I will be in SF in one week, arriving Sunday afternoon and leaving on a red-eye for Mexico Tuesday at midnight. I will be staying at California and Van Ness. I have 3 dinners and 2 lunches (or we could say 6 dinners and 4 lunches since I would love a mini gastro crawl). The issues: I am by myself and need to eat at the bar versus a table. I probably shouldn't spend a whole lot of money. Every place I stop at I would love to have a glass of wine and try 1-2 small plates off their menu and not spend more than $30 with tip. I love ALL food, I eat all meats (offal included), and am VERY adventurous (although could not bring myself to eat shark fin soup while in Hong Kong recently).
I am really struggling with my choices. I don't believe I have to spend a lot of money to eat great food (ie. recent horrible experience at Schwa in Chicago that I still haven't brought myself to post about) but I can't decide whether I should focus on "cheap eats" or on eating cheaply at more upscale places.
For example: I could go to Out the Door on Bush st for a snack, Saigon Sandwich for banh mi, Turtle Tower for pho, Hog Island on Monday for their happy hour oysters, Mission Chinese for some famous cheap eats, and maybe Alembic for a snack and cocktail.
Or I could go to Cotogna for lunch, AQ for dinner, Delfina Pizza for their broccoli raab pizza, Frances for a reasonable but possibly yummy dinner, and Bar Tartine sounds like a must. State Bird Provisions has been on my list for months (yes, I know I would have to get there early and wait for a bar seat) but after reading some reviews I am leaning against it. Same for Slanted Door.
I need help! What am I missing? Every time I read the boards there is another restaurant that I must try. Again I am dining solo so this could possibly help me narrow down my choices b/c I want to feel comfortable wherever I go. And I prefer to stick to one area each evening but visit more than one restaurant. I also don't mind eating early and beating the crowds since I am coming from the east coast. Thanks to those who choose to help!