Few cities are as Instagram-ready as San Francisco. From the Alamo Square’s famous Painted Ladies to the Golden Gate Bridge and the foggy views of Alcatraz, the city feels familiar even to those who have never walked through its streets. Yet San Francisco is much more than just “picture-perfect” sights or the birth place for some of the world’s leading tech companies. Eclectic architecture, design-focused shops, art-filled coffee shops, award-winning restaurants, and world-renowned museums are only a few things travelers can enjoy during their visit. We’ve gathered some of the best of these places in our guide, to make your visit more fun and memorable.
This fantastic fresh produce market takes customers on a trip across South and East Asia, Middle East, Italy, and Mexico. A must-visit place for exotic products and favorite items you can’t find elsewhere. You can buy almost anything here, from fruits and veggies to bread, deli meats and cheeses, loose leaf tea, and ingredients you probably have never heard of before.
A fine dining restaurant that offers creative dishes in two dining rooms with an elegant decor, Boulettes Larder also features The Larder section for food lovers. Among Chef Amaryll Schwertner’s ingredients, foodies can buy blended-to-order spices, house-made yogurt, imported oil and vinegar, Japanese condiments, and treats such the popular canelé de bordeaux and the restaurant’s signature beignet.
Ecology Center Farmer’s Markets
Ecology Center Farmer’s Markets are open-air marketplaces with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. Here, Californian farmers have the opportunity to sell their locally-grown produce directly to customers. Products include fresh fruit and vegetables as well as farm-processed foods like jams and preserves, olive oil, baked goods, tofu, and much more. Keep in mind that Thursday’s market is always 100% organic.
Run by a talented couple – Chad, who is a bread maker and Liz, pastry genius – Tartine beckons passers-by inside every morning with the scent of freshly baked bread, buns, and croissants. A popular neighborhood place, the bakery also serves breakfast along with sandwiches, tarts, cookies, and other delights. In 2017, the shop started offering its own brand of coffee, Coffee Manufactory.
Stock up on gourmet ingredients and artisanal items by stopping by Little Vine in North Beach. This specialty food shop may be compact, but has a fantastic selection of products that can rekindle one’s love of food and good living. Wine, cheese, charcuterie, and sandwiches are some of the things you’ll find here, along with friendly staff that is always ready to help with suggestions.
At Epicurean Trader you’ll find only craft products. Selected from small producers and local farmers, the products stun with their high quality and variety. For example, you can browse through farmstead cheeses and charcuterie before picking an organic wine and selecting your favorite kind of small batch chocolate or coffee. The Epicurean Traders sources products from all over the country, making a stop here crucial for all foodies.
Focusing on community, The Market aims to create a friendly hub that supports and promotes local producers and brands. Here you can get a bite to eat or buy some high-quality groceries and ingredients. Apart from artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, at The Market you can also find fish and meat along with some good coffee and other locally sourced and made products. Fun fact: the building is also home to Twitter HQ.
Union Larder – Russian Hill
A wine bar with premium cheese and charcuterie offerings as well as an extensive tapas menu. Union Larder offers the perfect solution to take a break and charge up your batteries with some good food and good wine in the company of friends, while visiting San Francisco. It features both communal and bar seating, with a first-come first-served policy.
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop
Welcome to cheese heaven, where you can indulge yourself while visiting a historic location at the Ferry Building. First opened in 1998, the cheese shop has expanded and grown to become an iconic brand in San Francisco and beyond. Here you can find award-winning products and a huge array of cheeses. Take your time to discover the premium farmstead cheeses and artisanal products from around the world, including Italy, Greece, and France. The Cowgirl Creamery’s own award-winning selection features soft ripened cheeses as well as cottage cheese, crème fraiche, and fromage blanc.
Leo’s Oyster Bar
Leo’s Oyster Bar is a high-end seafood and bar that has a posh 1950s vibe. Ideal for lunch or drinks with friends, it offers a fantastic oyster and seafood menu as well as a range of small bites-style fare. Caviar, champagne, and exotic salads and appetizers are also available, along with tasty and creative cocktails.
The oldest restaurant in California, Tadich Grill opened its doors to customers in – wait for it – 1849. With a history that dates back almost 170 years, it’s no wonder that this place is a destination in of itself. This busy and beloved seafood restaurant has kept up with the times but still maintains a charming old-school feel. The menu certainly reflects the restaurant’s dedication to premium quality. Starting from 5 am, the chef chooses the ingredients for the day and changes the menu to include only the freshest produce.
Sons & Daughters
A perfect place for a night out with friends. Sons & Daughters is located in the Nob Hill neighborhood and features an open kitchen design with a wraparound dining area that offers the perfect view of the cooking process. The changing nine-course tasting menus also impress with a range of seasonal and local ingredients as well as creative flavor combinations. Fine dining in a laid-back atmosphere? Yes, please.
Located in the bustling Mission District, Central Kitchen is a great choice if you want to eat well while taking a break from exploring the city. The daily-changing menu celebrates Northern Californian cuisine, with seasonal and local ingredients that highlight the flavors of the region along with organic wines from small producers. And the decor is equally stunning, boasting an industrial-chic design scheme and a lush water feature at the entrance.
La Taqueria is a popular and busy place. No wonder, considering that it serves what many locals and tourists say are the best burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and carnitas in the country. The award-winning dishes will probably put this restaurant at the top of your ‘favorites’ list, especially if you love Mexican-style food.
Del Popolo has come a long way. In 2012, it served Neapolitan-inspired pizza from a mobile shipping container on a Freightliner truck, while in 2015 it transformed into a stylish but casual brick-and-mortar restaurant with minimalist wooden tables and fantastic atmosphere. What didn’t change? The pizza, which has remained as delicious as ever but now comes with an array of accompanying Italian dishes along with the option to sit down with a glass wine. Plus, you can also get carry-out on Fridays and Saturdays.
Since it opened its doors in 2008, Ichi Sushi has been consistently included in ‘Best Restaurants’ lists in local and national publications and guides. Indeed, some foodies consider this place to be one of the best sushi places outside of Japan. Focusing on sustainability, the restaurant serves sashimi and nigiri along with the all-important sake. And the great part? You don’t need a reservation as the restaurant accepts walk-ins.
The Michelin-starred Spruce is perfect for a special night out in San Francisco. Stylish and sophisticated, the decor boasts elegant details such as chocolate mohair walls, a Baccarat crystal chandelier, and artworks. The contemporary American menu features about 80% produce from a local farm. If you can’t find a table or simply don’t have the time for a longer lunch, stop by the restaurant’s café to try the artisan coffee and freshly-baked cookies.