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Mar 16, 2014 05:06 PM

Quintessential Bay Area in 4 Days

I'll be visiting the Bay Area soon with family and we only have about four days. What are the eats we absolutely MUST try? This includes restaurants, food trucks, take-out, bakeries, desserts, ice cream... any place or dish that you feel is a "can't miss".

**Pertaining to restaurants, about $15 per person is as high as we can go

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  1. What part of the country are you coming from? Do you like Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Burmese, etc.) food?

    A good place to start your research is the "Bargain Bites" section of the SF Chronicle's website. It might not be the ultimate authority, but it will give you some sense of what is available.


    My personal recommendation is to visit a neighborhood corner grocery store that has "It's It" ice cream sandwiches in their freezer. Try one!

    11 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      I'm from the South, so I'm not really looking for southern cuisine or meat-and-three joints. However, if there's a place that puts a unique spin on southern food, then I would definitely consider it (like Pine State Biscuits in Portland).

      As far as other types of cuisine are concerned, I'm open to literally anything. I'm just looking for the dishes and places that are the best of the best in the Bay Area. (*only caveat being they must be affordable*)

      1. re: El_Duderino

        Fusebox puts a Korean spin on Southern food and vice-versa.

        1. re: El_Duderino

          Fremont Diner (recommended in another post) puts a chef-driven spin on southern cooking, way better than it ever was back in the "good ol' days". It's outside the town of Sonoma.



          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

            Interesting take. Their grits are VERY good. Written by an old Southerner.

            1. re: c oliver

              I'm from a fairly "southern" part of the mid-west, central Missouri. Fremont Diner is on my list of "must take visitors to".

            2. re: Malcolm Ruthven

              It looks like their dinner menu is primarily BBQ. Do they serve the lunch menu (burger, Nashville chicken, etc.) in addition to dinner on the days they're open later?

              1. re: El_Duderino

                I have no idea because I've never eaten dinner there. Best you call and ask.

                  1. re: El_Duderino

                    I've only been for dinner and their brisket was some of the worst I've had anywhere. Completely dry, no bark, no flavor and served with a piece of white bread that was stale on one side as if they'd laid out the pieces beforehand and plated them later. The fried chicken was good though overcooked and a seasonal peach salad came with completely grainy dried out peaches. The setting is gorgeous with the vineyards in the background and I've never been for brunch but my one dinner experience was not good.

                    1. re: sunnyside

                      Sorry to hear about the bad dinner experience. I've only been during breakfast or lunch hours (many times) and the food has always been very good, even "special".

                      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                        Well I'm a sucker for eating outside and loved the setting so will probably give them another shot.

            3. Do you know where you will be staying ?

                1. Mission burritos are quintessential San Francisco, well within your price range, and available all over the Mission. i like El Toro, Cancun, and Pancho Villa, but there are lots of good places (and I'm sure someone can jump in with more & better recommendations).

                  I like the El Tonayense taco trucks; also the one at Foslom & Main on weekdays.

                  Highly recommend Mandalay for Burmese food, which should be within your budget if you don't order beer/wine.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TVHilton

                    For Mission burritos, how do El Faralito and Little Chihuahua stack up?

                    Also, on a different topic, I've heard great things about the Mongolian Cheesesteak at HRD Coffee Shop. Is it overrated, or as good as people say it is?

                    1. re: El_Duderino

                      Forgot about El Farolito. Yeah, they're really good.

                      Don't know Little Chihuaha,

                      1. re: BacoMan

                        Even better:


                        (not a direct link, but I love this headline)