Let it be said here and now: San Francisco is a foodie paradise. I would wager that there are so many restaurants here that every single SF resident could go out to eat all at once and still be able to find a table. A city this on top of its gastronomic game has far too many excellent eats to even begin to list, so consider the following a foodie’s quick and dirty guide to eating well in the City by the Bay.
Destination #1: The Ferry Building
One of the oldest standing structures in San Francisco, The Ferry Building was completely remodeled in 2003 and restored to its former glory. It now serves as a marketplace housing award winning small eateries and dozens of stands selling artisanal meats, cheeses, and fresh seasonal produce. A farmer’s market is held outside the Ferry Building every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Destination #2: Tartine
Lovers of baked goods, rejoice! Co-owners Liz Pruett and Chad Robertson have won the James Beard award for outstanding pastry chef – that alone should speak for itself! Breads, pastries, hot-pressed sandwiches…this French-style bakery has it all. Make a stop here in between seeing the sights for a croissant so flaky it will shatter with every bite. Don’t worry about the mess, we understand.
Destination #3: NOPA
This ingredient driven, farm-to-table restaurant could easily fall into the category of pretentious and over-priced hipster hangouts, but while it does feature the industrial rustic décor and organic menu that suspender-clad citizens of SF tend to crave, the prices are affordable and the service is excellent. NOPA is also open for brunch on the weekends but be sure to call ahead for reservations.
It can’t really be said where the phenomena that is gourmet mobile street food originated from, but it can be said that San Francisco is bringing that food truck fad to an entire new level. While standard street eats like burgers and tacos can still be found in excess, you’ll see that your options now extend to gourmet pizzas, Moroccan tagines, curries galore and yes, even sushi. Some of my favorites are Brass Knuckles, Bacon Bacon and Kung Fu Tacos. Sites such as Off the Grid and Frisky food trucks allow you to track your favorites and find food truck marketplaces day by day.
Destination #5: Flour + Water
I love this place for many reasons, but the main reason is that you can find an authentic italian experience here that is simple and modern. Their specialty is fresh, homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas and for good reason. At first glance one may not notice anything particularly special about the place; the small interior can seat only 50 guests and the décor seems very simple. However on closer inspection one will see that, just like the menu and dishes themselves, the unassuming décor is dotted with really thoughtful, beautiful details. All in all this place feels like home to me.
This isn't my first San Francisco foodie list, and that's because you can't really throw a rock in San Francisco without hitting an award-winning or noteworthy restaurant. It's a city I could come back to time and time again for the food alone!