I've read a ton of posts and have no idea how I can fit everything in just 4 days (Fri-Mon). Answer: I won't and will have to come back! But please help make this trip the best it can be.
Also, we will be staying in North Beach so all else being equal closer places are better, but I realize that we will be heading down to the Mission a ton and I'm up for that. Less inclined to leave san fran proper as we will likely only rent a car our last day to head to mirin and then to the airport for our red eye flight.
As a general matter we've had lots of fancy dinners lately (if you know NY: Ko and Brooklyn Fare within a month and a half) and generally prefer hole in the walls/dives, so will be avoiding any place that is very fancy (say over $20/entree, though I know seafood might be expensive) and will be happy with cheap eats (<$10 entrees, no ambience is great).
There are a few specific categories of food we are interested in
1- Asian (likely 2 meals)--especially food that can't be gotten in New York. Figuring on Jai Yun for lunch either Friday or Monday. Can't decide on the second meal. Some ideas: Bund Shanghai? Koi Palace for dinner Monday night on the way to the airport (too far to go any other time)? Any dim sum place in/near chinatown that's worth it?
2- Mexican (likely 2-3 meals): Definitely have too many meals in this category, so please tell me what to cut. On the list now: Poc Chuc? Chilango Restuarant? La Oazaquena? And one meal eating burritos/tacos in the mission (Farolito, la cumbre, maybe some others).
3- Seafood: I know Swan Oyster Depot is touristy but we had a great time there during our last visit (7 years ago), so that's a strong contender. also thinking about Hogs Bay Oysters in Ferry Market. But I'm not sure whether either has dungeness crab, and I do want to check that out.
4- "California" food, emphasis on local ingredients. We will definitely be going to Ferry Market on Saturday morning. Maybe Zuni? Canteen? Aziza? Brunch at canteen or bar tartine both sounded great (and cheaper than dinner), and very californian to me, so maybe that can fulfill this category.
XOX truffles--any other good chocolate shops in san francisco proper? seems like there are lots in the east bay.
Anything else *amazing* we are missing? New York is also having a pizza renaissance so Flour + Water doesn't really appeal to me, and we have great Italian food, so I am also inclined to avoid that in my limited time in SF.
And is it worth squeezing in Mama's for breakfast? They are right next to our hotel, but the food sounds more like something we could get in NY.
And if we head to Muir Woods for a day is there anything we should check out?
Thanks so much for your advice!