OK fine you could go to Mexico City for day of the Dead and I imagine it would be insane. But San Francisco with it's vibrant Mission District puts on an amazing show. Garfield Park is filled with altars made by the community, there's a walking procession, music, dancing and a lot of dressing up. Grab some amazing Mexican food at Gracias Madre on MIssion Street and go get involved.
San Francisco itself is a great city in autumn - mainly because it's no different to summer. The fog still rolls in, you still need a jumper, but there are less tourists and the colours are beautiful. The sun here just seems softer.
Down a very unassuming (and long) street hides Millenium. We went for the tasting menu and matching wine as it was a special meal (a 40th.) The waitress advised against eating the bread (very wisely) and introduced a wonderful wine to accompany our starter. The slight twist was we were both given different taster menus and the chef must have been in a good mood that night as we ended up with a six course instead of the usual five. From blue corn tamale to sweet potato griddle cake finishing with a variety of puddings (hello chocolate ganache cake) a delight from beginning to end. You'll leave purring and happy if not a little heavier!
I love sushi and I would rate Ozumo as one of my favourite sushi restaurants. It's contemporary Japanese cuisine so I would recommend trying their specials. We asked the waitress to choose for us and we were very happy with the selection. The cocktails are delicious and they have a great selection of sake for those of you who like sake (I don't!).
161 Steuart St
San Francisco, CA 94105
+1 415 882 1333
In the heart of San Francisco's vibrant Mexican district, the Mission, simply named La Taqueria is a bastion of authenticity in an increasingly yuppified area that remains popular because of its sheer quality and value for money. In traditional, homely surroundings you can order some of the finest Mexican food on offer in the Bay Area, either to eat in or take out. No airs and graces, just good quality food in generous portions and at low prices. And what's more, the guacamole is to die for.
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110. Nearest BART: 24th & Mission Station.
A short walk from downtown Berkeley and the famous university campus, Cheeseboard might be a trek from the city but the pizza is justly famous throughout the Bay Area. Only serving one kind of pizza per day (and they're all vegetarian), their offerings range from highest-quality Margherita to more out-there combinations such as Blue Cheese and Pear but the pizza is invariably delicious. Served by the (huge) slice, a slice and a drink can be an inexpensive light lunch, or a whole (giant) pizza could be shared by several for a heartier meal.
1512 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709. Nearest BART: Downtown Berkeley.
This is a fantastic little French bistro in the relatively unknown neighbourhood of Potrero Hill. Fantastic views reward the climb to the top (or drive), and enjoy perhaps the best burgers in the city, with perfect french frites.
1453 18th St
San Francisco 94107
Btwn Missouri & Connecticut St
Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay, which is on Hwy 1 just a short drive from San Francisco, serves some of the best Italian food to be had anywhere.
It is not cheap but for Brits with the exchange rate as it is now, it is very inexpensive. Go for the seafood/fishy options. Seafood risotto is superb.
I could go on and on, but if you appreciate great Italian cooking - GO THERE! It made a great start to our Pacific Coast Hwy trip.
This restaurant has the most amazing views of San Francisco. Perched on top of the Hyatt, across from the Ferry Building in the Embarcadero area, Equinox offers stunning views of the bay, the financial district and the Bay Bridge. But this is not all, for not only is the view fantastic, but the restaurant does a 360-degree rotation in about 45 minutes; whilst you’re savouring your meal you can enjoy the beautiful skyline of the city.
The food at the Equinox is of very good quality. For starters their crab cakes and their oysters are simply superb. Their filet as a main is tender and it melts in your mouth; their salmon is simply-cooked and yet it has a taste of uniqueness. The desserts come in big portions, or bigger than you’d expect at such a restaurant; and by the time you’ve got to leave you feel just right and not in need of any extra nibbles. Prices are a bit high, but if you’ve got the chance to set some money aside before you leave San Francisco, the place is worth a visit.
If money is an issue, we noticed that some people also go in to have a drink and some dessert rather than a whole meal. The one drawback we thought Equinox has is that the menu is not as extensive as one might like, especially if you’re a vegetarian: you might find there’s nothing for you to choose from.
Equinox, at the Hyatt Regency
5 Embarcadero Center,
Equinox Reservations: (415) 291-6619
Just the name would be enough for a recommendation, but this cafe/diner also has locals and visitors queueing down the street on weekends. The pulled pork, bacon and ham is clearly a main feature, but there's plenty on the typically diner style menu for non-pork or meat eaters.
1451 Haight St
Connoisseurs will turn up their noses, but this is one of my favourite places to go for good, inexpensive, and fun sushi. I have brought people here who are wary of sushi but find themselves enjoying rolls with creamed cheese, fried salmon skin, and other not-very-authentic additions.
And I've never paid more than $30 for two people to be stuffed at the end of the meal.
Valencia/22nd st, San Francisco
Gilroy, CA is the worlds garlic capital and much of its produce ends up at the "The Stinking Rose" on Columbus Avenue. This is a reataurant dedicated to all things garlic - even ice cream. While this may sound a bit gimmicky, if you like your food strong and unambiguous, there is nothing better. Also check out the t-shirts on sale there - they are guaranteed conversation pieces for when you get back home.
325 Columbus Avenue | San Francisco | 415.781.7673
Very nice restaurant staffed by recovering alcoholics, ex-drug addicts etc, etc.
As a recovering alcoholic I lived in San Fran for 2 years during the dotcom boom and bust.
I lived just down the road from Delancy Street and spent many happy evenings there.
I loved it!
San Fran is cool too - but expensive...
600 Embarcadero Street
One of the best views in San Francisco is to be found in the financial district, at the top of the Bank of America building (of Towering Inferno fame). Its bar/restaurant (Carnelian Room) is open to the public after three in the afternoon and has some breathtaking views of the bay.
Bank of America Building
555 California St. (Kearny St.)
San Francisco, CA 94104
Golden Gate Park – you could literally spend days there. A good idea is walking from the Eastern to the Western end, stopping off on the way to check out a few highlights, like the flower conservatory, Japanese Tea Garden (as featured in Memoirs of a Geisha) and the De Young museum. Your reward at the end: the waves of the Pacific and the Beach Chalet, a restaurant/brewery where, if you time it right, you can have dinner with lovely sunset views over the ocean.
The Helmand hasn’t been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in San Francisco for nothing. The Afghan food is tasty and surprisingly good value, and the simple but warm room, friendly staff and good wine list add to a pleasant experience.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Zuni Cafe is a classy yet unpretentious restaurant in Civic Center. The atmosphere’s buzzing and the food is gorgeous and fresh, California cuisine style. And if you liked the food, you can buy the recipe book. Booking is recommended.
1658 Market St
San Francisco CA 94102
I stayed four nights in San Francisco in September and ate at a lot of great places. However Alfred’s stands out for a number of reasons. My guidebook recommended it as the best steak house in San Francisco. However not only is it great steak, it’s a very lovely old-fashioned romantic restaurant. It’s full of red velvet banquettes, large tables with white linen and white aproned waiters.
I had the 14oz (that’s the smallest they did) sirloin with mash and my boyfriend had the Porterhouse 20oz, which is a speciality - he could only manage half as it literally took up the whole plate. The bar is also lovely to have your coffee or for a pre-dinner drink - they specialise in single malts.
659 Merchant Street, it's located between the financial district and Chinatown on Market and Kearny and is not really near any other restaurants so you'll have to look hard. My taxi driver didn't know it so make sure you take a map; tel: 415 781 7058; www.alfredssteakhouse.com/
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