Many of you have written to me in the past requesting a list of my favorite “everyday” places to eat, drink, and shop in San Francisco. Here’s a stab at it. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great places in this city – it’s more of a brainstorm of places I find myself often. Many I can walk to from where I live, others take more effort – a hop on a train, or a trip across town via car. It’s clear I know some neighborhoods better than others. I thought this list would be most useful if organized (very roughly) by neighborhood. This way, someone visiting from out of town will have a bit of a go-to guide they can print and slip in their pocket (or bring up on their phone). I started by focusing on food-centric destinations, but couldn’t help throw in a few other favorite non-food spots I love as well.
I’ll do my best to update this, and if you’re coming to San Francisco I hope you enjoy your stay here.updated 3/28/12.
View map: Heidi Swanson: San Francisco
Mission / Castro
- Pizzeria Delfina: broccoli raab pizza is my preference.
- Delfina: next door to the pizzeria, is also great – more formal, great wine list.
- Bi-Rite Market: Take a sandwich from the deli to Dolores Park for a picnic.
- Bi-Rite Creamery: kid’s scoop of toasted coconut ice cream (or salted caramel).
- Mission Cheese: The perfect little place for good cheese, beer, wine, and a chat with a friend.
- Tartine: The straight croissant is my favorite. If you’re there later in the day, see if you can grab a loaf of bread – sesame, country – it’s all amazing.
- Dosa: a long-time favorite. Brunch is an option too.
- Udupi Palace: has great paper doses as well. Not as fancy as Dosa, but they’re really friendly, and the dosas are beautiful. Cash only.
- Cha-Ya: vegan Japanese. Cash only.
- The Monk’s Kettle: always interesting beers on tap + nice bartenders to talk you through them.
- La Palma Mexicatessan
- Four Barrel Coffee: macchiato & chocolate spice doughnut. There are a number of cute shops/galleries right here too.
- Rainbow Grocery: a whole foods playground. If you love to cook with whole foods – grains, flours, sweeteners, spices – you can’t pass up a visit here.
- Kasa: Order at the counter Kati rolls. My fave: paneer kati roll (unda style!) & side of daal
- Samovar Tea Lounge: super casual lunch spot, good for clean eating – simple rice bowls, tea, etc.
- Union Made: much-loved. It skews male, but increasingly is stocking more women’s items. Good book/magazine selection too.
- Healthy Spirits: one of the best beer shops in SF.
- Blue Bottle Coffee: gibralter while sitting curbside on Linden Lane.
- Miette: sweet treats. Amongst many other things, they have black M&M-shaped ‘lentil’ candies I like.
- Biergarten: if it’s sunny, good luck getting in.
- Suppenküche: Dinner / Brunch
- a scoop from Smitten
- M A C – Modern Appeal Clothing / 387 Grove Street.
Downtown / SOMA
- Sunday and Tuesday farmers’ market at Ferry Building (info)
- Boulette’s Larder: there’s no place like it. One of my favorite places to eat (or shop) in SF. (Ferry Building)
- Il Cane Rosso (Ferry Building)
- Out The Door: mung bean dumplings(!) / spring rolls / mushroom buns – all good. (Ferry Building)
- Primavera: they have a stall during the farmers’ market on Saturdays, and the chilaquiles are ridiculous. (Ferry Building)
- Blue Bottle Cafe – Mint Plaza, for light brunch/lunch
- Terroir: Natural Wine Merchant
- City Beer Store: it’s a great beer shop that typically has a few on tap.
- Terroir: Natural Wine Merchant
- Sightglass Coffee
- SFMoMA: soup of the day (always veg-friendly), then pop upstairs to see the exhibits + have a coffee in the rooftop sculpture garden.
Golden Gate Park / NOPA / Avenues
- NOPA: Big fan of the brunch menu, and I like to sit at the counter over-looking the kitchen when there’s a spot available. There’s also Nopalito just up the block.
- Magnolia Pub & Brewery: great beers on tap & one of my favorite interiors in SF.
- Little Star: spinach deep-dish “Little Star”.
- The Perish Trust
- Hunted: pocket-sized vintage jewelry shop + ephemera. 843 Divisadero St on the map.
- Burma SuperStar: samusa soup, tea leaf salad, and beer/lemonade followed by a visit to Green Apple Books.
- Outerlands, Trouble Coffee – near the beach, near N-Judah turn-around.
- General Store
- Japantown – Kinokuniya Bookstore
- Sunhee Moon
- Juicy News: magazines
- Out the Door
- Fat Angel
- State Bird Provisions
Potrero Hill / Dogpatch
- Center for the Book letterpress classes
- DIG: Tiny, curated wine shop.
- Big Daddy Antiques
- Ritual at Flora Grub Gardens: sip a macciato & shop for plants.
- Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous: Ice cream and peanut brittle by-the-jar
- Anchor Brewery: Consider taking their tour (book far in advance)
- Contigo: beautiful small plates & Spanish wines.
- Omnivore Books on Food: make the pilgrimage.
North Beach/Marina/Russian Hill
- COI – favorite for special nights.
- William Stout Architectural Books
- fresh foccacia wrapped to-go at Liguria Bakery (north-east corner) Washington Square Park – go early.
- Biondivino: wish this shop was in my neighborhood.
- Smoke Signals: more magazines
Other Inspiring San Francisco Links
- Tablehopper: Marcia’s tablehopper archive, and/or her newsletter are great resources / reference related to the San Francisco food scene. You can get to the archives directly by clicking here.
- Remodelista: Guide to San Francisco Bay Area