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A Foodie’s and Shopper’s Paradise: Your Guide to Restaurants and Shopping in San Francisco

By Kat Firme & Jennifer Steinback


San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise. There are more than 3,000 restaurants in the city featuring foods from every corner of the world, including but not limited to southern Italy, Paris, Provence, and Southeast Asia. To help navigate your journey, log on to www.yelp.com and www.opentable.com. To help stretch your dollar, check out sites as www.groupon.com, www.livingsocial.com, and www.restaurant.com for coupons and half-off gift certificates. Here is a sampling of what awaits:

Top chefs (aka Book your reservations months in advance). These chefs are widely recognized as some of America’s most talented and respected. Some of them have won countless James Beard Awards, two of them have appeared on Top Chef Masters, and one has even won Japan’s Iron Chef competition.

  • Gary Danko. American. 800 N. Point St., Fisherman’s Wharf. (415) 749-2060. www.garydanko.com $$$$
  • Fleur De Lys (Chef: Hubert Keller). French. 777 Sutter St., Nob Hill. (415) 673-7779 www.fleurdelyssf.com $$$$
  • Masa’s (Chef: Ron Siegal). French. 648 Bush St., Union Square. (415) 989-7154, www.masasrestaurant.com $$$$
  • Orson’s (Chef: Elizabeth Faulker). American. 508 4th St., SOMA. (415) 777-1508, www.orsonsf.com $$$
  • Michael Mina. American. 335 Powell St., Union Square. (415) 397-9222. www.michaelmina.net $$$$

No reservations. The following have a “no reservations” policy, but that doesn’t stop the hoards of people who come and stand outside their doors sometimes for almost an hour just for a seat. It doesn’t matter what day it is or what time of day—these places have a cultlike following.

  • Burma Superstar. Burmese. 309 Clement St., Richmond. (415) 387-2147 www.burmasuperstar.com $$
  • Delfina Pizzeria. 3611 18th St. Mission. (415) 437-6800 www.pizzeriadelfina.com $$
  • Dottie True Blue Cafe. Breakfast & Brunch. 522 Jones St. Civic Center/ Tenderloin. (415) 885-2767 $$
  • Tommaso’s Ristorante. Italian. 1042 Kearny St. North Beach. (415) 398-9696 www.tommasosnorthbeach.com $$
  • Ikes’s Place. Referred to as the perfect sandwich shop. Castro. 3506 16th St. (415) 553-6888 www.ilikeikesplace.com $

Cheap eats. Let’s face it, most city dwellers are not frequently going to splurge on a five-star meal, especially when rents in San Francisco are astronomically high. These restaurants are fabulous cheap eats, and they’re great comfort food when the fog rolls in.

  • Citrus Club. Asian fusion. 1790 Haight St. (415) 387-6366. www.citrusclubsf.com $
  • Pakwan. Indian. 3180 16th St., Mission. (415) 255-2440. www.pakwanrestaurant.com $
  • Nick’s Crispy Tacos. Mexican. 1500 Broadway, Russian Hill. (415) 409-8226 $
  • Pancho Villa Taqueria. Mexican. 3071 16th St. 3071. Mission. www.panchovillasf.com $

Food meccas. Arguing over what to eat? Head to one of these areas where the selection will satisfy all.

  • Westfield San Francisco Centre Food. One of the best food courts you’ll ever step foot in. It has options such as Out the Door (Slanted Door’s more affordable restaurant), Coriander (Thai), Bistro Burger, a fancy grocery store (Bistrol Farms), and Beard Papas (cream puffs). 865 Market St. Union Square. $
  • Ferry Building Marketplace. A foodie’s delight. 1 Ferry Bldg. Embarcadero. (415) 693-0996 www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com
  • Belden Place. Local Flavor. Belden Pl. Financial District. If there were a French quarter in the city, then Belden Place would be it. Home to restaurants such as Café Bastille, Café Tiramisu, B44, a Catalan Bistro, and Plouf.

Local favorites. We asked the locals their favorite restaurants and they mentioned:


San Francisco offers some of the best shopping in the world, so it is no wonder that tourists and serious shopaholics alike want to spend their time and money in this city’s unique shopping areas and malls. Each San Francisco neighborhood offers a distinctive style suited to any shopper’s mood. While many people may believe shopping in San Francisco is an expensive venture, savvy shoppers will realize that there are possibilities for every budget.

Department stores, shopping centers, chains. Looking for great shopping but don’t want to lug your bags far? The following are all within walking distance from the hotel:

  • Westfield San Francisco Center. 865 Market St. Indoor shopping mall with more than 170 boutiques and hot-spot shops. http://www.westfield.com/sanfrancisco
  • Macys. 685 Market St. Union Square.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue. 384 Post St.
  • Neiman Marcus. 150 Stockton St.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch. 865 Market St. in Westfield SF Center
  • Gap San Francisco. Powell & Market St.
  • Old Navy. 801 Market St.
  • Victoria’s Secret. 335 Powell St.

Unique local spots. These are can’t miss hot spots in the city. Find bargain deals and tons of local flavor!

  • Ambience. 1458 Haight St. (The Haight) 415-552-5095. A famously romantic store! Great dresses and funky women’s clothes, shoes, and accessories. See website for additional locations in the city. http://www.ambiancesf.com/index.html
  • Therapy. 545 Valencia St. (The Mission). 415.865.0981. One-of-a-kind artist’s shop – gifts, furniture, bags, clothing, jewelry and more, full of funk and style! http://www.shopattherapy.com
  • Trunk SF. 544 Haight St. 415.681.5310. Unique, handmade clothing by independent designers, many are reconstructed or recycled. Tons of style. It is also a studio, so you can see garments being made. Prices can be steep, but everything is one-of-a-kind and a bargain can be found! http://www.trunksf.com
  • Room 4. 904 Valencia St. (The Mission) 415.647.2764. A must-visit for any vintage lover in San Francisco. Everything is hand-picked, stylish, and seriously affordable. http://room4.com
  • Zinc Details. 1905 Fillmore St. (Pacific Heights) 415-776-2100. Cute, odd, and innovative—this place will help you style your home in a savvy way. http://www.zincdetails.com

More can’t go wrong hot spots.

  • The Blue Jeans Bar. 1829 Union St. (The Marina) 415-346-4280. A safe haven for people in search of a cozy atmosphere to find that favorite pair of blue jeans! http://thebluesjeanbar.com
  • Jeremy’s. 2 South Park St. (SOMA) 415-882-4929. Fabulous designer items at discounted prices—men’s and women’s clothing & shoes (think Gucci, Christian Dior, etc.) http://www.jeremys.com
  • Lohemanns. 222 Sutter St. (Union Square) 415-982-3215. Look like a million bucks at a fraction of the cost. Top designer labels at 30 to 65% less. http://www.unionsquareshop.com/pages/loehmanns.html

Several quick guides highlighting more restaurants and shopping in San Francisco will be available at the Local Information booth throughout the convention. In the meantime, look for additional local flavor and convention information articles in future issues of Communiqué and online at www.nasponline.org/conventions.

Kat Firme is Local Arrangements Cochair and Jennifer Steinback is Local Students Cochair.