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visiting, sunset area [San Francisco]

Hi folks,

I will be visiting for 10 days and staying in the sunset area. We are on a budget and would like some ideas of good chow at a reasonable price. We are omnivores and adventurous eaters. Any ideas would be great. We will also have a car. Please chowdogs, tell me where we should eat and also what to miss. I promise reports.

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  1. Old Mandarin Islamic for Peking-style hot pot
    Toyose for Korean chicken wings


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    1. The Pizza Place on Noriega (at either 45th or 46th) turns out a pretty good pie.

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        1. If you're staying close to 9th and Irving there's a bunch of places; Park Chow, Nopalito, Arzamendi, Bodhi, a couple of greasy spoons and much more...all pretty reasonable in price.

          There's a bunch of noodle places around Irving and 20th. Also Kingdom of Dumplings on Taraval for XLBs.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ML8000

            If you're coming all the way from Minnesota, I'd explore the whole city, and the Sunset is not really the most interesting part of the city -- it's largely residential. Dim sum, burritos, Burmese... browse the bargain threads and see what interests you.

            Old Mandarin is good and in that area, though.

          2. Try yum yum fish on Irving for take-out poke and sushi that is very good and reasonably priced. Kingdom of Dumplings, as ML8000 mentioned, is good and really inexpensive.

            San Tung is also good for Korean fried chicken.

            I still haven't been there but Outerlands is always highly recommended. They take reservations now so you should book early if you'd like to go there.

            For breakfast, if you're anywhere near the zoo, Joe's Ocean Beach Cafe is an old-school place that has really good pancakes. I would rather go there for brunch than Beach Chalet which is where most people recommend -- although the Beach Chalet has nicer decor and has an ocean view (if you get a good seat).

            The Cliff House is touristy - I wouldn't go for the food which isn't bad but is really overpriced, but it would be nice for a cocktail overlooking the ocean.

            Devil's Teeth Bakery on Noriega is a good stop for coffee and baked goods.

            There is a small Chinese bakery called Victor's Bakery on Taraval, near about 16th or 17th Avenue. They have very good egg custard tarts and other baked goods, especially if you get there early.

            Some people consider Thanh Long on Judah to be the best place to get Asian-style crab. It's still a time of the year when you can get Dungeness crab, so this could be a good option. It's not cheap though -- I usually go to PPQ Dungeness Island on the other side of Golden Gate Park (in the Richmond District) which I think is less expensive but still very good.

            9 Replies
            1. re: calumin

              Yum Yum Fish was sold a couple of years back and numerous reports were that it went way downhill. Are they still making decent quality sushi?

              Que Huong for Vietnamese sandwiches and either Loi's or Pho Huynh Hiep for pho. Lots of good Chinese options in the Sunset. If you'll have a car you can roam pretty far from the Sunset without too much trouble - the main difficulty will be finding parking in some neighborhoods (Mission, Lower Haight, the more congested parts of the Richmond, the non-SOMA parts of downtown).

              1. re: bigwheel042

                I usually get the poke, which is made with either salmon, tuna, or yellowtail. It's always really good when I get it.

              2. re: calumin

                I used to be quite fond of KINGDOM OF DUMPLING but the last time I was there, I was rather irritated over the medicore food, and a bit embarrassed (i talked friends from east bay and crosstown to meet there before a movie in west portal).

                Seriously, the single word which comes to mind when I think of that meal is "dishwater".

                On the other hand, last time I was at INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF CHINESE PANCAKE, the dumplings were fantastic and cheap. And the beef roll was great as well. That's now my "go to" spot in this genre, in this part of town.

                I cant recall my experiences with DUMPLING KITCHEN ... I get them confused with KOD.

                That asian ice cream place near by is also pretty good, esp since they will give you two flavors in the small size.

                Up toward the park, I too think YUMMY-YUMMY is good. Also like SAN TUNG, but obviously better with more people.

                1. re: psb

                  Just a quick note that the restaurant is called "House of Pancakes" -- it's currently my favorite Chinese place in the city. Unlike IHOP, it does not have the word "international" in its name :)

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Isnt the Chinese name "INTERNATIONAL BING FESTIVAL HOUSE"?

                    1. re: psb

                      I'm not sure what the Chinese name is. Here's a picture of the outside of the restaurant from soup├žon's blog: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ggsLlFeA5Ec...

                      In English, the word International isn't there though.

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        I first ate there in March of last year, and it soon became one of my favorite Chinese places as well. Sure glad it is NOT an IHOP.

                  2. re: psb

                    Were the boiled dumplings bad at KOD or was it the other stuff (their boiled dumplings have always been good for me, but I never liked their noodles or xiao long bao)?

                    The asian ice cream (gelato) place you're referring to is Marco Polo.

                    Shandong Deluxe is across from House of Pancakes. The OP should use the search box to find recommended dishes at those restaurants, as well as any other places mentioned by Chowhounds in this thread.

                    1. re: hyperbowler

                      Oh hi. Well again I dont remember everything we had but I recall it was a cold day so we were looking forward to some hot soup and whatever soup we got was horrible. Revealed preference = it went unfinished.

                      Yes, the boiled dumplings are the ones which tasted dishwatery.

                      I believe their XLB are normally ok for "cheap XLB places" ... i.e. the pork is ok, sometimes some quality control problems like some are DOA, broth-wise etc. These were ordered and finished ... just not great.

                      There are some other dishes I normally like here, e.g. salt+pepper tofu (discovered when dining there with a Vegan) ... do not recall if we tried and they dropped the ball on these.

                      To be pragmatic, given the distance to INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF CHINESE PANCAKE, I cant ever see going back here, unless the other place is closed and I am there already. I would rather wait in the fog for 30 min to go to the other place than be seated here right away.

                2. Yummy Yummy is a great place for pho, garlic crab, Vietnamese noodle and rice dishes. Very affordable (not open on Tuesdays) and very tasty. Irving and 11th Ave.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Shibi

                    Ate here last night and it was pretty good. I think the banh khot there isn't as good as it used to be...seems less crispy and more puffy. But flavor is still nice. Chicken salad is great (one of the better versions in SF) and the pho is decent.

                    Saw some nice looking crabs on other tables, as well as nice looking bun rieu.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      My fav item at YY is menu #30 (currently), the vermicelli noodles with charbroil pork and I think what they call "meatball" but are more like ribs of meat ... Bun Cha Ha Noi.

                      It's $10 and a fair amount of meat. I think it is a great deal.

                      Was there yesterday. The Nep Chien wasnt great ... tasted too starchy. I thought it was like $5.50 but on the web menu says $7.50 and certainly not worth it.
                      Was only there with one other person, so didnt get to try much but I always end up getting my #30 anyway.

                  2. Shin Toe Bul Yi for Korean fried chicken - Taraval St.

                    2nd Nopalito, Park Chow, Devils Teeth and Outerlands.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mlutsky

                      Outerlands is temporarily closed for a makeover: http://outerlandssf.com/about/ yelp says it is reopening in April

                    2. My favorite budget place in the Sunset is Dumpling Kitchen, Taraval bet. 29th & 30th. I believe they are closed Wed. but not sure if that has changed. My favorites:
                      # 1 and # 8. Very reasonable, generous, delicious.

                      For a special treat (not in Sunset) go to b. patisserie on California bet. Broderick/Divisadero. Closed on Mondays, other days closes at 6 pm. Wonderful pastries and coffee/tea.

                      1. Has anyone been to either Marcello's or the Gold Mirror (both on Taraval) for old-school Italian in the past few years?

                        1. A lot of my favorites in the Sunset have been mentioned already:

                          House of Pancakes (order the cucumber salad, bean paste noodles, lamb dumplings, egg pancake and sesame beef pancake. The egg pancake is really not to be missed!)

                          Shin To Bul Yi for Korean fried chicken and bi bim bap

                          Toyose for the stews and the seafood pancake.

                          Arizmendi for breakfast -- scones, pumpkin muffins, focaccia.

                          Devil's Teeth for breakfast sandwiches

                          Yummy Yummy for Vietnamese chicken salad

                          Wonderful Foods for bubble tea, smoothies and candy

                          Super Cue for the best tapioca in bubble tea

                          Easy Breezy for self-serve frozen yogurt

                          Art's Cafe for breakfast -- tiny diner with limited, counter-only seating. Get the bi bim bap hash brown pancake or bi bim bap omelette! Ask for the bean sauce and kimchi on the side.

                          1. With a car? I'd leave the area.

                            Devil's Teeth and Trouble Coffee (get the toast) are good stops in the morning.

                            You're getting plenty of suggestions for nearby bites, which you'll surely take advantage of over that long stay, but I would enjoy the rest of the city as much as possible.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: sugartoof

                              Or even without a car: if the OP is near the N or L, I'd probably take that instead to go downtown.

                              Frankly, in my opinion, most of these posts are very bad advice to give to a tourist from Minnesota, especially one who seems to be quite familiar with Asian food. These aren't bad places, but if the OP had not written "sunset area," the recommendations would be completely different.

                              I know we're always telling visitors to do more research before posting here, and that is fair, but it also wouldn't kill us to take a glance at the OP's profile... or at least read past the title of the post, which I suspect some of you did not do.

                              1. re: dunstable

                                I think there are some good places on this thread. Especially since the OP is saying he or she is on a budget.

                                What other budget places would you recommend outside the Sunset?

                                1. re: calumin

                                  The usual. As I hinted above, I'd probably start with something like Farolito or La Taqueria for SF Mexican, and also recommend a Burmese place like Mandalay. There are many threads about SF on the cheap...

                                  There are plenty of good places on this list, I dare say all of them can be recommended on some level, but they're not necessarily that interesting to a tourist. For instance, I would not send a tourist to Park Chow. It's perfectly fine, but there's no reason to send a tourist there, certainly not a tourist who cares enough about food to be on Chowhound.

                                  I haven't been to all the Chinese places recommended here, but Minneapolis does have a fair-sized Asian population, or at least a Vietnamese population. We may as well just tell him/her to go the best Chinese (or Vietnamese or whatever else) places SF has to offer, as I'd be concerned about sending him/her to a place too similar to what is available back home.

                                  I mean, if you were about to visit one of the world's food meccas, wouldn't you want the best possible experience?

                                  1. re: dunstable

                                    I agree there are better options than Park Chow for tourist...but this one wanted; a) reasonable prices on a budget and b) in the Sunset. In this context it's a good pick.

                                    Breakfast in particular is very good at Park Chow...organic eggs, very well prepared, civilized, nice touches, yada, yada, yada...at Denny's prices. See that's why you bring tourist there...Denny's prices but a breakfast even a jaded SF'er can appreciate.

                                    1. re: ML8000

                                      "I agree there are better options than Park Chow for tourist...but this one wanted; a) reasonable prices on a budget and b) in the Sunset. In this context it's a good pick.

                                      The OP never restricted the choices to the Sunset; s/he only pointed out that their party is staying there. Considering that this person also bothered to point out that they will have a car, it seems unlikely that their intention is to stay in the Sunset, if better options exist. At least I wouldn't.

                                  2. re: dunstable

                                    " if the OP had not written "sunset area," the recommendations would be completely different."


                                    That said, the OP is staying long enough that they might get some use out of the Sunset suggestions, few of which I would normally send a tourist to.

                                    I also agree about Park Chow being a waste of a tourists meal. I could see them doing good breakfasts, but I've never had food there that was any better than a Crepevine, Grove kind of place and it's only a few bucks cheaper than some highly rated places.

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      Seriously food not better than Crepevine? Have you eaten breakfast at Park Chow?

                                      1. re: ML8000

                                        I used to really like CHOW/PARK CHOW before they gutted their menu.

                                        Although I dont believe I've been there for breakfast in a long time ... not since other places have upped the quality (like say PLOW) ... I dont recall it being singularly good.

                                        Their now gone short rib dish was one of my favorite mid/cheap dishes in the city.

                                        I'm also not a huge fan of the "can on silverware on the table" but that's another matter.

                                    2. re: dunstable

                                      I take "Sunset area" in the title to be asking for recommendations in the Sunset.

                                      There are lots of topics on this board for any particular kind of cuisine someone might be interested in.

                                  3. Arizmendi bakery for breakfast pasteries on 9th and Irving bakery at least once.
                                    And maybe Lime Tree kitchen.