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Help / Suggestions? - 3 Evenings in SF

cagey | Oct 10, 200210:14 AM

Greetings SF (and Bay area) hounds:

A collegue and I will be up in SF for mid-week business in a couple weeks, and hope to find time afterward for a minor chow-quest. It's been over 6 years since my last visit (so technically, this counts as - and hence pre-enlightenment? The 'search' function has come in very handy, btw.)

Anyway, as we only have 3 short evenings out, we're hoping to make the most of it. (We'll be staying in North Beach / lower Columbus, but we're not limited to that area).

From recent chowhound posts, some spots that we hope to try include:

- Swan Oyster Depot - (for an obligatory oyster fix)
- Helmand - Afghan food
- Thanh Long - (out in Sunset) Vietnamese (roast crab fix)
- Italian - (Yes, SF still beats LA hands-down for decent, red-tablecloth joints). My recollections are fuzzy, but we're looking for a low-key old-school place with some atmosphere (sans pretention and 'be-seens') and *decent* food. North Beach seems to be full of them?

(We may also "cave in" for a good burger - was thinking of Mo's since it's close to where we're staying.)

Now.... if anyone has violent disagreement with these choices, or can perhaps suggest something better (or closer to NB area), *please do so*.

As a quirky aside, we are also looking for a bar / lounge where we can get a *quality* Mai Tai. I mean, a better-than-average Trader Vic's-caliber Mai Tai. (I have been to the Tonga Room and all tiki-kitch aside, this seemed overpriced and underboozed.) I've also been curious about Li Po or Buddha over in Chinatown. (Won't be able to hit the Bamboo Hut as it's closed on Mon- Tues.) Any other suggestions?

Also, in 20-plus visits to the city, I have never been to Julius' Castle for cocktails. Is this endeavor possible or best avoided?

Lots of questions I know, but I appreciate any suggestions.


Santa Monica Hound

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