Lunch Spots in San Francisco - June 2014 Edition

June was a spectacular jam-packed lunch month loaded with new restaurants from fine dining to cheap eats. Of the ten places I visited last month for lunch, eight were fantastic, one was alright, and one was pretty awful. 

Of all the great places that I dined at, there were two places that went above and beyond expectations in food - Roka Akor and Chaya Brasserie. 

The worst place I ate at was Rotee Express. My nose completely fooled me and led me astray. Unfortunately, the food simply doesn't live up to its fragrant wonderful smell. Why there are long lines out the door, I really don't understand other than the efficient service. 

Here's a quick list of the new food and/or places that I've encountered, followed by reviews and photos: 

  • Chaya Brasserie @ EMBARCADERO, SF
  • Roka Akor @ FiDi, SF
  • Galette 88 @ FiDi, SF
  • Gott's Roadside @ FERRY BUILDING, SF
  • Hog Island Oyster Co. @ FERRY BUILDING, SF
  • Rotee Express @ FiDi, SF
  • Blanc et Rouge @ FiDi, SF
  • La Fusion @ FiDi, SF
  • Ramen Bar @ FiDi, SF
Chaya Medley - SF

Chaya Brasserie @ EMBARCADERO, SF

The food at Chaya Brasserie is one of my favorites in the area. This visit, I ordered their Chaya Medley, their version of a bento box, which consists of meat, fish, salad, and a chef's choice roll. The fish served as a miso cod that was lip-smacking good! The fish was nice and flaky with a rich, buttery miso taste. The beef was tender and seasoned very nicely. I loved every item served and would highly recommend getting the four compartment medley. For dessert, I order the croissant bread pudding. I instantly fell in love with the nice crisp and flaky croissant layers combined with chocolate and ice cream. Chaya really knows how to rock my world. 

Miso Cod - Chaya Brasserie SF
Bread Pudding - Chaya Brasserie

Roka Akor - Sashimi Chef Selection - 7 Kinds

Roka Akor @ FiDi, SF

The food here is one of the best that I've had in my life. I do not think that I have ever had such fresh sushi or the best marbled wagyu steak ever until I had lunch here. The photo above is of the Sashimi Chef Selection (7 Kinds for $46). The Wagyu Flat Iron (6oz) with Maitake Mushroom and Egg Yolk was incredible! This place deserves its own separate review post - stay tuned. [UPDATE 7/28 - Post is up: Roka Akor Review - Sushi from Japan & Steaks That'll Melt in Your Mouth]

Galette 88 - The Lumberjack

Galette 88 @ FiDi, SF

The Lumberjack Crepe was amazingly rich and decadent. It's everything that I ever wanted in a crepe come to life: ham, melted raw Raclette cheese, caramelized onions, potatoes, crème fraîche + a soft-cooked egg. I highly recommend Galette 88 - this is a must go-to destination! 

Gott's Mahi Mahi Tacos

Gott's Roadside @ Ferry Building, SF

I went to Gott's two times in June. On my first visit, I ordered my usual cheeseburger, a Three Twins ice cream shake, and their onion rings. On my second visit, I decided to try something completely new and tried their Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos and Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos, along with regular and sweet potato fries. 

Gott's Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos

The Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos were very bland. There was a side of sauce given, but it wasn't enough to add in that boost of flavor. I would not recommend it. The Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos were amazing and I've been wanting more. The fresh chunks of fish were nicely seasoned with green onions, roasted sesame seeds, and spicy mayo dressing. 

Hog Island - Oyster Po Boy Sandwich

Hog Island Oyster Co. @ Ferry Building, SF

Hog Island was closed for some time for a renovation and expansion. Upon their reopening they added some new items on their menu. Patrick came up to have lunch with me one day and we were excited to try their Oyster Po Boy Sandwich. It was very tasty. The oyster was super fresh and nicely breaded in cornmeal. I enjoyed the slaw that came with it - slightly on the more acidic side. The bread was a bit thick for my preference, but it wasn't a big deal. I do wish that there were maybe one or two more oysters given because the oysters were quite small; I will just order to add in some extra next time. The sandwich also arrived with a side of fries, which were one of the best fries I've had in the area - thin and crispy with just enough potato filling inside. If you want a good and fresh Oyster Po Boy this is the spot. 


Rotee Express @ FiDi, SF

The Paneer Tikka Masala's gravy base is nice and rich with a spicy kick that hits you later, but the paneer itself is completely flavorless and wasn't marinated long enough. The chicken jalfrenzy is very dry; my guess is they used breast meat. The naan that comes with the meal is store bought tasting and they only give you half a naan. The rice smelled like hints of gasoline oil. You can bet that I will never eat here again. 

Croque Madame

 Blanc et Rouge @ FiDi, SF

On some Fridays, my co-workers and I go out for a wine lunch. We stumbled upon this place while walking around our office. I ordered the lunch deal where you pick an item of choice on the menu and they pair it with their selected wine of the day. I selected the Croque Madame and it was alright but far from a great authentic and fresh croque madame. It tasted pre-made and re-heated in an oven. The cheese wasn't oozy but rather hardened. I would not order that again unless nothing else on the menu appeals to me. 

La Fusion - Seafood Pot Pie

 La Fusion @ FiDi, SF

I love this place so much that I visit at least once a month. I usually opt in for their roasted chicken, but decided to get the Seafood Pot Pie, which was amazing and now my favorite dish at La Fusion. The seafood is fresh and the portion size was very generous. Loaded with good sized shrimp, fish, and mushrooms with potatoes in a  creamy chipotle-guajillo sauce. The puff pastry gets a thumbs up. I would highly recommend this dish! 


DELICA @ Ferry Building, SF

Delica is where I go when I want something quick, easy, healthy and delicious to consume. I selected their pre-packed bento box which gives you a sampling of their salads and main dishes. My box came with their fried chicken, a salad, and rice. Overall, it's a pretty pricey place even with convenience in consideration but there's something so good about the food that makes me keep coming back.

Ramen Bar - Pork Belly Ramen

Ramen Bar @ FiDi, SF

The Financial District and Embarcadero area are slim when it comes to ramen. I went to visit on opening day and ordered the pork belly ramen - read more about my experience in my previous post: Just Opened: The Ramen Bar Review - Fresh Noodles and Beautiful Rich Broth

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