As a lifelong New Yorker, I scoff at the idea that any other city can compare to ours in many facets, one of which being the types of food my The Big Apple has to offer.
Yes, every city has their claim that they are the best when it comes to the diverse culinary scene they have, but I wholeheartedly believe that the only part of the United States that rivals NYC when it comes to food has to be San Francisco.
I’ve been to San Francisco twice before and was amazed by the overall landscape of an area that really isn’t that big compared to other touristy-type places. Something that also impressed me on a multitude of levels was the array of dishes I had while there. My waistline wasn’t too happy with me, but my taste buds were as everything I ate was simply delicious and I left the city with a full belly and a smile on my face.
I went back to San Francisco last week with my partner to experience their food scene once again, as well as check into some fabulous hotels during my time there. I was once again dazzled and amazed from a culinary point of view regarding the places that I ate at, as each had a very distinct view of the plates that put in front of me.
Whether you are in the mood for a tasty piece of fish while gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge, chowing down on Chinese hot pot in Inner Sunset or enjoying a wonderful piece of sourdough on the Embarcadero, these places have you covered when it comes to all things tasty. Take a look.
Fast-casual is a concept that has really taken off in major cities. We aren’t just talking about your typical conglomerates that serve basic dishes for a basic lunch. These are places that are providing top quality ingredients that will make your lunch experience that much better, as you are essentially paying for something that is worth the price you pay.
One of those places that was my first culinary stop in SF was Lemonade Yerba Buena, located in the financial district. Lemonade is sort of a one-stop shop when it comes to the kinds of food you can dine at all day long. They have so many fantastic items to choose from, whether its hot bowls, poke bowls, sandwiches and more that even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time saying no. I decided to keep it “hot” while there and order some of the warmer dishes, notably their Texas BBQ Brisket with a side of Mac N Cheese and Mashed Potatoes. HEAVEN. FREAKING HEAVEN. The brisket was fall off the bone good and I wish I was back there to get another try. Also, they are called Lemonade, so expect to see a variety of this sweet and tart drink available at your disposal. More info here.
Bistro Boudin, located along the Embarcadero, is a sight to be seen that is within the much bigger Boudin brand. Essentially this place is known for many things, one being their expertly made sourdough bread which customers can see being made while at their whimsical and fascinating location. There is also a ton of history when it comes to Boudin that they can witness as they make their way through several parts of the location including their gift shop, restaurant and more.
Regarding Bistro Boudin, it was simply superb. You are whisked away inside a gorgeous space that overlooks the San Francisco water which happens to be very romantic at nighttime. The menu itself is a bevy of deliciousness when it comes to their seafood, pasta and burger items. Notable picks that we had that you should try while there included their Angel Hair Pasta with Herb Grilled Shrimp, Filet Mignon with a bunch of sides and their Cioppino, which hands down had one of the best broths I’ve tasted in many years. Worth the visit and then some. More info here.
Another place along the Embarcadero that happens to be neighbors with Boudin is Franciscan Crab Restaurant. I found that Franciscan had a similar aesthetic to Boudin in terms of its overall look and menu, however the entire experience was still yummy based on the food they provided us. I am obsessed with all things bread bowls, as my mother made them a lot growing up and they are out of this world good, so Franciscan’s version with a Crab Chowder did it for me and then some. Their Spicy Shrimp Pasta and fish options were also stellar as well. More info here.
If you are looking for a place to go that is minutes away from the legendary Castro area of San Francisco, then Finn Town is your spot. The location, which acts as a tavern with some very tasty American fare, is all decorated for the holiday which only enhances it a cozy & homey vibe. It’s sort of like a gay version of Cheers without being officially gay. Definitely a place to go to for some great appetizers, burgers and more with your buddies. More info here.
Perbacco, located in the financial district, is a place that defines “power lunch”. The upscale, bi-level space is filled with businessmen and women who want to dine on something a bit more decadent during their busy day, and who can blame them? The place is gorgeous in terms of aesthetics and the food is just as fantastic. Go for one of their stuffed pasta dishes, as it will fill you up and keep your energy going throughout the day. For instance, their Agnolotti Dal Plin, which is pasta stuffed with roasted meats and vegetables, is mouthwatering from the first to last bite. Yum. More info here.
A quick mention that I must add is IPOT in Inner Sunset. This was not originally part of my itinerary, but my partner and I stopped by there with some friends shortly before I headed back to NYC. Its Chinese hot pot done in all the right ways, where you choose from a variety of broths to dunk an assortment of meats, vegetables and more into with a ton of amazing sides. There is usually a wait, but it’s worth it if this is the sort of cuisine you are into. More info here.
There are also two fabulous places you must stay at when you visit San Francisco. How are you going to eat all this darn food if you don’t have a place to crash afterwards during your food coma? If you are looking for a place that has a more hustle and bustle feel to SF, then The Clift Royal Sonesta is for you. The all-encompassing hotel has everything you need under one roof.
Want a great breakfast spread? Head to The Velvet Room where all kinds of morning goodies await your every culinary need. Feel like grabbing a drink with friends? No need to go outside, as the hotel has a great bar called The Redwood Room that is dark and moody with a chill vibe where you can sip on some tasty cocktails and catch up with friends.
Not only that, but the rooms at The Clift Royal Sonesta are gorgeous, comfortable and relaxing. There are also great amenities like WIFI, a spacious gym and more so you can enjoy your experience on a much higher level. Also, they are in a fun area of SF named Union Square which is filled with a ton of great shopping opportunities that are only steps away from its property. More info here.
If you are looking for someplace quieter, then the Inn at the Presidio is perfection personified. I had no idea this area of San Francisco existed, but I am so glad that I found it as the surroundings act as something quite magical that I will truly never forget.
The Inn at the Presidio is a much more intimate experience that is smaller in size but huge in its execution. The rooms are cozy, sophisticated and have a touch of class to it that only enhanced the wonderful time me and my partner had. The view from the hotel is stunning as well, especially during sunset where walking around feels like something out of a movie. There is also much to do around where the hotel is, such as going to see a movie, hiking, getting some breathtaking views of The Golden Gate Bridge and more. More info here.
Overall my experience in San Francisco, foodie or not, was a 10 out of 10. It always is a 10 out of 10 because this city is just wonderfully luminous, and I cannot wait for the day that I can go back there. For more information, click here.
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