Rylan’s restaurant recs: eats on Haight

The Haight is a culinarily diverse neighborhood, but ask any Urban student what restaurants they frequent for lunch, and you will inevitably receive similar responses. While restaurants such as Flippin Burger, DragonEats and Gus’s are delicious tried-and-true favorites, they represent only a small portion of the many options on Haight. What foods are the Blues missing out on?


Brioche Bakery & Cafe:

What I ordered: Chicken Alfredo 

Price: $14 + $5 for addition of chicken


Brioche Bakery & Cafes’ cozy interior and welcoming environment serves as the perfect escape from cold and rainy San Francisco days. Warm overhead lighting, a backyard patio and balcony seating overlooking the restaurant are just a few of the many features that make this place unique. While the constant bustle of activity often results in long wait times, this restaurant would not be the same without the signature hum of conversation that fills the space.

The linguine alfredo with an addition of chicken was large enough to split between myself and a friend. The pasta, cooked perfectly al-dente, was covered in a golden parmesan sauce, and served with two slices of toasted bread. While undercooked onions gave the pasta an unpleasant crunch, the sauce brought the dish to life with a dopamine-producing creamy garlic medley. When days get cold, finals week is taking its toll and you need some time for self-care, treat yourself to a meal at Brioche — schoolwork can wait, Alfredo is ready now.


Abu Salim

What I ordered: Chicken Shawarma

Price: $15.20


Perplexing is the keyword when describing Abu Salim Middle Eastern Grill, located on the corner of Haight and Clayton. Standing in line preparing to order, one cannot help but notice the sign on the wall: “Shake, Shake, Shake” it reads in yellowing letters, clearly a remnant of the previous restaurant, Burger Urge, which closed in 2020. The chicken shawarma wrap was the size of a large baby, and in what can only be described as a battle to eat, diners will be forced to wrestle with the wrap, constantly adjusting the heaving load in a desperate attempt to prevent inevitable collapse. Ultimately, some customers may find it easier to resort to a fork and knife rather than hands. The wrap consists almost entirely of chicken, with little else to add complexity to the dish. Even the spice rub, which the chicken was marinated in, failed to catch my interest.  While the quantity of food is impressive, the chicken shawarma wrap lacks quality flavor, resulting in a meal both mundane to tastebuds and difficult to eat. For $15, your money is best spent elsewhere.


Mi Familia Taqueria

What I ordered: Chicken Super Burrito

Price: $16


Don’t be fooled by Mi Familia Taqueria. This often overlooked Mexican restaurant is a hidden gem, loved by regulars and select groups of Urban students alike. Located farther down Haight Street on the corner of Haight and Shrader, some students remain unaware of Mi Familia’s existence. Those who have tried it insist it is the best, beating out more popular spots like Street Taco and El Rancho Grande. When compared to its competitors, Mi Familia really shines in its speed and portion sizes. Each super burrito — built Chipotle-style before your eyes — takes less than a minute to make, and arrives stuffed to the brim with beans, rice, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and a meat of your choice. The final product culminates in a simple, yet enjoyable meal: savory chicken, paired with the familiar tang of a classic guac and sour cream combo, all portioned perfectly, leaving customers feeling comfortably stuffed after a meal. While it remains pricey compared to competitors, I insist you give it a try — one bite and you’ll be convinced.


What the Cluck

What I ordered: Classic (Khao Man Gai)

Price: $16.24


From a glance, What the Cluck often appears cold, uninviting and is usually empty, but look past the lackluster interior and you will be met with Thai comfort dishes that warm the soul and smell so flavorful that passerby students cannot help but stop and inquire. The classic order, Khao Man Gai, which arrived in under a minute, consisted of a spectacular variety of different components, resulting in a deliciously colorful feast. The centerpiece of the dish, a chicken cutlet, though lacking in seasoning, is paired nicely with a sweet-and-sour soy-paste sauce. The tender chicken gives little to no resistance as one bites in, while a side of cucumbers adds a contrasting crunch and freshness to the dish. My meal at What the Cluck was delicious, but pricey in comparison to similar meals such as Gus’s chicken teriyaki rice bowl ($6.50) and DragonEats’ five spice chicken “Fresh Bowl” ($9). What the Cluck provides an efficient meal — it arrives quick, tastes good and leaves you full —- but all this efficiency comes at a cost.