A Weekend In San Francisco
Many of London’s hot new restaurants and food trends take inspiration from food destinations abroad, like San Francisco, a city filled with everything from modern Scandinavian cuisine to artful Asian dishes and Californian tasting menus. The dining scene in San Francisco is as diverse as its culture, and if you’re a little like us, you plan your trips around new restaurants. We’ve partnered with San Francisco Travel, inspiring your next adventure to experience the city like a local in the know. Consider this your weekend guide to San Francisco’s best new restaurants, bars and activities.
Drinks at Violet’s
The team behind Fiorella – San Francisco’s much-loved Italian restaurant – brings a similar neighbourhood vibe to their new restaurant and bar, Violet’s. Aiming to be suitable for anyone and any occasion, the drinks menu boasts an abundance of choice, from cocktails infused with violet crème to countless spirits and wine – there’s a reason why locals flock to Violet’s after work. And if you’re feeling a little hungry, you can snack on small yet oh-so satisfying dishes such as artichokes with lemon mayonnaise, marinated clams on toast or dates wrapped in bacon.
Violet’s, 2301 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121
Sunrise hike at Twin Peaks
Take advantage of the jetlag and start your Saturday like a true Californian, with a healthy hike before brunch. The Twin Peaks trail is right in the heart of San Francisco, rewarding your high hike with breathtaking views of the entire city and its famous bridges.
Brunch at Stonemill Matcha
Stonemill Matcha, San Francisco’s first matcha café, brings the finest, handpicked leaves from Kyoto’s lush farmlands to the bustle of Mission District. The casual yet elegant café has professionals on site, transforming the benefit-packed leaves into innovative drinks like sparkling matcha and matcha-infused cold brews. Complementing your cup, dishes are traditionally Japanese with options such as Katsu Sando (pork cutlet sandwich) and Machazuke (rice with green tea), while pastries are decidedly Californian with the help of SF staple Tartine Bakery.
Stonemill Matcha, 561 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Walking tour at The Castro District
Make your way over to The Castro District for one of the best walking tours in San Francisco. Wild SF offers a number of daily tours for wanderlusters (that’s us!), including the Radical SF tour that dives into the vibrant culture of The Castro – a neighbourhood filled with colourful streetscapes and history – and The Mission, dotted with murals and galleries. Armed with a guitar and good stories, the tour guides will walk you around and show you all the best places to go. Make sure to book in advance.
After working up an appetite, head to the Asian Art Museum for your dose of Japanese cuisine and culture…
Late Lunch at Sunday at the Museum
San Francisco takes museum visits to a whole new level, offering a dining experience on par with its exhibitions. Located in the Asian Art Museum, chef Deuki Hong oversees the menu with creative Japanese dishes, including miso avocado toast on Japanese milk bread, fried chicken on fluffy steamed bao buns, and soy-chili-garlic chicken wings. Even if you don’t plan on immersing yourself in Asian art, Sunday at the Museum is a must-visit for adventurous Japanese fare.
After your museum visit, explore the famous breweries in SoMa (short for South of Market), or immerse yourself in more culture at the Museum of Modern Art. If you would rather relax and rejuvenate, the Yerba Buena Gardens is the perfect place to soak up the sun and recharge your batteries.
Sunday at the Museum, 200 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Dinner at Che Fico
Che Fico challenges Italian cuisine with Jewish tradition and Californian ingredients. The result is a menu that stretches from orecchiette with fennel sausage and broccoli rabe, to grilled duck liver on marmalade, and sourdough bread-like pizzas with fermented chilli. Attracting celebrities and long lines of locals (read: four hour waits), this bright and buzzy newcomer has taken the NoPa neighbourhood by storm – Che Fico is arguably the hottest new restaurant in San Franscisco, so far.
Che Fico, 838 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Drinks at Del Mar
Located in the heart of the Marina District, Del Mar transports you to a tropical paradise with exotic rum-based cocktails and punch bowls that will keep you going all night. But the fun doesn’t stop at the drinks – the space is outfitted with swing chairs, luscious greens and jungle print wallpaper, while weekends add in live DJs and dancing – not that you’ll manage to get off your swing…
Del Mar, 2125 Lombard street, San Francisco, CA 94123
Start your morning between the locals in the Richmond District…
Breakfast at Pearl
From the team behind San Francisco’s praised pizza spot Pizzetta 211, Pearl is the kind of space where you could easily spend all day. Luckily, you can: the light-filled restaurant serves Dutch baby pancakes and farro bowls by day, before transforming into a stylish dinner destination with seafood dishes, comforting plates of homemade pasta and summery cocktails by night. Living up to its name, oysters take centre stage at this Richmond gem, served beautifully with white shoyu, sesame, pickled ginger, and scallion. Don’t worry, it’s OK to start and end your day in the same place.
Pearl, 6101 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
Golden Gate Park & Culture Hotspots
Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but no trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Golden Gate Park. Wonder along the lush green fields and see exotic plants at the Conservatory of Flowers, or visit one of the museums, de Young and Cal Academy of Sciences always have interesting exhibitions on.
Continue your walk towards the east and find yourself in the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. Put on the map by hippies and the flower power generation in the 1960s, the Haight is home to vintage boutiques, picturesque homes and long-standing bookstores – the area still lives and breathes its history and hippie vibes. Afterwards, transport yourself to an entirely different culture at Kantine…
Lunch at Kantine
Acclaimed chef Nichole Accettola brings the Danish way of life to San Francisco, launching a canteen where you can enjoy each other’s company alongside Scandinavian cuisine. Taking a wholesome, no-fuss approach to cooking, Kantine’s menu revolves around healthy options such as a savoury mushroom porridge, smørrebrød with pickled herring (served open-faced on rye bread, just like in Copenhagen), and homemade rhubarb drinks. If you’re looking for something sweet, the Swedish cinnamon knots can’t be missed.
Kantine, 1906 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The Fillmore District
After you’ve regained your energy, enjoy an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing in the Fillmore district, you’ll also find the famous Painted Ladies on Alamo Square and for those avoiding the high street, Fillmore street is full of boutiques and unique shops. Finish your day with an unforgettable dinner and cocktails…
Dinner at Sorrel
San Francisco sees plenty of pop-up dinners transform into permanent restaurants – Sorrel followed the same successful path. Known for serving refined Californian-inspired dishes with an Italian flair, the ever-changing menu showcases ingredients from their very own rooftop gardens and local farmers markets. Current offerings include chilled pea soup; rye cannelloni with duck confit and wild mushroom; pork with yellow peach and Chantenay carrot, all thoughtfully plated and paired with seasonal cocktails to complement the bright flavours.
Sorrel, 3228 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94115
If you’re looking for cocktails in a slightly less sophisticated setting, we’ve got you covered…
Drinks at The Beehive
The ‘60s-inspired cocktail bar is buzzing every night of the week (it’s in the name), attracting locals and travellers alike. Maybe it’s the skilfully made cocktails, the extremely attentive staff, or the large lounge area hidden in the back – whatever the reason, The Beehive consistently delivers a memorable evening. Don’t leave without trying their signature cocktail, featuring an elegant mix of Botanist Gin, sarsaparilla honey, ginger, lemon and salt.
The Beehive, 42 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
At the airport…
You won’t have to go hungry while waiting at the airport either, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has welcomed some great new dining options, many of which are born in the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods.
Named after the wild mustard flowers that bloom in Napa Valley’s vineyards, Mustards Grill has been an integral part San Francisco’s food and wine community for over 30 years. The menu includes an extensive selection of Californian wines, alongside wood-fired dishes, salads and sandwiches (think grilled eggplant with tomato-ginger chutney, or chicken breast with a spicy mustard barbecue sauce). Find out more…
Tartine is a San-Francisco favourite, thanks to their ever-evolving menu with top-quality food. The eatery dishes out beautiful breakfast fare that almost seems healthy, including poppy-seed coffee cakes; strawberry tartines with parmesan and ricotta; and egg sandwiches with cabot cheddar. Dinner highlights the seasons with shareable dishes; not that you want to share ricotta with figs on toast, or lamb meatballs with fava purée. Find out more…
With a flagship restaurant in the heart of the city, Farmerbrown brings their seasonally-focused menu of modern American soul food to the airport. Using nothing but locally sourced ingredients, expect comforting classics such as Southern fried chicken with biscuits, greens, and grits, or the iconic duo of chicken and waffles. Find out more…
The downtown San Francisco eatery is a destination for ambitious Thai dishes, including Bangkok-style stir fried rice noodles; trout roasted in a banana leaf; and chicken fat rice(!) with ginger-poached chicken. Find out more…
If it’s vibrant Mexican cuisine you’re after, head to Cala restaurant with a menu of both seafood-centric and vegetarian dishes. Think tostadas with crab or avocado; quesadillas with mushrooms; and halibut ceviche verde. Find out more…
Where to stay in San Francisco…
Lodge at Presidio, a newly opened boutique hotel. Located in the heart of the Presidio, you’ll be spoiled with unparalleled views of the bridge, the Presidio’s lush 300-acre forest, the San Francisco Bay and the city skyline. Click here to book…
Hotel Vitale, a luxury boutique hotel in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Complete with rooftop soaking tubs and yoga classes, the hotel offers a bit of well-earned relaxation after a day of exploring. Click here to book…
Hotel Nikko, an upscale urban retreat in the heart of San Francisco. Located just steps away from Union Square, you’ll be conveniently close to the city’s top sights. Click here to book…