San Francisco dining bleg

by on March 1, 2018 at 4:19 pm in Food and Drink | Permalink

Where should one eat there now?  And I don’t mean the fancy/famous places.  Either lunch or dinner.

1 RC March 1, 2018 at 4:22 pm

Capo’s has the best pizza I’ve ever had.


2 mkt42 March 1, 2018 at 5:04 pm

It’s been years since I’ve had pizza in the Bay Area, but that last time that I did I went to Zachary’s, a place often recommended by Bay Area residents and it is indeed the best or close to the best pizza that I’ve had on the west coast. Not that that’s saying much, every west coast city from Seattle to Portland to LA has pizza that markedly inferior to Chicago’s or the Northeast’s. IIRC there’s a Zachary’s in Oakland and one in some northern suburb.


3 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm

+1 to Zachary’s


4 JayT March 1, 2018 at 6:09 pm

Zachery’s is ok, but it would be a second-tier place in Chicago, so I wouldn’t recommend eating deep dish while here. I really wouldn’t recommend eating pizza in California at all if you are just visiting. I’ve never had any here that was better than a normal Chicago or New York pizza place.


5 Ray Lopez March 2, 2018 at 12:28 am

I thought California Pizza Kitchen was pretty good, when it first came out in California about a decade or two ago.

Bonus trivia: I think foodies have a good sense of smell. My sense of smell is poor, so ‘good food’ tastes good to me, whereas a foodie would say it’s not so good. The industrial food company IFF would have more hard data on this. I think, other than trying to be a snob, that smell is what foodies are experiencing when they say “Zachery’s has the best pizza”. BTW, here in the Philippines, Sbarro is considered a ‘good pizza place’ (i.e., they have horrible pizza here, even I can tell so, and their favorite flavor, which I kind of like, is Hawaiian), as is Shakeys, and Pizza Hut. The trend, which I’m sure they are aping the West on, is ‘thin crust’ pizza, which I notice pizza restaurants seem to promote here, since I think they are making slightly more dough on since less dough is used for the crust.

PS–I tried, foolishly, to reserve a place in Frisco for lunch once at a place called “Mom’s”, when I was told that it’s a deli, oh, faux pa!


6 Jonathan Pine March 5, 2018 at 11:50 am

I gave up on CPK when it offered mu shu pork calzone.

7 Will Barrett March 1, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I prefer Patxi’s on Fillmore. I think Patxi was one of the original culinary guys at Zachary’s years ago.


8 Dain March 1, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Pasquale’s pizza is great too. 2 locations in SF.


9 The Polycapitalist March 1, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Za Pizza on Russian Hill. Recommend the Potesto.

Berkeley has better pizza than SF. Gioia is my favorite, Cheese Board is also good.


10 Simian March 2, 2018 at 1:31 am

+1 on the potesto

11 Gian March 2, 2018 at 11:28 am

Berkeley does have better pizza than SF and it’s not even close.

My favorite is Emilia’s pizzeria which is a one man shop on Shattuck & Ashby. Need to call a few hours ahead to “reserve” a pie.

12 Edwards March 1, 2018 at 11:01 pm

celia’s mexican restaurant san francisco
Was and likely still great


13 Elite March 2, 2018 at 10:49 am

Honestly Tyler, every recommendation in this particular thread of comments is mediocre to terrible.


14 msgkings March 2, 2018 at 11:38 am

Noticed you don’t even try to do better. The grownups are talking, back to your playpen.


15 Elite March 2, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Fair enough. Here you go:
Eight Tables
Deli Board
Los Carnalitos (truck in RWC)
Nido (Nopalito alum in Oakland)


16 cheapskate March 2, 2018 at 4:07 pm

holy cow I didn’t know more than three dollar signs are possible on google

17 Elite March 2, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Sorry bro, I am elite.

18 msgkings March 2, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Honestly Tyler, every recommendation made by Elite is mediocre to terrible.

See, I can do that too!

19 Elite March 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm

My man! You absolutely smoked me with that copy and paste job. I am reeling and may never post on the internet again.

20 Chris Longfield-Smith March 1, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Mensho Tokyo ramen. Near Tenderloin so it’s a rough area. Usually has a wait of about 30min. But very worth it. Some of the best ramen I’ve ever had.


21 Jeff L March 2, 2018 at 9:48 pm

+1 for Mensho Tokyo. It is very good but you are paying part of the price by the inconvenience of dining there. I highly recommend attempting time arbitrage & go for an early dinner on a weekday.

Other good underrated places (not mentioning Mandalay both because you sang its praises last time and it seems to be getting press), even though it might be too late for this trip:

Tasty Pot in the Inner Richmond is good Taiwanese food in the from of individualized hotpot.

Another small chain restaurant – Roam Burger. Found around the city, very good burgers. (And if we are talking about sandwiches for lunch, Luccas Delicatessen in the marina & Lou’s Cafe in the Richmond are both great, but also involve waiting for food if you come at a popular time/don’t order ahead of time)

Halu – Japanese Izakaya in the Inner Richmond. No reservations, dealing with a line is annoying but the yakitori here is great. Try the Tako Wasabi.

If your trip takes you down towards Palo Alto, Tacos Los Gemelos is a small place in a Redwood City strip mall with minimal atmosphere & amazing food.


22 Jeff L March 2, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Left out The Claypot House – Taishan food in the Inner Richmond. Get a clay-pot rice dish with your preferred toppings. I like the dried scallops with pork meat patty, but if you want to try other dishes like the yellow eel & Chinese sausage they should be good too.


23 Kevin Burke March 1, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Wursthall in San Mateo, the new Kenji Lopez-Alt restaurant, could be interesting


24 Jeff H. March 1, 2018 at 9:53 pm

+1, then find him in the kitchen and ask him to do a CWT.


25 Kenjilopezalt March 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

What’s a CWT?


26 Gimlet March 2, 2018 at 6:55 pm
27 Steven Hamilton March 1, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Restaurant Eiji on Sanchez Street has exceptional Japanese food, focusing on sashimi, sushi and nigiri. If you’re in luck, they’ll be serving fresh uni.


28 Jeff G. March 1, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Which neighborhood will you be in?


29 Jeff G. March 1, 2018 at 4:34 pm

The Grubbies is a great place for Sushi (don’t let the name fool you).


30 Patrick March 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Pizzetta 211 in the Sea Cliff neighborhood is a small place with fantastic pizza.

Nopa on Divisadero is great. Fresh ingredients from around California.

Shanghai Dumpling King in the Richmond. Inexpensive, good dumplings. Bring cash.


31 Nick Whitaker March 5, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Second, to Shanghai Dumpling King. Better than Din Tai Fung.


32 Keenan Kassar March 1, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Nopalito has some tasty mid-range Mexican food with a good ambiance. Be sure to get their nachos, they’re top notch. Go to Taqueria El Farolito on Mission St. for lunch. They serve an oversized, canonical Mission-style burrito.


33 Dain March 1, 2018 at 4:58 pm



34 nonzenze March 3, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Cancun has the better burrito.



35 B March 1, 2018 at 4:36 pm

La Palma Mexicatessen – excellent tacos, tortas in the heart of the Mission cultural district. Chile verde or colorado, asado are my favorite tacos in a city of great tacos. Try the daily special sweet tamale on the board behind the register.

Fabulous Malaysian/Indonesian pop ups with talented female chef, definitely book if your dates overlap

Azalina’s – also Malaysian, also female-owned, incredible

Cholo Soy – excellent casual Peruvian

Yamo – Burmese hole in the wall


36 Will March 1, 2018 at 5:48 pm

+1 La Palma, great salsa tubs for purchase


37 Chris Metzler March 2, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Second all the above from B. I think you’d particularly get a kick out of Yao.


38 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Burma Superstar in the Richmond area. Long line, no reservations taken. Go at an off hour.


39 dan March 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm

bstar is overrated and exactly the kind of restaurant tyler would hate – long lines, so-so food, and a good ambiance

not to mention that burmese kitchen and mandalay a) are located a few blocks away and b) have vastly superior food


40 Dain March 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Walzwerk at 381 South Van Ness is East German food with GDR decor. In poor taste…while tasting good? You be the judge.


41 John Wentworth March 2, 2018 at 2:23 pm

+1. Pricy, but delicious. Food is better than Supenkuche IMO.


42 Chris Metzler March 2, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Word up in Walzwerk.


43 JD March 1, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Dry pho at Pho Tan Hoa in the Tenderloin on Jones/O’Farrell
Northwestern Chinese food at Terra Cotta Warrior on Judah/29th
Authentic Chongqing food at Chongqing Xiaomian on Kearny
Burger at the alleyway Box Kitchen on Natoma


44 James March 1, 2018 at 5:06 pm

YucatasIa for tripe soup. Mission. Linea for coffee. Also Mission. Maybe not consecutively.


45 ADoug March 1, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Have you been to The Interval at Long Now? It’s more of a coffee/cocktail place, but it has this weird futurist theme going on that I thought was pretty unique (if a bit gimmicky). Would be interested to hear your thoughts on its philosophy.


46 JMCSF March 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Tyler will enjoy somewhere in the Mission.

When I go back to visit, I always hit up Tonys on Washington Square or Little Star (Deep Dish) for my pizza favs.

Tacolicious has one of my top 3 salsas ever (they use mint instead of cilantro; it’s perfect).

Tyler just might like Humphrey’s Slocomb ice cream.


47 JMCSF March 1, 2018 at 5:08 pm

I meant to say Richmond, lol.


48 DB March 1, 2018 at 5:31 pm

Golden Boys > Tony’s for the area


49 Nodnarb the Nasty March 1, 2018 at 5:10 pm

North Beach Pizza in Gold Hill. Tell ’em Nodnarb the Nasty sent ya!


50 Mark Thorson March 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm

Will there be a Silicon Valley bleg soon?


51 Paul Bickmore March 1, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I second El Farolito on Mission and 24th Street. If you’re there on the weekend, get the birria.


52 Simian March 2, 2018 at 1:32 am


For lunch time burrito trucks, El Norteno on Bryant and 6


53 Jim Gannon March 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm – a Japanese chef doing his take on French/American cuisine. The “whole chicken in brioche” must be reserved 24 hours in advance and is amazing

House of Pancakes – great jianbang pancakes and dumplings; cash only; often has a line – great izakaya, gyoza and udon. Skip the sashimi.

(despite what others have said here, you probably already know to skip the Mission burrito)


54 Kevin March 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

I think you would love the Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant.

It is a genre of Chinese food that I have not seen very frequently, but it is quite excellent.


55 Jim Gannon March 1, 2018 at 5:34 pm

+1 Old Mandarin, northern Chinese food focusing on lamb, dumplings and hot pot.


56 Dain March 1, 2018 at 7:14 pm

That’s awesome. I’ve never heard of it. Pretty remote location though. It’ll be a miracle if Tyler goes there.


57 mk March 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

“La Taqueria” in Mission, get the super dorado carnitas. Perfect. (Yeah it’s from 538, who cares)
Suppenkuche for German food.

Do both of these during your trip.


58 Ally March 2, 2018 at 3:52 am



59 Gian March 2, 2018 at 11:25 am

+1 for La Taqueria’s grilled carne asada burrito. My favorite burrito in the world.


60 eastbay March 1, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Go to Mama Papa Lithuania, not SF, but not too far, in Alameda, and you can take a ferry over.

The chef is a savant, but the place so far seems pretty unrecognized, though am guessing it’s only a matter of time.

Or, for a bay area decades classic, another vote for Zachery’s.


61 JayT March 1, 2018 at 6:13 pm

I too love Mama Papa. I’m probably biased because it’s the only place I’ve ever been that can compare to my grandmother’s cooking, but still, it’s a type of food most people don’t eat regularly, and it’s done very well. If you decide to go there, I’ll treat you to dinner!


62 NorCal March 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Yes I think Alameda would really be of interest to Tyler – mid-density, diverse/immigrant-heavy, lots of talent that doesn’t want to pay SF prices (def. meets the “not famous or fancy” criteria)….
– Mama Papa Lithuania (as mentioned)
– Angela’s Kitchen (Afghan/Mediterranean/Californian)
– East Ocean Seafood (dim sum)
– Crispian (bakery that outdoes anywhere in SF on both bread and pastry)


63 Ian March 1, 2018 at 5:41 pm

I like Taqueria Vallarta better than El Farolito and La Taqueria. The habanero salsa is great.

It’s worth going to On the Bridge in Japantown just for the mushroom sauce loco moco.

I second House of Pancakes and CQXM, both are great. Hakka Restaurant is also pretty good.

Was going to recommend the Mongolian cheesesteak at HRD but it seems they don’t have it anymore.


64 Nicholas Brock Weininger March 1, 2018 at 5:50 pm

+1 for Eiji. For fancy sushi worth the price in SF city, go to Akiko’s. If you want to do the suburban strip mall thing and are planning to go up to the Sonoma wine country anyway, Hana in Rohnert Park may be the best sushi in the Bay Area, and their sake selection is incredible. On a very different culinary note, if you are headed south toward Silicon Valley, stop at Refuge in San Carlos for the best pastrami sandwiches I have ever had anywhere, classic NYC Jewish delis not excepted.

Ton Kiang in the Richmond has reliably excellent dim sum; Sichuan Home on Geary has wonderful Sichuan. The best xiao long bao I’ve found are at the holes in the wall on Taraval between 25th and 30th Avenues, Kingdom of Dumpling and others. Also on Taraval is House of Pancakes, just off 19th Avenue, cash only, prefer to get takeout rather than submit to their indifferent sit-down service and tiny packed tables; both the pancakes (try the lamb and the house special egg with onion) and the hand-pulled noodles are worth the trip.

For excellent family-friendly Italian done with great refinement in a neighborhood tourists otherwise never go to, try Da Vittorio on West Portal, very easily accessible by train if you are staying in the hotel district. The analogous French bistro is L’Ardoise in Duboce Triangle; the analogous tapas place is Contigo in Noe Valley.

Zazie’s brunch is worth the wait in line. Burma Superstar is really as good as they say. In general, the western half of the city has more interesting restaurants with better value for money.


65 gamma March 1, 2018 at 11:33 pm

+1 for Refuge.


66 John Wentworth March 2, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Another +1 for Refuge, and can also confirm it’s up there with NYC Jewish delis. Alas, I haven’t found a good Jewish deli in SF.


67 msgkings March 2, 2018 at 7:53 pm

SF does lack one but Saul’s in Berkeley is legit


68 Grant sf March 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm

Mama’s Ji’s is good and authentic Szechuan. Excellent Sardinian food at La Ciccia.


69 Rob P March 2, 2018 at 12:37 am

+1 to Mama Ji’s


70 Ted Sampsell-Jones March 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

You should ask Melanie Wong, locally famous food person. Her taste I think is similar to yours. Here is her ramen ranking, slightly dated, mostly south bay but some SF:

You could PM her through chowhounds, or just post, or let me know if you want to get in touch with her.


71 Will March 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

long bridge pizza is good, ny size slices with brick oven style bake and the crust is a little sourdoughy. just get the margherita and it’s great.

frisco fried is soul food in the bayview


72 Will March 1, 2018 at 6:43 pm

and marcella’s lasagneria in dogpatch, small and mostly does catering but they have a couple of seats and you can get a pasta and salad for lunch.


73 Nicholas Brock Weininger March 1, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Oh, also, Inner Sunset places. Ebisu, Holy Gelato, Lale for simple but very well crafted Middle Eastern.


74 William Minshew March 1, 2018 at 6:01 pm

imo al pastor super burrito at taqueria cancun on market is my favorite in the city. actually maybe 2nd to fresh steak super nachos at rosa mexicano on 24th st. can’t go wrong with either (although the atmosphere at the latter is much.. friendlier)


75 A March 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Papalotes has amazing burritos; 24th and Valencia.

Other good places; Rooh is high-end Indian that’s actually good, not some bullshit fusion attempt.


76 Bob March 2, 2018 at 3:00 am

Rooh has good food, but the portions are tiny: The last time I was there, with no alcohol, enough food to feed us was something like $70 per person. That counts as fancy prices.

Now, if find myself in the Mission, I’d probably eat less for lunch so I can visit Dandelion and have some chocolate, with european-style density. Tyler has shown chocolate-based opinions before, and it’s one of my favorites in my travels: I always get sad when I visit SF and I don’t have time to stop there. So many sensible dining options nearby too.


77 B.B. March 1, 2018 at 6:10 pm

To hell with food!

I always go to the Buena Vista, which makes the best Irish coffee in America.


78 msgkings March 1, 2018 at 6:12 pm

Supposedly they were the first as well.


79 Mark Thorson March 1, 2018 at 8:10 pm

I’ve only been there once, almost 50 years ago, but the food was mediocre and the orange juice really sour. Mom said that’s because it’s the same orange juice used to make screwdrivers. It makes no sense to go there except to drink.


80 Jack Challis March 1, 2018 at 6:19 pm

Wonderful in Millbrae has some of the best Hunan food I’ve had in North America. It’s a very Tyler Cowen sort of place.
Within San Francisco, San Tung’s chicken wings are simply incredible. Get both wet and dry.


81 Ottavio March 2, 2018 at 7:27 pm

Wonderful is…well…wonderful. Amazing food. Not to be missed. Lots of great food is being pushed out to Millbrae and Daily City.


82 charmicarmicat March 3, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Wonderful is amazing. The only non-Tyler thing about it is that they have friendly staff and excellent service.

Also, great, now everyone will know and it’ll have ridiculous waits.


83 Daniel Filan March 1, 2018 at 6:20 pm

I’ve enjoyed the food at La Corneta, a Mexican place opposite Glen Park Public Library, which you might know as the place that Ross Ulbricht (the guy who ran Silk Road) was arrested. Shizen also has some very nice vegan sushi.


84 Abhishek March 1, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Champa Garden for Laotian food. Bold spices with some European influences and still distinct from neighboring cuisines. Larp and spiced sausages are must tries.


85 mobile March 1, 2018 at 6:29 pm


And that exhausts all of the advice about eating in SF that I have to offer.


86 Mitch Berkson March 2, 2018 at 8:08 am

I second Sushirito. It would be great if they came east.


87 Gregory Blake Johnson March 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm

dragon beaux in inner richmond. i can’t remember having better dim sum.


88 Ian March 2, 2018 at 1:36 am

Their sister restaurant Koi Palace in Daly City is better. But Dragon Beaux is great too.


89 Tom March 1, 2018 at 6:39 pm

It’s little west of anywhere you’re likely to be, but the garlic crab at Thanh Long is special.


90 Damian Park March 1, 2018 at 10:46 pm

My wife would agree about garlic crab.


91 Luke March 2, 2018 at 1:14 am

Used to live next door to Thanh Long. I miss their Shaking Beef (yeah, I know it’s not what they are known for, but it’ soooo good). Other Outer Sunset restaurants in that area that I wholeheartedly recommend Sri Thai and Outerlands. Tyler won’t like Sri, though; a bit too sweet is my guess. But Outerlands, despite being a trendy place for brunch on the weekends, makes some great open faced sandwiches weekdays.


92 Herb March 1, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Can’t go wrong with Burger King.


93 Michael Caton March 1, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Second Farolito in the Mission, also La Cumbre. Lots of Salvadorean but DC has a big community too, don’t know if it’s better there. Tommy’s on Van Ness. If you get to Oakland, check out an Ethiopian restaurant – Red Sea or Asmara.


94 Will Barrett March 1, 2018 at 6:48 pm

If you can handle the lines, I’d try Salt & Straw ice cream. The original locations are in Portland, where it is the hometown favorite (which is saying something). There’s one on Fillmore in Pacific Heights and one in Hayes Valley. It’s the most amazing (and unique) ice cream i’ve ever tasted. Lines aren’t so bad on week nights or before lunch.

For coffee, Sightglass coffee in SOMA is my favorite, if only for the amazing industrial space and the room to spread out.

Favorite Indian is Dosa. But its not for Tyler — amazing food, but also a bar scene. Beautiful women. Pass.


95 euphoniumparasenorkenney March 2, 2018 at 8:12 am

ice cream before lunch
you sir
are a visionary


96 Aaron March 2, 2018 at 10:37 pm

Dosa has great brunch/early lunch. Wife and I had the restaurant to ourselves most of the time.


97 RZ March 1, 2018 at 6:57 pm

House of Nanking in Chinatown


98 JayT March 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Golden Star in Chinatown has my favorite pho and bun that I’ve had.

Perilla downtown has really great garlic noodles.

If you’re in Oakland, Cam Huong Cafe in Chinatown has fantastic bahn mi for almost no money.

Prather Ranch Meat Company in the Ferry Building is mostly a butcher, but they have some of the best hamburgers I’ve had at their takeout window.

The House of Prime Rib never disappoints if you are looking for a classic steakhouse type restaurant.

I had dinner at Farallon a few nights ago, and while pricey, I’ve never had a bad meal there.


99 X March 1, 2018 at 8:45 pm

If you’re in Oakland Chinatown, you should be at Shan Dong.


100 Cody March 2, 2018 at 1:11 am

Rang Dong vietnamese is my favorite thing in Oakland chinatown, funny enough


101 Lawrence D'Anna March 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Farmhouse Kitchen Thai is really good.


102 Ian March 2, 2018 at 1:37 am



103 MikeP March 1, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Flour quesadilla with black beans, rice, carnitas, tomatoes, and hot sauce at Gordo’s on Geary.


104 Pipsterate March 1, 2018 at 8:21 pm

El Nuevo Frutilandia is pretty good. It’s pretty close to 24th and Mission. (Cuban food.)


105 Bradley Gardner March 1, 2018 at 8:29 pm

If you get out of SF here are my favorite Mexican places:

In San Jose: Hang out for Mexican construction workers. Great fresh tortillas, and daily specials.

In wine country: good homemade mole and chefs straight out of Oaxaca.

In San Francisco:

Nothing specific, I just had a really good meal here once.

The Mexican grocery stores in the South Bay sell off-brand locally made mole that can survive a plane flight and are very good. (I think there’s several different producers, as some are in branded tubs and some are in nondescript plastic tubs).

Indian pizza is hit or mess, but is worth trying. Most (all?) of my favorite places in SF went out of business because of high rents.

Cork n’ bottle in Fremont is a great place for a drink.

Also, the silent film theater in Fremont is one of the overlooked gems of the region.


106 Steve Schow March 1, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Tyler we would all very much appreciate a photo of you eating a Sushirrito!


107 Will Carroll March 1, 2018 at 9:20 pm

Try Yamo in the Mission. For a city with lots of upscale Burmese food, this may be the best quality per dollar with cheap, delicious noodles and a variety of tea-leaf salads. The elderly women who run the place are short on ettique, but long on flavor (a fair tradeoff, in my opinion).


108 Will Carroll March 1, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Additionally, Sichuan Home in the Richmond lends creditability to your theory that the cuisine will take over the world. Authentic food and an excellent balance of spices.


109 Will Carroll March 1, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Additionally, Sichuan Home in the Richmond lends creditability to your theory that the cuisine will take over the world. Authentic food and an excellent balance of spices.


110 Tom T. March 1, 2018 at 9:28 pm

Cafe Prague. How often do you find Czech cuisine?

Let me warn you, though; when they ask if you want a regular-sized beer or a large, they’re asking if you want one you can lift, or one where you just have to dip your head in. The brand name Dunkelkopfen should have been a clue.


111 Eddie March 1, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Yamo is the most tyler-y place in SF, cheap, great burmese food in a dirty 4 or 5 seater single lane restaurant.
Mr Pollo is similar — a two table dinner place run by a tattoed guy with plastic cups — a 3 course prix fixe menu thats great.
Muguboka is my favorite of a typical Korean bbq place, very good.
Boiling Hot Pot is my favorite of the many good hot pot places in the Richmond


112 until_ March 1, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Long time listener. First time caller.

If you care to venture across the bridge…
(1) Lunch at Wally’s in Emeryville. Family run in the back room of a dive bar. Cash only.
(2) Viks Chaat. Indian street food. Afternoon lunch is best.


113 Hiawatha Jones March 1, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Smoked ham and green beans at Henry Hunan in Chinatown SF.
Tacubaya in Berkeley. Fideos and sopas


114 Julian March 1, 2018 at 9:38 pm

A mano – homemade pasta for reasonable-ish prices
Bar Vale – tapas
Both of the prior two have no reservations and while they tend to have long waits, it seems like they purposefully overstate them significantly
La taqueria – Mexican
Kingdom of dumpling – soup dumplings
Arsicault – French style bakery
Marufuku – ramen. Another long wait no reservation place
Souvla – Mediterranean
Nopa – New American
Nopalito – Mexican
Great China – Chinese food. Located in Berkeley
Izakaya rintaro – izakaya


115 Transnational Pants Machine March 1, 2018 at 9:54 pm

Good rule of thumb for San Fran: if you only have to step over fewer than 3 discarded needles to get into the place, it’s probably at pretty good.


116 mk March 1, 2018 at 9:55 pm

Also, in Millbrae, Yi Yuan Szechuan. Get the Dan Dan Noodles. Make the trip out to Millbrae for them.


117 Jeff Huber March 1, 2018 at 9:57 pm

Taste for Value – is hard to beat. in hayes valley – from the owners of the (newly) Michelin starred Rich Table


118 SF advice March 1, 2018 at 10:26 pm

I said it last time you asked this question and I’ll say it again: Shanghai Dumpling King is really special and right up your alley.

Pizzetta 211 is also delicious.


119 Damian Park March 1, 2018 at 10:49 pm

Skip Zachary’s. Their crust isn’t good on its own and thus detracts from a good pizza. Little Star pizza is similar but tastier.


120 another vote another time zone March 1, 2018 at 11:04 pm

Uber on out to Livermore vineyards (Wente). Before or after dinner check out sunset over the hills to the west of Main Street Pleasanton.

If you are going soon the golden poppies on the Eastern edge of the Oakland Ridge will be in full bloom. On the ride back, there are two Inspiration Points on the highway from Pleasanton to the Bay Bridge – the first when you look back on the valley Pleasanton (the town) is in, the second that turn when the lights of San Francisco first appear.

It is, for Northern California, the platonic ideal of when and where kitsch evaporates and breathtaking beauty, of its kind, enters our everyday world.

Of course, I have not been there since 1986 (and before that, I only saw it in 1974-5), but I have been told I am usually right about this sort of thing.


121 another vote another time zone March 2, 2018 at 12:02 am

50 years from now my grandchildren and their friends will be knocking back some glasses of Wente Sauvignon Blanc and saying how their grandparent (me!) used to talk so nice about this place.

Well, so many of us can say so much that is similar about so many places!

For the record, at 11:04, I should have ensured the reader of the second sentence knew I was referring to the distant spread-out lights of Pleasanton at night, viewed from that first Inspiration point, before [the reader] knew I was talking (well, writing) about “looking back on the valley Pleasanton (the town) is in.” (from that first Inspiration Point on that seemingly ordinary highway that actually winds through a magical canyon, there in the hill country to the east of the San Francisco Bay – that I remember).
…………….Next to living right, getting the order of words right is trivial, but I felt bad that I messed that up.

Still, I have more than once seen kitsch evaporate and breathtaking divine beauty, of its kind, enter our everyday world, and God knows why a simple kind-hearted request for good restaurants near San Francisco reminded me so much of those moments. Everybody has seen things like that, I guess, I just thought I should say something about it tonight in case somebody cared. (and for the record every wine from the Livermore Valley is good but the Sauvignon Blanc is, as my Russian pals like to say, “no ask for better”.)


122 Rahul BR March 2, 2018 at 12:25 am

A few suggestions from 2.5 years of funemployment, unstable startup job, student life, and hanging with family:

-Plow in Potrero Hill, the brunch food is amazingly good
-Lai Hong Lounge, the dim sum (yum cha) is so good that visiting family from Guangzhou liked it!
-B Patisserie if you like sweets, and get the croissants or banana + chocolate filled pastries
-Yamo is great hole in the wall soup, or try B Star Bar in the Richmond for Burma Love – style Burmese food and Asian fusion, but with more experimentation
-Khin kao, a thai restaurant with a Michelin star is quite good.
-If you want more local, Ben Thai Cafe on Polk street is really damn good, get the Khao Soi under “Our Family’s Favorites” section. Looks like a yuppie and decor-optimizing restaurant, but that section of the menu is solid.

Most food is good in SF, you can’t go terribly wrong.


123 DA March 2, 2018 at 12:37 am

Oakland’s Chinatown has always been interesting and underrated. I would take your own advice and just go and walk around and see what looks good. There are many good options. A stop at the Ruby King bakery will give you insight into the culture—the coconut buns were always flavorful. Battambang has long served good Cambodian. The Oakland art museum downtown has some good regional pieces (Diebenkorns, Thiebauds, Parks, iirc). Historically food innovation in the Bay has emerged from the East Bay (Chez Panisse, Bay Wolf, Mark Miller), so my further advice would be to skip San Francisco and therefore much of the advice here. SF is cosmopolitan but not very regional anymore; the East Bay is becoming more cosmopolitan but is still more provincial in the best sense of the word. Good luck!


124 Srivatsa Marthi March 2, 2018 at 1:28 am

Forget what everyone here has said, and visit Terracotta Warrior in Outer Sunset. Xian food. I especially love the Shaanxi Mianpi and Shaanxi Fish.


125 Joshua Ehrlich March 4, 2018 at 8:33 pm

+1 to Terracotta Warrior


126 James March 2, 2018 at 1:38 am

Affordable eats:
The Bird — Don’t go here if you hate delicious fried chicken sandwiches.
Rooster & Rice — Excellent Khao Mun Gai. Better than that cart in Portland IMO.
Tartine Bakery — Best bakery in the city. Get the croque monsieur and bread pudding or basically any pastry.
El Metate — A torta made with a crispy dutch crunch roll. The SF torta.
Senior Sisig — Get the California burrito with chicken or pork then take a nap.
Boba Guys — Black sesame drink. Celebrate CNY with a tasty sugar bomb.


127 Bob March 2, 2018 at 3:05 am

Rooster and Rice is outrageous. I wish they were open sunday nights. Khao Mun Gai is amazing and a great example of food that can’t hide bad ingredients.


128 David March 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Boba Guys is the gold standard for bubble tea – four locations scattered around SF:
I agree with James that the black sesame is outstanding, but if you want something contra-gender-stereotyped try the Strawberry Matcha Latte – it looks gorgeous and tastes even better than it looks.


129 Jude March 2, 2018 at 2:06 am

Brothers on Geary – 7 or 8 Korean pickles with every plate of barbeque. Often a line but worth the wait.

Lime Tree on Clement really unique flavors from Singapore.

Cinderella on Balboa. Great Russian home cooking.

Bissap Baobab – everything at this Senegalese restaurant’s buffet has it’s own wonderful taste worth the trip to Oakland


130 Sergey Vorontsov March 2, 2018 at 2:28 am

go for chicken & waffles in Little Skillet near the Caltrain Station


131 John Wentworth March 2, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Or as we call it, “the fried chicken window”. Fried chicken is nowhere near as good as Brenda’s, but hey, it’s a window which serves fried chicken. It gets some points for the experience.


132 Ally March 2, 2018 at 3:52 am

I was in San Francisco fairly recently and was particularly impressed by La Taqueria on Mission Street. We visited at lunch time and it was bustling. The line may look long, but it moves quickly due to the fast, efficient service; and the food is definitely worth the relatively short wait.

Taylor Street Coffee Shop near Union Square does a delicious breakfast / brunch.

For Chinese food, we enjoyed Z & Y Restaurant in Chinatown.

Was distinctly unimpressed by Kin Khao, everything we ordered from the menu had been extremely over-salted.


133 Saku March 2, 2018 at 6:19 am

Mission Chinese Food!


134 John Wentworth March 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm

People love it or they hate it. Warning: don’t go in expecting anything Chinese.


135 Ottavio March 2, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Can’t recommend this place enough. It has somehow continued to evolve while remaining totally true to its self. The kung pow pastrami is just insane. The vegetarian dishes are really original and delicious. The vegetarian thrice cooked bacon with rice cakes is the only dish I have ever had with bitter mellon that was better for having it in the dish.


136 Gongtao March 2, 2018 at 8:01 am

Another vote for House of Pancake on Taraval st, very good northern Chinese dumplings. It’s easy to get to from downtown on the streetcar. A few blocks down the street Shandong Deluxe also has good western Chinese (i.e. from the west of China) food and hand-pulled noodles.

In general the Cantonese domination of the Chinese food scene here has been challenged in recent years by a lot of new places serving other Chinese cuisines. The Sichuan restaurants here are OK, but they will not impress anyone who has eaten in Sichuan.

La Tacqueria on Mission between 24th and 25th is absolutely the best tacqueria in the city, hands down. Branches of El Farolito are good, but not at the same level.

Los Picudos on 24th st has very good tortas and sopes.

Nopalito is very good for more refined Mexican cooking.

Caffe Baonecci in North Beach is loud and crowded and perhaps a little overpriced, but absolutely the best and most authentic Italian food in the city. Run by a family from Lucca.

My oipinions on some other people’s recommendations:

Shanghai Dumpling King is OK but House of Pancake is better and easier to reach.

Da Vittorio is fine but will not impress anybody who has been to Italy.

Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant is just OK.

Tacqueria La Cumbre is not good.

La Corneta is not good.

Lime Tree is just OK.


137 Troy Palme March 2, 2018 at 9:42 am

Eat a mission street burrito (La Taqueria is good, but overrated, I prefer Taqueria Cancun)

Suppenkuche is offbeat and original (German food)

Nopa & Foreign Cinema are the best of upper mid-range restaurants.

Don’t eat any Pizza, there is no good Pizza in SF. You are enough of a create of the Northeast to know nothing compares to NYC ‘zza. Don’t let any of these Californians fool you into thinking otherwise.


138 sheel March 2, 2018 at 10:53 am

absolutely go to burma superstar or burma love. Burmese food is very hard to find in the US, and these guys do it really well.
For pizza, Little Star makes the best deep dish.
La Taqueria is the best burrito in the city (full of good burritos)


139 Walter March 2, 2018 at 10:55 am

Taqueria Los Coyotes, on 16th St across the street from the 16th St Mission BART station, makes a hell of a burrito.

Sam Wo is my go-to for Chinatown.

Pat’s Cafe on Taylor St near Fisherman’s Wharf is a good breakfast spot.

If you are in San Mateo, The Noodle Shop on 25th St is excellent Chinese food, very unassuming place and reasonably priced.

In Redwood City, I like Vino Santo on Broadway.


140 Asteroid March 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

Can only comment about the bay area, but you may have to go to the suburbs with significant ethnic population.

Millbrae/San Mateo for Chinese (little Shanghai) and San Mateo or San Jose for Vietnamese (e.g. pho element, north Vietnamese).

Sunnyvale, Fremont or Milipitas for Indian. Of note is Red chilies, probably the only Kerala restaurant in this part of the US. You generally can’t go very wrong with Indian and Pakistani food in this area, but be aware to separate the merely utilitarian (food’s fine) from the special occasion places (food’s pretty good, even if you compare with India)

There are a few Israeli and Palestinian places (falafelle and sumac in Belmont — ridiculously good kofta kebabs), Oren’s (Palo alto) and Falafel stop in Sunnyvale, near Apple – this one is really good and a pretty colorful owner.

Mexican — Sunnyvale and San Jose in general seem to have good hit rates with quality tacos.


141 Gian March 2, 2018 at 11:27 am

House of Prime Rib is the best sit down dining experience in SF.


142 Abhi March 2, 2018 at 11:39 am

Mi casa. I make very good, very traditional village-style Tamil Brahmin food, and my friend and frequent kitchen collaborator makes traditional Punjabi dishes and Maharashtrian chaat. We can promise you a medley of pan-Indian dishes that are relatively rare on their own (especially in the West!), and almost never seen together.

We’re both old friends of Yana, so if you’re interested, just reply here, and I’m sure she can connect us.


143 Miles Robinson March 2, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Terra Cotta Warrior (Northern Chinese). In the outer sunset.
Eiji (Sushi). Between the Mission and Castro.
Yamu (Burmese). Mission. There’s certainly better Burmese in SF (Burma Superstar), but you’ll like the hole-in-the-wall situation. The whole place sits about 8, and everyone is at a counter looking at the kitchen.
Ali Baba’s Cave (Middle Eastern). Mission. Also in Haight, but I haven’t eaten at that location. Again, there’s better food of this type to be had, but it’s good quality and a good value. Come for lunch and get the vegetarian combo plate. More of a personal favorite.
Gas Station Fried Chicken (technically Krispy Krunchy Fried Chicken). Mission. 100% up your alley. Open 24 hours. Go at 3AM if possible.

East Bay:
Shan Dong (Downtown Oakland). Chinese (northern?) with homemade noodles.
Cheeseboard (Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto). Proper California pizza. Check the website to make sure the pizza of the day seems appetizing.
Comal (Downtown Berkeley). Fancier Mexican. Dinner only.
Jayakarta (Downtown Berkeley). Indonesian.
Din Ding Dumpling House (Fremont). Dim Sum.


144 Miles Robinson March 2, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Uf, that formatting was not what it looked like before I posted it.

I’d like to add Schmidt’s for german food in the mission and a stroll up and down Clement St. between 3rd and 9th avenues for good asian food.

Also, Cafe Colucci in Oakland is excellent Ethiopian, but I believe you have plenty of that around home.


145 John March 2, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Burma Cafe, off the beaten path in St. Francis Square in Daly City is great. I found it by accident and go back every time I’m in SF. Make sure to try either their grape or tea leaf salad.


146 zztop March 2, 2018 at 1:10 pm

If you need a break from the extreme culinary exploration, be it, fancy, hipster, ethnic or otherwise, often food only found in the San Francisco area, go to Orignal Joe’s in Daly City.


147 Restaurant Guy March 2, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Sodini’s on Green St. It’s where the locals go for Italian food.


148 John Wentworth March 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Oh man, the question I didn’t know I was waiting for. I generally go for strong flavor, so bear that in mind when reading these.
– Cathead’s BBQ. Super-strong flavor. Pulled pork sandwich is my usual, order it on a biscuit.
– Brenda’s Soul Food. Best fried chicken in the city, hands down. Loooooong lines most hours of the weekend, though.
– Supenkuche used to be a regular of mine, but then they pulled all the good stuff (i.e. sauerkraut) off the brunch menu. Still good for dinner, though.
– Yemeni Kitchen, because where else can you get yemeni food? I usually get the zanbakah (like a middle-eastern analog of chili), but the lamb is also top-notch.
– I go to Victor’s near the stadium about twice a week for a burrito. Solid food, lady at the cash register yells “Hola guapo!” at everyone, makes for a good experience.
– That said, if you’re open to bay area more generally, my favorite burrito is the wet burrito at El Grullense five minutes south of Stanford on El Camino.
– Pica pica in the mission has great pulled pork arepas, the mojo sauce is the highlight. Even the rice and beans are delicious by themselves.
– There’s a whole cluster of Indian/Pakistani/Nepali places on Jones Street. My favorite is Pakwan. You will likely bring home leftovers.
– For chinese food, I go down to Cupertino Village. There’s a place that serves everything on sticks. Don’t know what it’s called, I can’t read it, but it’s amazing.

And food trucks:
– Adam’s Grub Truck. Lots of food trucks do a fried chicken sandwich with slaw and egg, but Adam’s is best.
– Bob Cha. The “cup bob” is a pile of Korean-style meat on top of “bacon spicy fried rice”.
– Senor Sisig is probably the most popular food truck in the area. Sisig is basically Filipino BBQ pork, they put it in a burrito.

Things to avoid:
– Most pizza. I grew up near NYC, the pizza out here sucks. I guess that’s the trade for good burritos.

BTW, I’ve been looking for a nearby bakery, so if anybody knows a place let me know. (I live across the street from Twitter/Uber/Square on Market).


149 Ian March 2, 2018 at 2:32 pm

San Francisco is weird. There’s a pretty decent Brazilian-Italian place in West Portal and no one even cares.


150 Paul Homchick March 2, 2018 at 3:05 pm

OMG. These were good recommendations:

Mensho Tokyo ramen.
Kin Khao
The Refuge

And in addition:
RT Rotisserie (high end food with fast food ordering)
Little Gem (modern Korean)
August 1 Five (modern Indian)


151 Local Bay Area March 2, 2018 at 4:41 pm

Respectfully, I differ from many (most perhaps) of the recs you have received. Anyways, recs for good food:
– Belotti, for *genuine* Italian (in Rockridge, ie border of Berkeley and Oakland). Almost like homemade Italian food.
– Nido: in Oakland, for genuine somewhat elevated Mexican food (not unlike what you would it at a Mexican bistro in, say, the Roma or Condesa in MX City)
– El Aguila Mexican Cuisine, for superb *authentic Mexican food with top notch ingredients in a non-descript strip mall in Pleasant Hill (East Bay). Some of the best moles I have had (and I am Mexican). They alao do burritos etc, which I am sure are good too… but what a waste, given the rest of the menu.
– Kin Khao in SF, for *authentic* Thai food (a rarity in the US).
– Sang Tung in SF for Chinese,
– Pucquio, also in Rockridge. Authentic Peruvian food. Best ceviches Imhave ever had.
– A16 in either SF or Rockridge, for authentic Italian.
– La Ciccia in SF, for Sardinian food.
– Zuni in SF. The best roasted chicken I have ever had.


152 Paul McKaskle March 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm

House of Prime Rib is great but you may need a couple weeks of lead time to get a reservation.

Far out in the Richmond District is Pacific Cafe, almost exclusively seafood and excellent. Dinner only, no reservations and often one has to wait. Opens at 5pm. Particularly difficult on weekends. 34th and Geary.


153 aphrael March 2, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Zazie, on Cole, is a fantastic breakfast place.


154 Ottavio March 2, 2018 at 7:34 pm

I think SF has the best bakery culture in the US and that it’s worth exploring as many of them as you can. Neighbor bake house in the dog patch is currently my favorite.


155 Conor Friedersdorf March 2, 2018 at 7:39 pm

If you’re in the East Bay, don’t miss –– fantastic food, cheap, and unusual in its ordering and food pickup experience in ways that may interest you.

Also (whispers) Mission-style burritos are overrated.


156 Aaron March 3, 2018 at 5:31 am

Whole heartedly agree. I think mission style burritos in San Francisco are stuck in tradition and don’t innovate. I can find better, mission inspired burritos in other cities now. Was supremely disappointed by Farolitos last time I went.


157 Chris Metzler March 2, 2018 at 8:34 pm

I would think best to focus on the immigrant groups strongest to the Bay Area: Filipino (Daly City), Afghan (Fremont), Russian (Richmond), Chinese (Richmond and Chinatown), Irish, Mexican and Salvadoran (Mission). But if you want new SF, you could go hipster with “carnival” inspired food at Straw –

Cinderella Bakery or Katia’s – Russian

Panchita’s Restaurant No 2 (in the Mission and dirt cheap) – Salvadorean –

Farallon (beautiful art deco building with great seafood) Downtown

The Old Clamhouse in Bayshore for old-style SF

Great Egyptian and Ethiopian in the East Bay

Angkor Borei (in the Mission)- Cambodian

Bissap Baobab (in the Mission) – Senegalese

Cheeseboard (Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto) – A NorCal legend and fun to eat outside on the lawn

Shalimar and Pakwan are the dirt cheap, authentic, hot and tasty – (Tenderloin and Mission)

Yemen Kitchen (Tenderloin) – Yemeni

If you can take a drive up Tomales Bay and just sit on the picnic benches with fresh oysters (or BBQ) it’s worth the journey.


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