What are your favorite joints in SF? (and nearby environs)

Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Hey, guys...

Just bumping to see if there's any recent intel that hasn't made it to the board, since I'll be there two weeks from tonight :-)

I'm strongly considering Benu for a fancypants dinner. I'm waiting to see whether it piques Dr. Doux's interest. Commonwealth is also high on my list since it was the first place Josh over at Posh mentioned. I'd love to do some casual Japanese as well... an izakaya, or maybe even a late night ramen bar that I can sneak out to.

The rest I think we might play by ear, though I know that's kind of dangerous. It'll be easy to walk over to the Ferry Building for some oysters (we're staying in the financial district). Tadich will probably happen at some point. Dr. Doux tends to crash early, so I'm trying to make a list of good very late options as well. Frankly, I'm kind of paralyzed by the options.

Any thoughts?
Dominic Armato
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chrislee
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6 years ago

My love is Kappou Gomi in the Richmond area.

http://chris.ly/kappou-gomi-san-francisco/
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

chrislee wrote:My love is Kappou Gomi in the Richmond area.

http://chris.ly/kappou-gomi-san-francisco/
Oh, my gosh! How did I forget this was in SF! Yeah, I'm there :-)
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sourcetags8codes
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6 years ago

Alright so heres a list with just a little points.



State Bird Provision - arguably the hottest restaurant in San fran right now. Dim sum style servie with fun food - dinner
Spqr - One star michelin with a roman spanish influence - dinner
incanto - offal centric italian fare - dinner
Commonwealth - 65 dollar tasting menu. How can you beat that with that type of asian inspired french technique food - dinner
Bar tartine - Hungarian, Sweedish, and nordic style food thats done really well. - dinner
Nopolita - rustic farm to table mexician - dinner and lunch
Delfina - Northern italian - dinner
Locanda - Pasta roman style - dinner
Flour + Water - Known for the pastas here done after italian dishes - dinner
Salumeria - sandwiches, cured meats, wine - lunch
Zuni Cafe - French italian old school. - Lunch and dinner
Boccolane - Cured meat shop with an awesome selection - Lunch dinner
Hapa ramen - Only open on saturdays at the ferry plaza - lunch
Out the door - slanted doors fast casual vietnemese food - lunch
Pizzera delfina - pizza, fried snacks, and salads. - lunch dinner
Bar Argicole - Cocktails and a italian simplicity to the dinner menu - dinner
Tartine bakery - Breads, Pastries, sandwiches, and coffee. Don't miss the fresh bread at five pm -all day
Mission chinese food - cantonese style food - dinner and lunch
r and g lounge - specials like salt and pepper crab and braised oxtail - lunch and dinner
craftsman and wolves - high end pastry shop - lunch and dinner
Coco500 - mediterrian type food - dinner
Yank sing - james bread dim sum house - Lunch and dinner but they do have a to go window at one of the locations
La Taqueria - cabeza tacos are the specialty here
4505 meats - loacted at the ferry on the weekend, burgers, sausages and chicharrones are the best



Late night -
Nopa - chez pannise inspired wood oven centric food - open till one am
Grubstake diner - basque inspired diner food - open till three am
sams pizza and burger - skip the pizza and get the burger. open till three
El Farolito - massive burriots till three am
El Zocalo - brazilian inspried food till three am
Genki Ramen - noodles till one am
hog and rocks - pork, oysters, beer till one am
lucky dog - all types of dogs till three am


im looking through my notes and I will have more spots for you before tomorrow
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Let's see -- *checks itinerary* -- 82 hours... Yeah, I can get through that.

Seriously, thanks, sourcetags... This is one heck of a research list.
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misterk
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6 years ago

Went to La Ciccia last night on a last minute reservation with a friend, and all I can say is wow. Small place but amazing Sardinian food and the service was top-notch. I'm bitter that these guys opened after I moved out from living down the street for 8 years, but whatever. Glad to experience them now.

Have to note I didn't take any photos during the meal after their menus politely requested no phones or cameras at the table (my friend told me this request is becoming increasingly common at SF restaurants since food photography by dining patrons has been getting out of hand).

To start, we got the pani guttiau (crispy flatbread with cuor d'olivo, pecorino, and rosemary) and the octopus stew in spicy tomato sauce. For our pastas, since we were looking at the menus while waiting to be seated, we initially had our hearts set on the fregola with seafood sugo and squid ink and the fusilli with uni and tuna heart, but they had just run out of squid ink and uni due to the table that had been seated just before us, so we opted for the two pasta specials of the evening instead: fregola with lamb, prosciutto, and raisins, and linguine with salted beef. For our main we shared the oven roasted wild prawns with garlic, parsley and pepperoncino. Dessert was a trio of gelati - goat cheese with fig, chocolate hazelnut, and Marsala wine with raisins (the Marsala being hands-down our favorite).

From the start of the meal till the end, every dish was top notch. Amazing flavors and so well prepared. Not a single dish that we felt was sub-par (or even par, for that matter). When I was previously living in SF, one of my flatmates was from Verona who cooked every day, so I became very familiar with northern Italian (Veneto, specifically) cuisine. Sardinian food, on the other hand, I don't think I've ever had before, so this meal was a great revelation and I have to come back to try some of their other dishes.

Strongly recommend this humble little place for anyone visiting the city. It's tucked away in a quiet end of Noe Valley, but the visit here will be more than worth it, rest assured.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

misterk wrote:Have to note I didn't take any photos during the meal after their menus politely requested no phones or cameras at the table (my friend told me this request is becoming increasingly common at SF restaurants since food photography by dining patrons has been getting out of hand).
I've been making my list, and I'm trying to decide how wrong it is that I passed on them for precisely this reason, operating under the theory that I'm not going to get to a quarter of the places that most interest me anyway and all things being equal, I"d rather go someplace where I can get photos to go along with a blog post.

First time this has ever played a role in deciding where to go.
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misterk
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6 years ago

It was actually really refreshing (especially in overly-wired SF) to see not a single person doing anything but fully enjoying their meal and their company and engaging with the waitstaff. Not a single cell phone in sight. No photo taking. No texting. No calling. No surfing. As guilty as I am of taking pictures of much of the food I eat when dining out, and as much as the dishes at La Ciccia are certainly worthy taking pictures of, I didn't mind the request that much by the end. Made me just simply enjoy the present instead of worrying about capturing it for posterity. :)
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

I don't mind the request. I'm not one of those "I paid for this food, I should be able to do what I want with it" people. They should run the dining room as they see fit, and people can decide to go or not go as they please. It's just the first time that I've been faced with the decision, is all.
Dominic Armato
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misterk
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6 years ago

It'll be interesting to see if this trend picks up here in SF. I can understand it becoming an increasing nuisance, with the sheer amount of traffic these places get, escpecially with such a tech-addicted (and not always discreet or respectful) younger crowd (as compared to Phoenix).

That said, I'm just glad to finally cross a restaurant that opened up in the years I was away from my list. :D

We drove by State Bird Provisions on our way to La Ciccia. Definitely looks like the place to be in the city these days. Reservations for the next 60 days have all been snatched up, however, and I'm in no mood to wait around for 3+ hours on cold, foggy night.

I'm also adding Central Kitchen to my list of places to try. Opened up by the flour+water team, it's been getting a good amount of local press lately.

However, given everyone recent posting about Miu's, I think I need some Szechuan grub flowing through my bloodstream, stat! If I could just walk over to San Tung for their dry fried chicken. Alas...
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BillBuitenhuys
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6 years ago

Glad you liked La Ciccia, misterk. I've yet to have that uni and tuna heart dish (it wasn't on the menu yet on our last visit) but many friends are raving about it. I'll be going in a few weeks and hope they have it.
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Mike Todd
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6 years ago

Even though I made it over there only once, La Ciccia is a place I almost always recommend to people visiting SF. It's not like you can find well executed Sardinian food just anywhere.

The rest of my list for SF proper would overlap with sourcetags's. One addition: I'm pretty committed to making a pilgrimage to the Saturday morning Ferry Building market for a porchetta sandwich from the Roli Roti truck on all future trips to the Bay Area.
misterk
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6 years ago

Haven't made it to the Ferry Building Saturday market in eons (2004?), but I get my Roli Roti fix from the Grand Lake farmers market in Oakland (which is also a great market). Speaking of Oakland, I've eaten at some great places there recently. Will put a list up soon.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Most regrettably, we've been sidelined by a bit of sudden illness, so I figured I might as well post a little status report so long as we're holed up while Dr. Doux is recovering :-/

Arrival was yesterday late afternoon! And we will not be taking a cab from SFO again. That was a miserable and pricey ride. But finally ensconced in our hotel right on the edge of Chinatown, we decided to take to the streets... something close... something we can't get at home... something very San Fransicso...
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Well, yeah, of course.

I love this place. I love that it's old. I love that if you took out the POS terminals, you could immediately shoot a '20s movie in there. I love that I wondered, halfway through the meal, what the average tenure for the servers was, only to find upon returning to the hotel that the website tells you (16 years... wow). Couldn't believe I left the camera back at the hotel right from the get-go, but thankfully that's what the phone with the good camera is for.
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Crab Leg Cocktail
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Sweet, fresh crab. Old school, ketchupy cocktail sauce with a little hit of horseradish. I loved it. Not sure I loved it $20. Remind me of this if I feel the need to complain about seafood prices back in Phoenix.
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Mesquite Broiled Snapper
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Dr. Doux's fish was completely awesome. I don't know if it was actually snapper. Odds are against it. But damn, was it good.
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Cioppino
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I was actually kind of disappointed by the cioppino this time around. This slayed me last time I was there, but this dish was bigger, thinner, less intense, less tomatoey -- still quite good, but I didn't like it as much. I even went back to my old photos to make sure it wasn't my imagination. It wasn't. And I asked our server if they'd made any changes to it since my last visit a couple of years ago. He scoffed in an, "Are you crazy?" tone, and I felt silly even asking, but... well... not quite the same. Tough luck to catch an off night, I guess. Still, if this is your off night...

I was up late (surprise), and got hungry, so I went wandering for ramen. This is starting to become less of an occurrence and more of a tradition. Powerwalking three miles in the middle of the night for noodles and soup? Does the heart good. The couple of places I'd read about Katana-ya made it out to be an off-the-radar spot, but the place has a freaking Bib Gourmand, so maybe it was just horrendously outdated.
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Takoyaki
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I dunno... this wasn't Bib Gourmand worthy (Michelin has demonstrated puzzling taste when it comes to downscale eats, but still...). I love takoyaki, but not when they aren't made in the spherical griddles and not when the batter is liquid.
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Ramen, Miso, Spicy, Rich
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Ramen was better, but still better characterized as serviceable. I went miso, spicy, and rich (you have a few options there). They're completely unashamed about the use of MSG, and I can feel it in my fingers as I type. I'm not anti-MSG, but there are times when I feel like it's sort of a cheater's way of getting there -- umami without the underlying flavor -- and this qualifies. Good noodles, though. And it satisfied a craving, if you're in the 'hood and wanting ramen.

Today got off to a much better start. It was supposed to be our rainy day, but while overcast, it was quite beautiful in the morning. So we decided to stick to the Alcatraz Plan, with a stop at Piperade on the way to the pier. I'd actually been here once, years ago, and didn't love it. But I heard about it, and heard about it, and heard about it, and figured I'd get back there if the opportunity presented, and it was perfect for today... right on our route, and with a Basque-inspired menu that tickled Dr. Doux's fancy.
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Gigante Beans with Bacalao
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Huge, tender beans with slices of bacalao -- almost like sashimi -- a touch of caviar and a lemon creme fraiche. Light, lovely.
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Pickled Sardines with Slaw
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Why don't we do sardines more? What an awesome fish. They were "pickled" here, meaning not subtly vinegared, and served with a cabbage and green apple slaw. These are fish with character. They're meaty, a little funky, all fish... great treatment here.
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Piquillo Pepper
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It's as good as it looks. That intense, vinegared sweet pepper flavor, stuffed with goat cheese and raisins, a nutty pistachio smear... big, vibrant flavor.

Unfortunately, when we stepped out of the restaurant, it was like walking into a grocery store produce mister, and visibility had crashed, so we decided to save the views for another day. You could do worse than a Ferry Building detour, though.
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If you manage to look up from the food, it's a beautiful building, one of those epic, soaring transit stations of yore. But you mostly end up looking down.
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Mushrooms
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I mean, c'mon. Really? This is the city's equivalent of a train station. And they have a better mushroom selection than I can find anywhere back home? I know, I know, glossing over the Ferry Building's standing as a culinary hub of sorts is a little disingenuous in making this comparison, but my point remains valid. So jealous. I know sinosoul's going to disown me now, but c'mon, Tony... if I start comparing markets here to markets in Asia I might as well just hang myself now and get it overwith. "Bleached" is exactly the right word, but I'll take bleached with some really good stuff over no good stuff.
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Truffle Pearls
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Packaged spherified truffle juice. This is why MG exists. Hilariously awesome, and really, really tasty.
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Yes.
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A food nerd with a Boccalone meat cone is a happy food nerd. I'll be returning Saturday morning to stock up for the voyage home. Though I have to pimp local a bit and say that Cosentino's mortadella doesn't hold a candle to DeRuvo's. (Incidentally, is Fatted Calf in the city anywhere?)
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Oysters
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We stopped at Hog Island Oyster Bar for a little oyster snack before heading back to the hotel (I was the only one partaking of the oysters -- they're not to blame for Dr. Doux's demise). Presented as such because, really, the outside is so much more interesting to look at than the inside. Though admittedly less tasty. Dynamite. And expertly shucked... not a speck of grit to be found, and brimming with liquor. Tough call, but I think my favorite of the lot, at 3:00, was the Blue Pool, from their farm up in Washington. We talk about oysters tasting like the sea, but this one really tasted like the sea, an almost unfiltered version thereof. In a good way.
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Kicking back with oysters and wine. I dunno. I'm not sure that sunshine improves this view.

More to come, as soon as Dr. Doux's on the mend...

Tadich Grill
www.tadichgrill.com
240 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-391-1849

Katana-Ya
430 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-771-1280

Piperade
www.piperade.com
1015 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-391-2555

Hog Island Oyster Bar
www.hogislandoysters.com/bars/san-francisco
The Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
415-391-7117
Dominic Armato
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Dapuma
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6 years ago

Try the clam chowder at Hog Island, best I have ever had

Singapore Sling at Slanted Door will fix just about anything :mrgreen:
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azhotdish
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6 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:The couple of places I'd read about Katana-ya made it out to be an off-the-radar spot
I've been there! Couple of years ago we popped in late after the Fancy Food show - good fish, seemed like a solid local spot - sorry it wasn't up to par.
Skillet Doux wrote:(Incidentally, is Fatted Calf in the city anywhere?)
Retail location at:
Hayes Valley store
320 Fell Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
Open Daily 10am to 8pm
415.400.5614

Of course you're going to Roli Roti on Saturday morning too...ask for extra skin.
---
Joel
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

azhotdish wrote:Of course you're going to Roli Roti on Saturday morning too...ask for extra skin.
Yes and yes.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

A brief note before I crash...
sourcetags8codes wrote:El Farolito - massive burriots till three am
Oh my god, sourcetags, I can't believe you sent me here. I'm never setting foot in this place again unless my BAC is at least 0.28. Though I'm willing to concede that under those circumstances, it might be the best meal of the trip. But those weren't the circumstances, I ate half of one, and now I want to die. Judging from a couple of guys who walked out with armloads of self-serve cups, though, it's a great place to stock up on enough salsa to get you through the month. It's the only possible explanation for the 4.5 stars on Yelp.

(Nopa was awesome, though.)

:-D
Dominic Armato
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sinosoul
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6 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:I know, I know, glossing over the Ferry Building's standing as a culinary hub of sorts is a little disingenuous in making this comparison, but my point remains valid. So jealous. I know sinosoul's going to disown me now, but c'mon, Tony... if I start comparing markets here to markets in Asia I might as well just hang myself now and get it overwith.
I see that Ferry fella got you hook, line, and sinker. Damn tourists! :lol: Forget the markets in Asia, compare it to the markets in Europe. It's a freaking travesty. I bet it has a valet up front.

Hopefully you caught some more GOOD ice cream that misterk mentioned? I'm still really gung-ho on SPQR. So good and no tweezers in the kitchen. Also, I've been itching to catch some of that "bougie" Hi-Lo BBQ, as well as Wise Sons. I don't know about Phoenix, but LA needs some kind of modern Jewish deli, STAT.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

sinosoul wrote:I see that Ferry fella got you hook, line, and sinker. Damn tourists! Forget the markets in Asia, compare it to the markets in Europe. It's a freaking travesty. I bet it has a valet up front.
If I move back to L.A. at some point, I reserve the right to be less envious of the Ferry Building. It has more independent fish markets than the entire Phoenix metro area. That's not an exaggeration.
sinosoul wrote:Hopefully you caught some more GOOD ice cream that misterk mentioned? I'm still really gung-ho on SPQR. So good and no tweezers in the kitchen. Also, I've been itching to catch some of that "bougie" Hi-Lo BBQ, as well as Wise Sons. I don't know about Phoenix, but LA needs some kind of modern Jewish deli, STAT.
We need some good Jewish deli before we can worry about modern Jewish deli.

I kinda hate to miss the Roman joint, but I don't think it's going to happen on this trip. Benu tonight, might ditch Commonwealth for Kappou Gomi tomorrow. (Does SPQR do lunch? Checking... ah, bummer, only on weekends.)
Dominic Armato
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