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One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

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South Wales, UK
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One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

We can, sadly, only manage one night in San Francisco en route to the Monterey Jazz Festival and wondered if the local experts could recommend:

1. Somewhere to watch the sunset - Telegraph/Knob Hill or Ocean Beach? Or somewhere better?

2. Somewhere to sip a cocktail and admire the city by night - the Carnelian Room, Mark Hopkins or Equinox? Or are they all very pricey?

3. And somewhere in Chinatown to enjoy a good meal in a great atmosphere. My guide book suggest House of Nanking - what do you think?

Any suggestions would be fantastic.

San Francisco CA
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1. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

jackiesouthwales - I would consider Ocean Beach if you have time to get there. The Cliff House is a restaurant/bar right on the ocean. If you want to be outside, the ruins of the old Sutro Bath House is right there on the cliff, as well as the park-like area of Land's End. This area is easliy accessible by bus. If you are in a car, you may want to see Fort Funston, which is on the southwest corner of the City. People hang glide off the cliffs over the ocean. There are no restaurants there, just a park overlooking the ocean. Of course, you must be prepared for a foggy night where you may not be able to see very far. It's still really beautiful (wear a jacket).

As far as City lights view bars, my favorite is the top of the Marriott on Mission St.

My personal first recommendation for Chinese food is always Henry's Hunan on Sansome. It is not in Chinatown (their original location was there but closed some time ago) but on Broadway between North Beach and the Embarcadero area. The atmosphere is not fancy. The food is, for me, exquisite, healthy and very moderately priced. I advise you to eat there then walk up the hill and see Chinatown.

Have a great trip. You will surely get many varied suggestions!

San Francisco
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2. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

1. The Cliff House in Ocean Beach is a great location for this, though I think the food is overpriced. You can always just go for a drink.

2. I personally like Top of the Mark.

3. I disagree about the House of Nanking. Chef Jia's is better. I also really enjoy R&G Lounge.

Wales
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3. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

I'll bump this, as I'm on the same trip ..... would love some more suggestions please

South Wales, UK
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4. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

Thank you both so much for your wonderful suggestions. All three restaurants sound fabulous and are not that far from our hotel at the Embarcadero. We're going to have a tough decision to make!

We'd really like to go to The Cliff House before we have our meal. Do you know if it's possible to get a bus there from near our hotel, or would we need a cab?

Once again, thank you - it's great to have local people give you advice!

San Francisco CA
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5. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

The #38 Geary bus goes almost all the way to the beach, just a few blocks from the Cliff House. I agree with the earlier post about just visiting the bar. The bus you need starts at Mission and 1st St at the terminal then goes all down Geary Blvd., which starts at Market St. near Powell. The #38 LIMITED stops only at major intersections and is definitely preferable. I would get on at the terminal to get a seat because it is usually a very busy bus line. At the same time, I think the buildings, the churches, the variety of restaurants, etc. you will see along Geary give you a good sense of the varied flavors of the City.

Los Altos...
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6. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

My thoughts:

1. The Cliff House is farthest west, which, of course, is a lovely place to watch the sun set. It's also quite a schlep out there and back, and you only have one night, so you should factor in the transportation time. Figure on a half hour coming and going.

Alternatively, you could try the Buena Vista Cafe, where you can get an Irish coffee, and perhaps spy the bay and glimpse the sunset from there. Or ... you could stay closer in and go to both places mentioned in #2 -- the Mark Hopkins for sunset and the Carnelian Room for after dark.

2. The Top of the Mark in the Mark Hopkins or the Carnelian Room would be a great place to admire the city lights at night. The Mark Hopkins is old-line San Francisco atop Nob Hill. The Carnelian Room is a towering aerie in the Financial District, and more modern. Both have show-stopper views. They're both pricey.

3. Do not go to House of Nanking in Chinatown. It's OK, but it is on every guidebook and you can see the lines of people stretching out the door, simply because it's listed. It's not "all that." Plus, it doesn't have great atmosphere. You want a good meal in great atmosphere, the R&G Lounge upstairs has the white-linen-tablecloth kind of experience and excellent Cantonese food. Chef Jia's is Szechwan, which is a different Chinese cuisine. Depending on what you consider "great atmosphere" (this can mean different things to different people) we probably can suggest other places. I merely took the phrase to mean something more refined and not the fluourescent-lights-linoleum-floors experience.

South Wales, UK
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7. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

That's really helpful, thanks latinafro and BetterThanBings. We will definitely go to the beach, because as you say, we'll get a feel for the city. We'll also do the Mark Hopkins, and I like your restaurant suggestions. By 'great atmosphere', I meant somewhere yes, that's tasteful, but also that's relaxed and has a reasonable sized crowd of people eating there who look happy.

Thanks for all your suggestions - I'm sure we're now fully armed for a memorable night in your lovely city.

8. Re: One night only - your favourites, please, experts!

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