7.08.2006

San Francisco Restaurant Reviews

Burma SuperStar


Rainbow Salad at Burma SuperStar

Having never eaten Burmese food before, I was determined to brave Burma SuperStar's long lines for a taste of an unfamiliar cuisine. Despite its popularity, my friends and I agreed that the food was underwhelming. We expected a cuisine influenced by its Chinese, Thai, and Indian neighbors to be flavorful and spicy. Though nothing was bad, it wasn't worth the money or the wait. The lemonade was so strong that I had to dilute it with water (and I'm someone who likes intense flavors, so that's saying a lot). Most entrees are under $10.


Vegetable Curry Deluxe at Burma SuperStar

Burma SuperStar
309 Clement St. (Inner Richmond)
San Francisco, CA 94118
415.387.2147
Take-out available
Hours: Mon-Thur 11:00am-9:30pm (closed from 3:30-5:00)
Fri-Sat 11:00am-10:00pm (closed from 4-5)
Sun 11:00am-9:00pm (closed from 4-5)



Cafe Gratitude
Cafe Gratitude is quintessentially (or stereotypically, depending on your viewpoint) San Franciscan. The menu items have names like "I am insightful" and "I am adoring," and the water carafes are etched with uplifting words as if to make your spirit more generous or loving with each sip of water. Hemp rags replace napkins and all the food is raw. If you're into spirituality or health food or are intriguied by the idea of a tiramisu made from creamed nuts, you'll love this place. I could sit in its sunny windows and enjoy the uplifting atmosphere for hours. Don't expect the dishes to taste like the real thing, though--the tiramisu is more like a raw food interpretation of tiramisu than actual tiramisu.

Cafe Gratitude
1336 9th Ave (Inner Sunset)
San Francisco, CA
Hours: 10am-10pm daily
Website
Cafe Gratitude Menu

Also in the Mission at:
2400 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA
415.824.4651
Hours: 9am-10pm daily



Cole Valley Cafe
This lovely, quiet, breezy cafe with relaxing world music has both outdoor and indoor tables (with mismatched chairs), large windows, and lots of trees both inside and out. The orange walls are decorated with art-for-sale and ceiling fans will keep you cool. Use their computers to check your email, or bring your own. To eat, choose from baked goodies that range from healthful to sinful, as well as freshly-made Mediterranean-influenced sandwiches (including several vegetarian options). Of course, Cole Valley Cafe also serves all the usual coffee shop drinks as well as smoothies and assorted bottled drinks (you can even check out their colorful menu online). They also have a blessed no cell phone policy. I enjoyed my roasted eggplant pesto and bellpepper sandwich, which was served on a fresh, airy, focaccia-like bread. If you're really hungry though, make sure to order something heavier--this sandwich is more of a snack than a meal.

Cole Valley Cafe
701 Cole Street (Cole Valley, corner of Cole and Waller)
San Francisco, CA 94117
415-668-5282
Cole Valley Cafe Website



Beanery
The three kinds of regular coffee and one kind of decaf are self-serve at the Beanery, a small chain whose two San Francisco locations are within spitting distance of each other. I tried a chocolate muffin, which was rather dry, and a slice of zucchinni bread, which wasn't bad. The coffee was pretty good and very hot. I love the free newspapers, the way the sunlight streams in through the front windows on a nice day, and the tabletops, which are inlaid with coffee beans. If you care about maintaining the character of the neighborhood, you'll skip Starbucks and visit the Beanery instead.

Beanery
1307 9th Ave(Inner Sunset)
San Francisco, CA 94122
415.661.1255

Also at:
602 Irving St (Inner Sunset)
San Francisco, CA 94122
415.661.1090



Tart to Tart
Not surprisingly, this place serves lots of tarts. I tried the apricot almond tart, which was good but would have been better served warm. Tart to Tart is one of the only places in the neighborhood that's open late, and as such, it's pretty busy even at midnight on a Friday. The atmosphere isn't too enticing--it's noisy and bright in a bad way--so maybe you should get your food to go, take it home, and warm it up.

Tart to Tart (Inner Sunset)
641 Irving Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
415.504.7068







Naan and Curry
Naan and Curry serves both Indian and Pakistani cuisine, according to their menu, but almost all of the dishes were the same things you'll find on any Indian-only restaurant. The naan got hard quickly and didn't taste very good. The restaurant was very busy and some of the patrons looked Indian, so the food must be reasonably authentic. The quirky thing about Naan and Curry that you should really know before you go is that it's self-serve: you get your own plates, silverware, cups, and drinks from a cubbyhole in in the far corner of the restaurant. The creamy chai is quite good once you add some sugar (and it's free!). After you order, you'll get assigned a table and your food will be brought to you. Your meal ticket will be returned to you after all the food has arrived--save this, because you'll need to take it to the register with you to pay. The lamb chops were spicy and delicious (but not enough for a meal, despite the dish's placement in the entree section). I also liked the palak paneer, but found the lamb with bitter melon (possibly a Pakistani dish, as I've never seen it before and I've never had Pakistani food before) to be greasy and full of bones. My order got screwed up and took a long time to arrive, which dampened an otherwise good experience. The huge murals and loud modern Indian music really liven up an otherwise drab space. The music was so good that I wanted to get up and dance.

Naan and Curry
Multiple locations
This review refers to the Inner Sunset location.
642 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122



Bodega Bistro
Bodega Bistro serves some of the best Vietnamese food I've ever consumed. The papaya salad with bits of beef jerky is sweet and refreshing. The intense iced coffee comes pre-mixed and is twice the usual portion size. The pho is rich and complex. Despite its Tenderloin address, you should have no problems visiting Bodega Bistro during the day as long as you keep your eyes open--the streets are a little empty, but Little Saigon is not in the part of the Tenderloin that you really want to avoid. Inside, the bright violet walls provide more atmosphere than you'll find at most Vietnamese restaurants, but the prices are still stunningly low.

Bodega Bistro
607 Larkin St. (Tenderloin)
San Francisco, CA
415.921.1218

1 comment:

Jeni said...

Your SF review is making me miss Nor Cal. I miss Irving St. Thanks for the post girl!