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YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)


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YALAHAFA (Yet Another L.A. Hound Asking for Advice) on Great Eats in SF Proper (Muni accessible, non-high end)

TheOffalo | | May 25, 2014 11:33 AM

I’ll be in San Francisco the first week of June to attend Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) at Moscone Center. I’ll be staying near Union Square and will be getting a 7-day Muni pass to get around in SF proper. I’ve checked out various lists and this recent YALAHAFA thread by zack ( and have gotten some good information from it. I'm hoping this won't be too much of a rehashing.

Here is a list of places I’m considering: Do not pay too much attention to the order. I tried to prioritize initially--the first few places on the list are my top picks--but I gave up on sorting them pretty quick. I know it’s all over the place, but I’m hoping you can help me both add to it (if I have any deficiencies) and pare it down (restaurants that overlap each other). As you can see, I’m not looking for any high end dining (Benu, Coi, Crenn, Saison, etc.) on this trip as I don’t really have the budget for it, but I might be interested in something that approximates that in the mid-to-high double-digits. AQ perhaps?

If you couldn't tell from my username, I’m into offal. I am very sad that Incanto is gone, but I’m hoping that Porcellino will have some nice offal-centric specials while I’m there. I also have Bar Tartine high on my 4sq list because I’ve heard great things about their tripe dish, but it’s not currently on their menu. I’ve checked this thread on offal (, but I will be glad to take other suggestions in SF proper.

I think it’s just statistics, due to the high number of well regarded ones in SF, that Italian restaurants comprise a fifth of my 4sq list. I am not an aficionado by any means; I’ve not tried Bestia or Factory Kitchen or Sotto in LA (I have been to Bucato but wasn’t blown away by it; to be fair, it was only a week or so after they opened). I’ve already mentioned Porcellino for their offal-potential, but I’m also curious about their porchetta. Likewise, I have Cotogna on my list for the porchetta, but it’s not currently on their menu, though I’ve read they still offer it on Thursdays and Fridays off-menu. If I had to narrow these down to one or two out of my list, which should I keep? SPQR seems to be the favorite of my LA chow-friends, most of whom agree SF outdoes LA in Italian.

Despite living in LA for a decade, I’ve only really begun to explore the various Asian enclaves (Thai Town, Little Saigon, SGV, etc.), so I am no expert on Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, but I am very interested. For Thai, Lers Ros seems to be the go-to recommendation, but I really want to try Kin Khao too. I’m getting into Issan dishes, and I’m excited that I found Chabaa, which serves Nam Kao Tod, only a few blocks from my hotel. I’m also looking forward to trying Zen Yai’s Boat Noodles and seeing how it compares to Sapp and Pa Ord. For Vietnamese, I’d like to try Ha Nam Ninh’s Bun Bo Hue, which I’ve never had before, and also Turtle Tower’s Pho Ga.

I’ve heard that sushi in SF/BA cannot compare to LA, but I’m willing to try. I’m a semi-regular at two of LA’s more well regarded sushi-ya (Shunji, Kiriko) but I’d like to see what SF can do. I hear good things about Maruya, and Kusakabe sounds very promising. However, this is somewhat lower priority than the above, since I can get amazing sushi in LA. Likewise, I wouldn’t mind getting a great bowl of ramen while in SF, if one could be had, but it’s no big deal if I can’t.


* Looking for double-digit price range restaurant serving triple-digit price-range cuisine. (Aren’t we all?) Thinking of AQ. Other options?
* Looking for offal-centric restaurants. Thinking of Porcellino. Other options?
* Looking for to focus down to one or two great Italian restaurant (excluding Porcellino), since there are so damn many of them. Thinking of SPQR. Other options?
* Looking for great Thai and Vietnamese. Thinking of Lers Ros/Kin Khao, Ha Nam Ninh/Turtle Tower, respectively. Other options?
* Looking for great sushi in SF. Thinking of Maruya or Kusakabe. Other options? How about ramen?

(For reference, Shunji, Night+Market, Tsujita ANNEX, Kiriko, Tar & Roses, are some of my favorite restaurants in LA.)