Let Connie do the talking...
Whenever out-of-town friends and family visit, I’m already 4 restaurants deep on the list of where I want to take them.
My sister once asked me while visiting from LA, “Do you have anything else planned for us?"... Err.. Nope!
From tasting menus to mainly hole-in-the-walls and watering holes, below are some of my favorites in the city (alphabetically categorized by neighborhoods):
BALBOA TERRACE // INGLESIDE TERRACE
Zanze’s. I don’t even like cheesecake, but I LOVE Zanze's. Their slices are light and airy. A bite and you're in heaven. Worth the drive out to the Terraces!
The Front Porch. Mac 'n cheese, fried chicken, shrimp and grits. Need I see more? Comfort Southern food at its finest.
Chow. Their Crab Louie salad is divine. If you have room for dessert (there’s always room for dessert), grab a slice of pie!
City View. My best-kept dim sum secret. No lines, clean tables, fresh carts of dumplings and goodness.
Coqueta. Perfect bites for date nights, birthday celebrations one the kitchen counter where you might encounter chef Chiarello himself!
Primavera @ Ferry Building Farmers Market. One of my favorite Saturday morning rituals is to run to the Ferry Building (it's only a little over a mile, but I feel like I have conquered the world), get in line at Primavera and feast on their plate of chilequiles.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT // YERBA BUENA
Rickhouse. The most notable Hemingway Daiquiris in town!
Tadich Grill. I feel like I've been transported back into time here. Thinking about their cioppino makes my mouth water.
Trou Normand. Coffee during the day. Calvados cocktails at night. My go-to at any given hour.
20th Century Cafe. Beautiful cafe (and the women who work there are gorgeous/the chef-owner is kick-ass!). The honey cake is absolute heaven.
Cafe Bunn Mi. I can eat a Vietnamese sandwich for lunch every day and probably never get sick of it..Here, I prefer their fried catfish sammy and that slaw!
Genki Crepes & Mini Mart. Their crepes are perfectly chewy and crispy. My go-to is nutella and strawberries (or bananas)..or both..with ice cream.
LOWER PACIFIC HEIGHTS // JAPANTOWN
Sophie’s Crepes. I may have an obsession with crepes, and I'm usually too stuffed from ramen or udon (at Suzu below), but I will still make room for a crepe from Sophie's. If crepes aren't your thing (I mean, is there such a thing?), give their red bean or black sesame ice cream a try. Or better yet, put it in your crepe!
Suzu. I much prefer ramen with negi, but at Suzu they make they best udon noodle soup.
MISSION // INNER MISSION
Big Lantern. My go-to for Chinese delivery for movie nights. Meatless orange chicken is spot on. But do you really need an excuse to order in?
El Farolito. Burritos. Nachos. Tacos. Quesadillas. You name it. Have it there if you can squeeze into a table or take it to Dolores Park if you can make it that far without having eaten it all.
LoLó. I’ve never met a taco I didn’t like, Lolo’s doesn’t disappoint. Whimsical transportation-themed ambiance and even more whimsy cocktails.
Udupi Palace. Probably one of my all-time favorite restaurants in the city. So much flavor and texture in their curries and dosas, and better yet, all veggie friendly! :)
Salumeria. Splurge-y picnic fare..pricey, but so good! Get a sandwich with their pretzel roll!
NOPA. It's a weekend afternoon and there's no rush to be anywhere, I can spend 3+ hours catching up with good friends and ordering and reordering their custardy french toast.
The Mill. Josey Baker’s bread is my favorite. Have a slice or take a loaf home, serve with olive oil, jam or your favorite cheeses. They should call it goes-with-everything-bread. Josey also donates to AWS, the awe-inspiring domestic violence shelter, which makes him/the bakery extra special.
Golden Boy Pizza. Where you can't go wrong with a cheese pizza. Good at any time of the hour, especially at 2am when all the North Beach bars have just closed.
Kim Son Vietnamese Restaurant. Every dish is on point-- pho, bun rieu, egg rolls, chicken curry..Every dish reminds me of being home with my family.
Toyose. AKA the Garage. This place is literally a garage and now the secret's out. Get there before the rush, but if you end up waiting, it's not so bad when you're handed a bowl of popcorn and carafe of kiwi soju. Super crispy seafood pancake and huge pot of ramen keeps you warm in the fog!
SPQR. Their pasta tasting menu is the ultimate indulgence, and worth every bite.
Live Sushi. My neighborhood sushi joint. Fresh fish, delicious rolls. Perfect for take out (and if you order more than $30), they'll throw in a free order of edamame, seaweed salad, or California roll.
Café Bunn Mi. Hands down my favorite banh mi in the city! I go for the fried fish 'wich. They really know how to pack in the veggies! Their bun rieu is comforting on a rainy Richmond day.
Tin. My go-to for casual, down-good Vietnamese dishes. The closest to home for me.
Ryoko’s. Get their past 8pm and DJ will spin tunes for you. I like any of their rolls with shisho and have a soft spot for their tamago and grilled octopus.
Dirty Habit. Romantic and cozy outdoor happy hour setting with a bit of a Miami meets LA vibe. The raspberry-filled churros are a must.
Berkeley Bowl. Over the Bridge is a market that holds a special in my heart (and stomach!)-- I could spend forever perusing Berkeley Bowl's bulk and produce section. They have it all, really.
I could go on, but now I'm hungry and have work to do. See something not on this list? Message me!