Headed to San Francisco, Need Your Suggestions

Dolores Park, San Francisco

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I’ll be taking a short trip to San Francisco this Wednesday night until Sunday, so I was hoping you lovely readers could help me out. When I visited Seattle I was able to aggregate all of your suggestions into one, super helpful map that totally helped me figure out where I wanted to visit. It seems like a good idea to do the same thing for San Francisco, and I’d be more than happy to share the results with everyone.

So let me know what’s new and cool, and what’s tried and true. I’d love suggestions for places to eat, to shop, to visit. I’m originally from northern California, so it’s like a second home to me. But it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on there since I don’t live an hour and half away anymore. I’m really looking forward to hearing your suggestions, and thanks in advance for the help.


32 Comments Headed to San Francisco, Need Your Suggestions

  1. Tracy August 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Hey! I love SF. You may already know about all of this, but I’ll suggest anyway. The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Saturday is awesome. And last time I was there I got a dinner suggestion for Flour & Water in the Mission. A bit pricey, but one of the best meals I’ve had. Half the house is reserved, the other half is for walk ins, so the wait wasn’t too bad, even on a Saturday. I also always love burritos at La Taqueria and pastries/coffee at Tartine in the mission.

    Say hello to the ocean for me! Tell her I miss her.

  2. Kate August 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    I am so mad I’m missing you nerds in SF by a week. :( I second 21st Amendment, and will add that apparently SF loves crepes. There are crepe places and trucks all over – I went to The Crepe House and it was pretty delicious.

  3. Terry Helstrom August 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Whenever I can I tell people to go to Tartine (in the Mission, on the corner of 18th and Guerrero) for amazing baked items and great coffee (breakfast or lunch). One of my favorite places ever. Go to there.

  4. katy August 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    of course, the park is wonderful if the sun is shining…theyre doing a bit of reconstruction at dolores, so maybe go to lands end for the view and eat breakfast/brunch at the newly reopened louis’ right at sutro baths, or check out the java beach cafe on judah in the outer sunset. the general store is a fun little stop…t and trouble coffee is right there, too…the forecast is lookin good, amigo. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/channel?section=weather/forecast&id=6650530#forecast

    also, a place that is on my radar but i havent made it there yet: rayko photography!

    peace. :)

  5. Cliff Huxtable August 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Take a moment and step away from the hipster haunts

    Shanghai Dumpling King – Richmond District.

    steamed soup-dumplings
    pea shoots
    pan fried noodles

    feeds 2-3 under $30

    amazing hangover brunch. you’re welcome.

  6. Steven August 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    I second Flour+Water for dinner. The food is amazing and I’ve found the staff to be helpful and accommodating despite the crowds. They reserve half the tables for walk-ins. Opens at 5pm and there’s usually a line, but well worth the wait. They’ll even serve you drinks while you wait.

    For brunch I recommend Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk Street. Another long wait (the best places in SF usually do), but you’ll be drooling over the menu. You must try the sweet and savor bignets sampler. Beware of food coma!

    Also try the new dessert and food vendors on Octavia in Hayes Valley near Blue Bottle Coffee.

    For libations I recommend Blackbird on Market between Duboce Triangle and Castro. Classic drinks, classier girls and guys, and chillax attitude.

    Hmm, why are all my recos food and drink.

  7. Erin Eby August 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Thanh Long for crab and noodles. Unbeatable.

  8. Amber August 22, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    The Pork Store in the mission for breakfast is a must!

  9. nnddrrww August 22, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    farm:table on Post St.

    Department 17 on Pacific St.
    Park Life on Clement St.

    Nojo (Japanese izakaya) on Franklin St.

    Burritt Room in the Crescent Hotel
    Otis on Maiden Lane

  10. David August 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    You can buy a city pass that gets you into a lot of museums etc, but it is also a bus pass which can be handy for getting over the hills in San Fran.

    The Cartoon Art Museum is interesting

    There are some Frank Lloyd wright building http://www.delmars.com/wright/flw6b.htm

    You could go to Almo square to see the house from the Full House intro.

  11. TheDoctorJones August 22, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    i second the noms for Flour + Water and the Ferry Building Marketplace.

    Barrique is a pretty cool wine bar.

  12. Charity August 22, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    The Mission has a lot of great spots but it’s become very touristy. So if you don’t have time for long lines and wait times, here are a few other suggestions.

    – Mr and Miscellaneous
    – Chicken bun at Out the Door in the mall
    – Mission Chinese delivery
    – Order Defina’s pizza dough and make your own
    – Dinner at Marlow (you’ll need a reservation)
    – Hike to the top of Angel Island for an amazing 360 view of the Bay Area

  13. Reagan August 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Check out my buddy Todd’s store in the mission. You will be glad you did.

    493 Sanchez Street
    San Francisco, CA 94114

    Grab an ice cream around the corner at BI-RITE CREAMERY
    692 18th Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110

    Do brunch at ZAZIE in Cole Valley
    941 Cole Street
    San Francisco, CA 94117

    Grab a drink and hear some old queens sing show tunes at MARTUNI’S
    4 Valencia Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103

  14. JohnH August 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Two dinner places I’d highly recommend depending on what you’re in the mood for: Cafe Claude (not far from Chinatown, if I remember correctly) is a superb French food place tucked back from the street a little and it’s hard to beat as far as great French goes; alternatively, there’s the House of Nanking – excellent Chinese, but also a pretty popular place and often crowded.

    House of Nanking is only about a block from a wonderful independent bookstore called City Lights that’s worth a look if you’re nearby.

    Finally, you should definitely see a few things in Golden Gate Park: the California Academy of Sciences is an incredible work of architecture, the Conservatory of Flowers is lovely, and Tea Garden in the park is the oldest in America.

  15. Richard Perez August 22, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Theres a mighty fine burrito waiting for ya at Papolote on 24th & Valencia

  16. TreasureLA August 22, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Second Tartine & Bi-Rite. Tartine always has a long line, but it’s worth it (that’s where Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry Cafe got her start).

    For coffee, skip Blue Bottle and go for Four Barrel, Ritual, and Sight Glass.

    Drinks: Alembic. Also, make reservations for the speakeasy Bourbon and Branch. If you want to try a speakeasy within a speakeasy, there is a new Wilson bar at Bourbon and Branch.

  17. erika August 22, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    blue bottle for the best mocha and delicious pastries

    for the most authentic and delicious pizza you will have outside of italy you can’t leave san francisco without trying una pizza napoletana- they only offer 5 different kinds and are open until they run out of dough.

  18. ryland August 22, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    sightglass on 7th at folsom (soma) has the best coffee

    cancun on mission at 19th has the best burritos

    humphrey slocombe on 24th at harrison has the best ice cream

    nopa on divis at hayes has the best martini

    una pizza napoletana is, indeed, the best pizza i’ve had in a couple years but i hear good things about zero zero as well — soma has a few fancy pizza joints — and delfina’s no slouch of course

    all the out the door restos i’ve been to have been good

    alamo square has too many people looking at the full house painted ladies and the admittedly great view of downtown so i prefer lafayette square up in pac heights for lazy park daze

    green apple’s a great book store but i go to the library more

    sfmoma’s got a so-so collection but they often have something decent on display; fecal face is cool, and now in lower haight, tho it can get scene-y; white walls in the tenderloin is maybe cooler

    revolver, down the street from fecal face, is a great little shop for menswear and so is union made — but i’m not quite rich enough to buy as many items as i’d like

    i haven’t been to the sf outpost of fsc on valencia/18th but i bet it’s a cool place to get a shave; i go to population on divis at fell for my haircuts

    not sure if you needed/wanted all that, nor if i needed to type all that for myself, but there ya go!

  19. Luke August 22, 2011 at 9:59 PM


    HUMPHREY SLOCOMBE. (gay owned, and superior to BiRite imo.) Flavors are posted daily on their facebook page:





    SUSHI ZONE (Small, so getting there when it opens is a good idea if possible.)

    EIJI (Everything’s great, but it’s all about the house-made tofu.)

    BRUNCH: (or whenever, since brunch inevitably involves a lengthy wait.)

    BRENDA’S!!! It’s a French Soul Food place in the TL run by the lovely (also gay) Brenda. It’s going through an expansion at the moment, but the extremely delicious food is unchanged. I pretty much take visitors here for breakfast without fail. Their lunch is equally good, but I have yet to go for dinner.



    My sole recommendation is another vote for UNION MADE. Judging by what I can gather from your aesthetic in the pictures on this site, I imagine you’ll like their selection. Their prices are another story…

    And (just in case!)…GAY NIGHTLIFE: Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays are arguably the best nights for going out, unfortunately, but there’s this on Thurs night:


    It’s a brand new party, so can’t really predict what exactly it’ll be, but the folks that throw it are always a good time. Feel free to shoot me a line if you have any other questions in this area.

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Hope you have a great trip!


  20. Luke August 22, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Oooh, one more new(er) eatery in my hood:



    Delicious simple German fare.

  21. richard August 23, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    I’ll give another nod to Union Made and Alembic. I’d also add the tried and true Greens restaurant for a fine dinner experience. Great vegetarian food, fine wine, and very good wait staff.

    For more libations: Smuggler’s Cove. It’s a rum mecca. The interior is decorated like a pirate ship has wrecked inside the bar. The drinks are a mixture of old and new rum based cocktails. There are over 300 rums in the place. Sit at the bar, order your drinks and wait. The bartender works hard, but he’s making some fairly complicated and potent concoctions. He’s also laid back enough to listen and talk with his customers. We went for one drink, bought three, and killed 2 hours after Pride.

  22. Amanda August 23, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    A few years ago Mike Adamick did a great “local tour” post about San Francisco for folks attending Blogher that year…


  23. Daniel August 23, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    I had the opportunity to join some friends at Frances a few months back, absolutely incredible food at surprisingly reasonable prices given the accolades.


  24. jacob August 23, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    Anything on Valencia from Stuff near 13th to Clooney’s (check out the Galley inside the bar) on 25th will be of interest to you.

    If you want some local flavor try El Zocalo (Mission @ Valencia, and in my hood) for delicious and humble Salvadorean eats. Argus is across the street for good drinks and El Rio is nearby for a Sunday dance party in the backyard patio.

    So much more to see in this great city… let me know where to meet you for a drink. *grin*

  25. kyle August 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    hey bobby,

    you haven’t made one of these for NYC by chance, have you? i’m visiting for the 1st time next month and looking for awesome things to check out.

  26. kickerofelves August 23, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    If you have a chance, go to San Jalisco on So.Van Ness and 20th St. The Mexican food here is homemade (fresh warm tortillas, excellent salsas, even the chips are made fresh) and absolutely amazing. Breakfast/brunch is particularly good. http://www.sanjalisco.com/

    I lived in SF for ten years, but I live in NYC now. Every time I go back to SF, I eat here at least once.

    It’s also cheap and family run.

  27. Bobby Solomon August 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    @Kyle – No I haven’t, hopefully I can sometime in the near future.

  28. Victoria August 23, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Millenium Restaurant! It’s high end vegan but don’t be turned off. They have unreal food and a great wine selection. It’s a great experience to go there and they even offer cooking classes and cookbooks.

  29. Zanni August 24, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    If you decide to get over to the North Beach Neighborhood there are some amazing new places to check out.

    Beers: Church Key near the corner on Grant and Green St’s – It doesn’t have a written sign but a black key above the doorway, and you can always find it by the people milling about having a cigg outside.

    Reasonably priced dinner: Bottle Cap – On Powell and Union – it just opened less than 2 months ago and the food is amazing, very friendly service and staff and they have a great bartender. Get the Pierogis or the Pork Chop.

    Drinks: Rosewood on Broadway, 15 Romolo on Romolo, Barrique on Pacific (the owner Tom is a great guy)…all make great cocktails with the exception of Barrique which is an excellent wine bar.

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