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SF Itinerary Nov 12

Forget the Slanted Door. The hype by far exceeds the reality.
Some worthwhile combination of better food, more fun, and atmosphere can be found at:
Foreign Cinema (ask for a table outside), Farallon, Boulevard, The Blue Plate, Cotogna, Bix.
Sushi? Domo on Laguna has good sushi and the neighborhood is lively.
The ferry idea to Sausalito is a good one. It's a beautiful trip in nice weather, but I must confess I've never been to Sushi Ran.

Nov 03, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendation for a thank you dinner in Oakland

I second A Cote.

Nov 02, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Suggestions for dinner with co-workers

Farallon.
The food is very good, the decor is amazing, and it's really close to Union Square.
It's worth asking for a table in the back room.
Have fun.

Nov 02, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

What are you serving election night?

Jack Daniels with Thorazine.
"I'm tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney."

Nov 02, 2012
melvin in Home Cooking

Dives and cheap lunches

Shalimar - 532 Jones Street
Indian/Pakistani
Really good. Really Cheap. Really funky.
A total dive in deepest darkest Tenderloin. Don't trip over the junkies

Nov 02, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Staying atop Nob Hill; Recommendations for Dinner?

There's not much on Nob Hill. There's the Nob Hill Cafe, which is OK but nothing special.
There's also Venticello, which is good but a bit pricey.
My suggestion would be to walk over to Russian Hill, specifically to Hyde Street.
Things start getting good north of Vallejo St.
There's a concentration of worthwhile places over there.
Zarzuealla, Frascatti, Luella, just to name a few.
I prefer all of these to the places I mentioned on Nob Hill.
Also be aware that if you head to the south down the hill, e.g. Rue Lepic,
a) it is a very steep walk back up, and
b) the neighborhood gets progressively more sketchy as you head south/downhill.
I don't much like Nob Hill south of California St.,but that's just me.

Apr 20, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting from Boston with my 15 yo daughter

Incanto is great, but somehow combining teenagers and offal didn't immediately spring to mind.
Depending on the teenager it could work.
That pig blood pappardelle with foie gras is out of this world.
Which of the places you mentioned has the uni flan? That sounds amazing.

Apr 14, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Italian restaurant in NYC

Il Mulino is a shameless tourist rip off.
Decent food, but absolutely insane prices.
Nobody gets out of there for $200 for 2.
No way.
For the kind of splurge that Il Mulino inflicts you'd be better off (by far) at someplace like Marea.

Apr 14, 2012
melvin in Manhattan

name 5 overrated, or over hyped or famous restaurants whose food doesn't live up to reputation

I'll second the Shake Shack nomination.
It's a burger joint where you stand in line with a million kids.
Nothing special at all.

Il Mulino has got to be one of the most overrated rip offs in the entire city.
It's a tourist wallet vacuum with food that should cost 1/4 or 1/5 as much as they charge. The prices are absolutely insane.
The ridiculous show they put on somehow brought to mind Rob Schneider's obscene "Bella!" waiter shtick from SNL.

Apr 14, 2012
melvin in Manhattan

Visiting from Boston with my 15 yo daughter

Agree with Ruth regarding Fleur de Lys. Very stuffy.
She'll want to reconsider embracing adulthood.
Boulevard is a perennial consensus favorite worth considering.
It's fancy and beautiful without being uptight like FdL, and the food is very good.
If the weather is nice, sitting outside on the patio at Foreign Cinema would be a blast for a kid (and her mom or dad). It's a really fun place.
The food is good, and it's also a member of the fresh oyster cult.

Apr 14, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Il Mulino - am I the only one who felt cheated?

No. You're not the only one.
The place is an outrageous tourist trap rip off.
It's a theater devoted to scalping gullible out-of-towners (and maybe ignorant New Yorkers).
The food was reasonably good, but worth about 1/4 the price.

Apr 14, 2012
melvin in Manhattan

Very finicky teen in Paris

A trip to Paris should be a reward for agreeing to grow up and stop torturing her parents.
If she's going to be a pill, leaving her home would be ideal.
Otherwise:
La Coupole would be a worthwhile choice.
It's beautiful. It's historic. It's vaguely kid friendly.
There will be something there for her to eat, the atmosphere might distract her, and her folks will be able to eat something worthwhile.
Maybe they can even get her to try an oyster.
Take her to Georges on top of the Pompidou Museum (a great! museum) and sit on the patio outside.
If she's bad, leave her there. :-)
The food is not outstanding, but they'll have something for her.
The view is spectacular, one of the best in the city.
The "scene" would probably be interesting for a kid.
Pouting models as waitresses etc. She'll fit right in.
Pavillon Montsouris is beautifull and the food is good.
The gorgeous surroundings might even inspire the child to try something new.
None of these places are cheap.

Apr 13, 2012
melvin in France

Heading to San Francisco in Mid April from Boston

Swan's isn't worth the hassle, and there's really nothing special about it.
The hours are for senior citizens.
The line is for masochists.
The no-credit card policy is for tax cheats (not to mention being a cheesy form of customer abuse).
The oysters are just as good, if not better, elsewhere.
If I was coming in from out of town, I'd make a reservation at Zuni instead.
It's much nicer.

Apr 13, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Date Night - Classic California Cuisine?

I love Bix!
So much fun.
It's a great date spot.
One of the most beautiful rooms in the city.
Saw Sharon Stone come sweeping down the stairs in a sable cape once.
Great place. Good for dress up. Oh, and good food too.

Apr 06, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Good red meat place in SF

Went to Harris' two weeks ago. Still great. Best of breed in SF.
Beyond the desired price range however.
The Blue Plate is a really nice place that always has worthy red meat offerings.
It's American food done the way most Americans rarely experience.
Another subtly wine obsessed place that has good food too.
Funny how that works so frequently around here.

Apr 06, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresh local (maybe organic?) restaurants in Sunnyvale/ Mountain View area

Mediteranean? Dishdash on Murphy St. in downtown Sunnyvale is excellent.
Also in Sunnyvale, there's really good izakaya called Saizo on El Camino in a strip mall.
It's a sleeper. Really good. Make a rez for Friday and Saturday nights when it's full of Japanese who know a good thing.
Bistro Elan on California St. in Palo Alto is very good.
Don't know if they're locavores per se, but it's a special, albeit low key, place.
Despite (or maybe because of) all its restaurants MV doesn't have much special to offer.
Tacqueria La Bamba is a standout, but it's a funky burrito joint without the ambiance or space to sit and linger.

Apr 06, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

3 days in San Fran with toddler. Please help us eat well!

Yank Sing is a good idea. The Rincon Center location is the place for you.
Don't go to Mama's with a toddler on the weekend.
The wait to get in can be interminable. You run the risk of serious misery.
Right nearby is Park Tavern. It would be a good choice.
Lively with plenty of soothing background noise :-) The food is very good.
I don't know if they serve breakfast.
If you're in the Marina you might want to reconsider your "no Italian" rule.
A16 is not Marea, but it's 1/4 the price, and is quite excellent in its own right. More kid friendly too.
If you're in the Haight try The Alembic for a late lunch.
It's cool and the food is delish. It's a good restaurant masquerading as a bar.
They've got the Magnolia's beers.
It would be good with a toddler. Just don't let him drink too much :-)
Unfortunately, you probably don't want to be in the Haight with a toddler at night.
Union Square? Farallon. Ask for a table in the back room.
Your toddler will flip out looking at all the amazing visual stimuli. You might flip out too.
It's beautiful and the food is very good.
Possible downsides: Pricey and a bit more formal than the previous recommendations.
Have fun.

Apr 06, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Date Night - Classic California Cuisine?

Chez Panisse is THE classic. Mecca awaits you.
Go downstairs. It's fancy in an understated way.
Upstairs is too casual for an out-of-towner making a special trip, although it is a good choice for lunch.
Zuni is probably the classic in SF.
Neither one of these places is of the "no budget limit" variety.
I'd skip the fancier places if you really want the classic California Cuisine.
It's not really a fancy-dancy kind of thing.
If you really want a fancier example (why?) I'd consider Boulevard.
It's a perennial popular favorite for many years running.

Apr 06, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting from Boston with my 15 yo daughter

Another suggestion for seafood: Farallon.
Close to Union Square.
It's worth asking for a table in the back room.
The food is fantastic and the place is beautiful.
Real eye candy for kids and adults.
it's fancy.
I don't know why I didn't suggest this right off the bat. Slipped my mind.
This has been a favorite spot for taking out-of-towners for a special night out for years.
The gorgeous (real) Italians loved it.

Apr 05, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Visiting from Boston with my 15 yo daughter

Yank Sing in Rincon Center for lunch. The best dim sum in town.
Bonus: Check out the WPA murals depicting the history of California in the old post office at the front of the building.
Zuni is a good fancy-ish sophisticated place for a kid that likes oysters.
The Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Bldg. is good too.
Wandering around the Ferry Bldg. poking one's head into all the shops is fun. Lots of good food.
Don't go to Swan's Oyster depot.
It's the perennial favorite that's' really just a cheesy overpriced tourist rip off.

Apr 04, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Top 10 Must-visit SF Eateries - The Budget Version

If you're going to be in Santa Cruz check out Tacos Moreno on Water St.
The burrito al pastor is otherworldly fantastic.
This place beats any Tacqueria in San Francisco.
Another superior burrito joint is Tacqueria La Bamba in Mountain View.
Don't take them to Swan's Oyster Depot. It's a tourist trap.

Apr 04, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Good spot for "fancy" weekend lunch for eight?

Chez Panisse cafe is a terrific place, but it's not fancier that the other E. Bay spots you mentioned.
Not really worthy of a golden anniversary in my book.
Other than its distance from Oakland, your Auberge du Soleil idea sounds more like what you're looking for.
It is fancy and really is, and feels like, a place to celebrate a special occasion.
Bonus: The view from the terrace is absolutely beautiful.
The food is also very very good.

Apr 04, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

Oysters, Seafood, Groovy Lounges

Go to Zuni. It's a SF classic.
The food is great, the ambiance is wonderful, and they've got fresh oysters every day.
Forget Swan's.
It's a dirty tourist trap that closes early, makes you wait in line, and doesn't take credit cards.

Apr 04, 2012
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area

What would you add or subtract from the Chron Top 100 List? 2010

Add Bistro Elan and Tamarine in Palo Alto. Add the Village Pub in Woodside.
All three of these places are wonderful, not to mention far superior to the execrable Va de Vi.
Ax Va de Vi. What kind of small plate restaurant refuses to provide bread? Snooty service by amateurs. Unremarkable food.

Apr 06, 2010
melvin in San Francisco Bay Area