Geek Grub


While other MacWorld attendees are crowding into Jollibee at lunchtime, you, armed with this list, will be enjoying a genuine San Francisco culinary experience. Here’s our list for the best places to lunch (and drink) around Moscone Center.

Why eat a boring turkey sandwich when you could be dipping your chopsticks into the modern Vietnamese food at Bong Su? Don’t miss the shrimp cupcakes, green papaya salad and Empress rice. (311 Third St. at Folsom, 415-536-5800. Open for lunch and dinner.)

B Restaurant and Bar, with its glass walls and location overlooking Yerba Buena park, provides a welcome respite from extreme geekdom. We recommend the burger and the exceptional BLT. (Yerba Buena Gardens, Upper Terrace, 720 Howard St. 415-495-9800. Open for lunch and dinner.)

Two words: Corned beef. That’s our favorite of the sandwich options at The Sentinel, a grab-and-go lunch spot (no tables) housed in a minuscule former cigar shop. Sample the aforementioned, or opt for a lighter option, such as chicken salad with sesame, lemon and chili or the duo of salmon (smoked and fresh with dill and fennel on a soft roll). Don’t want to wait? Call 415-284-9960 to place your order in advance. (37 New Montgomery St. Open only until 2:30 p.m.)

Tom Colicchio (of Top Chef fame) opened an outpost of his popular New York sandwich shop,’Wichcraft, right around the corner from Moscone. We adore the tuna sandwich with black olives, fennel and lemon and never miss an opportunity to eat one the peanut butter sandwich cookies. (858 Mission St., 415-593-3895. Open Mon.-Thurs. until 7 p.m., Friday until 8 p.m.)

The walk to Split Pea Persuasion is—to put it optimistically—colorful. Run the gantlet and you’ll be rewarded by savory crostata (a kind of open-face tart), crisp salads and soups such as sweet potato with pistachio cream. They have limited seating, or you can take your selections to go. (138 Sixth St. at Minna, 415-551-2223. Open until 3:30 p.m.)

Sanraku is an unexpected find, tucked into the Metreon movie theater complex across the street from Moscone. The simple sushi, noodle soups and tempura are fresh and straightforward, the service is efficient and the price tag is, for the quality, low.  (101 Fourth St., on the ground floor of the Metreon, 415-369-6166. Open for lunch and dinner.)

And for the post-conference drink:

Bar 888 within the InterContinental Hotel specializes in grappa, but also has an extensive list of wines by the glass and a solid cocktail list. The scene, befitting a hotel lobby, is slick. (888 Howard St., inside the InterContinental Hotel, 415-616-6566)

A short walk or cab ride from Moscone Center, the City Beer Store caters to craft beer enthusiasts. In the small subterranean bar-cum-beer shop, sample from the taps or choose a bottle from the shelf and ask them to crack it open for you for a nominal corkage fee, plus the cost of the bottle. (1168 Folsom St., 415-503 1033)

21st Amendment is the quintessential city pub. Sample one of the beers brewed on-site (including the popular and refreshing watermelon beer) or one of the other selections on offer. There’s a big menu of pub food, including burgers, salads and quesadillas. (563 Second St., 415- 369-0900)

Looking for some local color? Look no further than Sutter Station. It's lightly dive-y, with pool tables and strong drinks—you’re not likely to run into many other tourists or conventioneers here. (554 Market St. between Second and Sutter Sts., 415-434-4768)

Thirsty Bear has house-brewed beer, Spanish tapas-style food and live entertainment. They also frequently run “convention specials,” so ask when you order. (661 Howard St., 415-974-0905)

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