*Just* off the beaten path...
Mixing a cherry location, great food and an alluring green glow - Absinthe anchors Hayes Valley
with a delightful array of French-style cuisine and a full bar, including absinthe►
Bread line 2.0
French for "huge backyard" :)
By San Francisco standards, Arlequin's back patio is massive! It has great tree cover from both the wind and the sun - and gas lamps just in case. The cafe is run by the same folks as Absinthe
next door - so the food isn't bad either.
Asian fusion :)
Another one bakes the cake...
With an openly fragrant kitchen (the "bar") and the freshest smelling bathroom in SF - BT starts with the nose and moves inward.
Fresh music and eats
By refusing ASCAP music licensing payments, the warm Bazaar Café effectively guarantees its patrons previously unheard sonic experiences►
. Quality varies - but with no cover charge and tasty food, it's a good risk :)
Come for the view, stay for the beer
With eye popping views
of Ocean Beach
and delicious in-house brews
, Beach Chalet's food doesn't quite complete the trinity, but sustains the others :)
Just say yes!
Catty corner to Dolores Park
and as-of-yet untouched by the DEA
, this Mission
"homemade ice cream" hot-spot often sports a line out the door. There are no reports of un-delicious►
ice creams, but it's advisable to sample a few flavors before ordering... just to be safe :)
Just like Bob used to make...
Dishing up old-fashioned donuts 24/7, Bob's is a favorite of the morning crew, the brunch set, the lunch crowd, evening donut connoisseurs, pre-partiers and hungry late nighters :)
Breakfast of hipsters
Boogaloos transforms an old school drugstore into a old school breakfast cafe - one of the few in San Francisco!
Buena Vista Cafe
Caffeine + Alcohol = Sweet Fame!
While Buena Vista's much-touted claim to "America's First Irish Coffee
" fails the obvious test for some (who brought the French kiss?), the cafe is uncommonly popular with tourists and locals alike.
Delights of Burma, even for regular folks
Long lines (no reservations) and nose-ravaging aromas torture the hopeful - arrive early to improve your lot.
Cabin in the Castro
With an improbable mountainous cabin vibe, Cafe Flore is a long-time Castro
chill/hot spot with both (heated) outdoor and indoor seating.
Perfect Spot for a Post-Headlands Drink or Three
Providing stunning city views, spooky military ruins (which you're "not supposed to" explore), fishing, and one of the better frisbee/picnicking fields you'll find - Cavallo Point delights.
Jewel of the Richmond
A great high-end dining experience at a reasonable price. Everything about Chapeau exudes warmth - the cuisine, the owners, the workers, the decor.
Keeping up with Kansas City!
Laid under glass like edible jewelry, Christopher Elbow's chocolate delights the eye and belly :)
Not your average juice club
Substituting juice for more traditional heavy oils, this Asian fusion hotspot in the Haight
often sports a line out the door, call for reservations or get some quality time with Amoeba Music
down the block.
Stunning views, historic building, government owned restaurant
An enduring city celebrity (since 1858
), the Cliff House rewards a closer look despite some wear for the years. Seated near Lands End
, the Sutro Baths
, and the north end of Ocean Beach
- the Cliff House is a historic building with freshly baked meals :)
Working from work is so last millenia...
A modern split-level space with great natural light, a great menu
/food/alcohol), and long hours make for a lively during-the-day spot on the Potrero Hill
side of the Mission
Colibrí Mexican Bistro
Back to the future, Mexican edition
A new but classically oriented Central Mexican Restaurant in Union Square
(across from the ACT
), Colibrí boasts amazing guacamole, over 300 types of tequila, jalapeño margaritas►
, and they're open for lunch (!)
Offering a collection of gourmet donuts around the signature (and daily) "Maple Glazed Bacon Apple" - DD takes donuts to new horizons. Ordering is handled out front, with good seating inside and a patio through the back (with bike parking).
Open for lunch and dinner, Ebisu is regarded by many as the best sushi restaurant in San Francisco.
Tasty after-hours burritos
This "little lighthouse" in the Mission
cranks out some big juicy burritos... until 4am on the weekends!
This Outer Mission
domestic space turned jack-of-all-fun venue hosts live bands, djs, comedy shows, salsa dancing, margaritas, drag queens, backyard patio, pool table, barbecue, oysters, etc - best check the schedule
, cash only!
Feast your eyes and belly
An eye popping seascape augmented with San Francisco's finest seafood
, Farallon deserves its considerable regard!
Making the sun rise
A centroid of social activity in Potrero Hill
, Farley's serves great coffee in a friendly atmosphere with outdoor seating!
Historic outsides, brand new interior
Matching historical resilience (eg, surviving both the 1906 Earthquake
and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake
's destruction of the adjoining Embarcadero freeway) and persistent visibility along the Market Street corridor up to Twin Peaks
- the Ferry Building enjoys iconic status in the city, and has exploded onto the food scene since its latest renovation in 2003.
San Francisco's Archetype of Itself
San Francisco's biggest tourist destination is visually stunning, entertaining, and offers a starting point for a variety of activities: bay tours/ferries (including Alcatraz
), Cable Cars
's chocolate, a variety of seafood, and one of the nation's best Maritime Museums
(including the USS Pampanito
Goat Hill Pizza
Dim sum pizza
In the heart of Potrero Hill
, Goat Hill hosts all-you-can-eat dim sum style pizza orgies on Monday night
. Loud inside, often with a line out the door (no reservations), makes for a festive Monday night!
Golden Boy Pizza
Good Luck Dim Sum
You need the luck for the line...
Another Clement Street gem, Good Luck offers delicious Dim Sum at very reasonable prices... the line can be a bit of an issue, especially on the weekends.
C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me
In addition to serving up delicious (and hot!) cookies in a variety of shapes and sizes (including male genitalia), HC immortalizes past cookie-binges-in-the-Castro
with photos on the wall!
What do milk, sugar, cream, cornflakes and bourbon make?
A taste of Southern California
While relatively new in San Francisco, In-n-Out has a long history►
(by California standards) in Southern California and its simple menu, low prices, no advertising and purportedly healthy ingredients combine to generate fiercely loyal cult-members... err, customers :)
Justin Herman Plaza
Kennedy's Irish Pub & Indian Curry House
Irish bar + baseball
King of Thai Noodle House
Sometimes the king is really the king...
In a city of excellent Thai food, the King of Thai excels at both delicious and cheap. The original location is on Clement street (Richmond
district), and the next location... is also on Clement street, about 4 blocks away - it's that good!
La Boulange Bakery
Paris of the West
There's just something about serving delicious French-style pastries, egg dishes, sandwiches and salads at reasonable prices that people seem to like :)
Little Star Pizza
Like it thick??
, whatever-you-call-it, Little Star serves the best lasagna-style pizza in SF :)
Moon or bust
Desserts and drinks - especially scotch - put the sparkle on a solid menu. Walking in can work, but reservations
are advisable for this Mission
destination. It's hard to go wrong ordering and the staff are extremely helpful.
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Come for the beer, stay for the beer...
On the short-list of SF brewers and one of the better places to get a drink in Haight-Ashbury
, Magnolia also offers lunch (brunch on weekends!) and dinner in a booths + bar layout, with outdoor seating.
All your Metreon are belong to us
Like a mall, without many stores - the Metreon does have a 15 screen movie theater
(including the largest IMAX screen in the world), a video arcade, a food court and a smattering of other stores and attractions.
Mission Beach Café
Sweet, savory, or one of each (!)
An urban offshoot of Pie Ranch
, Mission Pie's commitment to sustainability, local produce and community involvement roots in SF's social entrepreneurship camp.
Monks gone thirsty!
Offering a hearty selection of delectable brews and a kitchen that's open until 1am (limited menu after 11:30) - the Kettle
is a low risk stop for anyone vibing pub in the Mission
Nopa, Nopales, Nopalito
Nominally, a play on NOPA, "North of Panhandle
", and Nopales
, a prickly pear cactus/vegetable - Nopalito's "sustainable organic mexican kitchen" hits on flavor too :)
No beach - but a great party!
The aroma of Italy still wafts through this old quartiere... now infused with teams of hard partying "youngsters" :)
Civilizing the Wild West
Combining artisan local food including baked-onsite bread, Sightglass coffee
and specialty cocktails (+ beer and wine) with a cabin-by-the-sea vibe, Outerlands is one of the Outer Sunset's biggest draws.
Pancho Villa Taqueria
If Pancho could see us now...
Assembly-line burrito construction, harsh lighting, formica tabletops and an overall cafeteria vibe only heighten the lively atmosphere of Mission
denizens tanking up for a hard days night!
From the ground up... the way pizza was meant to be :)
Fresh dough, grow-it-in-themselves vegetables, thin crusts (!?)... and a can't-miss wine list put Pauline's in it's own category.
Pizza + Eggs = Delicious!
A deluxe Dogpatch
restaurant with adjoining coffee bar (Sightglass Coffee
+ delicious pastries) Piccino serves some of the best thin crust pizza around - and like it's beefy low end step cousin In-n-Out Burger
- the secret menu is the way to go with the secret being..... eggs on pizza!? :)
Party on the Pier
Introducing little Margaret...
R & G Lounge
Digging to China
Delicious Chinese food (especially seafood) in a lively warm subterranean dining room with large family style seating keeps folks coming back for more.
What Marx intended
Packing delicious organic vegetables (with samples), bulk►
grains, local products (eg, TCHO
chocolate), exotic supplements and piles of customers into a not-quite-supersized building often makes for a cozy and exciting grocery experience.
Red's Java House
Simple building, simple pleasures
In the shadow of modernity and the Bay Bridge, Red's Java House serves cheap burgers on the bay and enjoys an avid following among Downtown
Viva la Mocha
Tasty food, liquor license, art, sunlit patio - check!
San Francisco Centre
San Francisco's primary upscale shopping location. Stonestown Galleria
is the only other mall within the city, and it's much smaller.
Smitten Ice Cream
Prepare for smiting!
The robotic "Kelvin" pushes gourmet ice cream to new heights by spinning fresh local ingredients (eg, TCHO
chocolate) at sub-zero (liquid nitrogen) temperatures!
Mashing locally sourced
ingredients, an easy-to-love menu - eg, truffle oil on pizza (!) - and a Burning Man
aesthetic (tent-patio in front!)... recently-opened Source breaks new ground on the SF dining scene in a food-wise sparse section of SOMA
A pretty good worst case option, Sparky's provides alcohol-absorbing diner food at all hours! Seated between the Mission
and the Castro
- the after hours scene varies and is often crowded.
Swensen's Ice Cream
Parlor up cowboy
Climbers, drinkers, clubbers and other belly-minded junkies pack themselves into this little Mission
joint for an authentic taste of... Cancun?
Preferred by 9 out of 10 Mission hipsters
(and tasty!) pastries with a line out the door frequently make for gastrological dissonance at this Mission
hot spot. Good things await those who wait.
Come for the view, stay for the view...
Sitting on SF's last truly industrial waterfront in the Dogpatch
, The Ramp serves diner food
beside an expanse of bay, sailboats, massive ship repairs... and beer :)
Tommy's Mexican Restaurant
Old school Mexican
Self-billed as the "World's Best Tequila Bar" (Colibrí
may disagree), Tommy's has been cranking out margaritas and meals since birth in 1965 by a Yucatecan couple (Tommy and Elmy) - it is still family run.
Top of the Mark
Staying on top...
Providing 19th-floor eyegasmic views in every direction (when Fog
cooperates), the Top of the Mark has been delighting guests since 1939. The drinks are expensive... but, considerably cheaper than a room at the Mark Hopkins hotel :)
Beer drinkers unite
Nestled in the woods with views of Mt Tamalpais
, delicious brews, and nose-waking barbecues, the Tourist Club (also known as the "German Tourist Club") provides delightfully transporting afternoons!
Toy Boat Dessert Café
Tired of adulthood?
Serving local "Double Rainbow
" ice cream and a variety of other desserts (plus beverages, bagels and sandwiches) in a playful ice cream parlor atmosphere, Toy Boat delights!
Tenderloin's greatest hits
A large delicious menu
and similar portions propels this dive-joint from the heart of the Tenderloin
into the hearts of the hungry.
A zeitgeist of bikes, beers and burgers