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Old 02-14-2007, 05:17 PM
El Diablo El Diablo is offline
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Default San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

OK, a few people have requested this in different threads. So I'm planning to do a few of these, maybe one a week, then post in the resource guide thread. I figure we'll hit NY, Chicago, Atlanta, and some other big cities first. Post other cities to do in the suggestions thread.

Feel free to mention both well-known top restaurants and little divey places. Mention tourist attractions that are great plus things to do that are off the beaten path.

Here are a few things to do in the San Francisco area.

Alcatraz tour. I am usually anti-touristy things, but this tour (get the audio guided tour thing) is really cool.

Sushi Groove South. Tons of great sushi places in SF (see the sushi thread for a long list). This place is very "SF-style" with a nice, somewhat dark ambience. A friend I just took there said "this is the first time I've been at a sushi place with a DJ, interesting!" which pretty much sums it up. Great fish as well, of course.

Harris'. The best steak in SF, this is an old-school place with great martinis, steaks, and whatever else you want. Expensive, but well worth it.

Izzy's. For a more casual steak, go to Izzy's in the Marina. For about $25 you get a steak and two sides. I recommend the Prime Rib plus Izzy's potatoes and creamed spinach.

Tommy's Joynt. This place makes great corned beef, pastrami, brisket, and tons of other stuff. They'll make that up on a platter for you with a couple of sides for about $8 or make a big sandwich for you for $5. I recommend the brisket sandwich w/ BBQ sauce or the corned beef and cabbage.

Tommy's Mexican and Tequila Bar. This is out in the avenues, a bit of a hike from the center of the city, but really everything's close in SF. A nice meal after checking out Golden Gate Park during the day. They have some pretty good Mexican food, but the highlight is the bar w/ countless forms of tequila that you can sip straight or in some really great margaritas.

Farmer's Market at Ferry Building. On Saturday mornings. This place is a little pricier than the other farmer's markets in the Bay Area due to its central location, but it has tons of great vendors. Lots of really, really delicious stuff to buy. Also, inside the building are a lot of great speciality stores like olive oil stores (on a Saturday between the stores and vendors, there are probably 20 places selling high-end olive oil!), chocolates, butcher, cheese place, bakeries, etc. Between the farmer's market and ferry building shops you can put together an INCREDIBLE picnic.

Anchor Steam Brewery Tour. I haven't actually done this, but people love it.

Scharfen Berger Factory Tour. In Oakland. Another one I haven't done, but am told is great. They make really great chocolate.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:30 PM
The DaveR The DaveR is offline
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Default Re: Your favorite things to do or places to go: San Francisco Bay Area

The best bread I've had in the US is at Acme which started in Berkeley but is also in the Ferry Building market. Berkeley also has terrific chaat at Vik's, which is basically a barebones warehouse operation adjacent to their food import business.

In the Castro is Anchor Oyster Bar, which has the best New England clam chowder I've had. It's a little neighborhood secret with the same guy in the kitchen every day.

The standard touristy (yet still very good) Chinese place is House of Nanking but down the block and up Broadway is Yuet Lee, which IMO is much more delicious. I'll typically just order whatever specials they have and go to town.

Another tradition was having a sausage foccacia sandwich and some good coffee at Mario's Bohemian Cigar Shop off Washington Square or getting a delicious sandwich at Molinari's, a couple blocks down Columbus. Molinari also makes fresh ravioli that you can buy by the box.

EDIT: Forgot about Pyung Chang in Oakland. Excellent soon dubu for people who like Korean food. And Avatar's Punjabi Burritos in Mill Valley.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:34 PM
nyc999 nyc999 is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

I'm a big fan of City Lights for independent and political books. This probably isn't news for anyone who lives in the city.

Edit: Also like the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:40 PM
hawk59 hawk59 is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

See the seals(sea lions?) hanging out at Fisherman's Wharf.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:40 PM
El Diablo El Diablo is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Daver,

At Yuet Lee, the following are some standouts:

BBQ Pork Chow Mein (so much better than what you'd normally expect from this)
Sweet and Sour Pork with Plum Sauce (best sweet and sour pork I've ever had)
All the fish dishes (many of them they'll steam whole then cut it open and debone it right there at the table for you. Also, they go grab a live fish from the tank for your approval. That's cool.)
Beef w/ asparagus and black bean sauce.
Beef tenderloin.
As you noted, the specials.

Everything is cheap ($8-10ish) except for the big fish dishes ($20-30ish). With four, 2 meat dishes, some chow mein, and a fish is a good amount of food.

This place is also open super-late, something like 4am on the weekends.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:49 PM
theBruiser500 theBruiser500 is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Boston should be next, I've probably seen more in SF than I have in Boston and I haven't done anything in SF.
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Old 02-14-2007, 05:52 PM
El Diablo El Diablo is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

All,

The Buena Vista (near Fisherman's Wharf) is famous for their Irish Coffee. Very good stuff.

After visiting City Lights, head to some bars in North Beach before getting some food at Yuet Lee.

Tosca is old school. The drink of choice is a cappucino/brandy mixture that is delicious. They do all sorts of coffee/liquor drinks. Just get the house special, it's the best. They have tons of glasses lined up and ready to go.

If you're in more of a beer mood, Vesuvio is great.

Savoy Tivoli if you want to meet some girls and be at a livelier and louder bar.

Bubble Lounge if you want sophisticated older champagne vibe. I'm not a big fan.

Cigar Bar for, well, cigars. And expensive alcohol. Often a cover here, but worth it if you're in the mood for a cigar on the patio.

Kell's if you want to meet some young girls in a crazy college-bar type atmosphere.

Grant & Green if you want to listen to some live blues while you drink.

Gino & Carlo's if it's 6am and you are ready to drink w/ some crusty old Italian locals. This is a pretty sweet bar, actually.

Kennedy's if you are in the mood for some great beers (HUGE beer selection, cheap great beers) or some curry - yes, it has an Indian joint in the back! Also, foosball and other games.

Li Po (or The Buddha Bar across the street) if you want to venture over to some Chinatown bars on your way to Yuet Lee. Buddha Bar features one of the drunkest, most insane bartenders in the city. Also, if you go, you must have some shots of "The Chinese." You can also get The Chinese at Li Po, just look for the ceramic pots.

That's a small fraction of the bars right in that area. Good times.
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:02 PM
Evan Evan is offline
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Default Re: Your favorite things to do or places to go: San Francisco Bay Are

[ QUOTE ]

In the Castro is Anchor Oyster Bar, which has the best New England clam chowder I've had. It's a little neighborhood secret with the same guy in the kitchen every day.

[/ QUOTE ]
This place is really good.

My favorite thing to eat in northern California is Mexican food. It's a real treat for someone coming from the east coast where it's very hard to get anything near that quality. I know Diablo has posted about El Farolito in the past, it's really good. I still think Taqueria Santa Cruz is the best Mexican I've ever had.

Other than food I think one of the coolest things I did in SF was playing Frisbee on a beach under the Golden Gate Bridge. I forget the name but I'm sure any of the locals know where it is.

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Old 02-14-2007, 06:07 PM
PITTM PITTM is offline
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Default Re: San Francisco Bay Area: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Golden Gate Park is one of the nicest parks i have ever been to. Steinhart Aquarium(im not sure if it has moved or something?) is the 2nd best aquarium i have ever been to, with Monterey Bay Aquarium Winning out here.

The Dragon Well is in the top 3 Chinese Resturants I have ever been to.

I've been to the San Francisco Opera House twice and it is the most beautiful building I have been to in the United States.

This one should be pretty obvious, but ATT/SBC/PacBell park for Giants Games. This is my 2nd favorite baseball stadium after Wrigley field. The view is just spectacular.

The whole area by Fishermans wharf is pretty sweet. I am a seafood lover and the clam chowder/all dishes around here are just fantastic. As is the sourdough pizza. damn, now i want some sourdough pizza. My uncle's favorite restaurant is Scoma's, right by Fisherman's Wharf, but i prefer Pompei's Grotto.

I had a few friends who went to SF State, I def got drunk and partied and met lots of cute girls there on a few occasions, fun part of town. Also, that long beach near there rules. Isnt it called Ocean Beach or something?

I live about an hour from SF, so this is the best i could do. Like Evan said, i couldnt part with the delicious Mexican food that Taqueria Santa Cruz makes me almost daily. Seriously ridiculously good.
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:07 PM
Aloysius Aloysius is offline
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Default Re: Your favorite things to do or places to go: San Francisco Bay Are

[ QUOTE ]
Tosca is old school. The drink of choice is a cappucino/brandy mixture that is delicious. They do all sorts of coffee/liquor drinks. Just get the house special, it's the best. They have tons of glasses lined up and ready to go.

[/ QUOTE ]

Unless times have changed over past couple years, you can smoke in there too! (Although I guess this might not be good for some people...)

Wanted to recommend the Lower Haight area - couple good spots there (had a good friend who lived at Haight and Fillmore), and noticed doesn't get much love in SF threads: Mad Dog in the Fog (good bar to watch soccer games); Rosamunde's Grill (excellent sausage sandwiches); Toronado (one of the better beer selections in SF, 100+ on tap); Molotov (reminds me of Kilowatt in Mission; gritty biker type bar).

And second Daver's comment about Acme Bread - best I've ever had in US, Bay Area is lucky to have it there.

-Al
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