Wednesday, July 27, 2011

San Francisco Food Destinations

Whenever my friends visit San Francisco, they always want to EAT. Sure, we do other things too- see the sights, visit museums, check out live music venues, bar hop... but the common thread is food! Perhaps I just take it for granted, but San Francisco is definitely a food destination.

By food-touring San Francisco, not only do you get a chance to eat some good food, but you also can experience the culture of the area. Every neighborhood has its distinctive style and people, so be sure to schedule a wide variety of destinations in your tour. I like to bring people to the tried and true places, but also take advantage of the opportunity to try new places as well.

Some of my favorite food destinations in SF:

Tartine Bakery
Mission/Dolores Park
Tartine is one of those must-visit places. If I were to open a bakery, it would be very similar to Tartine. It is quintessentially French (although the portion sizes seem a bit more American at times-- they are huge!!) Fun fact: their puff pastry for the croissants take about two days to make! There is nearly always a line, but don't let that deter you because the line moves relatively quickly. Everything is executed well and the tables outside are great for people-watching. Or you can grab your food to go and eat at Dolores Park nearby.

Favorite items:
Banana Cream Tart
Chocolate Croissant

Smitten Ice Cream
Hayes Valley
I know many will disagree but I favor this place over BiRite Creamery and Humphrey Slocombe. BiRite is a little too mainstream for me and Humphrey Slocombe a little too out-there. Smitten is the happy medium for me. This little pop-up type store doesn't have any seating, but on a nice day it's very pleasant to sit outside on the benches of the park surrounding this place. The ingredients are very fresh and some are quite unique (Chocolate with jalapenos?). Plus, it's so fun to see them make my ice cream to order with liquid nitrogen, so satisfying for the kid in me.

Favorite items:
Vanilla with Cocoa Nib Pralines

Pizzetta 211
This is an underrated pizza place in the city. With only a handful of tables inside and two tables outside, the atmosphere is very intimate and adorable. This would be a perfect date place. The pizza is thin crust, just the way I like it. There are traditional pizzas, like tomato basil mozzarella, but the restaurant also branches out into more unusual combinations as well. The menu changes weekly but some items stay the same.

Favorite items:
Farm Egg, Bacon, Corn, Cherry Tomato, Chipotle Creme Fraiche
Rosemary, Fiore Sardo Cheese, Pine Nuts

More to come!


  1. Tartine has always been one of my favorite bakeries in SF -- I always recommend it to my out-of-town friends. And I MUST try Smitten! <3


  2. I'd have to add Mitchell's Ice Cream!

  3. I would love love loooove to do a food tour of SF! Better favourite this page in case my dream comes true!!

  4. Still got to try Smitten. Wow, you like it more than Bi-Rite and H. Slocombe? That's sayin' something.

  5. Christine: I take all my friends there too, and I have yet to hear any complaints about Tartine. It's universally a favorite! Only downside is the pricing.. but hey, it's San Francisco...

    chuckieduckie: Pizzetta is such a well-kept SF secret!

    Kenneth: I love Mitchell's as well!

    Koko: You should do it! SF is a great food destination. There are great higher-end restaurants too, but what I love are the small establishments.

    Carolyn: I definitely like it more than Humphrey Slocombe... Humphrey Slocombe was a bit too out there for me! Peanut butter curry and salt and pepper curry were just not my thing. As for Bi-Rite, I think it's close but I give the slight edge to Smitten. :)

  6. AHH! Bi-rite has my heart, but maybe I'll have to check out Smitten... I can be fickle!

    Tartine's fruit tarts don't cut it, unfortunately. Morning buns ALL THE WAY.


  7. Do you read A Cup of Jo? She had a post a few months ago asking people to recommend places in SF. It made me realize just how many places I've fallen in love with! Often it was less about the actual food than it was the food and the experience I had there. Places and dishes that make you feel good inside, like Zuni Cafe, or hot pho, or Nopa on a late night....<3 SF, I miss it!