Hey New York: This Is Where to Eat in San Francisco

Mapping the SF restaurants that New York food writers go crazy for is a San Francisco pastime: Mission Chinese, State Bird, Rice Paper Scissors. They're all fantastic, but they also reinforce a particular stereotype of the San Francisco chef (capitally underfunded iconoclast rocking a quirky personal style and sleeve tattoos, funky eyewear optional). The places SF locals recommend to New Yorkers—that’s something different.

So when New York hound ashleylau asked recently where she should eat when she gets into town, singleguychef’s answers added up to a comprehensive guide for where to eat at this particular moment in the city by the bay.

• First, don’t make a special trip for Chinese (Flushing has better), unless you happen to be strolling Chinatown, in which case stop for warm dahn tat (egg custard tarts) at Golden Gate Bakery.

• Then, seek out the latest expressions of California farm-to-table cooking (AQ, Central Kitchen [pictured], Rich Table, Baker & Banker).

• Third: food trucks at a scene like Off the Grid at Fort Mason.

• Next, a pop-up, where the quirk factor’s likely to be high (check Kitchit and Lazy Bear).

• Don’t forget the classics, especially if it’s your first time: Swan Oyster Depot, Tadich Grill, Zuni, and Slanted Door (“mostly for the view”: Ouch!).

• And finally, if you’re craving a little New York–grade luster, consider a celebrity restaurant: Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern (“this is not like Guy Fieri's attempts to open a restaurant”), Top Chef Masters' Chris Cosentino's Incanto, Traci Des Jardin's Jardinière, and Martin Yan's new M.Y. China.

Another hound, goldangl95, offers an addendum: bars, the Ferry Plaza farmers’ market, ice cream, coffee (good God there’s a lot), and the place with the most innovative wine list. A bunch of others, too.

With an insider’s guide that long, ashleylau’s four to six days in SF should really expand to a month-long sabbatical. Or live out the ultimate New York fantasy: moving to a rambling flat in the Mission and starting that graphic novel.

Discuss: NYC coming to SF

Photo of Central Kitchen by Flickr member *christopher* under Creative Commons

Colleen Hubbard returns next week.