My friend sooz has a problem. She needs to find a restaurant for dinner in San Francisco. The issue is the bizarre set of conditions she has to fulfill.

The good part is that she has a pretty good budget, so they can go to a nice place. However, here are the restrictions:

  1. This place must be vegetarian-friendly, but not entirely vegetarian, because some people will object to a lack of dead meat.
  2. A cheese-based cuisine won’t work.
  3. It has to be in the city; East Bay and suburbs will also fail.
  4. Casual clothing must be okay.

To me it looks like that nightmare dinner that inevitably arrives at a chain restaurant. A little help?


    1. Anyway, my favorite Thai place in town is Marnee Thai…it’s a good enough That place to make an event out of going.
      You should maybe also check out Park Chow…there’s another one, just plain “Chow” in the Castro, too.

    2. agree. i would suggest basil thai on 7th/folsom. the fancier osha on valencia is also nice, but you can totally go in in street clothes. Almost every restaurant in sf is pretty vegetarian friendly. It’s sf, being a meat eater is almost a crime.

  1. Mela (suggesting this one first because it’s somewhat more upscale-looking), or Shalimar or Chutney or any of the other great Indian restaurants in the Tandoorloin. For a somewhat more expensive (but worth it) option, Minako (at 17th and Mission). Or Bissap Baobab, or who knows how many other places on Mission or Valencia. (These are all ones I’ve been to and liked, though.)

  2. If they don’t mind eating with their filthy, filthy hands, I’d suggest Ethiopian.
    …Oh, wait, you said San Francisco, not Washington, D.C.

    1. Hello Richmonder!
      Can I just say that [hyperbole alert] it is the most disappointing thing in the entire world to grow up with Zed’s/Red Sea/et al. in “the big city” just two hours away, and then move away and realize it was D.C.-specific! Sad.

      1. Are you also in Richmond? Have you been to the Nile Cafe? It’s on Laurel between Broad and Grace and it is amazing. Better than any Ethiopian I’ve had in DC so far.

      2. No, I am sadly/blissfully/conflictedly dislocated to Santa Barbara for some years now. But I know that block, ummm, pretty well (I met my wife outside Rockitz twenty years and a day ago, after a GWAR show) so we will definitely check it out next time we visit my parents.

  3. Actually, in SF most places are veg-friendly. You really have to go super upscale and old school to find a place without a few good non-cheese veg options. Seriously.

    1. i second this. your limitations sounded like they leave 80% of the restaurants in town in the running. give us a few more guidelines, like part of town, and we can give you some specific suggestions.

      1. Well, I was transcribing from another person who was on the phone with me! So I just said what she did. 🙂
        I think they’ll be fine, for just the reason you mention.
        Finding a dining spot for a group of… uh… strong-willed? people can be a challenge in any town.

      2. that’s a diplomatic way of putting it. still, SF has more options than most places. they’ll be fine, i’m sure.
        just steer clear of the corporate chains… assuming you can find them.

      3. One of the saddest sights in Manhattan is the line of tourists going out the door of the Red Lobster in Times Square.

      4. True that. But it also keeps them away from the places you and I want to go so we don’t have to wait so long for a table!

  4. PPQ Dungeness is a Vietnamese place in the Richmond has veg and meat options (they specialize in crab, obviously), no cheese, and is casual. I love that place. Firefly in Noe Valley has veg options, too, iirc. I also took a vegemetarian to Albona Ristorante Istriano in North Beach, and everyone had a great time – that’s one of my favorite places in town. A La Turca in the Tenderloin is, as you’d expect, Turkish food, casual and affordable, and which has veg-friendly options too, I think.
    More often than not most restaurants around here are ok with casual dress, even many of the more upscale ones. Also you’re more likely to find cheese plates at most restaurants than a cheese-based menu – but if you know of a place with a cheese-based menu, do let me know!

  5. Wait it should also meet these other conditions if possible:
    5. Be within walking or short cab ride distance from 6th and Mission.
    6. Be dark.
    7. Have great dessert.
    I was going to suggest the Thai/Indian/Ethiopian route but I shied away from them for some reason.

    1. Ti Couz! It’s at 16th & Valencia (two miles away), it’s somewhat dark, and it has great dessert (it’s a crepe restaurant goddamnit). There aren’t a huge number of non-cheesy vegetarian choices, but there were enough to make this vegetarian happy. Downside: there can be a wait during peak hours, and I don’t know if they take reservations.

      1. ooh we were just talking and thinking about doing indian food then go here later for dessert 🙂

        While gathering addresses and directions I read on Yelp that Ti Couz closed, maybe just this week? Like a sign on the door that says “Thanks San Francisco for 16 great years”? Trying to confirm but for once the Internet is not all HAY SOMEONE DIED

      3. awww. it’d be very sad if it closed.
        anyway, for indian food along valencia, dosa always has too long of a wait but aslam’s rasoi was pretty good the time i went there.

      1. Oh! Well in that case there are TONS and TONS of Indian restaurants all within walking distance of where you’ll be. It’s like Indian restaurant central.

      2. sweet. hopefully we’ll master walking and public transit to figure out where we are going.. we are all staying at the same hotel at least, so thats the least confusing

    2. This is an evil question. You need more criteria to help nail down an optimal solution.
      Well, 5th Floor is right there if you want to burn a hole in your budget. The best Indian food in the city is not within walking distance, but Roti on West Portal is an easy MUNI ride. For French, I recommend taking out-of-towners to Belden Place, which is a pedestrian street with a bunch of small bistros, or the restaurant at Cafe de la Presse on Bush at Grant. Afghan food at the Helmand on Broadway near Kearney in North Beach is a short cab ride. Scala’s Bistro off Union Square is good for Italian.

      1. Closed minded for the laundry list of where it has to be located, what she has to wear, and the rest of her list. So learn to read and comprehend, and not selectively read like the hypocritical christian right-wingers do to minimalize other people.
        Meanwhile don’t even bother trying to use this as a soap box for your “for not eating animals”. Your still eating plants, but apparently you also look down on them as a lower life form that your can kill by ripping out of the ground, tear apart from limb to limb and eat?!

      2. I like you, but please don’t talk to my friends this way in my journal. You took a couple things out of context and used it to abuse someone I care about.
        I don’t know why the hell someone should not be allowed to decide what she wants to eat and in what part of town. Wanting to eat her own damned food wherever she wants is her freedom.
        Closed minded? Ripping on someone you’ve never met and know nothing about, just because she DOESN’T eat something? Please. She didn’t come over into your friend’s house and start telling you what to eat.
        Leave her alone or just leave. I won’t tolerate this kind of unprovoked, pointless hostility.

    1. Ah, it’s not like that. More like getting dinner together for people from five different religions or ethnicities, all of whom deserve respect.
      If you hung out with this crowd you’d find them to be the opposite of closed minded. They’re just full of different ideas about everything, ya know?

      1. I’m just saying that is a pretty restrictive list. It sounds like so many people I encounter in this huge metro-area who in 40 years have never ventured more then 5 miles from home. They can’t even find there way across town.

      2. You totally missed the point, and you were pretty mean about it. You know nothing about her, or about the friends she’s accommodating, or why.
        I did a favor for a friend by asking my friends about dining options in another city. Like many people, she needed to organize a group dinner with a number of people all different from each other, and like any good host she wanted to make it the best experience for everyone. You don’t try to make the Jew eat pork or kill the person with an allergy or make everyone drive 50 miles to the restaurant. You accommodate.
        One good definition of “closed-minded” is assuming you know all about complete strangers. The idea of sooz as “closed-minded” is hilarious.
        This was really depressing and I wish you’d just butted out. My little favor for a friend has turned into an ignorant bash fest.

      3. Originally I said she should consider stepping outside a very arbitrary restrictive list as far as eating out. To ask where a persons sense of adventure is, is now mean??? But apparently a different idea can be far more threatening then I thought. Here I thought LJ was to consider other notions?
        Your friend sooz came back at me with her “mean” bash of how bad it is to eat animals. SO if she doesn’t like my reply, she shouldn’t have solicited it by dishing it out in the first place.
        But not to worry, I’ll leave it all here, not comment further and it won’t happen again.

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