I thought I would cut to the chase and start my posts about San Francisco off by telling you all about the food. I ate at over 15 restaurants during my six day trip to San Francisco, and I am sharing my favorites with you!
Primavera Mexican Food at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturdays – Charles made the decision to book at 6:40am flight, which meant that we touched down in SF at 9:30am. (This also meant that I had to wake up at 4am). I questioned whether the early morning wake up was necessary, but when I was eating the best chilaquiles while enjoying a few of the San Francisco Bay, I determined it was certainly worth it.
The Ferry Building was a short walk from our hotel (the Loews Regency) and it houses a variety of food stalls and shops, and on Saturdays there is also a farmer’s market outside.
Hog Island Oyster – After Primavera, Charles went to Hog Island Oyster, where he joyfully ate what he proclaimed were some of the best oysters he had ever tasted.
NoPa – Charles and I joined my friends Emily and Cait for brunch at the chef’s table and it was a wonderful welcome to the city. The brunch menu is absolutely wonderful and I especially enjoyed the eggs baked in a tarragon cream sauce with mushrooms served with grilled toast. I could eat this everyday.
We also tried the homemade biscuits served with marmalade. They were served warm and were wonderfully crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
We ordered the extra thick custard French Toast too. I love to try sweet breakfasts, but never want to fully commit to them, so ordering the French Toast to share was perfect.
Pork Store Cafe – My breakfast at the Pork Store Cafe inspired by recipe for Eggs in Hash Brown Nests. This traditional diner right by the Haight/Ashbury intersection was a nice place to fuel up for a day of exploring.
Vive La Tarte – A delightful little café that specializes in tarts. I love the concept, and it’s perfectly executed. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but if you find yourself in that part of the Soma neighborhood be sure to stop in.
I ordered a slice of pancetta pizza with a runny egg on top – one of my favorite brunch foods. If this place was in my neighborhood I would be there everyday.
Afternoon Tea (or Cocktails):
Garden Court at The Palace – This stunning space was my favorite hangout. It was a lovely place to regroup and recharge, and sip rose.
Humphrey Solocomb – This ice cream shop in the Ferry Building has a flavor called Secret Breakfast and it’s made with Bourbon and Corn Flakes and it’s fantastic, and I want to high five whoever came up with it.
State Bird Provisions – Without a doubt the best meal I experienced in San Francisco. It’s so good, it’s getting its own blog post.
Colibri Mexican Bistro – A low key place just off of Market Street serving up traditional Mexican Food. I loved the Sopes (masa boats filled with meats or vegetables). I liked that they served traditional Mexican entrees instead of the Tex-Mex burritos and tacos that are common in Chicago.
Burma Superstar – This very popular Burmese restaurant has several locations and is known for their tea leave salad. My friend explained that the Burmese are the only people who eat tea leaves as part of their diet. The salad is made with romaine lettuce, fried yellow beans, fried garlic (this was my favorite part), sesame seeds, fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, and dried shrimp, that is tossed together with a tea leaf dressing. I have also heard that the Rainbow Salad- with 22 ingredients is excellent.
A16 – An Italian restaurant with a James Beard Award to their name that reminded me of Balena. We loved the fungi pizza which was baked in the large pizza oven in the center of the restaurant.
The Fine Mousse – I love the concept. It’s a bar that specializes in two of the best things on earth: champagne and French Fries. It’s fun, it’s casual, and someone needs to open one up in my neighborhood.
Café du Nord – A bar/restaurant with serious cocktails and a great vibe. I tried two of the cocktails (the Trocadero and the Stern Grove) and the chicken wings, but I hear their burger is one of the best in the city.
I should also let you know that when the clock strikes midnight, the champagne and oysters are half priced until closing. If I lived in SF this would be my hangout.
Local Edition – This speakeasy in a basement along Market Street reminded me of Chicago’s Untitled. The location in the old Hearst building serves as inspiration for this 50s and 60s newspaper business themed space. Expect to find live music, vintage cocktails, typewriters, and printing presses.
There you have it! Fourteen spots in San Francisco for you to try. If you are one of those people who wants to find the BEST restaurants to visit during a vacation, let me share a little secret with you. Just look up which restaurants have been nominated for a James Beard Award. The James Beard Awards are referred to as the “Oscars of Food” and they recognize the best restaurants, chefs, and cocktail programs in America. These restaurants might not be easy to get into, but they are worth the extra effort.
Next week we will continue our virtual trip to San Francisco and I will let you know where to stay, where to shop, and which sites to visit. And if I missed any of your favorite San Francisco restaurants, please share them with me in the comments!