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Jul 14, 2014 03:56 AM

Week in SF - Critique this list and suggest a meal


I will be spending a week in SF in September, coming from the UK.

I'm planning evening meals and some lunches, trying to have some variety, high and low-brow, and looking for food that might be considered more Californian in style, or foods that aren't easily available to me otherwise (so generally avoiding Italian, Thai, Sushi, etc).

I would appreciate suggestions for the evening meal on the 4th day.

Would welcome any other comments, especially if you think somewhere on this list isn't worth visiting.

First evening - Pizzeria Delfina (just keeping it simple for the first night)
2nd Day - Fog City. Zuni
3rd Day - B. Patisserie breakfast. State Bird Provisions (snagged a reservation, whoop whoop!)

4th Day - Nopalito for lunch. Had Nopa pencilled in for evening meal, but it looks similar to Zuni. Other options considered: Frances, Rich Table, Commonwealth, Bar Tartine, AQ

5th Day - Mama's for breakfast/lunch. Super Duper Burgers later.
6th Day - La Taqueria. Namu Gaji
7th Day - Atelier Crenn

Thanks in advance.

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  1. If it makes any difference, I would categorize fog city as a hybrid between Zuni and Nopa. Are you traveling by yourself? If so, the overlap wouldn't make much of a difference since you be limited in how much you could order anyway(in terms of quantity, not Variety, but the chicken at Zuni is intended for two people). AQ is more experimental, expensive, and has more exotic ingredients.

    What day of the week's day one? That might open/close certain restaurant possibilities throughout the week.

    If you get a taco at La taqueria , make sure to ask them to make it crispy

    7 Replies
    1. re: hyperbowler

      And make sure you get tacos at La Taqueria. Melted cheese, too.

      1. re: hyperbowler

        Thanks for your advice.

        There’ll be two of us, so the chicken at Zuni is definitely on the cards.

        The first day is a Friday. Having checked now, I see that AQ would be closed on the Monday. I'm leaning toward Rich Table or Frances now.

        I’ll be sure to ask for my tacos crispy, they sound great.

        1. re: benedicto

          Some people may prefer crisp tacos ("dorados"), but steamed is the local style.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Thanks. I sense that this has the potential to cause disagreement! As there will be two of us, maybe we'll try them both ways and compare.

            1. re: benedicto

              If you're going to compare something, I suggest getting tacos al pastor at Taqueria San Jose a block away.

            2. re: Robert Lauriston

              I've never thought of there being a "local style" for how corn tortillas are prepared, but I agree that crisp tacos are not common. Sometimes they're grilled in minimal oil, sometimes they're steamed.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                Tacos dorados are the standard some other places in the US.

                Places that make tacos fresh to order from masa typically griddle them without oil. Traditionally they'd be cooked on a comal but I'm not sure anyone does that.

        2. Stop by the ferry building esp during the farmer's market.

          4th day dinner - Peruvian? Limon Rotisserie on the lower end. Fresca or La Mar at the higher end.

          Of the restaurants you mentioned I'd say AQ for 2 reasons. One, you don't have a lot of places that are big into the craft cocktails and AQ makes excellent cocktails. Two it has an experimental bent that is very different from a Atelier Crenn. It is not my personal favorite in terms of taste profile ( I like my food saltier, spicier and unami-er) but I still enjoyed it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: goldangl95

            I plan to get to the Ferry Building market on the Saturday.

            Thanks for your alternative restaurant suggestions - I hadn't come across any of these places yet. I'll check them out.

            I'll also take on board your comments about AQ and cocktails. I do plan to visit a few decent cocktail places (Trick Dog seems to get mentioned a lot), I just wasn't necessarily going to eat in any of these places.

            1. re: benedicto

              For cocktails, the bar at Saison. By September they may be serving an abbreviated menu at the bar also.

              1. re: barleywino

                I did briefly consider eating there, but reviews seem to be so wildly variable, I thought it wasn't worth the gamble. I didn't know there was a separate bar - that's interesting, will try to check it out.

                1. re: benedicto

                  I prefer their bar over Trick Dog but ymmv

          2. I just had Namu Gaji last week while I was in the Bay visiting friends and honestly, while it was good, I wasn't blown away or super impressed. While I would recommend Burma Superstar, it looks like you want to stick around in the Mission. Perhaps Mau (Vietnamese), Yamo (Burmese), or Mission Chinese (a tasty spin on, but not quite authentic, Chinese)? Not sure how prevalent Vietnamese, Burmese, or Chinese is compared to Korean, but other alternatives to consider.

            10 Replies
            1. re: thewongmann

              Also in the mission is Lolinda (argentinian)

              1. re: thewongmann

                I don't get the appeal of their "tacos" and "gamja fries" at Namu Gaji, but the okonomiyaki and korean fried chicken are dishes I return to.

                1. re: hyperbowler

                  Well the flavor of the tacos I think are done well. However, the "taco" part I didn't really get. I tried folding the nori like a taco and it just didn't work so I just ate it all with chopsticks. Though, like you, I don't think I'd ever order them again.

                2. re: thewongmann

                  Thanks for your comments. I thought Namu Gaji sounded interesting, certainly like nothing I could access at home. Mission Chinese was on my list, but the most recent reviews suggested quality was dropping off, so I scratched it. I'll look carefully at all these other suggestions and might change my plans.

                  1. re: benedicto

                    Mission Chinese is still worth visiting at least once. I think people are just tired of the hype. I was there a few months ago and had a fine meal.

                  2. re: thewongmann

                    We had a not great meal at Namu Gaji last winter. Maybe we just ordered the wrong items but everything was mushy and not very tasty. The Korean fried chicken does sound good.

                    We have enjoyed Lolo's (nouveau Mexican small plates) every time we eat there. Haven't been to their new location on Valencia yet, but I assume food is still good and extra space was much needed.

                    1. re: thewongmann

                      Agree with Namu Gaji. I've eaten probably half the menu and I've eaten tons of Korean food, and in my mind I would barely call Namu Gaji Korean. The flavor profiles and textures just aren't quite the same.

                      In the MIssion I'd suggest Range.

                      1. re: ajyi2012

                        There's nothing very Korean about Namu Gaji's burger, but it's really good.

                        1. re: ajyi2012

                          Well I'd consider Namu Gaji "Korean" in the same way that Mission Chinese is "Chinese." It's an interesting and somewhat tasty twist on Korean food, but I would find Mission's Chinese's twist on "Chinese" to be better. Perhaps I should have been a little bit better on my ethnic descriptors.

                          1. re: thewongmann

                            I had some great traditional Korean food at Namu Gaji.


                            The tacos and other fusiony dishes I had at the old location didn't impress me much.

                            Mission Chinese, despite the name, is more pan-Asian. The chef just did his own creative versions of some of the dishes from his favorite Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. restaurants.

                      2. I am not sure why Super Duper burgers is on your list. To me they are not special burgers at all - closer to fast food. If you want a really good burger, go to Wayfare Tavern or Marlowe.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: farmersdaughter

                          I was thinking to have something that wasn't a sit-down meal on one night, just to break it up a little. We have a further week of travelling and dining after SF, so I'm happy to have some 'off' nights. Both your recommendations look great though, especially Marlowe.

                          1. re: benedicto

                            the burger I had at Marlowe was (I thought) quite generic and disappointing. You would do better with the wagyu burger at Alexander's (but call ahead to reserve one as they only offer 5/night). or get a roast beef sandwich at Salumeria (ask them to slice some lardo to put on it if you like, or get some chilled corn soup to go with) and eat at a table outside.

                          2. re: farmersdaughter

                            agree on Wayfare Tavern burger (especially with the house potato chips w/ onion dip)