San Francisco Bay Area rss

Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the SF Chowhound community.

Le Soleil

For delicious Vietnamese with nice ambience, Le Soleil is a perfect choice. Bodegadawg thinks the mango salad topped with fried shallots is exceptional, and loves the barbecued pork rolls and clams with black beans. makaroon likes the tasty, succulent BBQ chicken, and many hounds recommend the five-spice chicken. Le Soleil is more expensive than your average Vietnamese dive in the area, but it has attractive decor and nice service to make up for it, if you’re into that sort of thing. And the food is actually really good. Even the seafood curry–a dish that sounds like bad imitation Thai–tastes delicious, says Windy.

Le Soleil Authentic Vietnamese [Richmond]

133 Clement St., San Francisco

415-668-4848

Locater

Board Links

Dinner at Le Soleil on Clement

Japanese Spaghetti

Chika specializes in Japanese Western-style food, like meat sauce pasta. And they do it well. Mushroom (kinoko) pasta is better than any Wendy_san tasted in Japan, with noodles cooked perfectly al dente. More traditional Japanese fare, like tanuki udon, is also excellent.

This place has a more elegant and quiet feel than an izakaya. There’s jazz playing in the background and everything. Dinner for four, plus two pitchers of Sapporo, runs about $130 before tip.

Chika [Sunset]
841 Irving St., San Francisco 94122
415-681-5539
Locater

Board Links

Chika–San Mateo

El Delphin

El Delphin serves tasty, fresh ceviche and beautifully prepared southern Mexican dishes, says China. Quality is high: caldo de pollo features incredibly rich broth, and it’s chock full of vegetables and stewed chicken, and garnished with cilantro and mint. Order camarones con chile de arbol for a good portion of large prawns, partially butterflied and cooked in a creamy sauce with parsley, garlic, and dried chiles. It comes with fluffy Spanish rice and delicious, partially mashed refried beans, just like the ones you get in Michoacan. Service is really nice, and prices are very reasonable–a plentiful dinner for five plus six beers will run you about $75.

Restaurente El Delphin [Mission]
3066 24th St, at Folsom, San Francisco 94110
415-643-7955
Locater

Board Links

Delfine Report–24th and Folsom

New Eritrean in Santa Rosa

Injera cravings in Sonoma County should be immediately directed to Café Santa Trata, a new Eritrean restaurant in Santa Rosa. Combination plates are available for about $12, and come with two or three dishes, salad, and a wedge of wonderful injera. jeanlass especially likes their spicy stewed beef, yellow lentils, and a mysterious but tasty spinach dish.

The place is so new, they haven’t printed an Eritrean menu yet, so you order by by pointing to a platter of food on display near the register. No matter–the food is good, and the café is a welcome addition to the area.

Cafe Santa Trata
711 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa 95407
Map

Why Don’t We Eat Here More Often?

If you’re too early or too late for the outstanding rice-stuffed chicken at Ming’s Diner, you should check out one of the lunch specials–specials so tasty they come with the Melanie Wong Parents’ Seal of Approval, and cost like $3.25.

One of the best things is the beef with tender greens. The seared beef is redolent with garlic and wok breath, served over tender, juicy choi sum and bathed in a deliciously complex pan gravy. The house soup that comes free with lunch is a nice brew of pork bones and black mushroom, and it’s warming, if not terribly intense.

Lunch for three, which often entails a heavy bag of leftovers, will set you back about $12. “My mother asked me why we didn’t eat here more often, and I have to say it beats me too,” says Melanie Wong.

Ming’s Diner [Parkside]
2129 Taraval St., San Francisco 94116
415-242-0811
Locater

Board Links
Beefy Lunch Specials @ Ming’s Diner, SF

Chorizo and Eggs and Pumpkin Pancakes at Nena’s

DaveMP likes the chorizo and eggs at Nena’s Restaurant, with mild Salvadoran chorizo. It comes with queso fresco, crema, refried beans, and inch-thick sopes. And the pumpkin pancakes are really fantastic–they still make them, even though they may not be on the menu. The huge, fluffy pancakes have real pumpkin flavor, but it’s not overpowering.

susaninsf is impressed with the citrus French toast, made from orange bread and topped with fresh orange slices and fresh strawberries. A huge, beautiful portion is $8.25.

Nena’s Restaurant [Mission]
3459 Mission Street, San Francisco
415-285-8985
Locater

Board Links
Great breakfast at Nena’s (Bernal Heights) and sago at Creations in the Richmond
Report: Vietnamese Chicken at Cordon Bleu and excellent Pumpkin Pancakes at Nena’s

Perbacco

Perbacco is a delicious new choice for upscale Italian, says monday. Try the salumi misti, featuring their house-made finocchiona, which has a soft, lush texture and lovely fennel flavor. Pasta dishes are transcendent, like house-made pasta filled with roasted veal in a simple butter sauce with braised cabbage. The cheese plate, served with chestnut flower honey, marcona almonds, and local muscato grapes, is a nice dish, too.

MorganSF agrees wholeheartedly, and recommends pansotti stuffed with chard, ricotta, herbs, and walnut butter. Or try the pan-roasted chicken with Meyer lemon pan juices and broccoli with anchovy garlic butter. Gelati and other dessert items are extremely good, too. “Only potential embarassment stopped me from licking the plate,” says MorganSF.

Perbacco [Embarcadero]
230 California St., San Francisco
415-955-0663
Locater

Board Links
Perbacco, go there now!

Put On Your Crabby Pants

It’s local crab season, and Woodhouse Fish Company serves feisty, incredibly fresh dungeness crab, says SteveG. And check out the amazing fries. They change their frying oil so often that all their fried stuff always tastes super fresh.

Duarte’s Tavern is another great choice for crab, in the form of the succulent crab melt. “It is a thing of beauty,” says Melanie Wong. And after, try their ollalieberry pie, recommends Cynsa.

Ferry Plaza Seafood in the Ferry Building is serving a half crab in the shell for $15, and it rocks, says sgwood415. The sweet, juicy meat renders the butter and cocktail sauce totally superfluous.

Woodhouse Fish Company [Castro]
2073 Market St., San Francisco
415-437-2722
Locater

Duarte’s Tavern [Peninsula]
202 Stage Rd., Pescadero
650-879-0464
Locater

Ferry Plaza Seafood [Embarcadero]
One Ferry Building, #18, San Francisco
415-274-2561
Locater

Board Links
An ideal crabby lunch-Woodhouse
Crabs Half Moon Bay
Crab at the Ferry Building

Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Excellent pork buns of the baked variety are to be had at Golden Gate Bakery. They’re rworange’s favorite, with the perfect ratio of pork to bun. The bun has a touch of sweetness, and the saucy pork filling has a bit of an edge, as if there were a touch of alcohol in the sauce.

You’s is favored by CYL and roster. Yimster likes Red House Bakery for its generously filled buns–however, other hounds are concerned that the filling level is inconsistent. However, definitely check out their “old wife cake,” says Melanie Wong, with flaky pastry that tastes of lard and a tasty, complex filling of nuts and coconut.

Cafe Bakery makes a great baked barbecue pork bun, favored by many hounds. But go early–they’re usually sold out by early afternoon.

Golden Gate Bakery [Chinatown]
1029 Grant Ave., San Francisco
415-781-2627
Locater

You’s Dim Sum [Chinatown]
675 Broadway, San Francisco
415-788-7028
Locater

Red House Bakery [Bay Shore]
2818 San Bruno Ave., San Francisco, CA
415-656-0128
Locater

Cafe Bakery & Restaurant [Sunset]
1365 Noriega St., San Francisco
415-661-6116
Locater

Board Links
Baked BBQ Pork Buns in SF Chinatown?
Red House Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco for Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Chowish Lamb Options

Chowhounds weigh in on their favorite moderately-priced lamb dishes in town.

david kaplan likes the lamb burger at Bocadillos; two of them with a garnish salad are only $8. The cumin lamb at Old Mandarin Islamic, peppery and strongly cumin-y, is also recommended.

Another option is Woodward’s Garden. The braised lamb shank with melted gypsy peppers, braised endive, couscous, and cilantro oil tastes amazing and is a great value at about $20, says chefinthecity.

Chez Nous, a small plates place on Fillmore, serves simply-prepared lamb chops served with rosemary salt, perfectly cooked, says laaronson.

Helmand has one of the best racks of lamb in the city for only about $18, says Joan Kureczka; stonefruit also likes their seekh kabab, cubes of lamb not served on skewers.

Morton the Mousse loves the stewed lamb with charred eggplant at Aziza for $19.

The barbacoa at La Gran Chiquita is very tasty if you’re a lamb fan, says jmarek.

Bocadillos [Financial District]
710 Montgomery St., Washington, San Francisco
415-982-2622
Locater

Old Mandarin Islamic [Sunset]
3132 Vicente St., San Francisco
415-564-3481
Locater

Woodward’s Garden [Mission]
1700 Mission St., San Francisco
415-621-7122
Locater

Chez Nous [Fillmore]
1911 Fillmore St., San Francisco
415-441-8044
Locater

Helmand Restaurant [North Beach]
430 Broadway, San Francisco
415-362-0641
Locater

Aziza [Richmond]
5800 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
415-752-2222
Locater

Taqueria La Gran Chiquita [Fruitvale]
3503 International Blvd., Oakland
510-533-6484
Locater

Board Links
Best place to have some Lamb in SF, non-curry, non-expensive? POSSIBLE?