Sears Fine Food is a nod to the San Francisco of yesterday. It’s a no-frills downtown diner serving traditional breakfasts of sausage and famed Swedish pancakes. You know the place: tiled floors, booth seating, and patrons at the counter, reading the paper over coffee.
Situated on Washington Square Park, this American bistro is positioned in a sea of Italian restaurants and coffee shops in North Beach. It focuses on unfussy food and stiff cocktails. Sidewalk seating under the heat lamps is ideal for a dinner and people watching.
Driftwood clad walls inside and baskets of knit blankets for the outdoor seating provide a warm embrace. The menu is small, unpretentious and it’s hard not to order everything. Salads look like someone just foraged the seasonal ingredients. Big bowls of soup are perfectly suited to the buttery toast of fresh-baked LeVain bread. It’s the warm restaurant very neighborhood deserves.
Sanctuaire is an upscale culinary nexus for overachieving chefs and progressive gastronomes to converge and spend. In this inviting space, obscure ingredients like Pangasinan sea salt, white truffle honey and Tahitian vanilla beans coexist with molecular emulsifiers, Extra Virgin olive oils and precious French porcelains. Shoppers will also find a wide array of top-tier cookware and state-of-the-art kitchen equipment — Gastrovac cooker anyone? For lovers of esoteric flavors and seekers of uncommon palette teasers, Le Sanctuaire’s chic showroom delivers an inspiring epicurean experience with truly endless possibilities.
A restaurant can be memorable for a number of reasons; the service can be attentive and personable, or perhaps the décor, music, or restaurant layout is remarkable. Ultimately the food will be the lasting memory of a truly wonderful restaurant. Such is the case with Kokkari Estiatorio. The menu includes small plates of traditional Greek dishes like tender octopus tentacles charred briefly over a hickory wood fed grill as well as large dishes of lamb or pork that’s been cooked all day over the open fire in the main dining room. Add a few glasses of crisp, chilled white wine from Santorini and it is the next best thing to being in the Cyclades.
Exposed wood beams, brick walls, and hovering fireplaces divide this large industrial loft space into dozens of corners for intimate conversation over a rye old fashioned. There is a glimmer of New York City in Twenty Five Lusk, whether it is the swanky décor or the sight of stilettos and suits, a departure from the typical California casual.
This corner, light-filled Mission bakery is a San Francisco institution. The husband and wife behind the counter turn out artisanal loaves of bread, pastries, jam-filled tarts and savory open-faced sandwiches that have made this bakery a recognizable name across the country. Seating is sparse, take it to go and walk two blocks west to the grassy hills and palm trees of Mission Dolores Park.
The doors of Delfina Restaurant first opened in 1998, and for 15 years it has remained on the forefront of the burgeoning San Francisco restaurant scene. The daily menu pays homage to rustic Italian cooking, utilizing the array of fresh, local, artisanal California produce available. The space expanded in 2005, including an adjoining pizzeria. Diners sit along the bar while thin crust Neapolitan inspired pizzas cook in the oven. The seating spills out onto the street, and day or night the sidewalk tables of both restaurants are always full.
Sumptuous seasonal dishes take center stage at this James Beard nominated, Mediterranean eatery. The restaurant’s creative menu and interior décor are completely dynamic and switch dramatically from season to season. For spring, you could be dining on a delicately executed fava bean falafel garnished with green almonds and young fennel, and come autumn, find yourself fawning over their masterfully prepared Duck Aged on the Bone. Ambience enhancers like exposed brick walls and massive industrial-style, warehouse windows also add to the unique AQ dining experience.
This is one of the many acclaimed restaurants owned and operated by successful celebrity chef, Michael Mina. RN74 is a must-visit culinary haven for lovers of French wine and cuisine. The restaurant boasts an extremely impressive wine list selected mainly from the Burgundy region of France, and a resident sommelier is always on hand instructing diners on the perfect wine pairings for their meal choices. Another highlight is their Last Bottle Board, a European train station-style reader which lists the last bottles available of popular wines in stock. Overall, RN74 is a worthy dining choice for gourmands keen on exploring the infinite, palate-pleasing harmonies of authentic French food and wine. Designed by AvroKO in 2009, the restaurant’s architecture has been acclaimed in various architectural publications.