San Francisco Bay Area rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the SF Chowhound community.

How to Get Fish at Manila Oriental Market

Newcomers might find the fish service counter at Manila Oriental Market a little intimidating. There is a ticket dispenser that is always empty, a “Now Serving” sign that always reads “01,” and a ton of people crowded around the counter, all waving what appear to be little raffle tickets.

Never fear, says indychef. It’s confusing at first, but once you become a regular everything goes smoothly. Don’t feel intimidated by the number system – just ignore it. “I always do,” says indychef. “You just gotta hustle a bit and grab the guy who’s in charge. He’ll take care of the rest. Prices are negotiable – don’t tell anybody.”

Manila Oriental Market [Peninsula]
950 King Plaza #112, Daly City
(650) 878-3328

Board Links

How do you get fish at MOM?

Lengua Special

gordon wing has been won over by the lengua (tongue) special at La Perla Taqueria. It’s one of the best preparations of tongue ever – braised with lots of vegetables, like green beans, potatoes, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato, and carrots, until tender and savory. It’s available only on Wednesdays, it comes with chips, salsa, and delicious tortillas, and it costs $7.00. katya likes the pineapple agua fresca.

And if you like lengua, sfoperalover highly recommends the tongue at Panchita’s #3. The place is not so much a taqueria and more of a Nuevo Latino cuisine place, but the braised tongue is absolutely incredible.

La Perla Taqueria Restaurant [South Bay]
1150 Mcginness Ave., San Jose

Panchita’s #3 [Mission]
3115 22nd St., San Francisco

Board Links

If it’s Wednesday it must be Lengua–La Perla
Impromptu La Perla Excursion

Cheesecake, Light and Dense

Lots of hounds love the cheesecake at Zanze’s, with the caveat that it’s much lighter than the heavy, dense New York-style cheesecake that many people prefer. The texture is light and almost fluffy, says gordon wing. As for the dense New York cheesecakes, Robert Lauriston thinks that the best one around is from Just Desserts. rworange agrees.

Zanze’s Cheesecake [Ingleside]
2405 Ocean Ave., San Francisco

Just Desserts [SOMA]
101 4th St., San Francisco

Board Links

Best cheesecake in SF?

Ethereal Fettucine

Carrie 218 admires Vivande Porta Via for its magnificent homemade pasta. “I have found it to provide the most ethereal fettucine in the city,” she says. Order anything that has their house-made pasta in it–though the house-made fennel sausage is also great.

Doodleboomer loves the portobello mushroom risotto, and highly recommends the butternut squash soup, if you can get it. Robert Lauriston agrees that the food is good, but objects to “paying restaurant prices to eat in a deli.”

Vivande Porta Via [Fillmore]
2125 Fillmore St., San Francisco

Board Links

Vivande Via Porta

Food Therapy: Banh Khot, Birria, Chicken Soup, and Pancakes

pane has been on a comfort food crawl lately, sampling some of the best food therapy options available in the area. Drown your troubles in the banh khot at Lotus Garden–so time-consuming to prepare that it’s no longer featured on the menu, but often available by request. Warm, rich, and crispy on the bottom, they’ll cure what ails you.

And try the birria at Chava’s. The thick, spicy goat stew, served with tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime, “really hits the spot on rainy nights when you’d rather not watch Pride and Prejudice for the eleventh time,” says pane.

Caldo de pollo at El Delfin, with chicken on the bone, big chunks of vegetables, and a nicely fatty broth, is supremely comforting, and a big stack of moist, fluffy blueberry and banana buttermilk pancakes at Hidden City will take care of any lingering anxiety.

Lotus Garden [Mission]
3216 Mission Street, San Francisco

Chava’s [Mission]
2839 Mission Street, San Francisco

El Delfin
3066 24th Street

Hidden City [East Bay]
109 Park Place, Richmond

Board Links: Comfort Food Roundup

Donut Madness

P. Punko, inventor of the Pork Snorkel, has a particular fondness for late-night donut action. Bob’s Donuts is a particularly great neighborhood donut shop. The warm, gooey apple fritters are especially enticing as they come out of the fryer–typically between 1:50 a.m. and 2:05 a.m.

Rolling Pin Donuts makes okay donuts. The best that can be said for them is that they taste like really fresh and good versions of Hostess products. And the cake donuts at the Cupertino branch of Donut Wheel are totally awesome.

Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop [Polk Gulch] [
1621 Polk Street, San Francisco

Rolling Pin Donuts [Peninsula]
429 San Bruno Avenue, San Bruno

Donut Wheel [South Bay]
10250 N. De Anza Blvd, Cupertino

Board Links

Donut madness: Bob’s, Rolling Pin, Donut

A Little Happy Fried Chicken Family

Korean fried chicken is a mysterious and marvelous thing. Ever since a recent New York Times article on the topic, chowhounds across America have been searching their Korean communities for local versions of that magic substance.

In San Francisco, P. Punko found 99 Chicken. Here, the chicken–consisting entirely of drumsticks and wings–is fried slowly, to the point where the fat is entirely rendered, and the meat perfectly juicy. This place is run by a Korean family; they’re incredibly friendly and deeply into helping outsiders experience the glories of their chicken. Their English is limited, but this can be got around.

They also make some great fried chicken. They fry in cottonseed oil, and the owner takes pride in the fact that he fries every single piece of chicken himself.

Ordered “plain”, the chicken is perfectly crispy and juicy. Add a little bit of the salt, pepper, and MSG. Ordered “spicy”, the chicken comes slathered in sweet, spicy, savory, garlicky red sauce. It’s sauced right before it comes to you, so there’s still some crispiness to the skin, under that sauce. There’s a lot of it–be ready to lick your fingers. Ordered “with sauce”, the chicken comes with a savory, garlicky, sweet, unspicy sauce. (P. Punko thinks it is probably worth skipping the plain “sauce” chicken and going straight for the “spicy”.) And ordered “sweet”, the chicken comes covered with a clear, sticky glaze–sort of like the honey-drenched fried chicken you can get in certain American-style place.

99 Chicken [South Bay]
2781 El Camino Real, Santa Clara
(408) 244-5599

Board Links

99 Chicken/Korean Fried Chicken South Bay=Yummy

328 Hot Pot

Michael Rodriguez likes the Chinese Sichuan-style hot pot at 328. There are four soup bases on offer–original, hot and spicy Sichuan, satay, and Chinese herb. Order you soup, and then order a few of the 50 items on the menu for cooking in the steaming broth. Options include meat, live seafood, fresh seafood, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables, noodles and dumplings. It’s very tasty and warming, and the price is fairly modest–around $35 for two, including sake. Michael Rodriguez has eaten a lot of good means in China, and finds that this place feels very much like being in China.

328 Hot Pot & BBQ Restaurant [East Bay]
328 14th Street, Oakland

Board Links: Oakland Hot Pot

Charles Chocolates

Hounds like the chocolates at the newly-opened Charles Chocolates store, especially the Mojito Hearts. lmnop loves the blood orange pates de fruits–the flavor intensifies and develops while you eat them. rworange thinks they’re juicy, but that the blood orange flavor is indiscernable. Dark chocolates filled with peanut praline and orange twigs are also recommended. Check out this new shop that’s not owned by megaconglomeratecorp, as lmnop puts it. It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Charles Chocolates [East Bay]
6529 Hollis Street, Emeryville

Board Links: Charles Chocolates–Emeryville

Real Goulash

ashleys is impressed with the Hungarian food at DJ’s Bistro. This small restaurant, hidden in a small strip mall in Concord, serves up delicious, authentic goulash with spetzle and great apple strudel. Just ask all the Eastern European folks there, drinking Spaten/Pilsner beer on tap and raucously watching sports. Melanie Wong loves the tripe soup–the serving size is huge, but you’ll want to finish every luscious spoonful.

DJ’s Bistro [East Bay]
1825 Sutter St., Concord

Board Links

Great Hungarian/Eastern-European Food at DJ’s Bistro in Concord
DJ’s Bistro