March 30, 2007 11:37 AM | By Adam Roberts | 70 Comments

San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate

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Good people of San Francisco: I come with news. I will be arriving in your fair city, my first time since childhood, on April 13th and staying with my friend Raife (who you met in the fish post) until the 20th! That means my time has come for fresh San Fran sourdough and dinners at the Zuni Cafe, Chez Panisse and maybe, just maybe, Manresa. It also means I finally get to meet my San Francisco readers! How many of you are there? Where would you like to meet me? I'm thinking of having a meet-up on Sunday the 14th... where should we have it?

And, of course, I have to ask my knowledgeable foodie fan base: where else should I eat while I'm there? Usually these posts elicit the most helpful comments. I look forward to all your suggestions and can't wait to meet my west coast readers in the City by the Bay!

70 Comments

I do so love Swan Oyster Depot.

(And if you feel a trip to the Napa Valley coming on, we'll gleefully host you and yours.)

Butterfly on the Embarcadero is GREAT! Pan-Asian. Robert Lam is the chef/owner I believe and he is the cousin of a childhood friend, Bruce Nguyen, who might still work there.

Sardinis in North Beach - very low-key, extraordinarily cheap, hearty italian. And check out the wall of engagement photos.

Check out The Slanted Door and Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building.

If you have extra time in Berkeley, in addition to Chez Panisse, try the Cheese Board Collective and the home base of the Acme Bread Company (they also have an outpost in the Ferry Building in SF) and Cafe Fanny next door.

That was meant to be "Sodini's" by the way, not Sardinis (which doesn't exist)... apparently I can't type today

hope you've already made some reservations! try the bar at Slanted Door if you can't get in properly.

-Oysters and beer at Hog Island in the Ferry Building
-tacos at El Toro on Valencia at 17th
-any meal at Chow on Church St.
-Little Star Pizza (deep dish)
-Myth (or its sibling Myth Cafe)
-Saigon Sandwiches for banh mi
-drinks at Hotel Biron (not a hotel at all, but very close to Zuni)
-A16 or Pizzeria Delfina for Italian-style pizza
-Delfina (again with the reservations)
-Tartine for amazing, amazing pastries and sandwiches and anything baked -- go during the week.

oh! I forgot the ice cream -- Mitchell's (kind of far depending on where you're staying) and Bi-Rite Creamery (get the salted caramel) are musts. :)

Well, I'm not a native, but every time I'm in SF, I have to go to Sushi Ran in Sausalito. Being from a completely landlocked area (Yea Midwest!) I rarely get really good sushi and this is easily the best sushi I have had in my recent memory. If I've had better sushi, it must have been a long time ago.

do NOT forget to eat the Peking Duck at Great Eastern restaurant in Chinatown (649 Jackson St.). it's the best i've had outside of Hongkong.

The best (and cheapest) sushi you're likely to find in san francisco:
Yum Yum Fish
2181 Irving Street
(at 23rd Avenue)
It's also a fish market - there are only 3 tables, but so much fun to sit and watch as the sushi gets made. The sushi chef is one cool dude... he's this little middle-aged japanese sushi chef and he runs the place with (I swear to you) a 6'5" french guy who loves soccer. They're the oddest pair.

When you go to the Ferry Building (and you HAVE to go) make sure you go early on Saturday morning to catch their farmers market. Unbelievable. You can read more about the Ferry Building at http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

hmm, Citizen Cake for baked goods and dessert in Hayes Valley on Gough St. In Berkeley, visit the Scharffenberger chocolate factory and do the tour and tasting, also while you're in Berkeley, visit the Takara Sake factory for their tour and tasting room. And there's French Laundry in Napa if you can figure out how to get reservations this late in the game. Otherwise you can try Ad Hoc up there which I hear is amazing. Welcome to the Best Coast!!!

Present!

Have dinner at Range. If you don't want to go alone, drop us a line. :)

Obviously the saturday market at the ferry building, and ice cream -- I couldn't choose a favorite between BiRite and Mitchell's.

Not to be missed is Boulevard...seriously...you'll kick yourself if you miss it. If you come to St. Louis and you didn't eat there, I'll kick you if you miss it. One of the best female chefs in the country is dishing out phenomenal food here. It's just spectacularly delicious and I can't dream of a trip to San Fran without stopping there.

Pre Chez Panisse, swing into Cesar right next door for some tapas and cocktails.

and for some of the best sausage I've ever had, the Rosamunde Sausage Grill on haight...mmm...so good. I'm jealous of your trip.

I'm not from SF either but I've been there recently so can I'd recommend Tartine Bakery for yummmmy bakery goods and I also tried and really liked Foreign Cinema, for a fancy dinner, they both have websites. I second Slanted Door and Mitchell's. I'd also like to point out that Sunday is the 15th. Hope you have fun on your trip, in my opinion SF is one of the best food towns so you should have a great time!

when are you coming to New Hampshire?

I lived in SF for many years - here are my suggestions:

Citizen Cake: Get the almond crossaint, but go early or call the night before and have them hold a couple for you. They sell out very quickly!

Absinthe: For their French 75 cocktail before you head to dinner someplace else.

Slow Club: For a fabulous and casual dining experience, and great drinks. No reservations, so expect to wait a bit (but good excuse to try out one of their fabulous drinks!).

Ferry Building on Saturday: The chilaquiles from the Primavera stand ONLY on Saturdays outside the Ferry Building Farmer's Market. Served with black beans, avocado and creme fraiche, it's DIVINE!!! Best chilaquiles ever.

Oysters at the Swan Oyster Depot.

Sourdough bread from Boudin Bakery (lots of locations in the city).

Hearty German food at Suppenkuche - meat, sausages, meat and sausages.

Delfina for anything.

Zuni Cafe for their roasted chicken.

Tartine Bakery for anything (though I still think Citizen Cake tops them for crossaints).

And, just for fits and giggles, the always-crazy party that is The Cafe in the Castro (it's a bar).

My wife and I travel to San Francisco relatively frequently - the last time we were there was 6 months ago. For fine dining I recommend Aqua, Jardiniere, and Michael Mina. These 3 are certainly among the finest in San Francisco (or anywhere actually).

At Aqua we had the 3 course prix fixe @ $68/person and I remember the Ahi tuna was amazing.

At Jardiniere we had the chef's tasting menu - I think it was around $100/person - it changes frequently - very French -utterly superb. Our entrees were duck breast and scallops.

Michael Mina was the most beautiful of the three IMHO - again had the 3 course prix fixe - again I think around $100/person - I remember a great foie gras appetizer and a killer rack of lamb.

Best fish tacos: Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk Street

Best noodle joint: Genki Ramen on 4th Avenue and Geary

Enjoy!

Yank Sing for Dim Sum. Plouf (or any of the places on the same street). Michael Mina - food is sort of the Iron Chef Cliff Notes: usually one ingreident served three different ways. Expresso in North Beach. Golden Boy pizza (North Beach - by the slice). Suppekuchen for fresh german beer and austere setting.

For a Napa tour hit Monticello, Pine Ridge and finish up at either Mumm's or Chandon at sunset.

I third Citizen Cake. Almond criossants are a must, plus their savory offerings for breakfast and lunch just hit the spot. They also have the most beautiful (tasting AND looking) cakes and pastries on earth.

Do come see us out in Los Angeles sometime!

I guess I'm technically a bi-coastal reader (from Berkeley but going to school in Providence)... everyone has made great suggestions, but I'll throw in my low budget college student recommendations:
- Platanos and/or Esperpento in the Mission (Caribbean & Spanish)
- Greens for vegetarian fair (this is Deborah Madison's haunt)
- Cafe Gratitude in SF, Berkeley, or Marin for raw/vegan/macrobiotic and a super intense neohippie lesbian crowd
- Thai Buddhist Temple in Berkeley for Sunday brunch between 10AM and 2PM
- Any Ethiopian restaurant in Oakland

Enjoy!

be sure to wear flowers in your hair

I am from SoCal but visit SF frequently.

I will wholeheartedly second Boulevard, really really specatcular food.

Yuet Lee for greasy late night Chineese.

Slanted Door is excellent.

Town Hall for casual but delicious food.

Check out All You Knead in Haight-Ashbury. Very bohemian, non shishi, perfect every time, healthy, very well priced, something for any mood you are in. It is...all you knead...literally...go there!

i third (fourth?) the motion for tartine - love it. and papa lote in the mission for great burritos. a little tiny bit nicer than all the hole in the wall places, and very fresh tasting.

I would second Yum Yum Fish but two months ago it was closed because the sweet Japanese man who owned it sold the business. The taco truck across from Mission Cliffs called El Toyanese has the best tacos in town and it's $2 each. Ecolo on 4th Street in Berkeley has amazing food as well. Check out Zeigeist, the best bar with outdoor seatings hands down, have a burger while you're there. If you're lucky, you might even run into the tamale lady. SF kicks ass!! Have fun!

I was born and raised in San Francisco. You must go to the following places and restaurants, not necessarily in this order (many places on this list are not new and trendy, but they are local and well-established).

1. The Ferry Building. The Farmers Market is also on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as Saturday.

2. Tadich Grill, oldest restaurant in SF established 1849. Best bets are the simply prepared seafood; avoid the dishes that sound gourmet with sauces and such. Order lazy man's Cioppino, petrale sole, sauteed crab legs, any of the salads, and the rice pudding for dessert. BTW, Tadich is the only place with sourdough bread as good as it was 40 years ago, bar none. They basically originated the mesquire grill for fish. I could go, but the menu is printed fresh EACH DAY, based on what is available. Decor is circa 1910, and so are some of the waiters.

3. Head for North Beach, and either go to the newly rebuilt Fior d'Italia (expensive), and/or Capp's Corner (very reasonable, family style).

4. The best Chinese/Asian restaurants are often not in Chinatown, although the Great Eastern is a good recommendation. The really good places are in the Richmond District (go West in SF), on Clement Street.

5. The best Mexican places are in the Mission District.

6. Lucca Delicatessen, classic family run place in business for years, at 21st and Valencia, right on the corner. They make their own ravioli, sauce, etc., and sandwiches to order.

7. In the same vein, there is Molinari's in North Beach, on Columbus Avenue.

8. On Polk Street near Washington, is the Miller's East West Deli--as close to a NYC deli in SF as you can find.

9. The only good bagel place I have found is Katz on 16th Street near Valencia.

10. Pan Pacific Hotel is the only hotel I would recommend for its food. Even their Easter Brunches and banquet food are good.

11. Finally if you go to the Castro District, my favorite steak place is gone, but Luna is wonderful, located on Castro between 18th Street and 19th Street. There is a good seafood place across the street whose name escapes me.

12. For an even dozen: Bagdad Cafe at Market and Noe/16th (open 24 hours); Orphan Andy's on 17th and Castro (24 hours)--both are great for breakfast and late night when the bars close.

I could go on......

Here's my input:

Cheese Board Pizza (a couple doors down from the bakery... you'll see a line) in Berkeley. Always vegetarian, and always delicious. They're closed on Mondays, and you have to get there before they run out (there's a lunch shift and a dinner shift). It's across the street from Chez Panisse.

French Hotel. Good coffee, at the south end of the same block the Cheese Board is on.

Ella's. On Presidio and California, in SF. I recommend the chicken hash for brunch.

Burma Super Star. On Clement, in the Richmond district of SF (lots of San Franciscans cringe when they hear "San Fran" or "Frisco").

Taqueria Cancun on Misson and 19th. It's open late, and really popular after nearby bars have closed.

Toronado. You can bring your previously recommended Rosamunde sausage next door and enjoy it with one of many many beers on tap. They'll knock on the wall when your sausage is ready.

Brazil Cafe. On University Ave in Berkeley, near the West Gate of the Berkeley campus. It's a really colorful hut on the edge of a parking lot that serves highly adored tri-tip sandwiches and smoothies. Pedro, the man behind the place, is also highly adored.

I second the tamale lady. I've seen her in the lower Haight too.

These are all pretty inexpensive places to eat, recommended by former Cal student who is now living in New York. Happy eating!

If you want the best bangers and mash ever on the face of the earth, you have to go to the Pig and Whistle on Mason and Geary. Not only is it mind-blowingly tasty, but it's super cheap, too. Mmmm...

Zuni cafe, yuk. Its so 90's. So what if they have the best roast chicken, you can make that at home.

In the ferry building, Michael Recchiuti chocolate is really really good. So is the gelato place (I think it's Ciao Bella? Is it?). Oh! And you can get St Benoit yogurt in Cowgirl Creamery and other places in SF/ the Bay Area. As others have said, obviously the farmers' market is not to miss.
Greens Restaurant is vegetarian and a very, very nice restaurant. (It's really dark inside, though, or at least it was when I went.)
Also while you're in SF, climb Coit Tower, the WPA murals are very cool. Also, taking the ferry to Sausalito is really fun.
And, Caffe Trieste in North Beach is a classic -- go there for coffee, it's a lot of fun. It's near City Lights bookstore which is also a must see. As is Haight-Ashbury, it's fun to take a picture under the Haight/Ashbury street signs (they are very high up because they kept getting stolen). I seem to have given way more sightseeing than food tips . . .

Bissap Baobab!

I fell in love in and with San Francisco, and dinner here sealed the deal. Ginger margaritas!

Not to be rude and nosy, but how do you afford your lifestyle? I don't hear any talk about work, except your book. Must be nice!

I'm so jealous! I'm a SF native, living in NYC. Everyone else's suggestions have been great (except for bagels, don't even bother in California), I just want to add Tomaso's (Broadway and Kearny) for their spinach pizza. So good! And make sure to get some authentic mexican food in the mission - it runs circles, no spheres, around the junk they pass of as mexican in the east.

How fun you are coming this way! This will sound strange, but I saw you in NY, strolling down on 5th towards the Guggenheim back in November. I am not sure why I did not say anything, I guess I found absolutely strange that of all the people I could see on the street in NYC I would see you.
Anyway, my suggestions: Rose Pistola and L'Osteria are two very excellent Italian restaurants (I am Italian) in North Beach, where it is too easy to find awful Italian food. And in the Mission, where I live, and where it is too easy to find awful Mexican food, I suggest Panchita 3 (on 22nd and South Van Ness) for fabulous Salvadorean pupusas, Platanos (accross the street from Tartine), for tasty central American and the best Tres Leches ever, and the tacos trucks! Consider paying a visit to the popular vegan Cafe' Gratitude, on Harrison and 19th, a real institution in this part of the city, where the food is good and the experience memorably and quintessentially san franciscan.

Adam, any trip to SF absolutely requires you to experience Beach Blanket Babylon at Club Fugazi in North Beach - it is a live show that must NEVER be missed:
http://www.beachblanketbabylon.com/

You'll thank me later!

You must drop by the Cherry Blossom festival in SF on the 14/15th. They have great, authentic Japanese food, and you can always get some Japanese-style crepes at Sophie's later (which are absolutely fabulous).

If you are headed north of the city for some wine tasting, you must hit Cyrus (http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/)

So many fabulous suggestions but if you want a real treat, try Mayan Food at Mi Lindo. Their fish tacos are to die for and their appetizer plate has a delicious selection of foods that you won't get anywhere else.

Try Cafe Rouge in Berkeley.

1. The House(Asian fusion just outside chinatown)
2. Greens for lunch on a pretty day(too pricy for vegitarian dinner)
3. Firefly-Fun neighborhood place near Castro, price fix menu available
4. And as others have mentioned, the Ferry Building on Saturday morning is foodie fun.

1. R&G Lounge on Kearny for good Cantonese (R&G special anything works)
2. The best view from a Mexican place -- Pancho Villa right next to the Ferry Building
3. Second (third?) the Range suggestion
4. Wine bars -- Hotel Biron and CAV
5. If you're going to the East Bay, don't miss what's happening in the Temescal District (Piazzolo, Dona Tomas) or Koryo (no wimpy gas for this Korean BBQ place)

As for going up to wine country, forget Napa and hit up the Russian River and Dry Creek parts of Sonoma. And while you're there, you might as well see if you can get into Cyrus in Healdsburg.

There's also another farmers market on Alemany that's less yuppified than the Ferry Building.

And finally -- you will have to make it down to Los Gatos for Manresa -- change that maybe to a for-sure!

Sigh...I moved a few yrs ago. I've noticed no one is suggesting a meeting place/meeting...how odd! I'd so hook up if I was there!

I second Yuet Lee in Chinatown (painted bright green, hard to miss, open really late). You must have their dry fried salt/pepper squid, dipped into soy sauce that's been soaking with cilantro and jalapenos. No kidding, its the place thing on earth.

Stuffed clams at Ernesto's on Clement.

Those dishes linger in my memory. And have funky tropical drinks at Tradr Sam's on Geary (near Ernestos)!

Okay, I am now actually weeping and missing my city! The SF newspaper, The Chronicle, just listed their best 100 restuarants...here's the link...happy eating!
http://www.sfgate.com/food/top100/2007/

Hey if you are wandering thru North Beach the best Italinan restaurant is the famous Steps of Rome. You can't go wrong with their pasta!

http://www.stepsofrome.com/

For Chinese the best in the Chinatown area is Brandy Ho, especially for their smoked country style meats.

http://brandyhos.com/

Have to disagree about the Italian restaurants mentioned in North Beach. Rose Pistola=chi chi, meh food and overpriced, others just meh and overpriced. The best bargain is the refreshing and inexpensive bistro-like Pasta Pomodoro (I know it's a chain, still, I wish we had something like that here in DC). I'd generally stick to the non-Italian recommendations and try Pomodoro when you're feeling the pinch.

I third the Cheeseboard Pizza suggestion :D Right across from Chez Panisse too!

Many great suggestions. But in my opinion, a large part of the appeal of the Bay area is the astounding variety of so many types of food (and types of people, of course). Ask around, and try to make time to eat some of the multitude of "everyday" meals - like the ramen at Ryowa in Berkeley, or the amazing South Indian meals at Saravana Bavaan in South Bay, or the Dim Sum in Milpitas, etc...

I'm suprised no one has mentioned Rockridge in the East Bay, on College Ave down from Berkeley. Bittersweet Chocolate Bar, Olivetto, and Cactus all occupy the same spot, and not far from Fentons, which has got to be the most nostalgia-bending ice cream shop in existence. Also, no mention of 4th Street, also in the EB/Berkeley sphere, home to Tacubaya (ethically sourced Mexican), the aforementioned Cafe Rouge, and a host of other places (including the crazy to get into but well worth visiting Bettes Seaside Diner, for their Dutch pancakes).

As for SF proper -- seconded on Citizen Cake, Tartine, and Slanted Door. Try walking about Noe Valley -- there's a lot to see and do out there, and do hit up Hayes Valley and the glory of the Blue Bottle Espresso Company "shack".

I lived in SF for 5 years.. If there is one restaurant you should go, it has got to be The Slanted Door. And do try the chicken claypot; you will not be disappointed.

There are a lot of great suggestions in the comments, good luck putting your list together! Some of the things that I didn't see up there and would recommend are: Fish (in Sausalito north of the city, just on the other side of the gg bridge - a little pricey for what it is, but delicious), Ame (especially the cod), Dosa, Aziza, Orbit Room (fantastic, fresh drinks) and I'll second that vote for Delfina Pizza (super thin crust and they'll even put an egg on it if you ask nicely - I could eat there every day). And finally, stop by any of the Specialty's downtown and get yourself one of their chocolate chip cookies. Even better if you can get one fresh out of the oven!

Also, I haven't been yet, but I've been told to make drink reservations at Bourbon and Branch.

Have a great time - Stop by my neighborhood and I'll buy you a drink!

VENUS`in`Berkeley!!
Amy`is`a`fantastic`Chef!

The McDonald's on Tenth is wonderful.

Zachary's Pizza in Oakland or Berkeley for a "real" pizza. Blondie's pizza for a slice on the go.

Farallon is beautiful but overrated. Avoid. Unless you like paying a premium for marginal food.

I recommend the cioppino at John's Grill. HIGHLY recommend. :)

Have a great time!

Sunday is the 15th btw...but congrats on coming to SF!! Every place I would suggest has been mentioned above--everyone has made some awesome recs!

i'm soo glad i caught ur post before u arrived.. :) hope u enjoy the city.. n if i'm lucky, i may just bump into u as u're shopping at the farmer's market..

based on everyone's recommendations above, i have a few comments.. yank sing (sadly) no longer feels like traditional dimsum.. it's been really commercialized for a while, and 60% of the dishes served aren't even served in hong kong or china.. go figure.. r&g lounge makes the most authentic cantonese food but i don't doubt u can't find that in nyc.. still it's worth a go if that's what u feel like.. brandy ho's is a no-no.. steps of rome is old fashioned italian but nothing extraordinary.. pple go there for the close-to-italian ambience.. the servers r charming, slightly loud and have great accents.. i should know coz i live right by there..

enough negativity.. the places u def have to go r: wine country.. food there is almost always good no matter how they cook it because produce is SUPER fresh.. make brunch reservations at auberge du soleil (u must ask to sit outside.. the view is mesmerizing) or try celadon for dinner.. those two places are examples of simple food made yummy.. in downtown sf, michael mina although crazy expensive is worth every penny if u're lookin for food that is cooked/salted/spiced to perfection.. the lobster pot is decadent n the root beer float (yeah i'm crazy to order that here) is refreshing.. also try house of nanking if u want a rush of MSG.. lol.. i only recommend this place because they do the chinese/western chinese food thing most uniquely.. think deep-fried basil over chinese fish soup..

enjoy!

Tartine, Farmer's market, Boullete's Larder.... already all recommended and supported by me.

I'd be interested in meeting if any plans coalece.

I'm adding to my previous post:

Blue Bottle Coffee in Hayes Valley.

Vik's Chaat Corner on Allston and 4th Street in Berkeley for Indian snacks served in a warehouse.

Aside from the Cheese Board, you can probably skip pizza, since nothing really compares to New York in that department (Zachary's is Chicago style, and you've already had the real thing in Chicago right?).

One of my favorite places to shop was Berkeley Bowl... it's kind of like Fairway here in New York, but with a more extensive (and even cheaper) produce section.

Ah, I miss it. Have fun!

Focus on things you can't get in NYC. That strikes dim sum (and other Chinese food) and pizza, as well as (non-Cal) Italina, Japanese, French and seafood. Focus on SF: that means a few local things, and a few things that make SF so special.

Liguria Bakery (1700 Stockton, right off Washington Square park), only open early. Try a rosemary (savory) and a raisin (sweet) focaccia. I'm not from New York, so maybe there's better there, but this is the best I've had outside of Italy.

Cafe Trieste (601 Vallejo) for an classic espresso (this was the beat hang-out in the 50s), Ritual Roasters (19th and Valencia) for a great modern take on coffee.

Mamma's on Washington Square for a hearty breakfast, or Dotties or Canteen.

Aziza (5800 Geary) for Moroccan with a Cal twist, one of the most unique places in the city.

Eat a mission-style burrito (any number of places: Pancho Villa, La Cumbre, etc.) The better Mexican food (as in plates) is in the South Bay near San Jose. But the city does have good Peruvian (Fresca (on 24th, and on Filmore) or Limon (in the mission, on 17th, I think).

There are a host of good cheap Vietnamese places. Slanted Door is good, but expensive (although it does have a good view, and Phan does wonders with pork). For cheap (and probably more authentic) food, go to Bodega Bistro or Mangosteen (both in the Tenderloin).

There are a number of other good mid-range places: Range (American), Delfina (cal-Italian), Piperade (Basque), etc. Do some searches, you'll come up with a list of places.

YAY! I don't have any suggestions for restaurants in SF since I'm in San Jose, but if there is a place that's picked, please keep us posted! I'd love to get a picture with the infamous amateurgourmet and chow on good eats!

Give the south bay a shot...

Cambodian food @ Chez Sovan, San Jose --> The amok is to die for.

Saizo, Sunnyvale --> Japanese style Tapas.

Neto Bakery and Cafe, Mountain View
--> Real mediterranean food

Sheng Kee bakery, Cupertino --> Walnut and raisin bread.

i can't believe no one has mentioned NOPA. wonderful california cuisine, great wine list, fabulous drinks.

RANGE is outstanding.

BLUE PLATE is hip and tasty. very cozy.

and if it's mexican food you're after, EL FAROLITO in the mission is the best burrito, ever. this is truly a "mission burrito". and cheap!

enjoy our beautiful city, she's happy to have you!

Ozumo: http://www.ozumo.com/

A bit expensive, but the best sushi I've had. Plus amazing appetizers & desserts, and a great sake menu.

(This disclaimed is that I am not from SF, but I long to go back!)

So jealous! I'm from SF and miss it so terribly. My favorite places from this Christmas with my family were the amazing, only in SF (or best in SF) vegan Japanese restaurant Cha-Ya on valencia (not to be confused with Chaya Brasserie) and the venerable and yet completely new Slanted Door - best setting in the city. So many good restaurants, places and experiences to choose from! And hell, I love them all!

Lotta good recos in here; not sure I can top them. I will reaffirm Incanto, Range, Aziza, Tartine, Boulette's Larder, Palalote ... and so, so many more. Except in the Castro. Ick. What is it with gay neighborhoods and crappy food?

As for selecting a venue for a get-together, it sounds like you'll need to rent a hall! If inspiration strikes, I'll be sure to let you know.

I second Greens at Ft. Mason for the best vegetarian food (go for brunch -- the view is amazing). Have dessert.

And Burma Super Star on Clement St. Cheap, delicious, my favorite Asian cuisine.

Cha Cha Cha's is excellent Tapas, both in the Haight and the Mission. The Mission spottakes reservations, the Haigh locale is too small - normal evenings will have a 30 minute wait. The sautéed mushrooms are perfect!

The best Chinese restaurant in SF is The Hunan, on Sacramento, near Kearny. Pacific Cafe, Geary & 33rd Avenue is also terrific, as is PJ's Oyster Bed, Irving & 9th Ave. Enjoy your stay!!

coming back and reading some of the recommendations here is making me hungry but also making me laugh.

Platanos in the Mission is now closed, btw, and I think the Mayan food referred to above is at Mi Lindo Yucatan (though its sister, Mi Lindo Peru, is also excellent).

Most of mine are repeats, but I highly recommend:

- Aziza
- Firefly
- The House
- Greens (for brunch)
- Myth or Myth Cafe
- Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown for their amaaaaazing custard tarts
- The Hidden Vine (wine bar)

Adam,
I've been buried in school work for the last week plus, but I enjoyed reading about your SF trip in reverse chronological order. If I hadn't met you in NY last year, I seriously would be bumming to have missed my chance to welcome you to my fair city. I'm glad you got to eat at Chow, in addition to all the fine dining. As others have said, a great local eatery, with which SF abounds. Come back on your book tour - I'll try not to miss it :)

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