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Bay Area Dining

Bay Area Dining

avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 08/29/2017
Posted On 06/11/2018 21:55:01

Destinations | Reviews | California | San Francisco Restaurants | Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | Dessert

With just four days in the Bay Area, we had so little time to try the huge number of restaurant options. Affordability plus convenience to where we were when we were ready to eat were our two primary criteria, and recommendations from Matt were a bonus in making our final dining decisions.

Breakfast at Eddie's Cafe

800 Divisadero Street; San Francisco, CA 94117

While lounging in Matt's apartment trying to make a plan for our first day, Scott searched for some local breakfast restaurants and came upon the cash only Eddie's Cafe. Matt warned us that the restaurant was quite small and we would likely be faced with a wait, however we decided to give it a try since we didn't have any schedule that we had to work around. After a quick ATM stop to get enough cash for our meal, we walked down Divisadero and as we came upon Fulton Street, we saw the diner - and no line. We grabbed a booth and were promptly greeted and handed menus to review. Scott ordered scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and pancakes while I chose scrambled eggs with hash browns, crispy bacon and biscuits. Our server actually listened to our request for crispy bacon - when ordering bacon, I almost always request that it be "crispy (actually like burnt!)", however most restaurants still serve very limp bacon ... but not at Eddie's! We were both very pleased with our $22.00 meal (including tax and tip), and would definitely return.

Breakfast at Eddie's Cafe

Breakfast at Eddie's Cafe

Dessert at Ghirardelli On-The-Go Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop

801 Beach Street; San Francisco, CA 94109

Although we certainly didn't "need" them, we were in San Francisco, so hey - we decided to enjoy an afternoon treat at the famous Ghirardelli Square. The line was not too long when we arrived in the early afternoon on a Friday, and with a quick look at the menu, we both knew what we wanted. Scott chose the Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae (vanilla ice cream smothered with creamy caramel, freshly homemade hot fudge and sea salt, topped with whipped cream, more creamy caramel, sea salt and a Ghirardelli milk chocolate square), and I ordered the Treasure Island Warm Brownie Sundae (vanilla ice cream paired with a warm double chocolate brownie, smothered with freshly homemade hot fudge and topped with whipped cream, chopped almonds and a cherry). Scott waited inside for our desserts to be prepared and I easily found an outside table at which we could sit. Our desserts were delicious, however they were definitely overpriced ($24.94 total), and I really prefer to have a choice of ice cream flavors (vs. vanilla). My criticism doesn't mean that we won't enjoy a dessert at Ghirardelli in the future - it's a San Francisco treat!

Afternoon Treats in Ghiradelli Square

Afternoon Treats in Ghiradelli Square

Dinner at The Grove Yerba Buena

690 Mission Street; San Francisco, CA 94105

After joining Matt for Friday afternoon Happy Hour at his place of employment, he suggested that we walk to The Grove for dinner, and what a wonderful suggestion it was. The casual restaurant had a wide variety of menu items from which to choose including all day breakfast, soups & salads, sandwich platters, entrees, snacks, for the kids, desserts and a wide assortment of beer, wine and beverages. Wow! Scott's breakfast for dinner selection was The Grove French Toast (egg custard soaked and oven roasted Semifreddi's Sweet Batard served with strawberries and Vermont Grade A Maple Syrup and Carmelized Bananas), Matt ordered a Quesadilla from the snacks menu (grilled local La Palma Taqueria flour tortillas with Monterey jack and cheddar cheese, house made pico de gallo and sour cream with House-Roasted Chicken) and from the salads, I chose the Guacamole Chop (romaine, avocado, La Palma Taqueria tortilla chips, pickled shallots, cilantro, diced tomato, cotija cheese and black beans with chipotle lime dressing served with toasted Semifreddi's Sweet Batard). Our dinner averaged $15 total per person, which for the amount of food served on each plate and the overall high dining prices in San Francisco, was a fair price. Matt, a rather picky eater, recommended the restaurant as he had a good previous experience, I loved my very filling salad and Scott was very pleased with his selection. If in the area on a future visit, I would not be at all hesitant to return to The Grove.

Breakfast at The Grind Cafe

783 Haight Street; San Francisco, CA 94117

During our visit to San Francisco last year, the three of us dined at The Grind Cafe at Matt's suggestion, and since it was close by and enjoyable we agreed to a return visit. There was a line when we arrived however it moved quickly so by the time we had reviewed the menu posted on the board it was our turn to order. Both Scott and Matt ordered Breakfast Sandwiches (two eggs any style, choice of cheese, choice of ham, sausage or bacon on choice of toast, english muffin or croissant - both chose scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and croissants with ham for Matt and bacon for Scott). After seeing Scott's French Toast for dinner last night, I chose the three slices of Texas toast dipped in a vanilla, cream & cinnamon egg batter. Even with a big crowd at the restaurant, we were able to easily find a table and our meals arrived quickly. Our breakfasts all tasted great and were filling enough for us to skip lunch (we only had some pre-packaged crackers as an afternoon snack). Although at $38.80 for the three of us, it was more expensive than most breakfast restaurants that we frequent, we were in a rather expensive city.

Breakfast at The Grind Cafe

Breakfast at The Grind Cafe

Dinner at Taste of Rome

1000 Bridgeway; Sausalito, CA 94965

While wandering through the streets of Sausalito, we stumbled upon the hopping restaurant, Taste of Rome. Since we all enjoy Italian food, and the menu selection (on a board above the cash register) looked appealing (as did the entrees sitting in front of the restaurant's other patrons), it seemed like a good choice for dinner. We ordered and paid for our meals ($54.77 total), and went on a search for the perfect table. We would have loved to sit outside however there were no open tables, so we chose the next best thing - a table as close to the one wall open to the outdoors as we could find. Our meals (each served with garlic bread) came quickly - Capellini Pomodoro (with tomato, garlic and basil) for Scott, Chicken Fettucine (with grilled chicken, spinach, mushroom and garlic in a light cream sauce - without the spinach and mushrooms) for Matt, and my Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola (in a light cream gorgonzola sauce) and all were tasty - especially the garlic bread! Shortly before completing our meals, a musician was setting up to perform for the evening diners. While the entrees were all reasonably sized, with no complimentary salad or side dish we had room for dessert which we enjoyed upon our return to San Francisco.

Dinner for Three at Taste of Rome

Dinner for Three at Taste of Rome

Dessert at Salt & Straw

2201 Fillmore Street; San Francisco, CA 94115

Highly recommended by Matt, as well as my Portland, Oregon based Aunt Jan, Salt & Straw was a delicious choice for a Saturday evening ice cream dessert. While there was a line when we arrived, it was nowhere near as long as it was when we departed. The ice cream flavors offered were all so unique that a line allowed some time to read the extensive descriptions and narrow down the list of flavors to sample once it was our turn. Matt did taste tests on so many flavors that I can't remember which he finally settled on, but I do remember that he ordered a split scoop, which for an additional $0.50, half scoops of two different flavors made up a single scoop. The flavor chosen by Scott was Salted Honey Marshmallow & Walnuts (fresh walnuts and brown sugar both infused in vanilla ice cream for the base and oven-candied walnuts with salt and sugar for a crunchy addition all with a ribbon of marshmallow fluff) and I selected Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache (almond brittle mixed into creamy vanilla ice cream before adding hunks of chewy chocolate ganache with a dusting of salt). For $16.75 for all three of us, we enjoyed truly unique flavors of ice cream. My only complaint was the very limited amount of available seating.

Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw

Lunch at Presidio Picnic

Presidio's Main Parade Ground, bordered by Montgomery Street, at Lincoln Boulevard; San Francisco, CA 94129

The best way to describe Presidio Picnic is a giant family picnic complete with music and food for all tastes. After finding a spot on the lawn for the three of us (close enough to hear the music but far enough so we could hear each other talk), we spread out Matt's blanket and set-up his small tent to provide a little shade. With such a large selection of Off the Grid vendors, we tried menu items from several of the different food trucks including:

  • Bi-Rite Ice Cream
  • El Sur Empanadas
  • Farm Stand Lemonade
  • Grilled Cheez Guy
  • Sam's Chowder

I really had difficulty deciding what I wanted to eat, so I walked the entire perimeter of the grounds at least once before choosing. It was much easier to decide on dessert as the ice cream sundae that Matt returned with looked yummy, so both Scott and I copied! Since we each went off on our own to order from our chosen vendor(s), I'm not sure how much Matt spent, but Scott and I spent a total of $28.22 for lunch and dessert.

Dinner at Kung Food

1615 McAllister Street; San Francisco, CA 94115

Scott and I made an encore appearance at Kung Food for dinner, and there is no telling how many times Matt had previously dined there since the restaurant staff knew exactly what he wanted to eat. We were a party of five this year (Matt's roommate and his girlfriend joined us), so we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. (They actually asked one of their regular solo diners if he would be willing to move to a different table so that they could accommodate our group.) The extremely large menu included way too many choices including:

  • chef's specials - 4 options
  • dim sum - 7 options
  • appetizers - 13 options
  • salads - 4 options
  • mu shu - 6 options
  • soups - 14 options
  • vegetable entrees - 15 options
  • pork entrees - 8 options
  • lamb entrees - 7 options
  • beef entrees - 18 options
  • poultry entrees - 23 options
  • seafood entrees - 22 options
  • meatless entrees - 13 options
  • health food entrees - 4 options
  • egg fu young - 6 options
  • noodles & fried rice - 34 options
  • desserts - 8 options

Matt stuck with his "regular" order (Orange Chicken), Scott chose Shrimp with Scrambled Egg (there were like a dozen eggs in his dish - seriously), and I had Mango Chicken. Both Scott and I shared fried rice, and the rest of the group had white rice. The menu was big and the portions were even bigger - in fact so big that Scott and I ate dinner plus had leftovers for breakfast on the following two days (plus we still had more left over that went in the garbage before we flew home). The total bill for all of us was $80.20 including tax and tip (just over $16.00 each), and four of the five of us left the restaurant with enough food for at least one other meal.

Leftovers from Kung Food

Leftovers from Kung Food

While I always prefer to try new restaurants, we already have some favorites in San Francisco ... and we likely will return again on future visits!

The Presidio - So Much to Do

If you are considering a Sunday afternoon picnic visit to the Presidio, take a look at our post titled "Sunday in the Presidio" for an overview of our afternoon which included a visit to Fort Point.

Dining While Traveling

How do you decide where to eat when you are vacationing in a destination with an overwhelming number of dining options?

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Bay Area Dining


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