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San Francisco Restaurants

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Dear friends:

I am going to San Francisco next month for the first time in my life.

Any restaurants you guys would recommend as a "must go to"?

I'm already planning on Chez Panisse.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #2 of 21
absolutely go to Tartine, it is an incredible bakery with breakfast/lunch....19th and Gurrero...there is not a sign there will be a line and the pastries are totally devine.

Tsunami has great sushi and one of the largest Saki selections.....they even have one that tastes like Sauterine. The chef is from STL and was an apprentice of one of my good friends....I just let him feed me...yummmmmmm

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market is one if not the best in the country, it's on the Embarcadero at the clock tower....there is some of the best eating in town on Sat. mornings, it's open 7 days but the volume of farmers increases exponentially on Sat.......Frog Hollow Bakery has a risotto tart that is too die for,
There's the Roti Roti guy that is rotissery roasting chickens with potatoes at the bottom to cook in the chicken fat!!!, Bruce Adeills sausages and breakfasts, Lulu's has some incredible fresh food inside the building....I took a beet salad and quiche on the airplane home that was phenominal, Slanted door is in the same building as are some premium chocolate venders (Scharfenberger), Cow girl Creamery, Tea house with great almonds, etc....I was in CA and made it back 4x in 8 days....it's spectacular. If your a foodie it's a good solid morning exploring all the various farmers and shops.
***If they have a fundraiser go...the best chefs in the area cook some awesome local food. I've considered hopping a flt and checking out a couple of the events I read about. It always seems to be in the height of MY farmer's market season.

SWANS, is a hole in the wall seafood cocktail fresh off the boat place that is not known by many visitors....NO frills just primo product.

I still enjoy Mustards in Napa, oh man their onion rings....lunch was exceptional. And the atmosphere was just a delight.

There's an interesting place in Half Moon Bay that was a farmer's market, Italian that uses local, beautiful...really beautiful. I don't remember the name but half moon is tiny.

Bakeries up and down that whole area are great....wood fired ovens, super combinations of premium products, they really have a touch for pastries....and I am SOOOOO glad to visit and not have that readily available.

Dim Sum, worth exploring.....in SF
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 21
Ever had vegan sushi? Minako. They have a regular sushi menu as well as a vegan menu. I was skeptical, but man is it good. It is a mother daughter operation, they play cool music, and the fish portions are huge. Good sushi rice too.

Vegan eel. Man, that's where it's at.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #4 of 21
Mark,
you are in for a world of good eating. like shroomg said, the Saturday Farmer's Market is a must-not-miss event. i believe it opens at 8am and has lots to offer, especially in the middle of summer when you'll be here. some of my favorites there are Miette for cakes and pastries, Boulette Larder for unusual ingredients, Rhyucchi Chocolates for morsels of goodness, the smoked salmon guy has a good product, Amce breads has a vast variety of breads, and the honey vendor in the front of the building always has seasonal varieties of locally produced honey. the tomatoes will be in the height of the season.

here's some other ideas that have not been mentioned above.
> really good burrito, Taqueria Cancun (Mission and 19th). very informal
> great french bistro, Le Petit Robert (Polk and Green) a nice relaxing environment with top notch food.
> fondu, Matterhorn Restaurant (Van Ness near Lombard Street) the exterior of the place leaves alot to be desired but once you are inside the rest. you will thing you are in the mountians

let me know if there is anything in particular you are looking for and i'll try to steer you in the right direction.

Words of Caution; just because you're coming in the middle of summer, be prepared for cold weather. summer is the worse for us. when the daily fog rolls in the temperature drops to about 50 degrees, 20 mph winds and dense wet fog is a definite possibility. always carry a sweater or jacket.
pierre
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pierre
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Pierre:

What seafood restaurant would you recommend in Fisherman's Wharf? What's the best for an ocean side view?

I'm also aching to try abalone. Any suggestions?

Finally, we're going to Nappa for one day on Saturday. If you could only go to one Napa restaurant for dinner which one would it be?

Thank you.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #6 of 21
Go have a drink on the Wharf don't bother dining.....REALLY.

Napa, I love Mustards! open for lunch and dinner, it's really good food.
And won't break the bank.

* I spent a week in July numerous years ago in SF.....I was living in Baton Rouge at the time and left 100* weather with 100* humidity totally miserable shtuff....small children do not even go outside to play.....Anyway I had to buy sweaters and warmer clothing in SF, interesting memory.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks shroomgirl.

I'll check out Mustard's.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #8 of 21
i agree, don't bother eating at fisherman's wharf. it's pretty much a touristy place with ok food. if you must eat down there, go to Scoma's (it's as orginal as it get down there). or there's a Hooter's across the street.

if you want ocean view dining, i'd reccomend the The Beach Chalet, for lunch. it overlooks the pacific at Ocean Beach. i say go for lunch because if you go for dinner there's a good chance the fog will roll in and you won't be able to see the beach across the street, much less the ocean.

there's also the Moss Beach Distillery. it's about a 40 minute drive south of the city, down HWY 1, but you should get a nice sunset view of the ocean as you dine. but i've never eaten any of the food.

in Napa, i highly highly highly (yes 3 times) suggest you have dinner at Greystone
it's the CIA's working restuarant. i suggest you make reservation and try to get there about an hour early so you can have a drink outside overlooking the terraced garden where they grow their own produce that you will be served for dinner. it's simply outstanding!!!

Abalone, i can't help you with that one. maybe ask the guys from HOg Island Oyster Farm. they will be at the farmers market saturday morning serving local bivalve varietals.

another great restaurant find in SF is Delfina . it's a small husband/wife owned restaurant that is quite creative with the menu and use all local ingredients
pierre
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pierre
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post #9 of 21
I would have to agree about the farmer's market. the last time I visited SF, my friends took me to one (can't remember where, but it was Sat morn.) and it was the best FM I have ever been to!! So much produce, including too much thai basil and squash leaves, plus heirloom tomatoes, sourdough, etc...

Sure beats the "farmer's markets" here in Orange County. What a joke.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #10 of 21
One small correction, Shroomgirl said Tartine is on 19th & Guerrero and it's actually at 18th. But I agree, the French style pastries there are fabulous.

Another great bakery is Stella's on Columbus in North Beach. Excellent Italian goodies made fresh on the premises.

On Valencia Street and for a block or two south of 16th Street there is an eclectic array of small restaurants including some really good Middle Eastern places. parking is impossible but it's a lively neighborhood to walk around in the evening. As Pierre said, bring a warm jacket.

Jock
post #11 of 21
oh yeah! sitting at a street side table having a capaccino and their house specialty, the sacripantina, at Stella's! i used to go their with my ex-gf, those were some of the best of times.
pierre
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pierre
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post #12 of 21
Where is the shop that makes fillo from scratch? oh man....NOTHING like it.

I was so impressed with all the bakeries between SF and Napa....wood fired oven, artisinal....pastries to die for....

Tonight I made the BBQ sauce/rub in Mustards cookbook...yummmmm....about 20 spices/herbs in the rub, including 5ish peppers and several chilis. Very fine!! Served it on hickory smoked, slow cooked brisket. Potato salad, slaw, baguettes, watermelon and white necterine ice cream for dessert....life is good.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
You guys are the best!

I'm copying and pasting all your suggestions.

I don't have enough time to get to them all, but I will definitely get to some.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #14 of 21
You already have some great suggestions, but I would like to pile a few more on, specifically for your day trip to Napa....

If you are up valley, Terra, in St. Helena is excellent (www.terrarestaurant.com). This is in a beautiful stone building hidden a block off from Main Street. It is run by a husband and wife team with top credentials - fantastic food.

The restaurant at Domaine Chandon (www.chandon.com/restaurant) is excellent and I have had a fabulous dinner at Restaurant Budo (www.restaurantbudo.com) in Napa.

If you need a quick bite for lunch, stop at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, the Oakville Grocery (looks like a dump outside, but a great place for a variety of gourmet groceries and deli), Taylor's Refresher in St. Helena or Julia's Kitchen in COPIA (The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts). For Julia's Kitchen, you don't have to pay to get into COPIA, to get into the restaurant, but if you tell the staff you are in the business (and you are lucky) they might give you a free day pass. COPIA still has some kinks to work out, so it isn't always worth the cost of admission, but it is a great idea and does have some interesting displays.

Have a great time and let us know how the meals turn out!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Clove:

Thanks for the tip about Julia's kitchen and Copia. I was planning on going to Copia. So if I go to Julia's for lunch, and tell them I'm a chef and food writer, they might give me a freebie to the museum??

Very cool.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #16 of 21
My favorite place in SF is Gary Danko's. Wanda and I had a great meal there. Do a search, here on CT, and you will find my review of the place. One of the best meals I have ever had!!!
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #17 of 21
SG -- I agree with you about Mustards!!! And Pierre, I back that MarkV should go to Greystone -- that would actually be my first choice, and has been when I have made the trip up. I just got back from a spa/hotel/restaurant in Lodi called Wine and Roses that I'll write a little review about -- well worth the two nights I spent! I tried almost half the menu (had the budget to order 5-6 plates a meal) and I look forward to going back to get pampered!
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #18 of 21
For the record, I was a devoted fan of Oakville Grocery, preaching the word for years and years, until my most recent visit to Napa Valley. The place is so crowded, it resembles the clichéd "can of sardines." We peeked in and left, and headed north to Dean and DeLuca. Now D&D has become my favorite place to grab a picnic lunch. Unbeatable, and spacious as all outdoors. It's got three or four times the variety and none of the claustrophobia.
post #19 of 21
I had a totally different experience at Dean and Deluca, the produce was WAY past fresh, the meats/pates looked suspect....we had fun poking through the store picking up odds and ends but opted not to buy fresh food.

lunch at Copia was so-so....we got the box lunches as it was a tour group for a farmer's market conference.

There were wonderful bakeries with food up and down that area...

a food friend got back and had been to Budo's said it was the highlight of her food eating week long Napa trip.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #20 of 21
The Cantina at Tra Vignia in St Helena is a good place for a sandwich if you don't want to spend a fortune in the main restaurant. It's a pleasant courtyard with tasty bites to eat.

Jock
post #21 of 21

brunch

I'm heading up to San Fran over Easter, and I was wondering if there's a restaurant with a really awesome Easter Sunday brunch. Any suggestions?
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