Restaurants on Polk (Polk/Gulch Edition 1)

Waiting for my meal at the Bamboo Restaurant on Polk street, with a real tasty cup of black tea.
Waiting for my meal at the Bamboo Restaurant on Polk street, with a real tasty cup of black tea.

Taking a walk today from City Hall the full length of Polk street as I do once every couple of months just to check whats new on the stretch, the first thing one notices is the diverse range of restaurants, cafes, eateries and delis that make up a huge part of what Polk street is. Even on the side streets going no further than a block each way, one will find some great sit-in or takeout family run eateries. Now while other neighborhoods do have a wide selection of places to eat out, Polk street has some unique restaurants, for example, we do have the Best fish and chips in SF, the famous Grubstake  where one can get their signature burger till 4am most mornings. But I digress lets start with lower Polk st. well one block away. I will do the Polk/Gulch are first, there are just too many good spots to squeeze into one article. I will follow up with Middle/Upper Polk.


Soluna Lounge.
Right on City Halls doorstep we find a fine dining experience that does not do a lot of damage to your wallet. While Soluna like to refresh their menu every now and again, they serve up some delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts. That along with some well trained mixologists provides for a excellent afternoon lunch or evening dinner, alone or with a partner.
I recommend the Fritto Misto and the Truffle fries and do check out their cocktail menu.
272 McAllister St. (Larkin St.), San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 621-2200 @SolunaCafe

Brenda’s French Soul Food
While Lower Polk street does not seem like the best location for a French Soul styled restaurant, this place seems to thrive by enticing not only local city and office workers from around city hall, but from further a field also. Make sure you check the specials board.
I recommend the crawfish beignet it’s to die for as is the Watermelon Iced tea, ooh and try the Grits.
652 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 – (415) 345-8100

Eleven O One
While it does not look like a Sandwich shop, it is, and it is doing a dang fine job at it too. Their location may be the reason their prices are very okay with me, I could mention a few deli joints in the city that provide the same quality for a lot more greenbacks. This place is in my top five Sandwiches on Polk street list (TBA).
I recommend the Gobbler Sandwich, tis like Thanks Giving dinner in a roll.
1101 Polk St. (at Post St.), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 567-1101

Thai House Express
While this place can get crowded its a definite stopping spot for me. Great prices, very good service, I’d personally rank this as one of the better Thai restaurants in the city. They are very consistant with their service anf food.
I recommend the Pumpkin Curry & Pineapple fried rice which is an amazing combination.
901 Larkin St. (at Geary St.), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 441-2248

Crepes Ooh La La
OMG, this place, Mouth watering goodness in every bite, for such a small kitchen they have a massive menu. You can mix and match or just choose from their extensive menu. Very, very reasonably priced.
I recommend, you know what I cannot recommend just one item here, the list is just too long to start ranting off. Just trust me, go in, order off the main menu anything that catches your taste buds. You wont be disappointed.
1220 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 409-4646

Cafe Zitouna
All you folks who have a taste for Moroccan food, need to stop by Zitouna’s. Really good for your wallet prices, the food ain’t bad either. SF Weekly’s Best Of 2012 Winner – Editorial Pick – Best Halal Restaurant San Francisco. Also a very handy spot to grab a quick bite before a show at The Regency Ballroom.
I recommend the mint tea, Chicken Tajine or the chicken bastilla for lunch.
1201 Sutter St (Polk), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 673-2622

Darbar Restaurant
While you might easily miss this place, mainly because its nestled next to a lingerie store, one should definitely try it out for a test run, the restaurant that is. Service here is great as are the Prices.
I recommend the Naan bread and the chicken and lamb seekh kebabs.
1412 Polk St (Pine), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 359-1236
Order online

Maye’s Oyster House
I love the bar here, very open, during restaurant hours there are plenty of chairs and tables, booths etc. I personally like Sunday nights, they have a great bar menu and live entertainment. There’s not much to do on a Sunday night on Polk street, Maye’s takes care of that problem.
I recommend Happy Hour here, $1 Oysters and beer specials, sitting by an open fireplace, hello!
1233 Polk Street (between Fern & Bush), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 474-7674 @MayesSF

Fairly new to the hood, they took over Ozone’s spot. As the name says they are a Cider house and its upstairs. They have a great bar menu mostly appetizers and its nice to be able to look down on Polk for a change, staff here are very friendly. Prices are average, food is good. Very European feel about this place.
I recommend the Cider, they have a wide selection and the Mushrooms are pretty damn good too.
1160 Polk St. 2nd Floor (Sutter), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 931-1797

What to say, Grubstake has a history all of it’s own. I started going here about 20 years ago, it was just too dang handy for me on my way home from work. SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 – Reader’s Poll – BEST LATE-NIGHT EATS.
I don’t have to recommend this place to any Polk street resident, they already know about it. Make sure you stop by here between 2 and 4am at least once in your life, those are the hours that make this place what it is. Not going to explain it, you need to experience it. Fucking Awesome!
I recommend to those who have not eaten here yet, to order their signature burger “The Grubstake” or “The Nugget” (Grubstake with an egg) Tasty!
1525 Pine St (between Polk & Van Ness), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 673-8268

Modern Thai
I love the service here, it’s like sitting down at a family dinner table kinda service. Prices here are great too, man we are so lucky to have quite a few great Thai restaurants on Polk.
I recommend the lemonade Thai iced tea, Spicy Pumpkin Tofu and the Fried chicken with fried rice.
1247 Polk St (at Bush St), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 922-8424

Myconos Greek Restaurant
A staple on lower Polk street for years, excellent prices and usually not a very long wait time.
I recommend the $4 Euro filled with meat, huge and very yummy!
1431 Polk St (between Pine & California), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 775-7949

Bamboo Restaurant
I love this place, even though it is only lately that I have come to appreciate it. I like to refer to these lower Polk street restaurants as the little hole in the wall family run joints. This may be changing but at least we have places like this still around. Bamboo gives big portions and prices are very average.
I highly recommend the Peking duck or the Orange Chicken.
1441 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 775-3679 @bamboosf

Okay I’m a Indian food fanatic, actually I’m just a food fanatic, but who ain’t. I however do love my Chicken Tikka Masala, I used to get it at the Star of India but that closed due to a fire and never reopened, boo!
Found this place and must say, even though I miss the Star of India, this definitely takes the tears away.
I recommend the Chicken Tikka Masala and do have their Naan bread with your meal, delicious.
1401 Polk St. (Pine St.), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 776-4642

Victor’s Pizza
Well if your out on the town on Polk street, chances are you have eaten here, when ever we are debating what to eat on the way home after a couple of libations, Victor’s always comes up. Like Myconos which is close by, this place is a staple on Polk.
I recommend any of the Pasta dishes as I really like their sauce. If the Zorba special Pizza is on, order it.
1411 Polk St (at Pine St), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 885-1660

Piccadilly Fish & Chips
This is the closest you are going to get to traditional Fish & Chip shop in San Francisco, hands down the best at any rate. While I have cut down on the fatty foods of late, I like to treat my self every couple of months, usually after a few drinks at McTeagues. They use a imported frier from Liverpool, batter and cook their fish fro scratch right in front of you and cut their own chips in house. BTW this place is related to the Old Chelsea Fish & Chips shop that supplies the Edinburgh castle and really is Mom & Pop run.
I recommend a two piece fish and chips, don’t forget to get some slaw with that.
1348 Polk St. (at Pine St.), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 771-6477

Freddie’s Sandwiches
There are no bells and whistles on this joint, you get back to real basic decor here, but what it lacks in ambiance it makes up for in its menu. Freddie’s has a flat screen TV on top of the soda fridge, always showing soccer. Get the picture? It’s clean, it has a growing following & use the Stampt app (10 stamps = free Sambo). This is my favorite Sandwich along the whole stretch of Polk, yes it on Pine but only half a block away. This place uses good quality meats, it ain’t gourmet but if like me you enjoy a Meat filled, cheese dripping Sambo every now and again, this is the Place.
I recommend the Roast Beef on Dutch Crunch
1488 Pine St. (between Polk & Larkin), San Francisco, CA 94109 – (415) 359-9301

Crustacean Restaurant
There are not that many restaurants the specialize in sea food on Polk, but the few that we have do a great job. Now while I’m not a fan of corporate styled restaurants the An family only border this kind of venture. You will often see there food truck ANTHEGO parked on the corner of Cal/Polk. They are only successful because they do what they do well.
I highly recommend the Dungeness Crab and Garlic Noodles.
1475 Polk St. (at California St.), San Francisco, CA 94109 –

As soon as the light changes, I’ll cross California, the great divide of the Polk corridor and begin on the rest of the foodie hangouts.
Restauranst on Polk (Middle/Upper Edition 2) Coming real soon!