Tag Archives: Restaurant

On A Mission for a Meal? Check Out These Eats

San Francisco has so many great restaurants in different parts of town. Whatever you’re in the mood for, some parts of the city are better than others for your cravings: North Beach has Italian, Clement has Chinese, and the Mission has Mexican food. Look in the nooks and crannies of each of these neighborhoods and you’ll find unique restaurants that stand out. Yes, you can find amazing burritos in the Mission, but try some of these other great restaurants that have nothing to do with tacos or carnitas.

Herbivore (983 Valencia)
Hours:Mon-Thurs.
9A.M.-10P.M.,
Fri & Sat. 9A.M-11P.M.
Prices: $7-$11

I am the furthest thing from a vegan eater, but after coming to this place I found that I really enjoy the food and atmosphere. The staff is really friendly and willing to spend fifteen minutes with you on the menu if you don’t know what to order. There are also a ton of items on their menu that are gluten free!
Favorite Dishes:
Green papaya salad ($7.5)
Spicy rice noodles ($7.5)

Delfina (3621 18th St.)
Hours: Mon- Thurs. 5:30-10P, Fri & Sat 5:30-11P, Sun 5-10P
Prices: $8-$26

I love Pizzeria Delfina but am sometimes craving something more than pizza. Right next door to the pizzeria is a sit down restaurant that has the whole package of an amazing restaurant: great food, fast and friendly service and a prime spot for people watching! It’s a hit or miss with how busy the restaurant can get but is completely worth the wait!
Favorite Dishes:
Tripe alla Florentina ($10)
Hawaiian Ahi ($26)
Spiced Almonds ($3)

Beretta (1199 Valencia)
Hours: Sun-Mon 5:30P.M.-1A.M.
Prices: $6-$26

I love this place! It’s tucked away on Valencia, away from the main hub of restaurants and shops. Although on the corner, I accidentally passed by it when meeting my dad here for dinner one night. Looking from the outside, it is always packed and once inside, you can see why. The small restaurant is cozy. For my 21+ readers, there’s also a full bar that has everything you could possibly want. For the underage crowd, there is a really good ginger beer.

Favorite dishes:
Butternut squash soup ($6)
Broccoli rabe, pancetta and mozzerella pizza ($12)
Osso Bucco ($16)

Mission Chinese (2234 Mission)
Hours: 11:30- 3P.M., 5-10:30P.M. Closed Wednesdays
Prices: $7-$13

I generally dislike going to restaurants that spring out of nowhere and are extremely hyped up. Don’t get me wrong, I love hot tips on where to eat, but am generally disappointed after so much anticipation. I never really had a dying urge to try this place but an episode of Anthony Bourdain: The Layover finally lured me in. The dishes here are flavorful and made to order; they even have hand pulled noodles.

Favorite Dishes:
Thrice Cooked Bacon ($11)- can be made vegan
Chilled Buckwheat noodles ($7)

The Mission District has amazing food that ranges from Asian Fusion to Vegan/Gluten Free. Even though it may be your usual stop for a burrito, make sure you try what else the neighborhood has to offer.

Restaurant Review: Yamo at 18th & Mission

Garlic house noodles; $6.00. Stir fry vegetables; $6.00. Egg rolls; $4.25. An entire meal for two for $16.00. Welcome to Yamo.

You could walk by Yamo a dozen times and never notice it was there. The tiny entryway at the intersection of 18th Street and Mission Street is nondescript and the sign “Yamo” doesn’t tell the average passerby what exactly lies inside. However, around dinnertime just about any day of the week the line stretching out the door should tip you off that something worth your time is happening inside.

Yamo is a hole-in-the-wall Burmese restaurant, run by adorable older Burmese women. The entire restaurant is a bar with about nine stools (it varies every time I go in). Three or four women at a time run the restaurant, taking orders and cooking all of the food right in front of you. If you have a party of more than three, you will not get seats next to each other, as seats are generally in high demand. If you do have a party of two or three, get ready to sit very close to strangers and enjoy an essentially communal meal.

Burmese food is delicious. I don’t know that I have ever had legitimate Burmese food previous to visiting Yamo but now I am addicted. The food is basically a fusion of Chinese, Thai, and Indian foods. My favorite dish is the house noodles with chicken. It’s heavy on the garlic with hints of a stir-fry-style soy sauce. The chicken is deliciously sautéed. Like every other entrée, the house noodles are only $6.00 – one of the cheapest entrees you will find in the City.

If house noodles are not in the cards for me, I will go for the stir-fry vegetables. The dish comes doused in brown oyster-esque sauce and a very large serving of rice. Fried rice with tofu or chicken also makes for a great entrée. Although I have never had, Yelp reviewers frequently mention that the tea leaf salad is also a great choice as an appetizer or an entrée. The veggies are generally seasonal and very tasty. As an appetizer I like the egg rolls, which are fried and vegetarian, or the spring rolls, which are fresh and include shrimp. I have never ordered dessert (the appetizers and entrees normally fill me up), but Yamo also offers a menu of authentic Burmese desserts.

In comparison, Yamo’s food is a combination of the food at China First on Clement Street and Ploy II on Haight Street. Vibe wise, Yamo is smaller than nearly every taqueria along Mission Street and about the size of the smallest dive bar you can think of. Some people might call it “cozy,” others might call it “cramped” but that is all part of the charm.

Next time you find yourself walking around the Mission, craving cheap food and eaves dropping on others’ conversations, head to Mission and 18th. Yamo will not disappoint your food cravings and inspire an addiction for hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants.

Bocce Café is an Italian Hit

If one were to wander off the main path in North Beach-the main “path” being the long stretch of Columbus Street-he or she would find him or herself faced with dauntingly steep hills, quirky boutiques and a few delicious restaurants that might otherwise go unnoticed by tourists or unadventurous locals. Among these restaurants is Bocce Café, an Italian eatery that seems small and modest from the outside. Once through its entrance, however, one realizes that there is more to Bocce than there appears to be.

Last Friday evening I dined at Bocce Café with a group of friends and acquaintances for the 21st birthday celebration of a friend and his roommate. Though our large party of about 16 people was almost 45 minutes late for our 7:30 p.m. reservation, the cafe held our table, albeit with slight irritation, judging by the face of our waiter. We were promptly given steaming baskets of bread that tasted savory and absolutely delicious. Everyone in my party was freezing and famished, so we quickly gobbled down the fluffy and satisfying appetizer, complemented with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

As we filled up on bread and waited for our drinks, I looked around for the “live jazz band” that was promised on the sign in front of the café. Hidden in a corner was a group of four or five musicians. Soon after they began to play some jazz and Frank Sinatra tunes. Later in the night, after catching on to the birthday festivities of our party, the musicians broke out in a resounding rendition of “Happy Birthday,” much to the delight of our party and the other restaurant patrons.

The live music aspect and the setup of the restaurant seemed to make it a good place for special occasions and birthday dinners. The main floor was spacious yet cozy and dimly lit. It felt classy and romantic, but it wasn’t so dark that you couldn’t read your menu. There was a beautiful outdoor patio, decorated with white twinkle lights. It was empty through the entirety of our dinner.
Besides the group I was with, there were two other large parties of people celebrating birthdays, both consisting of 30-somethings who mingled by the bar before being seated. These people were dressed up as if Bocce Café was just a stop on the way to an evening of bar and club hopping. The way that bottles of wine were being ordered-I counted five at a table of 12-led me to believe that Bocce’s clientele is definitely of a certain income bracket, which in turn left me dreading our table’s bill.

However, poor college students that we are, everyone seemed to order carefully and simply. I shared a Margherita pizza with a friend of mine, which came to a very reasonable price of $9, for eight small but filling slices. As basic as pizza is, sometimes a restaurant can mess it up-not enough sauce, too much sauce, etc. However, this pie was delicious, very cheesy and somewhat greasy. In my opinion, that’s how pizza should be. My friend, the birthday boy, ordered a three-pasta platter, which came with small portions of fettuccine alfredo, gnocchi (small potatoes) covered in a creamy tomato sauce and cheese ravioli. He said that all three pastas were equally appetizing, and the price-$14.95-was just right for what he ordered. The evening ended with complementary tiramisu and a giant piece of chocolate cake, which all members of our party passed around and nibbled on as we waited for our bill.

Unfortunately, our waiter refused to split our bill into separate checks. As a former waitress, I know that the restaurant’s computer system is probably perfectly capable of doing this, but also as a former waitress, I definitely don’t blame the waiter for not wanting to deal with 16 different credit cards. We all paid with cash and our bill was paid quickly and easily.

Overall the experience was wonderful, and worth the long trek by bus. The next time I’m in North Beach and actually have some money to spend, I will definitely be taking my friends to Bocce Café.

Bocce Café
478 Green St. (At Grant Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 981-2044
http://www.boccecafe.com


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Hours:
Sun.-Thu. 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Take Out: Yes
Full Bar: Yes

Ditchin’ the Dining Hall: Downtown Edition

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The charming Espetus downtown provides a meat-filled Brazilian feast and large buffet. (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn)

Bring your appetite to San Francisco’s one-and-only Brazilian-style Churrascaria. Top selections of beef, lamb, pork, chicken and shrimp come delivered sizzling hot on sword-like skewers by waiters decked in traditional “gaucho-style” ensembles—boots and all. Though the price is steep ($50 per person), any meal that is able to transport me into a frame of nostalgia about my days spent lying on the beaches of Rio is definitely worth the money. The set-price menu includes an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of over 14 differently-prepared meats and an exotic buffet. The buffet overflows with rich stews, spicy fish, fresh shellfish, sweet cranberry cous cous and hearts of palm, a Brazilian delicacy.

The food comes non-stop until you switch your “green card,” meaning ‘bring me more meat’ (given to every table) to the “red card,” signifying that there is an actual possibility of consuming too much perfectly cooked, mouth-watering meat in one sitting. Smiling brasileiros swiftly dance across the room with their skewers of meat to the bossa nova streaming from the restaurant’s speakers, which almost gives you a feeling of sitting at a restaurant right in Ipanema, Leblon or Copacabana.

To wash down the overflowing spices that tickle your taste buds, the in-house prepared white or red wine sangria and/or the traditional Brazilian drink “caipirinha” seem to do the trick. Though drinks are not included in the set price, they’re necessary due to the constant eating that takes place throughout the sumptuous feast. After a few drinks and forkfuls of heaven, the crowd around the restaurant seems to have a uniform “smile and eyes closed” look while tasting the divine treats.

The scent that permeates the air while Brazilian music plays reminds me of the sweet sugarcane scent that flows throughout the warm and humid air in Brazil. As I ate, I recalled one of my favorite Astrud Gilberto songs, titled “Non-stop to Brazil,” while I calculated how long it would take to fly from SFO to the Carlos Jobim Airport in Sao Paolo.

After the meal craze comes to a slow and steady end, every patron must satisfy his/her sweet tooth with the decadent desserts available, ranging from sweet fried plantains with ice cream to rich, “better-than-sex” chocolate lava cake (not included). This celebratory style restaurant satisfies every palette from salty to sweet.

The service is representative of the Brazilian stereotype: the waiters and hosts are warm, friendly and laid-back and occasionally forget to speak English to you instead of their native tongue, Portuguese. Reservations are necessary on Friday and Saturday nights. For those hungry for Brazilian plates with slightly shallower pockets, try lunch for half the price. It’s equally filled with the meats galore. Make sure to take a glimpse at the kitchen before you leave to get a peek at how the genius chefs cook the succulent meats—over a huge open fire located right in the restaurant’s kitchen. The waiters at Espetus care about your experience and play the roles of “the expert” meat and wine connoisseurs very well. Espetus is made up of three medium-sized rooms to encompass the steady flow of people that infiltrate the restaurant by the second while you dine, making you feel you have not only come to the right place, but are sitting in one hot commodity of a restaurant.