Borderlands: Five Places to Eat and Drink Along S.F.’s Southern Edge

San Francisco’s southernmost reaches prove they’re very much a part of this food town.

Mentai Kamatama udon. Photo by Peter Lawrence Kane

Listicles about the “Best X in Every Neighborhood” don’t always manage to include every neighborhood. Look, we know not everywhere can be as dense with bars and restaurants as the Mission or the Inner Sunset, but snobbery and ignorance can also lead us astray from worthy destinations. If they areas along San Francisco’s southern edge are a little more residential in character than SoMa, that only means you have to work a little harder to find the right spots. Because they’re there.

Marugame Udon

Stonestown Galleria,

SF Weekly is kinda sorta inside a mall — emphasis on sorta — and so we must recognize the authenticity and general excellence of the single best eatery in a shopping center in San Francisco. While ramen proliferates everywhere, Marugame Udon’s thicker noodles and cafeteria-style options are a little more fun. If you’re not floating away to the performative Japanese exhortations from behind the line, you’re deciding which tempura add-on best suits your broth. Sweet-ish and with a soft-boiled egg, the large, hot nikutama udon is only $9.50 and it’s a cure for the common cold, the common hangover, and the altogether too common foggy day.

Ocean Ale House

1314 Ocean Ave.

An eclectic mix of large- and small-scale commercial and residential development lines Ocean Avenue, Ingleside’s main drag. While the 1931 peach-and-lime, Art Deco beauty originally known as the El Rey Theatre — designed by Timothy Pflueger, later home to the very first Gap store, and now a landmark — has the most personality, the nearby Ocean Ale House isn’t far behind. From the enormous mural of a shorebird perched atop a floating beer barrel to the photos of the hirsute owner standing in the surf, it’s a bar-and-restaurant where local movers-and-shakers hobnob over goses, Belgian tripels, and (of course) avocado toast.

Broken Record

1166 Geneva Ave.

This publication could not be more unambiguously pro-dive bar, but even then, Broken Record feather-tickles all of our erogenous zones. It has a bucolic patio, it has great beer, it has a loyal fan base, it decorates for the holidays, and it has a killer kitchen called Hood Grub. Serving only sustainably raised meat, it’s where you go for Korean BBQ wings, a crab cake grilled cheese, Mexican corn, and prawn po’ boys. Meat-and-two-sides barbecue plates are only $15, and brunch includes both pulled pork hash and loco moco. In other words, it’s a Hawaiian-Cajun-Korean-Mexican-Italian-American restaurant, with singularly excellent bar food.

The Dark Horse Inn

942 Geneva Ave.

Seven years after Andrea Ferrucci and Sean Ingram renovated an old pizzeria, the Dark Horse remains the preeminent dinner spot in Crocker-Amazon or the Outer Mission. With seared ahi tacos, pulled pork mac-and-cheese, and a kimchi reuben stacked against the dozens of mostly Californian beers rotating on the taps, it’s a proper gastropub with a homey feel and reasonable prices. Pro-tip: Head over on the last Thursday of the month for a big selection of small plates and shareable desserts.

Piccolo Pete’s

2155 Bayshore Blvd., no website

An even darker horse, Piccolo Pete’s is one of those places that fits its location hand-in-glove. A cafe that bears no resemblance to a Third Wave coffee temple, it’s a somewhat run-down place at a crucial transit nexus on Bayshore Boulevard, near a Caltrain station, the end of the T-Third St. Muni line, and not far from Highway 101. But it’s hardly some truck stop with weak black coffee in polystyrene cups. The adjacent deli is closed indefinitely for a supposed remodel — an employee said they had no idea when that part would reopen — but Piccolo Pete’s is where you can get affordable lattes with non-bovine milks, French toast on Fridays, and even a “Mr. Fancypants” (garlic, olive oil, brie, mushrooms, S&P, and honey on sourdough).

 

Read more from SF Weekly’s “Borderlands” issue

The Borderlands: San Francisco’s Southern Tier
You are still in the city.

NIMBY-land Brisbane Says Yes to Major Housing
The small city’s voters narrowly approved a development that would add up to 2,200 housing units on the border of San Francisco and Daly City.

Urban Camper: Escape to Sunrise Point
S.F.’s southernmost urban campsite is a little-known respite for the outdoorsy.

S.F.’s Republicans Are Hiding Near the Border
A small southwestern edge of the city turned out for Trump in 2016. Will they change their vote in 2020?

For BART, No Representation Without Taxation
San Mateo County’s decades-long reluctance to fully join BART has San Francisco residents closest to Daly City Station paying double.

Inside the 7 Mile House, a 160-Year Old Restaurant in the Middle of Nowhere
Sisig, adobo, and lumpia remain the best sellers at this Filipino-Mexican-Italian-American jewel, founded in 1858.

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