Our favorite bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) in San Francisco can be found at Picnix Bistro & Carry Out, which is located in the Presidio Heights district. When someone told us that there was good bánh mì at Picnix, I didn't believe it because of the neighborhood it was in. The first time Hungry Bear and I drove by the cafe it was closed, and it didn't look like a bánh mì shop to us. The second time we stopped by, my doubts of finding good bánh mì was put at ease, because the shop owners are a Vietnamese couple.
It turns out that Picnix is small cafe with an eclectic menu offering several Vietnamese items and other international lunch fare. It's located behind California Pacific Medical Center and caters to the medical personnel at the hospital, which means lunch time is very busy.
Picnix offers two kinds of bánh mì, Vietnamese style grilled chicken and grilled lemongrass tofu. In addition to the protein, both sandwiches are filled with carrots, pickled daikon, cucumbers and cilantro. The quality of the ingredients is by far the best we've had from any bánh mì shop in San Francisco. Between the vegetables, chicken and tofu, the ingredients are fresh and well prepared.
Although both sandwiches are very good, we have to give the nod to the grilled lemongrass tofu as the better bánh mì. The tofu sandwich is a little more flavorful and we love the lemongrass in it. The chicken tastes more like good roast chicken than Vietnamese grilled chicken. The only thing missing in either sandwich is a little pâté and jalapeno. I'll have to ask if they are options the next time we visit.
My only issue with the sandwiches is the baguette. It's a good baguette but it's a little too crusty for use with bánh mì. I would like the bread to be a little more airy and softer. Despite this issue, we think it's the best bánh mì in San Francisco. Compared to other bánh mì shops, the sandwiches are more expensive at $5.75 each, but the ingredients are superior and worth the extra cost.
If you find yourself in the Presidio Heights neighborhood and have a craving for a Vietnamese baguette sandwich, definitely check out Picnix. We've also heard good things about the other items on their menu. I guess we'll have to try something else, in addition to the bánh mì the next time we go.
Location & Hours:
Picnix Bistro & Carry Out
3872 Sacramento Street (between Maple and Cherry)
San Francisco, CA 94118
Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
[tags]vietnamese, banh mi, presidio heights, lemongrass, fresh, grilled, tofu, chicken[/tags]