Best San Francisco Dining

Jul 28th, 2004, 10:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 42
Best San Francisco Dining

My husband and I are going to San Francisco soon and are hoping to get some "non-touristy" suggestions on where to eat. We have four nights and want to get the most out of our time! We're willing to spurge on one night if the food is really fabulous, but the rest of the nights would like to stick to spending $20 or less each for entrees. We are staying in the Union Square area so places in that area in particular would be great. Thanks for all your help, San Francisco locals! Also, I love a good cup of coffee -- any great places for that?
travelbeck is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,610
Everyone has a different favorite idea of what is the "best" so it can get quite overwhelming. I would suggest that you try chowhound --here is a good place to start's a tip sheet of restaurants for visitors to SF. It will give you an idea of the variety of options you have.
SAB is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 5,869
Two not to miss recs for breakfast and lunch:
B'Fast - Lemon Souffle pancakes with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce (enough for two) Standford Court Hot just up the St. @ CA and Powell.
Lunch - Yank Sing - great Dim Sum and inexpensive wine list.
mikemo is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
For b-fast, Dottie's True Blue at 522 Jones.

Classic French cuisine, I suggest Curbside Bistro in the Alliance Francais. It will be a very quick cab ride.

Ponzu for imaginative Asian and Asian tapas. We had a great time there. The decor is very interesting and they have a delicious cocktail made with yuzu juice, a very tart fruit from Japan.

Indigo on McAllister (close to the Civic Center, so another cab ride) has a great prix fixe deal that is $49 per person including any appetizer, entree, and dessert off the menu + *all the wine you can drink* from a pretty super list.

My parents always insist on going to Kuleto's on Powell when they're in town and it's pretty great.

That's all I can think of for now!
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
Oh! I just remembered this great little place with fabulous service and food. Truly special. Metropol Cafe on Sutter between Kearney and Montgomery, across the street from the Crocker Galleria. It's just a sweet little brasserie.

And if it's featured in Rugged Elegance, you KNOW it's good.
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
And how could I forget Cafe Claude on Claude Lane? Jazz on Friday and Saturday nights!
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 12:05 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,360
I suggest you take the Hyde Street cable car line (you can pick it up on Powell near Union Square) and go to 1550 Hyde. That's the name of the restaurant, and its address (cross street is Pacific). It's a sophisticated but non-snooty place in a very atmospheric neighborhood. Great wine list and the menu really focuses on seasonal specialities. You'll be happily sitting and sipping a glass of wine, deciding what to have for dessert, and the cable car will go by - I guarantee you will have the most intense "San Francisco moment" right then and there.
dovima is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 166
I second Kuleto's on Powell it is a good place and reasonable!

Fon an expensive meal - try Faralon right next to the Disney store - Amazing sea food - and even better decore - Must Check this out!
montyw is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 274
I'm a local and my favorite splurge for foodies is Charles Nob Hill (approx. $100 per person). It is incredible.

For something different, try Cafe Jacqueline on Grant Ave in North Beach. It is a small souffle restaurant that makes you feel like you are in paris!
laurelt is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 265
Couple suggestions with a little cut and paste.

Chez Nous
A cheery Pacific Heights nook that satisfies with unfussy Mediterranean flavors. Notably juicy "lamb-sicles" become a savory salute to Provence with the accompanying lavender sea salt. For dessert, the light lemon souffle (served cold) or the chewy cannelés de Bordeaux with creme anglaise and caramel sauce will suffice.
1911 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
Cross Street: Bush Street
Phone: (415) 441-8044

Nob Hill Cafe
1152 Taylor St in between Sacramento and Clay streets. Short walk of several San Francisco landmarks and event centers including Grace Cathedral, The Masonic Center, and The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, and Stanford Court hotels. Good food w/ entrees $13-15
myst is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
I think I'm going to have to try one of those lemon souffle pancakes.

All of my suggestions were for $20 entrees. For the big splurge I would go to any one of these:

Gary Danko at North Point and Hyde, down by Fisherman's Wharf. This is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the states these days. You can do a 5 course tasting menu for $80/person with wine pairings for $40/person. They have an awesome cheese cart. Danko used to be the chef at Chateau Souverain.

A restaurant that I find incredibly romantic is Tallula on 18th in the Castro district. This is definitely either a cab ride or you can take the MUNI underground train from Powell St. Station to Castro station and walk a couple blocks. I've eaten there a few times. The service is excellent and the food is so creative: Indian with French technique. They have delicious sake cocktails and a very interesting sangria. If you're adventurous enough to try French-prepared Indian, I strongly urge you to check this one out.

One that is more close to you would be First Crush on Cyril Magnin at Ellis. There is an equal mix of locals and tourists here and I'll tell you why it's good for tourists: the wine list is 100% Californian and you can do these neat wine flights, which are series of tastings. They fill each of three glasses 1/3 up with different wines. It's just an interesting little thing to do. Learn while you drink and all that. The service is excellent and so is the food. And it's pretty romantic to boot.
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 08:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
Somebody peel me off this thread!!!

I forgot to mention that Emporio Rulli makes a delicious cuppa, Italian style. They actually sit in the middle of Union Square. Yes, they're in a beautiful kiosk in the middle of Union Square, toward the Stockton side. Can't go wrong.
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 42
Thank you all so much for the information -- this is exactly what I was looking for! Keep it coming!
travelbeck is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,489
Breakfast at Kuletos....
Probably some of the best Italian sausage I ever had.

Also near Union Sq. on Bush, Le Central.

Max's on Geary has some good stick to your ribs food, too.
Kal is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3
How about Slanted Door? I heard good things about this place. Is it expensive- we are planning for a group of 15.
desi1 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,360
Re: Coffee

Agree with cher_cher about Rulli. It's an offshoot of an incredible Italian-style cafe in Larkspur (Marin Co.) Coffee and any of their pastries or sandwiches would make a good quick stop.

If you are walking around town and in need of coffee, stop in at any Tulley's or Peet's. Strong java and good treats. I particularly love the Peet's on Market near Noe (Castro district) for neighborhood atmosphere and a nice place to sit down with a book or newspaper. Don't bother with Starbucks unless you are desperate.
dovima is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 286
Re: Slanted Door large groups...

They have you order for the entire group off a prix fixe menu. If I recall correctly, it's 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 1 vegetable and they include rice and dessert platters. I took 10 people to lunch, so not a lot of alcohol was imbibed, probably one glass of wine per person... Bill came in at $500 so $50/person, gratuity included. Not *too* bad.
cher_cher is offline  
Jul 29th, 2004, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 265
Providing the links so you may see the menus and ratings
myst is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 09:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 42
Laurelt -- do you know if you can go to Cafe Jacqueline just for dessert?
travelbeck is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,222
For a splurge, I'd second Delfina (if you can get in)--casual but delicious.

Jardiniere is still very good (pricey too).

and Gary Danko.

Try Da Flora (outer edges of North Beach) for great Italian served with idiosyncratic San Francisco style. I don't think most of the entrees there are more than $20. Have the pumpkin gnocchi appetizer.
Leely is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:18 PM.