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SF Faves

I lived in San Francisco from 2006-2013, and love sharing my favorite finds in the city (and beyond!). If you’re visiting the Bay Area, here are some great places to check out during your trip. Click on any of the names below to get more info.

Italian, Mediterranean and French

Bistro Aix
Trattoria Contadina (do NOT miss the Rigatoncelli al Carlesimo)
Zaré at Fly Trap
The Butler & The Chef
Pizzeria Delfina
Foreign Cinema (great for brunch!)
Local Kitchen
Bistro Central Parc
La Ciccia


Hillstone (no corkage fee!)
Perry’s on the Embarcadero (they have a half price bottles of wine on Tuesdays and Saturdays!)
Blue Barn (very casual — stop in for a salad or sandwich while shopping in the Marina)
Eats (great for breakfast!)
Woodhouse Fish Co.
Swan Oyster Depot


El Tonayense Taco Truck at 14th and Harrison
Tacolicious (I prefer the Mission location!)
Tommy’s (the margaritas are killer here)


Umami (love their happy hour!)
San Tung (three words: dry fried chicken)
Burma Superstar
Sushi Bistro

Wine Shops

K&L Wine Merchants
Wine Impressions

Tipsy Pig
83 Proof
Cellar Door
25 Lusk
The bar at Spruce
Local Edition
Pe Yale
Reed & Grenough

Ferry Building
Academy of Sciences
DeYoung Museum
Stow Lake
Marin Headlands
Muir Woods
San Francisco Giants
Rock Climbing at Mission Cliffs
Bike Across the Golden Gate
Alameda Flea Market (first Sunday of every month)

For shopping, I love browsing through the shops on Fillmore, Union and Chestnut Streets. Hayes Valley is also great!

Hotel Vitale
Hotel Kabuki
Hotel Rex
Hotel Palomar
Hotel Monaco
St. Regis

If you have the time, Napa and Sonoma counties are beautiful places to visit and just a quick drive away.


Bouchon (Yountville, Napa)
Bouchon Bakery (Yountville, Napa)
Bottega (Yountville, Napa)
Gott’s Roadside (St. Helena, Napa)
Redd (Yountville, Napa)
Redd Wood (Yountville, Napa)
Mustards (Between Yountville and St. Helena, Napa)
Bistro Jeanty (Yountville, Napa)
Rutherford Grill (Rutherford, Napa)
Oakville Grocery (Oakville, Napa and Healdsburg, Sonoma)
Charcuterie (Healdsburg, Sonoma)
Dry Creek Kitchen (Healdsburg, Sonoma)
The Girl and the Fig (Sonoma)
El Dorado Kitchen (Sonoma)


North Block Hotel (Yountville)
Vintage Inn (Yountville)
Napa Valley Lodge (Yountville)
Bardessono (Yountville)
Carneros Inn (Carneros)
Hotel Healdsburg (Healdsburg)
Healdsburg Inn (Healdsburg)
El Dorado Hotel (Sonoma)


Here’s a list of a few wineries I really like and would go (or have been) back to.

Cakebread Cellars, Napa (great tour of their cellar, perfect for newbies)
Sequoia Grove, Napa (nice people, little known wines, and the most beautiful fruit trees out back. we buy our holiday wine from here every year. rebellious red — don’t miss it.)
Ma(i)sonry, Napa (The best. We love it! But be warned, it’s a wine collective, not a traditional winery.)
Joseph Phelps, Napa (the view is just gorgeous)
Cliff Lede, Napa (I hear good things)
Terra Valentine (ditto)
V. Sattui, Napa (always a madhouse and somewhat touristy, but the only large scale outdoor picnic area in Napa proper; they also have a deli on-site)
Paraduxx, Napa (beautiful outdoor patio and sitting area)
Domaine Chandon, Napa (the Disneyland vibe can bum me out, but their outdoor patio and grounds are great)
Stryker, Sonoma (bring a picnic and enjoy the view)
Goldeneye, Anderson Valley (wonderful service, delicious pinot noirs)
Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley (hidden up a hill; the best domestic sparkling wine)

9 responses to “SF Faves”

  1. Jessie Rhodes, on August 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

    I love your blog! The pasta with sun dried tomato and spinach dish looks delicious and I think that I might make it this weekend.

  2. Jen @ Darling Notes, on September 14, 2011 at 6:15 am said:

    This is PERFECT! My husband, two friends and I are headed to San Francisco this Saturday for a few days before heading up to Napa/Sonoma. We’ve been looking for a place to have dinner, just the two of us, on one of the nights to celebrate our anniversary. I’ll check out your recs!

  3. designstiles, on September 21, 2011 at 6:57 pm said:

    You’re awesome. You beat me to it. Food recs was gonna be my next question.

  4. Naomi@Design Manifest, on October 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm said:

    Oh this is so great. Definitely printing this bad boy out.


    (and keep self promoting. You got good stuff to share.)

  5. Steven Rose, on February 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm said:

    ok…i just replied to your post about a trip to italy, and now i’m browsing around a bit. you are awesome. you need to get on g+! =)

    also, you need to add a few things to this list…in no particular order:

    tartine – best bakery
    nopa – california fusion, best restaurant and cocktails in the city
    yuet lee – great chinese
    four barrel, ritual roasters, sightglass coffee – three best coffee places
    blue bottle
    saha – yemeni food
    berreta – italian food in the mission
    incanto – chris cosentino’s northern italian
    bi-rite creamery – excellent ice cream…
    humphrey slocombe – this is the. best. ice. cream. hours not as convenient as bi-rite tho
    mission chinese – you have to know about this place, chinese fusion
    swan oyster depot – best raw seafood around
    anchor oyster bar – just like swan, except cooked seafood
    ebisu – sit at the sushi bar and order omakase (chef’s choice)…do NOT sit at a table
    dosa – south indian (the one on folsom, not in the mission, tho they’re close)
    slow club – great brunch, great dinner, great cocktails, great everything
    memphis minnie’s – great bbq on the haight
    toronado – ~awesome~ beer bar across the street from minnie’s
    hotel biron – beer & wine
    the refuge – gastropub in san carlos…it’s a trip worth taking, best burger i’ve ever had
    ppq dungeness – chinese style crab

  6. Her Late Night Cravings, on April 20, 2012 at 6:53 am said:

    I just came across your blog this morning via the sweet Natasha from Schue Love. I’m thrilled that you live in San Fran & that you have so many wonderful recommendations for visitors. My husband & I will spending 6 days in San Fran in early September.

    I look forward to checking out all of your suggestions!

    Mendi @ Her Late Night Cravings

  7. Kim, on August 3, 2012 at 8:08 am said:

    We’re vacation in SF now, thanks for the info

  8. » Finding Method in the Madness + Travel News RECREATED, on September 27, 2012 at 5:30 am said:

    [...] that is.  Checking out the Design Sponge LA Design Guide & San Fran City Guide, the SF Favorites from V Mac and Cheese,the Los Angeles Mini Guide from A Cup of Jo, and Emily Henderson’s Where I’m Shopping [...]

  9. Mia Cakebread, on April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am said:

    Thanks for the shoutout! We’re glad you stopped by. :)


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