              Saturday night (2 am so was actually Sunday) 2 females were sitting in a car in a parking lot at 6th & Jessie. Another car backed up and hit the front of their car and the bumper fell off.
              Words were exchanged and the "bad guys" shot the 2 women, one is dead and the other is in critical condition. Bad guys took off, no arrests.

              Even in the best areas of SF there are a lot of smart phone thefts, I heard that one woman got her jaw broken when they grabbed her phone.

              1. re: walker

                This has been happening a lot in the USF area. My friend's girlfriend is a law student there, and she is constantly getting informed about recent muggings, despite that it is ostensibly a safe neighborhood.

                1. re: walker

                  That was right after the bars closed. That kind of nonsense has happened in North Beach near bars that attract a certain crowd.

                  Any crime map will show you that muggers work where the money is.

              2. from Union Square it's a 6 min taxi/uber ride to AQ if you are scared of homeless folks/don't want the 15 minute walk. No risk of getting mugged, might have homeless people panhandle you or maybe make a comment about your appearance. It's offices and city buildings on that block so not a lot of people at night.

                Rich Table is more hearty new American food. AQ is smaller portions, more creative.

                1. I did it (the walk), a middle aged woman alone, and I was fine, but it did give me pause. I've lived in many sketchy places, but not in awhile.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                    Thanks, I have had similar experiences and yes I am an older middle aged woman alone and it worked for me.

                    1. re: wally

                      Ha ha...I was thinking.... "you needed to walk instead of spending $5?" It wasn't the $5, it was the taxi...."seriously? A taxi??"

                  2. 7th has Mr Smith's, a hip bar, you have to walk between the US Appeals Court and one of the Federal Buildings. Cafe Moda, Custom Burger, etc. Sightglass, the current hippest coffee joint in town, is a block further.

                    I wouldn't worry about that area unless you are particularly unnerved by urban experiences. Then follow everyone's advice and spend $5 on a taxi.

                    I was picking up some costumes with my mother a few blocks away and there was a guy shooting up behind a dumpster. He put a brave face on it - shouted out something like "hey, you've just had a real SF experience, watching a junkie shoot up!" and he was harmless. That was in Jessie alley near 6th.

                    One final note: sanfrancisco.crimespotting.org has a really swank app. You can see there have been a few violent acts on that one block of 6th street (three in about three weeks), nothing on 7th, but a bit of a hotspot around Turk and Taylor. Thus the most crime free simple walk is down Powell, down Market, left on 7th, left on mission - as suggested by several.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bbulkow

                      Thanks for all the replies guys. Pretty excited to dine at aq :D. In regards to taxi etiquette, are taxi drivers usually cool with doing small $5 trips? Where I live, taxi drivers usually refuse anything under $20

                      1. re: mango3210

                        They don't like to take credit cards for any amount and don't like to take short trips out of the taxi stands in front of hotels (because they often have to wait a long time for the fare). Other than that, they actually like short fares because they make $3.50 for base fare. For a fare that short I would flag on the street and pay cash or use Uber Taxi or Flywheel.

                        1. re: sfchris

                          Yes, that.

                          One comment. Outside of the obvious tourist areas and taxi ranks at hotels, it's hard to curbside flag taxis in most of SF. I remember trying to get one at Heaven's Dog on day (not that far from AQ) and --- even after asking HD to call a taxi --- waited 20 minutes, their taxi never came, and I did finally flag one.

                          Regarding taxi ranks at hotels, the driver will grumble but do it. They're under the watchful eye of a door person who will hassle them later and maybe not allow them to use that rank if they're not taking fares.

                          The hailing apps are the right answer if you're far from a major hotel - like coming back from AQ - hopefully wherever you're traveling from, you have a data plan, and FlyWheel and Uber Taxi are the two best for SF that I know of.

                          I don't like unlicensed public drivers like Lyft and Uber X. That often begins a political discussion beyond the scope of CH.

                          ( Other cities YMMV. I think the app in NYC is Haileo or something like that. )

                    2. I'm going to disagree with the men on this thread, not because I am female but because crime in the city is high, and 6th and Mission is among the highest points. Gentrification has led to a spike in muggings, not a decline.

                      Most likely it will be routine or just unpleasant. But too many people I know have been mugged at gunpoint and relieved of smartphones in the Tenderloin, Mission, and Union Square, including riding MUNI recently.

                      I walk all over the city at all hours, but I also live here. Please be cautious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. AQ is more experimental by turning flavors inside out or trying to get you to rethink a focused ingredient. Rich Table is more comfort food, in comparison, with a slightly warmer approach that is still playful. Different philosophies with these two places, but they're both good choices for interesting food....not all of which will work.

                        As for the neighborhood....
                        6th, and the area you would pass through to AQ is some of the worst streets left in SF. You will have to walk past outpatient centers, some of the last SRO hotels, and a lot insanity. You can walk through it fine.... but most San Franciscans will avoid these streets when possible, simply because there are creeps that loiter, and nuts who are confrontational in that small pocket of the city.

                        It absolutely doesn't matter what the crime map says, or how many upscal places are opening, it currently is not a pleasant walk, nor are certain streets along Market, which would be the alternate route. These are long streets too, and some the hip businesses are nowhere within distance to really escape to if you felt uncomfortable. The other problem is that stretch can get desolate, which puts you at more risk of crime, than a random problem with a crazy.

                        With that said, you'll be fine. You know what to look out for, and know a couple blocks on your route are lousy.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sugartoof

                          I'll just throw in my two cents by saying that while I agree generally with sugartoof, why detract from your nice dinner by having an unpleasant walk? Spend the $$ on a cab, relax and enjoy yourself. For sure you'll want a cab back, since as people have noted, it gets creepier as the evening goes on.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Second this.

                            There's no merit badge involved, and it's a spendy dinner. Make it comfortable for yourself.

                        2. I stayed at the Good Hotel at 7th and Mission and took a cab from Union Square/ FiDi. The driver didn't mind the short distance. You can also get the Muni App and see the exact time the buses are arriving. There is one that goes down Mission that can take you to 3rd and Mission where it is more populated.

                          I am a woman who frequently travels by herself in SF. I usually opt for an earlier reservation. In my experience people are on their way to various places 6-8 pm so there are more people out and about at that time. As you get closer to 9:00/10:00 people are at their destination by then and not likely to be on the sidewalks.