I did a lot of eating on the San Francisco leg of the California holiday. It doesn’t help *E works in the hospitality industry and knows who’s who and the what’s new. Surprising, because my skinny jeans still fit on my way out of San Francisco, even after putting them through the wash. Must have been all that walking up and down the hills of San Francisco.
Here’s the ins and outs of the places I visited.
Note: I still have a number of places on *L and *E’s list that I didn’t get to so if you want more recommendations, email me.
Salt House (Mission, between 1st and 2nd)
This was my first meal in San Francisco and it was a great introduction to the local foods. The decor is industrial with pipes lining the ceiling and exposed wooden roof rafters. An open kitchen and oyster bar lines one side of the restaurant and tables fill up the rest of the restaurant.
*E took me on a Sunday night and it was packed. I got a side of camel toe with my meal on numerous occasions (that’s how packed the place was) which I didn’t really need as I had ordered the 3-course meal (mussels in white wine sauce, kale risotto with duck and chocolate torte with salted caramel popcorn) with the wine pairing. *E ordered the fontine and a pork dish but was disappointed the food wasn’t as good as his previous visits there. Till this day, he blames me for not sharing his fontine with him. I don’t know how many more “sorry” I can say.
The Slanted Door (1 Ferry Building Marketplace #3)
One of recommendations from *L. It was a bit hard to track down as it’s secluded in the corner behind Out the Door (if you’re inside the building).
It is a high-end Vietnamese restaurant and frequented by ladies (and lads) of leisure and the suits. I had the pork belly with a ginger rub which was on the fatty side but flavours worked well together. The only downside to this place was definitely the $7 I paid for a small bowl of pho (see how small it is!).
Home Plate (Lombard, between Pierce and Steiner)
Stumbled across this place when I was attempting to walk the entire stretch of Lombard St. Goodness knows why. This joint is a bit dingy looking from the outside but serves up a good old American style breakfast, which is weird considering none of the staff are American. Get the sweet potato pancakes and the homemade scones. They are both to die for.
Water bar (The Embarcadero, left of the Bay Bridge outbound)
A very classy establishment with a great selection of oysters (house oysters are $1 each before 5:30pm or $2 each after 5:30pm), from both the West and East coasts, and an extensive cocktail list.
The location is perfectly located so you can enjoy your oysters and wine all the while looking longingly away from your lover’s eyes and out to the bridge and its spectacular light show (on nightly until 2015).
Tanpopo (Buchanan, between Post and Sutter)
Authentic Japanese restaurant serving authentic Japanese food. I’ve not been to Japan yet but the miso ramen was super crunchy (to my liking) and tasty but was shocked they did not serve proper green tea (instead they heat up one of those ones you buy in an oriental store).
Get the pop stickers (otherwise known as gyozas). Order them just so you can call them pop stickers.
The Grove Fillmore (Fillmore, between California and Pine)
I saw this place whilst on the 22 bus on the way to the Marina neighborhood. The place was buzzing with people in and out and I knew I had to see what the hype was about.
As you enter through the front door, you feel like you are on the set of a saloon except there’s a coffee machine and people on their laptops and other gadgets.
The Berkeley bagel is a combination of guacamole and hummus on a wheat bagel. With a spiced chai (they ground their own mix but it was a little bitter for me), it makes for a perfect light meal before your window shopping adventures up Fillmore and round the corner to Union.
Zuni (Market, between Gough and Franklin)
We had dinner here before the opera and it was the perfect pairing for the opera. Classy and sophisticated. The restaurant is famous for its roast chicken (which takes an hr to cook so order early, preferably when you’re waiting for your table) and we all agreed that it was the best chicken we’ve ever tasted. The meat was succulent and the juices were oozing out and nom nom nom. We were a bit rushed so we didn’t have time to fully enjoy the fact we were eating really good chicken but the fact we got to taste it, was okay by us. The opera waits for no chicken!!!
Cafe Claude (Claude Lane)
Two words. Steak tartare. And a few more words, ask for the wine pair for it. Nothing after that dish can compare.
La Taqueria (Mission and 25th)
Another recommendation from *L and it was a good one, especially after a 10 am brewery tour and beer tasting. The carnitas burrito with salsa and avocado hits all the right spots.
Nob Hill Cafe (Taylor, between Sacramento and Clay)
This place was recommended to me by a gentleman I met at Buena Vista Cafe. He goes there every time he visits San Francisco and orders the same thing; Penne Bettola and Creme Caramel. I tried the Bettola and it was delicious but very garlic-y (good thing I had chewing gum). Unfortunately I didn’t have my dessert stomach attached that day so I didn’t get to the Creme Caramel. If you do, let me know all about it!
Zazie (Cole, between Parnassus and Carl)
I don’t know if the pumpkin pancakes were just a holiday season thing but dang if they’re not, you have to get them. Just enough cinnamon and spice to it.
I like the menu because for most of the food items, you get to choose how many pancakes or how many eggs you want. Check out their take home items which include gingerbread pancakes. Yummo.
Tacolicious (Chestnut, between Fillmore and Steiner)
It was fully packed on the weeknight when *J and I went for dinner. We waited for about 20 mins for some hipsters to move along and we got a seat right next to the kitchen.
The menu has 10 different soft tacos (fish and shredded beef were my favourite), several entrees (ceviche is the bomb!) and a full-page for the drinks.
I saw the biggest bottle of Corona here.
Great french inspired pastries.
Blue Bottle Coffee
Great coffee. Full stop.
Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe
A San Francisco institute. Visit the flagship bakery at the wharf and learn about Boudin’s history.