Ronnie New's North Beach

Where the Comstock Saloon chef eats when he's off the line

Ronnie New has found himself in the midst of Barbary Coast history.

As the chef at Comstock Saloon, the New Orleans native is not only surrounded with some of the city's oldest drinking establishments, but he's slinging his own brand of California-influenced soul food in a classic space complete with original fans, an Emperor Norton statue and a urinal trough running under the bar.

"It's a neighborhood that's really fighting for its originality and its history," he says. "There are a lot of people who have been living here for a while—people tend to stay here."

In addition to working in the thick of the North Beach action, New has lived walking distance from Comstock, in a neighborhood he jokingly calls "Chinatown Heights," for the past five years. Here, he gives us his top picks for eats, drinks and dive bars in North Beach.

Coffee: Réveille Coffee
His order: A cappuccino.

Why he loves it: "Aside from proximity (it's right across the street), the coffee is excellent, and they're very skilled baristas. Plus, they're super friendly—they've become regulars over here, too."

Lunch: Molinari Delicatessen
His order: The Molinari Special ($7), with pepper shooters (peppers stuffed with provolone, wrapped in prosciutto) and a bag of chips. Plus, he'll often pick up dinner fixings (if he gets off work early), such as a bag of fresh pasta, tomato sauce and chicken Parm.

Why he loves it: "I like how all the salami is well-made, how they're always busy and how they're Giants fans! I like that I can make dinner out of $7 to $8 there. And those sandwiches...I mean, I get the Molinari Special every time. It's great."

Dinner: Cotogna and Doc Ricketts
His orders
: "At Cotogna, typically, I just get a pizza pie ($17) and some pasta ($18), whatever they have going on. Sitting at the bar and getting a Manhattan and a pizza to yourself is kind of a good move. At Doc Ricketts, the charcuterie plate ($24) is awesome."

Why he loves them:  "I've always loved Cotogna. And Doc Ricketts is just a great addition to the neighborhood. I worked for Justin Deering years ago at Conduit and think he's a great chef. The cocktails are great, and the space downstairs is amazing."

Late Night Bite: Sam's Burgers, Vietnam, Golden Boy Pizza
His orders
: A cheeseburger ($5.50) at Sam's, barbecue pork vermicelli with a side of imperial rolls ($6.50) at Vietnam and whatever looks good ($2 to $3) at Golden Boy.

Why he loves them: "They're right next door to each other, so I pick based on the line—but Sam's is the best late-night option around. It's got a good greasy cheeseburger and it's friendly service. They're always kind to the restaurant folk in the neighborhood. Golden Boy's another great one, but it's just crowded."

Quick Snack: Tosca
His order: The Bar Panini ($10).

Why he loves it: "The bar sandwich is fantastic. Gruyère, ham and bay leaf: It's an awesome late-night snack for when you just want a nightcap. Josh, the chef de cuisine, is doing awesome stuff over there."

Drinks: Mr. Bing's, Vesuvio, Capp's Corner, Gino and Carlo
His order: Bulleit bourbon neat and a PBR.

Why he loves them: "I'm a dive bar kind of man. Mr. Bing's is always great, Vesuvio is awesome and Capp's Corner is on the way to my house. That's usually my Friday and Saturday night spot—it's filled with restaurant people, and the cast and crew from Beach Blanket Babylon."