Live from the lower east side: Bayview's best eats

Bayview's J&V Cafe packs a late night punch

Bayview and Dogpatch rarely surface on short lists of culinarily acclaimed 'hoods in the city. Which is a shame, because one doesn't head out to the waterside neighborhoods to splash about in the waves of see-and-be-seen, but you can have a damn tasty time on Third Street and its surrounds.

Spotted lately: neighborhood staple soul food from a variety of cultures, tucked away industrial district gems that stay open through the witching hours -- not to mention the odd new hip endeavors by foodies hungry for the low cost overhead that the changing neighborhoods afford. Like the community that lives on their blocks, Bayview and Dogpatch's cuisines are far enough away from the city's hurricane of openings, closings, and established scenes that it can do its own thing. Which we like just fine.


Old Clamhouse

The old standard. The OCH has been around since 1861, when its rough and tumble block really did have a bay view – the neighborhood, originally a salt marsh, was filled in and built over during the second half of the 1800s. The Clamhouse maintains that salty brine of authenticity, though. Belly up with the rest of the regulars for ridiculously delicious seafood and an Anchor Steam from the bar. Oh, and don't leave without a plate of the Bruce Brugmann favorite, the joint's addictive fried clams.

299 Bayshore, SF

(415) 826-4880


J&V Cafe

Four stars for schedule: J&V Cafe is located in the nutritious embrace of SF's wholesale produce market, whose denizens start their day in the wee hours --and god damn it, need a plate of chilaquiles on their break! J&V is more than happy to provide and will throw quite reasonably priced Americana breakfasts in the mix as well. Find yourself out amidst the warehouses after 1am and you can pick up anything a cup of creamy potato soup to a marinated rotisserie chicken in its cheerful dining room.

2020 Jerrold, SF

(415) 821-7786


Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous is the newest of the tsunami of gourmet cone spots that swept the city via Slocombe and Bi-Rite. Husband and wife couple Annabelle Topacio and Ian Flores make 'cream good enough to hold its own with the rest of the waffles cones. Just to get you going: past flavor boards have included chicory coffee, bergamot, lemon-verbena, Fernet-Branca, and ginger glacé.

699 22nd St., SF

(415) 970-0750

Las Isletas

A Nicaraguan cafe somehow relocated to the edge of the city of San Francisco, Las Isletas mimics not only the tone and tenor of Nicaraguan everyday food – a plato vegetariano with gallo pinto, plantains, tortillas, queso fresco, and a side salad tasted of the kind of Central American authentic that you can forget exists in this burrito town. Of course, that means that meat eaters have their day in the sun here. Massive, steaming bowls of soup can be had on the cheap, and nacatamales (large tamales) and bailiadas (thick tortilla sandwiches) are winners as well.  

4508 3rd St., SF

(415) 643-4436

Auntie April's Chicken and Waffles

Auntie April's has a couchy waiting area to the left of the door that is presumably for to-go orders, although I may start hanging out there in my free time. This is that perfect soul food spot you've been looking for, with low prices, all the usual customers (oxtail dinners, what?), and a neighborhood feel that makes you want to order seconds, if only you could squeeze them into your belly. I was partial to the nomenclature on the breakfast menu, whose #2 special was dubbed “The Jive Turkey”: two eggs, three turkey sausages, four turkey bacon strips, grits, and hash browns. Vegetarians, you can make a damn good meal off the sides – just don't expect any props from the wait staff for doing so.

4618 3rd St., SF

(415) 643-4983

Hard Knox

Another good for your soul food spot. Hard Knox is tiny (maybe that's why they opened up their second location in the Richmond) but don't let that stop you from heading down to their Third Street spot. We're talking conviviality over comfort here, folks – and the food ain't bad either. Catfish sandwiches get our vote of glory.

2526 3rd St., SF

(415) 648-3770

Frisco Fried

Frisco Fried is the neighborhoods' newest entrant to the chicken and fixin's game, and has already attracted quite a following with its unapologetically artery-clogging eats. They keep a tally going on the window so that passer-bys can see that a. they have a burger dog on offer and b. that others before have tried the darn thing – to the tune of a few thousands, in fact.

5176 3rd St., SF

(415) 822-1517

Just For You

A break from the Southern food, you say? You got it – back to the corner of Third and 22nd withya, where Just For You packs in the throngs for lunch and breakfast. Hangover recommendation (unless you're like me and the thought of fish and dairy together stirs up an unholy alliance the morning after): the Hangtown fry, an egg, bacon, onion, and oyster scramble. Finish it off with a plate of beignets? Oh mys.

732 22nd St., SF

(415) 647-3033


Our pick of the Bayview brunch bunch: Piccino. Pair your French press with a nice cazuela of baked eggs or a fruit bruschetta – bread made in-house topped with honey butter, roasted fruits, crème fraiche and a bit of basil. The comfy, classy décor inside also plays host to lunches and dinners to write home about. Specialties of the house includes crispy, crusty pizzas and nom-nom antipasti.

801 22nd St., SF

(415) 824-4224

Junior Barbecue

Yes, that's right: Brazilian burgers. We're not convinced that the burgers that Junior sells from his traveling truck will go all that well with your Sao Paolo bikini, but there are those that would give up quite a lot for one of these mammoth meat mountains. Chose your poison by electing for one of three burger “levels.” Number three features a hot dog, ham, egg, corn, cheese, pineapple, bacon, and yeah, the burger. You've been warned. Check Junior out on weeknights til about midnight.

Napoleon and Evans, SF

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