San Francisco’s best bets for ordering in

By Marcia Gagliardi

In our on-demand world, you can have practically any sort of meal brought right to your front door, and with ease. And while a dish like crudo and crab cakes is probably best experienced at the restaurant, plenty of types of cuisine can be enjoyed just as well back at home, on your couch. So what can you count on when you want dinner delivered? Here are five of our picks for types of food that travel well—and where to get it.

Indian is truly one of the best delivery options: Slow-cooked meats, curries, and vegetables arrive just like they’d be served at the restaurant, and the rice or biryani hold up, too. And sure, the naan will usually benefit from a little post-transit reheat while you serve up your tikka masala and saag paneer. Tip: order some achar (pickle) as a piquant side.

Our delivery picks: Pakwan and Alhamra are two affordable classics in the Mission. Saffron Grill near Alamo Square also has many fans, and even though Little Delhi can take a long time, the feisty authentic flavors are worth it.

Middle Eastern
If you stick with Middle Eastern rice plates with shawarma, kebab, or falafel, and mezes and dips like hummus and baba ghanoush, you’ll be pretty happy with what arrives at your door. Make your own mini sandwich at home with some pita bread, and you won’t have to worry about it getting soggy on the ride over. And don't forget to ask for hot sauce and garlic sauce.

Our delivery picks: Maykadeh will blow your mind with their fresh and quality Persian dishes (Eggplant lovers: Get the kashke bademjan, and the joojeh kebab, aka juicy chicken thigh!); Palmyra in the Haight makes good falafel (request they make them fresh) and the rotisserie chicken travels well, too.

While there aren’t a lot of Vietnamese places that offer delivery, the food travels well if you stick to the right dishes. You won’t go wrong with pho (they separate the noodles out), congee (cháo), banh mi, goi cuon spring rolls (or cha gio, the fried rolls with vermicelli), and of course some bun cha (grilled meat over vermicelli noodles).

Our delivery picks: Definitely order from Turtle Tower (famous for their pho). There’s also Bodega Bistro (known for their beef pho, squab, and bun cha) to consider, while Mekong Kitchen (pictured) makes an amazing spicy oxtail pho and tasty rice bowls.

Of course, there’s always the original delivery option; did you know Chinese take-out dates back to the 1920s? Sometimes you just want some kung pao chicken or wok-seared Mongolian beef, which travels better than anything fried (like General Tso’s chicken)—but let’s be honest, when you’re drunk and hangry, who cares? Pot stickers (just throw them in a pan for a quick reheat), hot and sour soup, and mushu pork are all good picks, and don’t forget some vegetables.

Our delivery picks: Mission Chinese has their marvelous kung pao pastrami, salt cod fried rice, and Westlake rice porridge. If you have a steamer, order dumplings from Shanghai Dumpling King (and hot and sour soup). Country Sky Chinese makes a spicy Hunan wor wonton soup that holds up. You might also try the smoked ham and other spicy dishes from Brandy Ho’s, and spicy Sichuan from Z&Y.

Thai soups, curries, and rice plates travel swimmingly, along with many salads, like larb salad. Stir-fried noodles can clump together, but a quick toss in your frying pan can solve that sticky situation. Try to veer away from things that are fried—but say “yes way” to sauté.

Our delivery picks: Don’t miss Tycoon or Hawker Fare for authentic Laotian and Thai; Amphawa in the Inner Richmond is also a fave, and Chabaa services both sides of Golden Gate Park. Lers Ros is another authentic standby, and King of Thai Noodle House makes tasty noodle soups.

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