Monday, March 25, 2013

San Francisco Restaurant Recommendations

Hello All -

I have to travel to San Fran for work in April and I haven't been there in 20 years. I know almost nothing about the city. I'm wondering if I can ask you, dear readers, to share your recommendations for good eating in San Fran. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas welcome - anything that's good to eat, from the rickety and run down place with the best tacos to the nicer place with great food and a good wine list.

I really appreciate it!



bsp said...

Commonwealth, SPQR, Tartine bakery, Benu, Delfina, Ritual Coffee, Swan Oyster Depot, Bi-Rite Creamery, Boccolone, Ferry Building Saturday farmers market (Primavera for some of the best mexican, Roli roti for the best porchetta sandwich), Mission Chinese Food. I could go on and on, but those are my favorites!

Dan McGrew said...

Slanted Door - especially the wine list.

wineshlub said...

If you are in a group, want to share a bunch of original and delicious dishes, and don't mind a loud decibel level that makes conversation challenging, Bar Tartine is a great place, with a nicely selected wine list.

The whole Hayes Valley scene is a little too chi chi for me, but Arlequin Wine merchant is a great (if slightly pricey) wine store. Their next door restaurant, Absinthe, is also quite good and obviously has a good wine list.

If you're a coffee drinker, I think Philz is the best, and it has a more gemutlich atmosphere than the hoity-toity Blue Bottle.

For wine bars there is, of course, the hard edged Terroir. But my favorite is the Barrel Room on Post St. It is a friendly, welcoming place with a varied and consistently interesting selection of wines. Whereas Terroir has more of an East Village ethos, this is more of a California style laid back (in a good way) place. Ironically, it is run by three women who are refugees from the East Coast.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Tartine bakery as a lunch place. RN74 would be a favorite for dinner with a good wine list.

Anonymous said...

Best tacos: La Taqueria at Mission and 25th. Best carnitas ever, super moist and not greasy. Bar Tartine, Aziza, Heirloom, Hog Island Oysters, Slanted Door. Bi Rite Creamery FOR SURE (and I'd steer you toward a cup of vanilla soft serve with bergamot olive oil and sea salt. Heaven.
Mission Chinese can be difficult on the tummy.

Adam said...

Dinner at Slanted Door something I know you would current fave in SF

Community Wines said...

La Ciccia for dinner and the wine list.
Papalote in the Mission for burritos
Slanted Door for the food, wine and a view of the Bay Bridge and the new light art instillation on it
Climb a hill and take in the view.


rhit said...

Nopa for food and wine, and Terroir for just wine. Welcome and enjoy.

Gregg Ushiroda said...

Brenda's French Soul Food on Polk Street for breakfast or brunch.

Swan Oyster Depot on Polk Street for lunch

Ristorante Ideale on Grant Street (North Beach) for Roman cuisine - the Branzino is excellent

El Metate in the Mission for Mexican Food.

Anonymous said...

Cioppino at Tadich Grill, I think the food, service and atmosphere are first class old school. Decent wine list too.

Hop a ferry or take the Muni Metro to Oakland - go to Oakland Chinatown, walk around and eat at whatever restaurant is busy then visit Dashe Cellars (in daylight), worth the trip. I would guess Oakland is like Brooklyn 20 years ago. . .

Anonymous said...

Re Oakland, take the BART not Muni, my mistake. Also, for a little street cred - Dashe is one of the few Cal wineries stocked at Chambers.

Tom said...

Slanted Door
Delfina (panna pizza)
Swan Depot
Gary Danko
Foreign Cinema

Anonymous said...

This is so terribly pedantic and maybe snobby, but in the many years I lived in the Bay Area, we celebrated the City by the Bay and chastised anyone not making the effort to pronounce all the syllables. Don't be a sailor ('Frisco) or worse (at least 'Frisco) has some color). It's a beautiful city with a beautiful name (didn't the new pope take his name from the city?) and it deserved the efort.

Ben said...

Boulette's Larder is great for a savory breakfast or for lunch, in the Ferry Building. Worth reserving to sit at the large communal table by the kitchen. For dessert, the canelés and meyer lemon meringue tart are both benchmarks.

Zuni Cafe (not actually a cafe at all) is excellent at dinner (when the menu is more ambitious) and lunch. Good wine list.

Both of the above do classic, satisfying Cal-Ital-French fare! (The chefs are alums of Chez Panisse, which would be another obvious choice were it not closed because of the recent fire.)

Mark Anisman said...

Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous, in the Dogpatch neighborhood, gives Bi-Rite a run for the ice cream money in our book.
I am not a fan of Slanted Door, nice wine list not withstanding. I much prefer La Ciccia, especially the fish dishes and a well manicured Italian wine list.
for expensive outings, Benu is a fabulous place, with a sommelier (who is wonderful in so many different ways) who has put together a wine list that is well matched to the cuisine.
i have only heard great things regarding the food at AQ.

robbocop said...

Bar at Nopa. It's the best, simply. La Ciccia is overrated, sorry to say. Delfina pizza in the mission is easy to walk in and sit at the bar, also pretty good. Enjoy!

Ben said...

Regarding Oakland, the Art of Eating did an article in their Autumn 2011 issue on the restaurant there called Camino, where most of the food is cooked on a hearth or in a wood-fired brick oven. Sounded really great.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's a credit to how cool you are, BG, that none of your great readers suggested the obvious (if you are crossing the Bay): Chez Panisse.

Anonymous said...

In the mood for excellent Peruvian cuisine, try Limon Rotisserie.

Giacomo said...

Negative for La Ciccia.

Bar Tartine. Eastern European food. Very original.

Trattoria/easy going Italian:
- Barbacco
- Beretta (superb cocktails. open until very late)

- Perbacco

Rustic Italian / Best salumi program:
- Incanto

Neapolitan pizza temple:
- Una Pizza Napoletana

High end Italian / Special occassion:
- Quince (impeccable really)
- Acquarello (more modern, insane wine list)


Anonymous said...

Slanted Door (Ferry Bldg) Spruce must be terrific, because Peter's Selosse dinner was held there (I couldn't get a seat). For casual fare, stop in at Boulette's Larder at the Ferry Bldg. They make the best canneles in SF but you have to get there early to try.
Kathe B (Sacramento)

Anonymous said...

Try St. Vincent. Great food and a spectacular wine list compiled by David Lynch.

Emily said...

The one place you must go is La Ciccia. Let Lorella pick a wine off their list for you.

Una Pizza Napolitana is great, but he moved from New York a couple years ago so you might already have eaten his pizza.

Everyone loves State Bird Provisions, but we haven't eaten there yet.

I second Zuni.

Honestly, the most exciting stuff is going on in the East Bay right now. Camino is our go-to, so if you're interested definitely get a hold of Cory. Commis is amazing, as is Ippuku. The best wine bar in the Bay Area right now is The Punchdown in Uptown Oakland (right off the 19th Street BART stop). Hopscotch and Fusebox are also doing some really interesting things. Also, all the best taco trucks are on International in Oakland (only go for lunch and don't make eye contact with anyone).

-Ms. Saignee

PS. Only tourists say San Fran. Go with SF, or The City if you're in the East Bay.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on St. Vincent.

L'Osteria Del Forno.


To Hyang.

Anonymous said...

Aziza. Zuni. No Chez Panisse, sadly. Wine at Slanted Door remains excellent, the food is pretty good considering how enormous and busy the place is.

For simpler but excellent food, consider Mission Local.


Rocktageous said...

You're doing pretty well at this point, so I'll try to reenforce and add just a little confusion.

Coffee: Blue Bottle for espresso drinks (awful drip roasts), in the Ferry Building alongside a pan epe from Acme, from the lever machine on the side (not the big line). Four Barrel is the best overall, then it's Wrecking Ball and Ritual, then Sightglass and Ma'velous. Pick one that's convenient.

Wine: Terroir, Arlequin and a tiny shop in the Dogpatch called Dig. Bi-Rite has a nice selection as well.

Food: Aziza, Slanted Door, Nopa, La Ciccia, Swan's Oyster Depot (unless Marshal Store can be on the agenda), Foreign Cinema, there's a ton of pizza- Una Pizza and Tony's for magical proper styles, Gialina for something creative, A16 for a glass of Turasi. Bar Tartine, Presidio Social Club. There's a little chunk of Petrero Hill with several good restos namely Chez Maman, Chez Papa, and Papito, which stands out, serving delicious tacos in a metropolitan area with too much gringofied Mexican food. La Note for Breakfast in Berkeley is reason enough to start an East Bay excursion, otherwise Ella's for chicken hash.

Dessert: Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous. If you see something called kouign-amann from Starter Bakery, eat it, then walk it off up some hill.

Unknown said...

Bin 38 - dinner/wine
Bar Bacco - dinner
The Grove (marina location) - brunch
La Mar- dinner
Plant (embarcadero location) - lunch on the water


Anonymous said...

Bar Tartine
Slanted Door
HardWater for a Bourbon!!
4 Barrel for coffee

Jason A said...

Nopa - Negative

Slanted Door - Negative

Zuni - Positive

Bar Tartine - Positive

Terroir - I'd skip, Too much like a coffee shop and not enough like a wine bar.