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Mar 12, 2014 08:41 AM

Visiting from Washington

Hello guys! My partner and I are visiting from Seattle and were wondering what are the must-eat places in SF. One thing to take note is that the dress code is casual. Thanks!

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  1. Casual dress should not be a problem :-), see

    It would be helpful for us to know a few things. What types of food do you like/dislike (naming your favorite places in Seattle would be helpful too), where are you staying, for how long? Any evening plans/day activities you'll need to pair with a closeby meal?

    12 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      I really would like to try things that SF does better than Seattle or things that Seattle lacks. I will be staying at the Intercontinental for two nights and three days. There really isn't an itenerary, pretty much free flow and when I say casual... I mean shorts and sweats. =P I'm looking for places that are chowhound-worthy like in Seattle, Paseo is the place to-go for food. Thanks!

      1. re: adeptation

        based on my experience living in Seattle (3 yrs), I would venture that SF does pasta, sushi, dim sum and high end (tasting menus) better than Seattle. Along those lines, you might try to hit some places like SPQR/ Flour & Water /Cotogna, Saru sushi (others may chime in with their own favorites here), Yank Sing, and (depending on budget) some place like Atelier Crenn, Benu or (lower budget, get in line at least 1 hr ahead if possible) State Bird Provisions.

        1. re: barleywino

          Don't forget specialty/artisan foods! (bakeries, ice cream etc.)

          1. re: goldangl95

            i defer to your expertise! Seattle does have great gelato. Haven't explored bakeries in SF enough to comment. Charcuterie is also strong in Seattle, burgers, pizza etc. Local cheeses are strong in SF of course, and chocolate. I would have to give Seattle the edge on cocktails.

            1. re: barleywino

              I'll list here again =) There's a lot more than what I listed (I would also defend our cocktail scene, but I'm a little behind the times with so many popping up every week).

              B Patisserie
              Craftsman + Wolves

              Ice Cream:
              Humphrey Slocombe
              Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous

              1. re: goldangl95

                I must be alone in having been underwhelmed by B Patisserie. Everything was good, but nothing blew me away, IMHO. I'd give the nod to Craftsman and Wolves.

                I'm a huge fan of Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous. Note, however, that they close at 6 p.m., so it has to be an afternoon snack spot rather than an after dinner stop.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Not alone, Ruth, FWIW :-). I like her kouign amann but still give the edge to Starter of the ones I've tried.

          2. re: barleywino

            IMO dimsum is better here but only marginally so... depending on how much the OP likes dimsum, it may not be different enough to warrant a visit. At least for Yank Sing (which is kind of like normal dimsum in a slightly fancier environment).

            Of if you were going to go for a non-traditional dimsum, Hakkasan would be something that Seattle definitely doesn't have.

            I completely agree that SF has a better selection of high end dining though. Pretty much the only comparable place near Seattle is Willows Inn.

            1. re: mr_darcy

              haven't been to Willows Inn yet-- Herb Farm (outside Seattle) would be another point of comparison. Apart from some of Yank Sing's less common dim sum items, i also like going there because they offer Peking duck by the piece ;).

          3. re: adeptation

            I don't know how appropriate "shorts and sweats" are going to be. Perhaps others can weigh in. There's casual but then there's just too casual. IMO of course.

            1. re: c oliver

              I'd think you could get away with "shorts and sweats" at most restaurants outside SF's downtown, but I wouldn't risk the Financial District or Union Square. Lunch maybe, dinner, probably not.

              Also, it gets cold enough at night that shorts just aren't seen around most areas, altho it's a lot warmer in the Mission than it is out on the Embarcadero!

            2. re: adeptation

              We ADORE Paseo and never miss it when we're visiting our SEA kids but for those who don't know, it's a sandwich place. One of the best sandwiches we've ever had but still 'just' a sandwich. If that's your point of reference then SF CHs may want to change some of their recs. Just my two cents, of course.


            1. For fresh pasta, La Ciccia, Perbacco, Cotogna, or (for the next week and a half) Incanto.

              1. Unique to our area: if you can get to Berkeley for the afternoon, reserve the chocolate "tour" at Alegio Chocolates. You will never look at chocolate the same way again:

                It's inside a little food mall court: an informative video tour along with a wonderful comparative chocolate tasting. Corallo's chocolates aren't like any others in the world - he's quite an OCD fanatic about his cacao beans!

                Corallo's chocolates are sold in only a few locations around the world, and the tour/tasting is only done in the Berkeley location. It's something very few Bay Area locals have done, much less tourists.

                We're Michael Recchiuti chocolate fans (another SF local, available at the Ferry Plaza bldg and his Chocolate Lab cafe in SF), but Alegio's tour was hands-down the best and most educational experience we've ever had.

                In fact, if you have the time, check out some of the various food tour companies - Googling brought up seven companies with a wide range of choices. Good exercise and a lot of fun!

                Bring lots of $$$. Prices here are about 25-30% higher than in Seattle.

                The only Asian food I'd recommend to you is some good dim sum. Yank Sing if you're downtown; Koi Palace in Daly City if you want to drive to a suburb just south of the city (similar to driving from Seattle to Mercer Island). Otherwise, the Japanese and SE Asian (Thai/Viet) is no better here than in Seattle.

                I do think we have better bakeries here, but you will want to know whether recommendations are about bread bakeries or pastry bakeries. Sometimes people are looking for something specific and not all of the great bakeries do both equally well.

                We love Seattle; my maternal relatives live all over the city. The food certainly has improved from when I first visited in the 1970's. On our last trip in 2012 (our 12th visit) we flipped over Olivar on Capitol Hill; went there twice in two days.

                Have fun and send some of that rain down our way, okay? Stop hogging it all, LOL!

                3 Replies
                1. re: jaiko

                  SF does seem to offer significantly more variety of sushi than what one would find in Seattle. I'm comparing, e.g., Saru Sushi (SF) with Nishino or Shiro's (SEA). Haven't been up to Sushi Ran in Sausalito for dinner yet (only lunch) but if their "outpost" in Boston (Cafe Sushi) is any indication, the variety of sushi there would also surpass what one finds in Seattle. Nishino is slightly more fusion-oriented (as their chef is a Matsuhisa alum) but not enough to elevate it above what SF offers, imo. SF Bay area also offers more in the way of casual non-sushi Japanese food than Seattle (I'm thinking e.g. Gombei, and the places in Japantown SF). Seattle scores high for its sake bar Sake Nomi, which SF lacks.

                  1. re: jaiko

                    It's not the same (I'm a fan of Corallo too), but Seattle does have the Theo chocolate factory tour.

                    1. re: jaiko

                      Both Lao and Burmese would be worth a look in the Bay Area for a PNWer :-).