SF eating itinerary

Will be taking a leisurely road trip up north from 08/02 - 08/11 and will be in SF from 08/05 - 08/10 (with maybe a day trip to Berkeley). We also likely hit San Jose (Winchester Mystery House… yes, I’m serious) on the way back.

I’m just starting to do some research, and here are some thoughts:

Dragon Beaux
Ming Kee Hong BBQ
Slanted Door
La Ciccia (already made reservation)
Zuni Cafe
Perbacco (went many yrs ago and enjoyed it)
B. Patisserie (kouign amann, black sesame latte, passion fruit Bostock, pain suisse)
Tartine (Banana Cream tart, eclair)

Partner would like to go to Slanted Door since he had a great meal there many moons ago. Is it still good, or is there something better that people like?

Still trying to decide if Californios is worth the hit to the wallet (if I could even get a reservation this late).

I loved Ti Couz when I stayed in SF for several wks about 10 yrs ago. It looks like it closed down many yrs ago. Is there anything else like it?

Suggestion for cheap, quick eats (incl places for breakfast) are also welcome!

Seriously doubt if we’ll be able to hit everything that I’ve listed b/c, as y’all know, I’m lazy, but why not be ambitious for now? :slight_smile:

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Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

You have a good list to start with for sure. :slight_smile: (I can’t speak to Slanted Door or Perbacco - never been.)

Since you were asking about Breakfast, you might consider Plow. We enjoyed multiple visits there. :slight_smile:

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completely worth it

you can get the exact same thing at the manufactory here in la

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Liguria bakery . For the focaccia and the history.


Consider going to Cafe Salina (Millbrae near the airport), ideally on a Friday lunch for dim sum in addition. It’s a HK cafe but the dim sum master there who came out of retirement, does things right for the most part. Save sufficient room for their desserts, many of which went almost extinct as nobody else bothered to learn how to make them (e.g. black sesame rolls, baked sago pudding) and they do it very well (you can see their selection in the refrigerator case near the cashier).

Definitely hit up Ming Kee dine in rice plates. Soy sauce chicken (regular farmed non free range which are softer and plumper) is a must, and if you do empress chicken get the free range version. Cha siu is on the sweeter side but when you eat it with the ginger scallion sauce it blows it up (and a mouthful of rice together). Can also order some other roasties a la carte to try on the side. Last time I had the duck ,the skin was good, but not much meat…lots of bones (and this is the thigh). You may want to try squeezing in two visits just to taste a variety.

If you can get a reservation at Californios, I’d say go for it. If you liked and have been to Taco Maria, Californios really steps it up further.

I enjoyed Slanted Door back in the day, but personally would rather save quota to eat at other restaurants. You could try the pasta tasting menu at Flour + Water, the charcuterie, pizza, and proteins at Pausa (downtown San Mateo), try for a reservation at Sushi Yoshizumi also in downtown San Mateo (they are probably fully booked for two at the moment since they book a month ahead) or see if you get lucky with a cancellation and just go for the basic omakase, Sorrel for California French/Italian (Italian at its core but French sensibilities in the fine dining approach) instead of Perbacco.

Or replace one of the options with Maum.

If you can manage it, hit up Pho Y 1, East Capitol Expressway in San Jose (it’s further south from Winchester Mystery House). Arguably our best pho around where the broth is clean, natural tasting, and complex, you can taste all of the natural beef flavors, and if you get crunchy flank (ve dong) or their meatballs on the side, it comes in a very concentrated consomme that is ridiculously good. Having tried one of the Pho 79’s in Garden Grove back in January, I can honestly say Pho Y 1 runs circles around it easily. Even their cafe sua da on a good day is a touch hazelnut, aromatic, not over roasted (although can be strong). Though right now it’s roasting in the high 90s there.


“Negative film roll” is a classic indeed!

Ocean Bo in El Monte here has it occasionally but there really isn’t anyone else in SGV doing it

hog island for a pre-bang snack

A few other things worth considering

  • hit up some of our top ice cream joints. Bi Rite, Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous. Haven’t seen it in a while, but Bi Rite’s Basil ice cream is ridiculous. Many of my social media friends can’t get enough of Garden Creamery but it’s too light for me and seems to be more of an instagrammable place. Not ice cream, but Marco Polo Gelato on Taraval (avoid the San Jose location)… the Asian flavors are absolutely delicious…if you love Durian the Durian ice cream will be your favorite and thus make that your top choice. Otherwise, Dragonwell green tea, black sesame, lychee, red bean etc are excellent, just taste until you get to what you like. The ice cream equivalent of this will be at Polly Ann on Noriega, though it’s splitting hairs at this point. If you encounter Humphrey Slocombe ice cream, try some of the super eclectic adult flavors…although my weakness is Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee x peanut butter brittle combo (they had some limited edition IPA / beer flavors that were quite interesting)…not a huge fan of the texture at times, but fun to try if you are in the area.

  • Madcap in San Anselmo helmed by Chef Ron Siegel. Classic California Japanese French. A bit further of a drive, but you’re not stuck with San Franciscans and tech bro’s. Less than $100 for the tasting menu (an absolute must), the balance and sensibility of the Japanese approach is ridiculous…Ron is at the top of his game now. Not hard to book either for a Michelin star.

  • go to Ferry Building Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, take a stroll inside the Ferry Building.

  • if you are into wine / wine tasting and don’t mind the drive north there are some places worth visiting in Napa, Yountville, or just do a day trip, wine taste, have a lunch or dinner there before heading back to SF. Bistro Jeanty (Yountville) is probably most my favorite French in all of SF Bay Area, don’t think anything else comes close…although I love La Folie but they’re not bistro style.

  • try one of our old school San Francisco restaurants/eateries. Swan Oyster Depot, maybe Tadich Grill. If you weren’t from LA I would suggest House of Prime Rib (but you have Lawry’s which can be contentious to Lawry’s fans haha).


Perbacco’s still great, just ate there last week.

Save room for some Testun al Barolo.

Zuni was also as good as ever when I went last year.

Slanted Door’s food was the same as ever the last time I went, which has been a while. Without a reservation the waits are long. Phan’s other place OTD on Bush near Fillmore is cheaper and more relaxed, different menu but same quality and sensibility.

“Like Ti Couz” in the sense of serving buckwheat galettes? Brittany Crepes closed its bricks-and-mortar place (as did the other two good places that opened since Ti Couz closed!) but they still do farmers markets. Ask for the full amount of butter like in France or they may be a bit dry and to my taste wrong.

Or did you mean “like Ti Couz” in the sense of overall atmosphere?

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They’ve been coasting on their reputation since they switched from olive oil to canola oil.

Yes, I saw you mention Perbacco still be great in another thread. Do they still do 2 oz wine pours? That’s the perfect amount for me.

Yes. Which Farmer’s Market? :slight_smile:

So many great recs! Hopefully, this thread will be helpful for other visitors. :smiley:

Dunno. We always get bottles.

You’re leaving Sunday? Temescal might be on your way depending on what route you’re taking.

The San Rafael market is one of the three best in the Bay Area, but that’s in the wrong direction.

Sat. :frowning:

Snagged a 5:30PM reservation for Californios on 08/08. Never been to Taco Maria, so this’ll be a whole new experience for us. :slight_smile:

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make sure it’s counter seatings! enjoy!

It’s not. No chef’s table available during our trip (I think; partner didn’t want to eat at 9PM). :frowning:

Congrats @paranoidgarliclover. I think you’ll really enjoy Californios! :slight_smile: Looking forward to your report back.

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So what . I miss it . I used to get the six dollar plain . Take it home to Santa Cruz and put olive on it after reheating. Now I live 275 miles north. I would still go there.

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I miss it because it no longer exists.

A slice or three of Golden Boy isn’t a bad fallback.

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I’ve caught a bit of a cold, so recuperating indoors and catching up on reporting.

Day 1:
Arrived in the late afternoon and met up with a friend in Berkeley at Zut (so no photos). Nice ambiance and service, but the food was not hugely impressive. The server offered to cook the salmon medium rare; it looked pretty through cooked to me. My pizza also seemed overcooked (dry), and a bit tasteless. Crispy brussel sprouts were fine.

Day 2:
Visited La Boulangerie. Seems to be a relatively new (and serious-looking) operation; we were under the impression that the were orienting employees. The bread looked very tempting, but we got some quiches and a kouign amann instead. The crust of the corn/poblano chile crust was very odd (difficult to break, even when using a knife). Filling tasted fine (if a bit grainy). The place suffered bc we had just had Parker Lusseau the day bf.

A late lunch at The Slanted Door. Lounge and bar service only. Bartender was very good and recommended a Hungarian riesling (which partner enjoyed). Bartender also made an off-menu rec (hamchi), which was excellent. The rolls and vermicelli were fine, but not exceptional. The cost (incl tax and service charge) was a gasp-inducing $90. Glad I came, but don’t feel the need to return.

Dinner La Ciccia. Was it @Chowseeker1999 @PorkyBelly @BradFord @ipsedixit who had recommended this place? It is indeed exceptional! Baby octopus stew, spaghetti bottarga, and the whole prawns were just amazing. Partner was a bit thrown off by how chewy the spaghetti was; I loved it. I tried sucking the prawn heads, but it’s a bit difficult when they’ve been butterflied. I think I got an eyeball by accident. The octopus is SO tender p, and the stew is perfectly spiced.

Service is excellent, and the person who I presume is the chef quietly made rounds (and even folded one of napkins). People in the restaurant only started taking photos when dessert arrived, which is why I don’t have pics of the other dishes.

Saffron and bergamot panna cotta, and meringues with hazelnuts. Partner wished the panna cotta were smoother; I enjoyed it as is. The meringues were small but SO delicious and decadent. YUM.

This place is a gem.

BTW, was there another FTC’er at La Ciccia last night? Someone at the bar appeared to be taking notes…


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Hope you feel better!

Great report. I’m so glad you enjoyed La Ciccia! :slight_smile: (Yes, I was one of the group that recommended this place.) :wink:

Looks like you stopped by Dragon Beaux as well. Did you like it? :slight_smile:

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