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I should be packing up the kitchen. I should be working on my taxes, but instead I am sneaking a few minutes to pay tribute to these fabulous restaurants in my nabe – soon to be my old nabe. When I was in High School, my Italian teacher told us that Bologna was the gastronomical capital of the world – my neighborhood in Outer Richmond, San Francisco is definitely the gastronomical capital of my heart and has been for 8 years.

When we moved here, our daughter was 1 years old so it was a little tough to learn a new city. My husband and I got into a date-escape pattern of going off for early Sunday dinners close by, starting off with places just 2 long blocks away to Geary. After a half a dozen such dates, where we ate at world class places like Moroccan restaurant Aziza and the unassuming, top rated La Vie Vietnamese, it seemed like we should really try to venture to places an avenue or two over, but we still hadn’t exhausted all the great places on that single block between 22nd and 23rd! Now that we have explored other areas and places downtown or Pacific Heights or the celebrated inner Richmond – all considered the true hotspots of cuisine in the city, our quiet little residential neighborhood is still my favorite. And yes, this area isn’t walled in or anything, we can pop over here for a meal even when we live 15 minutes away, but it is not quite the same as bopping out your door and being in your territory when you stroll around deciding where to go for great food.

It was awesome having one of the greatest Chinese restaurants in the city, Ton Kiang, as our nearest, reliable delivery option. Every time the delivery guy cheerfully trudged up our 50 stairs, the food handed over piping hot. (Hotter than you would get it sitting down at the restaurant sometimes.) This has definitely spoiled us in no small way. If you try them, order the fried wontons stuffed with shrimp. They are not on the menu but they are happy to make them.

Arguably the most famous and trendy Vietnamese place in SF is the Slanted Door in the Ferry Building but the yelp reviews will tell you that La Vie is every bit as good without the high prices and noise. But not everyone likes a quiet storefront place. I do. Their crab sautéed with ginger and garlic is something to write home about. The market price will be up around $40 for the dish but it serves several people and includes the garlic noodles. You won’t be sorry!

Moroccan restaurant Aziza now has a Michelin star. The couscous Aziza, one of their signature dishes makes you lap up vegetables (butter coated no doubt) like they are going out of style. And the spiced almonds are a delicious thing to nibble with Aziza’s unique, signature cocktails.

And then there are still more fine places we didn’t get to as often over the years, offering Pho, more great traditional Chinese, hot pot, Thai, Japanese cuisine and Indian. There is now even a soul food place called Hard Knox Café on Clement and 26th. Our new nabe will have some great food offerings I’m sure – what San Francisco neighborhood doesn’t? Discovery and gaining familiarity with a new stable of standby’s will be fun, even if we do have to walk a bit farther (or probably drive) to get to a dense nest of little neighborhood eateries. But I just want to shout out to my nabe that I’ll miss it and won’t forget the best, welcoming SF meals of the better part of a decade.

Ever been loyal to a neighborhood? Still love the food options where you live now? Would love to hear about it…

Best of the Best, Outer Richmond neighborhood.

Whether you live in San Francisco or are thinking about visiting, try any or all of these great places:

Aziza
5800 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
415-752-2222
http://aziza-sf.com/

The priciest place on this list, and more fancy than other restaurants in the neighborhood but perfect for a special meal, or when you want something a little different.

La Vie Vietnamese Restaurant
5830 Geary Blvd
(between 22nd Ave & 23rd Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 668-8080

Not that many people show up at lunch time, if you walk by and don’t see many people in there don’t be fooled. This place is fabulous and busy at dinner. All their food is good but the crab is amazing.

Ton Kiang
5821 Geary (between 22nd and 23rd Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94121
752-4440
http://www.tonkiang.net/

Celebrated for its dim sum, but we favor the dinner menu – esp. pork spareribs, minced chicken lettuce cups, chicken fried rice and any of their soups.

Drunken Sushi
2311 Clement St, San Francisco 94121
(Btwn 24th & 25th Ave)
(415) 876-2311

It’s hard to go wrong here. Wonderful sake cocktails as well as inventive, top notch sushi menu.

Angelina’s Café
6000 California Street
San Francisco, CA
415-221-7801
http://www.angelinascatering.net/

Great for pickup morning baked goods, also deli salads and servings of entrees like mac and cheese and lasagna. If you are planning to hike Lands End, The Presidio or Baker Beach, have them make you a picnic lunch!

Mescolanza
2221 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94121
(between 23rd and 24th Ave)
(415) 668-2221
http://www.mescolanza.net/

Wonderful, intimate Italian restaurant, great service, great food. Desserts are delicious here too.

Ernesto’s Italian Restaurant
2301 Clement St
(between 24th Ave & 25th Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-1446

Very neighborhoody, traditional Italian restaurant. Similar to the types I am used to from growing up in Westchester, NY, and hard to find in SF or LA. Great pizza!

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