MSP Hounder in need of SF recommendations
I'm coming to SF from MSP for a work trip over the next few days and am looking for some great recommendations. I'll be staying at the Hotel Nikko for 2 nights and then will be relegated to a hotel out by SFO for a 3rd night. I'd like to stay in walking distance or easy cab ride from the Hotel Nikko, but I will have a car, so I can branch out when I'm by SFO. I'll also be spending my SFO day down in Sunnyvale, so anything fun along the way is great too. Max entree price is probably $35-40.
I'm thinking of Aveline for one of my dinners. Anyone been? Thoughts?
Perbacco or Cotogna for Italian near Hotel Nikko.
Aveline's only been open two months, haven't heard anything about it so far.
So the Union Square area isn't the best for food, so the recs for walking distance places is somewhat thin.
If you go to the Ferry Building, you can knock out coffee, baked goods, breakfast (the cow girl creamery sandwiches are pretty awesome) all in one go. If you like oysters, there's Hog Island. If you go during the farmer market (Tues. Thurs. and Sat.), then you'll also get even more exposure all at once.
It does get crowded during peak times e.g. 11:30 - 1 p.m.
Coffee: There are Blue Bottle (Drip + Espresso) and Philz (Drip only) locations that are walking distance but not super nearby.
Italian: Second Robert's recs - you'll need to cab/uber/public transit to them they're a long walk. Zero Zero is also an option.
Seafood: It's surprisingly not as common as one would think. Old School places there's Tadich Grill and Swan Oyster Depot at the reasonable end and Farallon at the pricey end.
If you are willing to go further afield, there's Bar Crudo, Skool, Anchor + Hope in the mid-range.
California/Locally Sourced: Wayfare Tavern and Gitane gives the vibe of an SF restaurant and has high quality ingredients, but it's not what's going on in SF right now. Wayfare Tavern is american comfort food with a CA sensibility and Gitane is Spanish/Basque food with a CA sensibility.
Further afield: Zuni is one of the pioneers of CA/Farm to Table style and they're still going strong. It's a classic.
Bar Tartine is doing very interesting things grabbing from influences all over.
AQ is doing creative/molecular gastronomy type food with a CA bent.
State Bird Provisions is doing whimsical small plates based on local ingredients.
Rich Table is doing some interesting food in the CA style.
Monsieur Benjamin - has some promising early reports. Though more solidly French.
Great list, goldangl! When we stay near Union Square a few times a year, we nab breaky at Blue Bottle Mint Plaza which you mentioned for coffee, and we also like farm:table, both of which would be pretty walkable for the OP. Lineups are legion at BB, and f:t is tiny and communal.
For just coffee, Hooker's Sweet Treats is very close to the Nikko. Haven't had anything worthy to eat there though.
I've eaten on the bar side of Aveline (called The European, same kitchen as Aveline) where I enjoyed the tempura mustard greens (warning: large portion). Crispy chicken skin was ok but would probably not order it again. They made a decent Martinez with Contratto vermouth. When I visited the restaurant side, I found it a bit warm/stuffy and decided not to stay.