San Francisco's Take On 9 American Hometown Favorites
For anyone transplanted to San Francisco from New Orleans, New York, or even New Mexico, there are certain dishes that will always make you homesick. Here are some places around town where you can find your fellow non-natives and get a taste of home.
Chicago: Deep Dish Pizza
Lovers of a true Chicago-style deep dish will want to head to pizza maestro Tony Gemignani’s Capo’s in North Beach (and bring some friends; deep dish pizza shouldn’t be attempted alone—and you need someone to talk to since it takes about 45 minutes). You’ll also find a Chicago beef on the menu.
New Orleans: Po’Boys, Gumbo, Beignets and More
There are too many dishes to count that make people homesick for New Orleans. Brenda’s French Soul Food is known for their beignets and gumbo, and the beignets (and po’boys) at Just for You Café in Dogpatch also have a loyal following. Queen’s Louisiana Po’Boy Café is a bit off the beaten path but many fans seek out their gumbo and fried oyster po’boy.
San Diego: Baja-Style Fish Tacos
These famous SoCal tacos (made with battered and fried fish) can be found all around the city. Here are a few favorites: Don Pisto’s, Tropisueño, The Taco Shop at Underdogs, El Metate, ABV (yes, it’s a bar, but the taco is phenomenal), and Tacolicious.
New York: Pizza Slice
For a true New York-style slice, Arinell’s in the Mission is a slice stalwart (you gotta get it fresh out of the oven), and Avellino in the Presidio is pretty legit. If you’re out by the beach, The Pizza Place on Noriega will take good care of you. Newcomers Presidio Pizza Company (on Divisadero) and The Pizza Shop on 24th Street also make a good slice, and Tony’s Coal-Fired Slice House in North Beach is on point (it’s just a bummer they aren’t open late).
Pittsburgh: All in One
Even if you aren’t from Pittsburgh, the all-in-one deli sandwich (with French fries and coleslaw inside) is one to try (especially after a few drinks). Giordano Bros. has a location in the Mission, and it’s where you want to be when there’s a Steelers game on.
Sadly we don’t have any bonafide Miami food trucks that make an amazing Cubano, and no one in the city really uses the right bread. But you can find a pretty good rendition at Delessio Market & Bakery (they let it get all melty), and the new B. on the Go (an offshoot of B. Patisserie) makes a delicious one, with thinly sliced and juicy roasted pork inside.
New Mexico: Green Chile
Anyone who is from New Mexico has green chile hard-wired in their DNA, and fortunately Green Chile Kitchen understands what “Christmas” means (both green and red chile on your order). The green chile pork stew is especially good here, plus there is carne adovada, sopaipillas, and Navajo tacos.
When you want to order a steak “Whiz wit,” you can head over to the Cheese Steak Shop on Divisadero (since 1982!) and Phat Philly in the Mission—both of them fly in Amoroso rolls (and you’ll find Utz chips and Tastykakes, too).
You don’t think we are going to touch this, do you? The battle about authenticity and what is Memphis-style, St. Louis-style, Texas-style…it would take all day. But you will find some of the city’s best “San Francisco-style” barbecue at 4505 Burgers & BBQ (the ribs are mighty special), and Cat Head’s BBQ and Memphis Minnie’s have some loyal fans. Smokestack in Dogpatch generates plenty of (heated) discussion, but it’s hard to argue with how good their brisket is.
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, tablehopper, about the SF dining and drinking scene, get all the latest news at www.tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more SF finds!