LATEST REVISION 16 MAY 2019
Below you will find a selection of my (Hayden Quinn) favourite spots, hidden gems and best eats in San Francisco.
This page, map and information will be constantly updated as new trips take place and more hot tips come in from our friends, plus you guys (if you have anything you think MUST be on the list, send me a DM on Instagram!) so be sure to check back frequently and share with your friends…
Taqueria la Cumbre - Mission District - Cheap Eats - burrito and taco spot. One of the originals in the Mission District.
La Taqueria - Mission District - Cheap Eats - burrito and taco spot.
Central Kitchen - Mission District - daily changing menu, modern American.
Foreign Cinema - restaurant set in an old cinema, plays old films while you eat. Modern American style food.
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana - we filmed here and we were so well looked after! Setting, pizza’s and drinks were unreal. Legit stuff. They have seven different pizza ovens on the premises used to cook all the different types of pizza.
Nob Hill Cafe - a suggestion from @theflyingcook who recommended the Penne Bettola. Make sure you book as there is generally a wait, one bonus is that you can order a drink while you wait and have it in the street.
CocksComb Restaurant - visited here on recommendation of Jax as her parents know the Chef Chris Cosentino. It was an epic feed. So so good. Seasonal stuff, heaps of meat and great veg, plus we have a very nice bottle of wine.
Lolinda - Argentinian Steak House - a beast of a place cranking out char grilled and wood fired foods with Argentinian flair. The steak was unreal and the octopus was off the chart (I always order octopus!). A bonus was, I thought this place was going to be super expensive. It wasn’t bad at all to be honest, we ate a heap, had some good drinks and it was all very reasonable. Great veg options also!
Flour + Water - Mission District - Jax really wants to go here, it was on our list but didn’t make it first (or second) time around. Italian / Northern Californian fare. I would look to book?
Tartine Bakery - a must visit if you ask my mate and head baker at Sonoma here in Sydney Jordan Miller. The problem is, every time I have been back to SF I haven’t managed to make it to check it out. It is high on the list for the next visit. If you like bread and baked goods then this is the spot for you. Plus great coffee (they have their own roastery).
Rambler - Modern Californian - share foods, plus weekend brunch.
Che Fico - Italian - a recommendation from my mate Harry - we didn’t get a chance to eat here but he recommended getting a reservation as a booking can be hard to score. I really want to get in here and smash some pasta, especially in winter over a glass of red wine!
China Live - Chinatown - this spot was heaving! We filmed here when we were in town and we were very well looked after and made to feel very welcome in what was a busy and fun restaurant. The highlights were the whole roast suckling pig and also the duck. So good. Plus there were some dishes on the menu which were nice and spicy and didn’t hold back which I like. Also, the dumplings are off the hook! (I also ordered too much, don’t forget, in the US the portions are much larger than you expect!). They also have a very cool and funky bar upstairs, plus a retail store.
Hook Fish Co - these guys supply fresh fish and seafood to cook yourself, along with menu items to dine in.
BARS & NIGHTLIFE
Vesuvio - Chinatown - historical nightspot.
China Live Cold Drinks Bar - located just above the China Live Restaurant itself, sweet little spot with some very cool cocktails!
The Bitter End - a good spot to have a drink while waiting for table at Burma Superstar - Irish Bar - suggestion from @theflyingcook.
SITES & ATTRACTIONS
UCSF Fitness Center - I went here straight off the flight from Sydney, I couldn't check into my hotel right away and I needed to do some fitness to help shake off the jetlag and burn some time before I could get into my hotel, this looked like the best option as they had an outdoor pool (I always travel with my sluggo’s and goggles) plus the showers and towels (perfect for after a long flight). Casual entry was $25USD so not cheap but I think it was worth it and for that money you could use all the facilities in the gym. They also have a sauna and lockers for your valuables.
Hotel Spero - this is where I stayed when we were in town for work. Prior to this we had stayed with Jax family friends so don’t really have any other reconmends. This spot was great, clean, cool rooms (seemed like they had just been re-done). I would stay here again. I am not sure on the $$$ as it was a work trip.
TIPS & INFO
Tipping - ok so I am sure you are all aware, but in America tipping is a big thing! It is how most service staff will make their money, some work only for tips. Be as generous as you can, let your tip reflect the service you received.
There are some general rules:
- If you buy 1 beer from the bar, tip a $1.
- If you are sat down and get a bill and table service and it is good service, you double the first two numbers. For example, if the bill is $236.75 then the tip would be $46. This is the expectation, if you got amazing service, then add some more, if it was a little under par, you should talk first to your server or make any comments during the meal to allow the team to pick up their game. No point not saying anything and then punishing them at the end of your meal / evening.
- Don’t forget to tip in cabs, your bell boy, and if you are having a long stay in the hotel, you could leave a tip for your housekeeper as well (especially if you are a messy person!!!!)
Taxes - when you buy something, or see a price on a shelf or on a menu it will not include taxes. So when you go to check out, or get the bill there will be taxes added on top of the advertised price?
Safety - There are a lot of homeless people in SF, in saying that I have never really felt unsafe or uncomfortable, you just have to be on your toes. There have been times where I have acted with caution and moments when you need to be aware of your surroundings, but I think this is the case in any city around the world at certain times.
Be smart about your belongings, keep your wallet in your front pocket and don’t lug around large amounts of cash, there is no need for that these days.
Pan handlers - don’t make eye contact, don’t engage, don’t make physical contact (a lot of people will try and shake your hand or give you something, once they do that they have got you!) No one wants to get scammed. Just ignore. If someone if persistently annoying you or following you a firm “NO!” will work.
Look right, then left when crossing the road!