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San Fran restaurants, we're foodies, brother and wife are not, hmmmm

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Oct 24th, 2009, 07:21 PM
  #1
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San Fran restaurants, we're foodies, brother and wife are not, hmmmm

We are doing a "last minute" trip to San Fran in a month.

We've been before, but before we became foodies and before
the interweb world......lol.... Now I research everything..

We will be traveling with a brother in law and his wife and they aren't
really into food, but we ARE (we love Top Chef, Food Network, etc and
we love fine dining)

So, how can everyone be happy? We are looking for suggestions
for a good Italian place, Chinese and local: not too toursity.

I don't want them to look at the menu and look at the door.

Any suggestions? Mid price range. $25-35

Thanks!
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Oct 24th, 2009, 07:32 PM
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Is $25-35 the price of the whole meal, or the entree price (makes a huge difference of course). If the latter, I (and a lot of other posters on here) recommend Perbacco for Italian, on California Street. There's not much great food you can get in San Francisco for $25-35 for the whole meal --- any middling restaurant will run you at least $125 a couple.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 08:09 PM
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I loved A16 - and so did my stepdaughter... not sure if it is "foodie' worthy but it came highly recommended off here and was excellent.
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Oct 24th, 2009, 08:44 PM
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Whichever restaurant you choose there will (almost) always be a steak dinner for them. I'm just mentioning this so you don't compromise too much while you have a chance at some of the great restaurants in SFO.
I did love our lunch at Tadich's Grill and it would suit most everyone (except maybe a vegan!) because it's seafood and steak. It's not cheap, but it isn't ridiculous considering the quality and it's a great experience.
They don't have a website but I found a nice article:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...DGFEES3F81.DTL
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Oct 25th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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My in-laws cringe at menus that have "weird stuff" on them. Once (many moons ago) they even got up & walked out of the restaurant we had chosen. So I have some experience with trying to satisfy non-foodies.

Last night we dined at Perbacco (Italian - see above). We dined there about 1 year ago with friends, but we spent so much time chatting & drinking with our friends that we did not really concentrate on the menu offerings. Last night we dined there again and it was one of the most memorable meals that we've had in San Francisco (we're 34 year residents). My wife had a marinated sardine bruchetta with a hard boiled egg & salsa verde. She is a BIG sardine lover, and she said these were the best she has had - by a long way. I had grilled squid - smokey & perfect. Her main was Halibut with Lobster mushrooms, corn relish, & tarragon. I had a perfectly cooked rabbit - it was moist & jucy. Often it is overcooked when I've had it in the past at other restaurants. Side was Brussel Sprouts with capers & mustard.

Couple sitting next to us had a (boring) salad and (boring) pasta.

Story line. If your friends won't cringe when they see squid, sardines, quail, rabbit, etc on the menu - they can order the (boring) salad & (boring) pasta. There was also a Hanger Steak on the menu (tell your friends it is a fillet mignon)

Very nice atmosphere & service. Wine can be ordered by the glass, 1/4 liter, 1/2 liter, & bottle.

Our friends who we dined with 1 year ago, dine at Perbacco quite frequently - and they have to travel from Oakland to get there.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 25th, 2009, 08:14 AM
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We are fairly adventurous eaters and found Perbacco's tajarin or pappardelle pastas anything but boring. Delicious.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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Visit the Ferry Building. It has something for everybody.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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dishdelish - was the pasta (water, egg, flour) delicious, or was the topping delicious??? I usually don't order pasta as a main course in restaurants, but if it is served to me (at someone elses house for dinner), I usually find myself picking out the topping & leaving much of the pasta behind.

Stu Dudley
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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Stu Dudley - at Perbacco both the fresh pasta and sauce are delicious. The pasta is tender and lovely while having a bit of "toothiness" that gives your teeth something to fight. The pasta is dressed with the sauce somewhat sparingly in such a way that reminds me of pasta dishes I have had in Rome and Piedmont. The pasta and the sauce become one and are are hard to separate. The tajarin (an eggey pasta common in Piedmont) is especially good.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:34 AM
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Stu, since cost seems to be an issue for the BIL and his wife, would you mind posting "around" what your meal cost last night? I think it would be helpful to the OP.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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I was going to recommend A16 as well. We are "foodies" and met my sis's family there for dinner when they were in town. Everyone was very happy. They have great pizzas in addition to very good food. It also has a pretty nice atmosphere.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Here is Perbacco's website which of course includes their menu and prices.
http://www.perbaccosf.com/
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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SAB
 
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Perbacco has been a favorite of mine since it opened, but I wouldn't take someone who is not into food there. Why? Because I did and it was a big mistake. The family friend kept saying that it wasn't her idea of a real Italian restaurant, where was the spaghetti and meatballs, the osso buco, etc. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie Big Night. I have since learned not to take people for whom Italian means large quantities of pasta and red sauce and cheese to places like Perbacco (or Incanto). I now take them to North Beach Restaurant, which does Italian/American very well, so even though I don't get to have the type of Italian that I really like, I can have really good food.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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SAB, I agree, and it's why I "hesitate" to refer to a restaurant like Delfina as "Italian" (of course, Delfina DOES have spaghetti on the menu!)
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Oct 25th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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She wouldn't have like Delfina either sf--too frou-frou!! I've learned to accept that people have different palates and interests in food, so I usually try to discover what someone likes or is used to before taking them to some place that I think they should like!!!!
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Oct 25th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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A16 is one of my all time favorite places I have gone... If I could get the Mozzarella burrata with olive oil, sea salt and crostini every single day I would be a happy woman
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Oct 25th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Delfina is a great restaurant but good luck in getting a reservation on such short notice. You might try Farina in the mission and Orson on 4th. Both good and low key with interesting environments. Thanks also for good reports on Perbacco. My DH has eaten there and loves it - he is very picky about Italian food and he gives this one a thumbs up. Going next week with friends.
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Oct 25th, 2009, 05:47 PM
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I know this is just one person's opinion, but I really didn't like Orson -- the atmosphere was nice and the service was good and friendly, but the food -- some was just okay, some ridiculous. Seriously, pop rocks in my salad? (or was it dessert -- I don't know, it seemed like they were on everything).
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Oct 25th, 2009, 09:26 PM
  #19
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wow! great great advice! I will look all of these place up and narrow it down.

Thanks for the wonderful advice!

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Oct 25th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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My opinion:

Person A is a foodie and wants to experience all the wonderful culinary delights SF has to offer.

Person B is not interested in "cutting edge" food - a Swansons TV dinner is fine for them.

Solution:
Dine at Perbacco, and order 2 drinks for person B before dinner. Person A has a small glass of wine.

Order Sardines, Squid, or Tripe for person A as an appetizer. Followed by Dourade, John Dory, Halibut, Rabbit, or Quail.

Find a pasta with the most red sauce for person B - or even let person B have 2 desserts. Who cares about the creativity of the dishes - person B doesn't. He/she is "looped" by the time dinner arrives.

Our dinner costs for Sat night:
2 appetizers at $10 each
2 entrees at $25 each
1 brussel sprouts at $5

2 Makers Mark Manhattans at $10 each
1/2 liter of white = about $28
1/2 liter of red at $35

Slept very soundly.

Very warm evening.

We spent almost the entire day today (Sunday) in the City. Took a City Guides walk - Rising steel - extremely interesting. Nice to be in the Financial District on a Sunday - admiring all the wonderful architecture. Niners came close to winning.

Stu Dudley
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