I recently moved out of my little room in the city, to move in with my boyfriend. Only we found that we can't actually afford one bedroom apartments in SF unless we plan on eating ramen for life. As much as I love ramen, a lifetime diet of it may not be the best idea. Soo, we moved to Oakland! I admit that the weather is infinitely nicer and the city feels significantly less overpopulated, but I do miss the quirks, restaurant scene, and distinct neighborhoods of San Francisco. Travel guides often miss these little intricacies, focusing on the touristy destinations instead, so I thought I'd put together some of my must-sees and must-eats for anyone looking to make this beautiful city their next destination.
Starting off with my favorite - food! San Francisco is known to blow minds in a culinary way, but as with any city, you might still run into a bad meal if you don't properly research or yelp your way through.
1. Stones Throw - Russian Hill district
The best restaurants of the city can be identified with how short the menus are. No really. Short menus indicate the chef changes the entrees often, or even daily, depending on the fresh ingredients available that day. However, sometimes it can be frustrating to find that the droolworthy entrees you see on yelp aren't available the day you're there. But I digress.
Must get (if they have it):
- Duck pate & mousse
- Da burga
- Striped bass
- Grilled octopus pancake
- And anything from their amazing beer selection
This place absolutely breaks my heart. Situated in the GORGEOUS Potrero Hill district, the weather around here is always nice and the neighborhood always peaceful, just what I would imagine from a small French village. I had hoped to move here with my boyfriend, but alas, this gem has already been discovered by the thousands of young techies who snatch up every condo in all cash. Grr
- French onion soup
- Truffle mac & cheese
- Basic burger
- Creme brulee
Ah, a local favorite. Be prepared for long lines everyday, at all hours. If you love cocktails, this place makes the best. If you love pizza, get ready for amazing choices. And if you love ice cream, their olive oil one helps you recover from the homeless guy that petted your hair as you walked down Mission St (happened to a friend I was with...).
- Literally everything
- Lamb chops
- Squid ink with calamari
- Panna gelato with olive oil
This was my 3rd date with my bf - back then I was so unadventurous the only thing that sounded appetizing on the menu were the duck fat fries! He always likes to take credit for "showing me the world"...
- Bone marrow - I think at one point, I almost picked up the entire bone to lick it...
- Foie gras and shaved truffle burger - enough said
- Deviled eggs
- Any of their local market fish entrees
A fun divey sports bar to relax in with some bomb tapas? That's Cha Cha Cha.
- Cajun shrimp
- Sauteed mushrooms
You can't leave SF without a meal dedicated to seafood. Avoid the overpriced little plates at Fisherman's Wharf, and journey to colorful Castro instead. This is the perfect neighborhood for some crazy fun and serious barhopping after dinner!
- Clam chowder
- Garlic bread - you'll need this to dip into the steamed clams broth
- Steamed clams
- Cracked dungeness crab
I usually stay away from the North Beach as this area is very touristy and crowded (NEVER drive here; either Uber it or walk it), but the Clam & Garlic pizza here is undeniable. Grab a slice and a beer, and prep for the hilly walk through this neighborhood!
8. Bi-Rite Creamery - Mission district
Forget Mitchell's, Mr./Mrs Mischellaneous, or even Humphrey Slocombe. Bi-rite is where it's at. And don't even think about getting chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry (this coming from a girl who thought strawberry was the best flavor in the world for 20 years). Bi-rite is all about trying interesting and creative flavors!
- Basil - this is a summer seasonal flavor. If unavailable, try Olive Oil (similar).
- Honey lavendar
- Coffee with toffee bits
- Salted caramel
- Earl grey