My wife and I have lived in LA for more than a few years, but despite traveling many places and eating many amazing meals, we have have yet to make it up to SF proper. We've explored Napa & Sonoma, but never the Bay Area itself.
Thankfully we are rectifying this by taking advantage of the long, holiday weekend. We are obviously going to do many of the typical tourist-y things ... I mean, hey, we're tourists for crying out loud! Nevertheless, we still want to fit in some of the amazing cuisine for which the SF area is famous -- that is where I need YOUR help. (caveat: a couple of Christmases ago you guys were fantastic in helping me plan a trip for us; unfortunately it fell through, though I've certainly taken to heart the advice presented therein. Link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/581183)
Now, for our itinerary. We are flying into SFO Friday evening, arriving around 7:15 or so. We're still sorting out where to stay, though most likely one of the usual suspects (Four Seasons, Ritz, etc etc) will be where we end up, staying for four nights. We will definitely NOT have a rental car.
I am looking for an excellent, representative sample of SF cuisine -- in the sense that, I am trying to find food here that I cannot get in LA. From cheaper eats in the Mission to fine-dining like the French Laundry, and everything in between ... just so long as it is tasty! Price is not really a concern, though palate fatigue certainly is.
I've been reading through reams of threads, including the 350 response one from hungryabbey (link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7067...)
Accordingly I've already been working to get several reservations for the dinners, but a bit of guidance from you all would be greatly appreciated. Especially as we are staying across a weekend, and a holiday one at that, so Sunday and Monday dinners are of mild concern.
Here is what I have so far ...
Coi @ 9:30. I was very excited to get this res, as the board in general seems to be quite enamored with this restaurant. I did have a reservation for Commis, but once this opened up I just had to take it. Right call? And I'm assuming 9:30 gives us plenty of time to get to hotel, freshen up, and still make the res comfortably (we're carrying on, for what it is worth). Is the 11 course menu just a ton of food? I'm wondering if we are better off in the bar area where we may order a la carte ...
I've made a res at Canteen for 9 am. I'm curious as to just how hungry we will be, given the prior evening's meal, but we can always scale back ... plus, I want to save room as we absolutely are planning to hit the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. Any recs for either or both?
Dinner is where things get a little tricky. At the moment I do have a 9pm res at Manresa, which I got before the Coi res became available. To be perfectly honest, I cannot imagine keeping it. I don't think we will feel like heading all the way down and back, even with a car service, and even if we did that might simply be too much/too similar doing Coi & Manresa back-to-back.
We are interested in a slew of restaurants: Incanto, La Folie, Fleur De Lys, Chez Pannise, Commis, Perbacco, Aquerello, Ame, Frances, Saison, etc, etc. Since Saturday is a prime night (thankfully at least most options are open), this to me is the most important dinner left to fill. Thoughts?
Sunday I have a couple of dinners booked; Incanto at 8:30, and Frances at 10. There seems to be a dearth of places open on Sunday, so should I just stick with either of these? Any other suggestions?
This night was really difficult, given it is a holiday, and given that most restaurants are closed on Monday anyway. We are currently booked at Ame at 8:30, which seems to be the best pick for the night. We definitely want to end the trip on a high note, as we are flying out Tuesday morning. Am I correct in thinking this will do just that?
As I said, we will be doing many of the usual tourist-y things, so in terms of breakfasts and lunches, I really don't know where we will be. Given our dinners, and the fact that we are trying to show at least a modicum of self-control (wedding coming up soon), we will most likely eat very light breakfasts of fruit or smoothies, and then lighter/split lunches.
I do know that I absolutely MUST try a famous Mission Burrito. I was happy to see today that Grubstreet had an update on the Mission Burrito Book (link: http://missionburritobook.wordpress.com) Are their recs solid? They list Taqueria La Altena at 1, El Farolito at 2, El Metate at 3, and so forth and so on. I'm curious to know the boards thoughts, too.
Additionally, we're looking for great bakeries/dessert places; I've heard Citizen Cake gets mixed reviews, but as we have her cookbook we ought to at least try it. I've also read/heard Tartine is good, too. Oh, and Humphrey Slocombe for ice cream, yeah? Any other recs?
We've also been regaled with stories of amazing coffee; Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Ritual, Philz ... any I am missing? Any of these not worth hitting?
Lastly, I am trying to shy away from cuisines/regions that LA covers well (regional Chinese, regional Mexican, etc), unless there is a really compelling reason to eat otherwise. I'm not at all saying SF does not have amazing eats with respect to those regions, just that for a first trip I'd prefer to focus on other areas.
Thanks in advance for all of your help, and let me know if there's any other info I can give to help with suggestions.