Sunday, July 29, 2012

R is for: Red's Java House & Primo Patio Cafe {Restaurant Review}

In my ongoing quest to cover both sports and food at the same time, I occasionally like to write about some of my favorite places to eat near AT&T Park. This week, I'm excited to tell you about *two* of my favorite little gems that each have their own distinct charm and character.

I'll start with Red's, the tiny little shack of a place that sits below the Bay Bridge on Pier 30. The thing I love most about Red's Java House is what you see is what you get. What you see is a longstanding San Francisco institution that could best be described as a dive bar. What you get is no-frills food, a back patio that sits on the water and cheap beer. And on a sunny San Francisco day before a baseball game (when I'm not working), there's no place I'd rather be. 

If you're a big lettuce and tomato person, then Red's is not the place for you. They don't have them, so don't ask. Red's cheeseburgers are simply served on a sourdough roll with cheese, pickles and diced onions. I kind of love this about Red's. The bread is a little overpowering, so I would probably recommend a double cheeseburger to compensate. Are there better burgers in the city? Yes. And I've written about them. But none of them come with fries and a beer for around 10 bucks while sitting outside on the water.

My go-to order is actually the fish and chips, which is vastly underrated at Red's in my opinion. It's a gigantic portion of flakey white fish, battered and fried to a golden brown and served with fries and a side of tartar sauce that I would eat by itself if it was socially acceptable. (OK, maybe I did anyways).

But let's be honest, it's more about the cheap beer and the back patio than anything else. Red's and a Giants game on a sunny San Francisco really doesn't get much better than that.

Over on Townsend is another little hole-in-the-wall place that you might not even notice if you didn't know it was there. Primo Patio Cafe specializes in Caribbean food, and the jerk chicken is what they are known for. As you can see from the photos, you can order it in a variety of a plate with rice/beans/veggies, as a sandwich, or even on a salad. The chicken is tender and flavorful, and it comes with this pinkish-orangish sauce that is great on the fries as well. I have no idea what's in the primo sauce, but I do know it has just the right amount of tanginess and kick.

On my most recent visit, I actually ordered blackened snapper (but forgot to take a That might be my new sleeper pick for favorite order here. The beers aren't as cheap as Red's, but still very reasonable. My favorite beverage here is actually the "Buli-Buli," pictured above. Mostly, I just really like saying "Buli-Buli," but it's also quite refreshing and tasty. It's beer, lime juice, sugar and ice. (Sort of like Skip 'N Go but without the vodka). Like Red's, (and as the name suggests) Primo Patio Cafe's dining area is outdoors, so it's also great on a sunny day.

What about you? Do Red's and Primo make the cut for YOUR favorite pre-baseball spot to hit up before a Giants' game? Or how about Marlowe? American Grilled Cheese Kitchen? HRD? Tell me what you think in the comments section below!


  1. Red's is good. We really like 21st Amendment on 2nd as well as the Brickhouse Cafe on Brannon. They tend to get a bit busy close to game time, though. Love your blog! Really gave us some great ideas for dining in SF.

  2. I don't really go anywhere pre-game due to timing and crowds, but I used to work in the area, so I have a few favorite places. For somewhat cheap soul food, I love little skillet. It's literally a window tucked away in an alley off Townsend. They specialize in chicken and waffles, but their pulled pork is good, too. I also like Nama Sushi on King, and 21st Amendment.

  3. After the game, I like to go to Delancys which is about 3 blocks away toward the Embarcadero. Good food and inexpensive. The sundae is fantastic.


I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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