If you're anything like me when you travel you love to explore the best foods that the destination has to offer. I love to search for the best representation of the cuisine wherever I'm traveling. Not the fanciest or trendiest, but the good stuff, what's off the beaten path and what the locals love. I will share my go to methods for how I come upon my food and drink finds in another post.
For now here are the goods I've discovered from San Francisco. If you see places that belong on this list please comment below. I love to continuously discover new hot spots!
*Warning: graphic food content NSFH (not safe for hunger)
I certainly don't drink with the same volume or frequency that I used to, but I have focused my alcoholic intake on the finest craft beverages within my grasp. This should give you more than enough to get started.
St. George’s Spirits-Oakland. They are slaying the craft distilling game. Although it lies across the bridge, if you're interested in craft distilling tastings this is a must! (For me the Nola Coffee Liqueur and Absinthe Verte are essential tastes)
Nopa if you can, EAT HERE, if you can't get in because of the constant buzz of people, go for drinks! This place is awesome, knowledgable bartenders, great atmosphere, and the food is phenomenal.
Trick Dog with an award winning cocktail program you are going to want to try some drinks here.
The Epicurean Trader -small batch goods carefully curated by a husband wife team, a great spot to pick up unique, craft bottles and local San Francisco goods.
CellarMaker Brewing Co a small up-and-coming brewery featuring some serious hop forward brews. The Coffee and Cigarettes is a crowd pleaser and nice change of pace.
Russian River Brewing Co-Petaluma: worth the ride to Petaluma. Known for Pliny the Elder and its infamous and rare counterpart Pliny the Younger, a must if you care about beer or want to impress someone who does.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays they have a full blown farmer’s market full of seasonal, local vendors. The rest of the time you can shop the merchants at the Ferry Plaza and get all of the fixings for a lovely picnic at the nearby Sue Bierman Park/Embarcadero. I hit up this market on a Saturday AM and I was in LOVE. Although small compared to what I'm used to in San Diego, this market did not disappoint. It had all of the organic, delicious staples of a regular farmer's market PLUS lots of fresh seafood. OBSESSED. Oysters and smoked salmon, yes please, I would be there every weekend for my fix if I could. One of the best parts about farmer's markets is supporting the community and the locals who double as the small business owners who work their butts off to get you their high quality products. See below, Cap'n Mike who fishes, smokes, and prepares his catch.
If you are even pondering the remote thought of heading to San Francisco as soon as you book your flight, try and make your reservations at State Bird Provisions. OOOmmmGGG. This is Dim Sum-style, contemporary American fare. Their menu is constantly evolving and revolving around local and seasonal deliciousness. The Best new restaurant award, best restaurant and James Beard awards are well deserved by this culinary gem. Because the restaurant is Dim Sum Style, you don’t have to spend a ton $ (hard not to because you want to grab every plate that comes by). If you're trying to save on cash choose carefully and wait for the next batch to come around to decide if you really want that dish, this way you can get out of there relatively unscathed. Note: Always opt for the fried garlic bread with burrata. Reservations are a must! I was planning a trip 2 months away and the only reservation available for the weekend was 9:30PM on a Sunday night. You know I booked that despite my early AM Monday flight/work day.
Squid Ink Pasta… that is all you need to know. Actually everything there is great, an intimate ambience, excellent service and friendly staff. Their desserts are a rotating take on childhood favorites and guests get to submit their suggestions at the end of their meal, let me know if you go and they make my texas sheet cake!
Local, organic korean food? Yes please. For a big comforting meal try the stone pot or the okonomiyaki, but don’t forget to save room for dessert next door at Bi-Rite Creamery. They also have a selection of their fare at the Embarcadero Farmer's Market!
Unique flavors of organic ice cream and baked goods, all small batch and handmade. You can taste the difference. Their Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero is a great place to pick up wine, fruit, and cheese for an afternoon picnic and some ice cream for the present moment. (I guess I inhaled my ice cream so fast every time I went I never could snap a photo...)
Gracias Madre- my fave restaurant in LA is up north. Always a solid pick! An organic, vegan, modern Mexican restaurant with an all agave bar program. Done! Think mezcal+tequila and their new cannabis cocktails infused with CBD oil. (I will do a whole post on cannabis, in short, CBDs are non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis found to have significant healing benefits)
Nopa-Like I said above, this place is out of this world, get over there for late night eats or weekend brunch.
Hog Island Oyster Co- actually obsessed BSESSED with oysters and fresh, wild seafood. Get it while it's icy cold and fresh from the waters.
Marlowe- I made it to brunch here and it was absolutely fabulous. Bright, beautiful, and branded well.
Leo Oyster Bar-Sister restaurant to Marlowe above, I didn't get a chance to try this yet, but it's definitely on my radar for next time, and their decor/branding is on point, the perfect balance of nostalgia with modern relevance. Thumbs up.
Check out my map below for all these places and more.
Next trip I am refining my search to find the best wine bars!
What are your San Francisco recommendations?