I'm so excited to share this guide with you. I always love city guides because they expose you to hidden places in the city you live or are visiting. Im so excited to share my own city guide of my beloved San Francisco. These are my favorite secret and not-so-secret spots all around this beautiful city. I've decided to split it into 3 posts: dining, sights and shopping.
Today we are talking about dining. I mean why not start with the best?! I have narrowed it down to my top 5 in a few categories. Believe me, I could have gone on and on but I decided to keep it short and sweet. Here are my favorites…
Best Places to Grab Coffee
This city rivals my hometown of Seattle in the amount of coffee shops. You can find at least a dozen roasters that are based in SF. But here are my top ones.
1. Reveille Coffee in the Castro - This newly-opened location has wonderful design and, in my opinion the best coffee in San Francisco. Stop in and order a latte or Americano then sit on the little front patio and enjoy the colorful people watching.
2. Saint Frank Coffee - Had to include a shout-out to my favorite place to work and sip coffee. They are known for their house-made Macadamia and Almond milk lattes. I love them for their clean design and internet.
3. Blue Bottle Coffee Ferry Building - This list just would't be complete without listing this institution. You will find a line at most times in this location but nothing can beat a incredible NOLA Iced Coffee while you are walking around the Ferry Building.
4. Le Marais - This newcomer almost made the cut for a good breakfast place because of their incredible pastries but they have yummy Stumptown coffee too. They are in the process of expanding next door and having a full menu. But for the time-being they can be my favorite neighborhood coffee place.
5. The Mill - This place is also a food/coffee place (the best kind of place in my mind). They are known for their fancy toast. How much more SF can you get than fancy toast? Their coffee is also pretty darn delicious too (Four Barrel)
Best Places to Have a Nice Dinner
Parents in town? Planning a fancy date? Need to recommend something for a client? These are the places to go when you want to have a slightly fancier dinner or, lets be honest, just treat yo' self.
1. Kokkari - This Greek restaurant is a winner. It is pretty tough to get into but if you plan ahead, you will enjoy the most delicious non-traditional Greek food in the city. They even have a giant roaster in the dining room with a rotation of meats.
2. Anchor and Hope - I have been going to this place for quite a while now. I love the nautical, East Coast atmosphere of the converted warehouse. The seafood is excellent as well. Don't miss the angels on horseback, BBQ-ed oysters wrapped in bacon.
3. NOPA - Another one that is hard to get into but well worth it. I had my birthday dinner here with my family and throughly enjoyed each dish during the meal. The food is very "California" meaning local, fresh and organic.
4. Beretta - This restaurant is located in the Mission district of SF and fully embodies the neighborhood. The cocktails are delicious and you can't go wrong with anything on the the Italian-based menu. It does get crowded and loud so prepare to get cozy next to your fellow diners.
5. Rich Table - This postage stamp-sized restaurant serves up inventive favors in their seasonally-based menu. The portions are rather small but great to order a few dishes and share with a group of people so you can try everything. Im not a huge fan of sardines but their sardine chips are very popular.
Best Places to Grab A "Snack"
I use the term snack to cover all manner of delicious treats and afternoon sustenance. A cupcake can be a snack, right?
1. The Boba Guys - This place just opened up in the Mission. It is founded by two guys that have normal "day jobs" but wanted to persue their passion for tea. Their boba is the best I have tasted in San Francisco, using only the freshest ingredients.
2. Susie Cakes - I ordered my birthday cake from here and stop by every-so-often to get a sugary treat. Their individual slices of cake are my favorite because then you get to taste a cake without having the whole cake! Make sure to try the coconut pineapple, it's my favorite.
3. Tartine Bakery - This San Francisco institution serves up the most incredible pastries. The smells alone are almost enough but you should actually eat the orange morning buns or the daily croque monsieur.
4. David's Tea - Stop by this modern tea emporium to smell over 100 delicious teas and select your favorite to either bring home or enjoy hot or iced right there. My favorite is the Amaretto tea.
5. Loving Cup - This local gem serves up frozen yogurt with your choice of add-ins. Think Coldstone but with frozen yogurt and premium ingredients. They also serve up incredible rice pudding. My favorite is the coconut or rum raisin.
Best Places for Weekend Brunch
1. Plow - All of these incredible photos are from Plow. It is, hands down, my favorite brunch place in the city. Good thing it's not easy for me to get to and always has a wait (even on a Tuesday morning), otherwise I'd eat there all of the time. Everything is incredible but "The Plow" is my favorite because it has pancakes and eggs, covering all of my sweet and salty cravings.
2. Mission Beach Cafe - I like to think that I am a brunch connoisseur, trying out all of the brunch places in the city. This place has the most incredible Benedicts. I have tried them all (or nearly all) and their mushroom and spinach Benedict with truffle hollandaise is impossible to describe. You just have to eat it.
3. Zazie - This is one of my classic go-tos. They have these amazing gingerbread pancakes with lemon curd and poached pears. I mean lemon curd? You know I'm sold. They also have a nice back patio so when its nice in the city, you can dine outside.
4. Olea - I love the limited menu at this tiny restaurant--they have everything you need. The challah cinnamon french toast is a standout and almost custardy. The orange juice is super pulpy, just the way I like it. Dining here is perfect for catching up with a friend.
5. Radish - Their egg sandwiches served on biscuits are delicious. Their menu is quite extensive, perfect for a group of picky friends. They also have a lot of vegetarian options. Then afterwards you can wander around and shop the cute local boutiques.
Oh and one last thing...if you are visiting San Francisco, welcome and please just dont call it San Fran or Frisco (cringed even typing that), people will be able to spot you as a tourist immediately. Only SF or San Francisco are deemed acceptable. Phew, feel much better getting that off of my chest.
Beautiful images by Ashley Batz.