Frommer's San Francisco Day by Day

Frommer's San Francisco Day by Day

by Matthew Poole


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Frommer's San Francisco Day by Day by Matthew Poole

Map your own adventure. San Francisco Day by Day is the perfect answer for travelers who want to know the best places to visit and the best way to see the city.

Packed with color photos, this bestselling guide offers dozens of itineraries that show you how to see the best of San Francisco in a short time—with bulleted maps that lead the way from sight to sight. Featuring a full range of thematic and neighborhood tours, plus dining, lodging, shopping, nightlife, day trips and excursions, and practical visitor info, San Francisco Day by Day is the only guide that helps travelers organize their time to get the most out of a trip. Inside this book you'll find:

  • Full color throughout with hundreds of photos and dozens of maps
  • Sample one- to three-day itineraries that include Romantic San Francisco; San Francisco Literati; Shop Til You Drop; Mission & the Castro; Bay, Beers & Bikes; plus side trips to Wine Country, Sausalito, Muir Woods and more
  • Star ratings for all hotels, restaurants, and attractions clue readers in on great finds and values
  • Tear-resistant foldout map in a handy, reclosable plastic wallet
  • Foldout front cover, with at-a-glance maps and quick-reference info

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118027486
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/14/2012
Series: Frommer's Day by Day - Pocket Series , #185
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 7.20(w) x 4.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Noelle Salmi was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and lived there as a young child until moving with her family to South America. She returned to the area as a student at Stanford University, before heading to Columbia University in New York to earn a masters degree in international journalism. She worked at a major daily newspaper and at CNN in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; at Associated Press in Berlin, Germany; and in public relations in both New York City and Seattle, Washington, before moving back to the Bay Area in 2001. Her writing has appeared in numerous US and international publications, including Jornal do Brasil, The West Side Spirit, Emerging Markets, USA TODAY, Bay Area Parent, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and she is the author of Frommer’s San Francisco with Kids (2nd and 3rd editions) and Frommer’s San Francisco Day by Day (1st edition). She lives in San Francisco with her husband Mika and three children, Annika, Natasha, and Aksel.

Read an Excerpt

Frommer's San Francisco with Kids

By Noelle Salmi

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-7887-1

Chapter One

Family-Friendly Dining

San Francisco is a food-lover's city. Even before renowned local chef Alice Waters gave birth to California cuisine, San Francisco took advantage of its access to fresh seafood, local produce, and ethnic influences to foster a thriving dining scene. To the north, east, and south are dozens of small family farms, many organic, which supply city restaurants. In addition, the melting pot of immigrants has added serious depth to the epicurean offerings. Great Mexican food abounds in the Mission, and you'll find Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants everywhere. Although North Beach has its share of Italian restaurants, you can also find Spanish, Indian, and Greek cuisine very close by.

With so many tantalizing options, it would be a shame to stick to pizza simply because you have the kids in tow-although San Francisco does have some excellent pizzerias, which are listed in this chapter. Experiencing the city's fabulous food needn't deplete your wallet-ethnic restaurants are often inexpensive, and many moderately-priced restaurants are home to capable, aspiring young chefs. But it may mean you'll be taking young kids out of their culinary comfort zone and that you'll be eating in restaurants not populated exclusively by families. You'll soon discover, though, that San Franciscans are a friendly bunch and that most chefs will be happy toaccommodate tiny palates should the need arise. My husband and I have dragged our kids to any number of local restaurants and found that, by following the guidelines I list below (see the "Dining Out in Peace" box), we've been able to enjoy many wonderful dinners and, at the same time, introduce our girls to new and interesting foods.

With that spirit of discovery in mind, I've listed several dining options in this chapter that are not specifically designed for families but to which kids will certainly feel welcome. I have, however, passed over those restaurants that are simply not suitable for kids under 12. The exceptions are restaurants I suggest for when you have a babysitter.

Of course, you may hit moments in the sightseeing frenzy when you just want a place where everyone can sit, find something they like on the menu, and eat-without worrying about keeping the kids quiet or persuading them to think beyond buttered noodles. For those moments, I've included plenty of restaurants that are tailormade for big, messy, family meals.

A NOTE ABOUT PRICES The restaurants in the reviews that follow are categorized as Very Expensive, Expensive, Moderate, and Inexpensive, based on an approximation of what a family of four would spend for nonalcoholic drinks and four main courses. If this family would have to pay $120 or more for a meal, I consider that restaurant Very Expensive; from $75 to $120 Expensive; between $40 and $75, Moderate; under $40, Inexpensive. I've included cafes, pizzerias, and casual, order-at-thecounter places under the Inexpensive header, and restaurants that have positioned themselves as combining highquality ingredients and value in the Moderate column. The Expensive category includes afternoon tea in hotels, usually costly, but delightful if you like that sort of thing. Very Expensive restaurants are for the evenings you've hired a babysitter, unless you're rearing a future Julia Child or Jacques Pepin and wish to inspire her or him. Tax in San Francisco is 8.5%. Tip 15% for good service; more for exemplary service; and at your discretion for poor service.

CHAINS, CHAINS, CHAINS & FAST FOOD You don't find a lot of national chains or even fast-food restaurants in any but the most touristed neighborhoods, such as Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square. For the most part you'll find San Franciscans, with or without kids, prefer chef-driven restaurants with unique identities. As for fast food, you can't do much better than a burrito, but I do understand that kids crave pizzas or burgers once in a while. Instead of pointing you to the nearest McDonald's however, I have done my best to offer alternatives including locally owned diners and regional chains of Italian restaurants, noodle bars, and pizza parlors.

1 Restaurants by Cuisine

AFTERNOON TEA Laurel Court (Nob Hill, $$$, p. 115) Lovejoy's Tea Room (The Castro/ Noe Valley, $$, p. 144) Palace Hotel * (SoMa, $$$, p. 110)

AMERICAN Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) Blue Mermaid Chowder House (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Chow * (The Castro/Noe Valley, $, p. 144) Cliff House Bistro (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$$, p. 145) Dolores Park Cafe * (Mission, $, p. 142) Dottie's True Blue Cafe * (Union Square/Financial District, $, p. 110) Ella's * (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Firefly ** (The Castro/Noe Valley, $$, p. 144) Fog City Diner (The Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 120) The Grove * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132; Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, p. 135) McCormick & Kuleto's * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Park Chalet * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 146) Park Chow * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Rainforest Cafe (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Sears Fine Foods (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Tadich Grill (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108) Taylor's Refresher * (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 122) Town Hall *** (SoMa, $$$, p. 111)

ASIAN The Citrus Club (The Haight, $, p. 138) Long Life Noodle Company & Jook Joint (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 121) Zao Noodle Bar (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 133; Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, p. 135)

ASIAN-FUSION Cafe Kati ** (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$$, p. 133)

BAKERY Boulange de Polk * (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Citizen Cake (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $$, p. 130) Tartine * (Mission, $, p. 143)

BARBECUE Memphis Minnie's * (The Haight, $, p. 138)

BELGIAN FRIES Frjtz (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $, p. 128; Fisherman's Wharf, p. 130) BREAKFAST/BRUNCH Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) The Canvas Cafe/Gallery (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 146) Dolores Park Cafe * (Mission, $, p. 142) Dottie's True Blue Cafe * (Union Square/Financial District, $, p. 110) The Grove * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132; Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, p. 135) Ella's * (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Sears Fine Foods (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Town's End (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 121)

CALIFORNIA Citizen Cake (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$, p. 130) Crossroads Cafe * (The Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 121) Foreign Cinema ** (The Mission, $$$, p. 140) Franciscan (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Gary Danko *** (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$$, p. 126) Hayes Street Grill * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129) Isa ** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Moose's *** (North Beach, $$$, p. 122) Restaurant Lulu * (SoMa, $$$, p. 111) Town's End * (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 121) Zuni Cafe ** (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129)

CARIBBEAN Cha Cha Cha's * (Haight, $$, p. 137)

CHICKEN Il Pollaio * (North Beach, $, p. 124)

CHINESE Eliza's (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Dragon Well * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132) Great Eastern Restaurant (Chinatown, $$, p. 116) Hunan's Home Restaurant (Chinatown, $, p. 116) Lichee Garden (Chinatown, $, p. 118) R & G Lounge * (Chinatown, $, p. 119) Ton Kiang ** (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 148)

CREPES Crepe Express (The Haight, $, p. 138) Frjtz (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $, p. 128; Fisherman's Wharf, p. 130) San Francisco Crepe Cart (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 129) Ti Couz * (The Mission, $, p. 143)

DELICATESSEN East Coast West Delicatessen (Russian Hill, $, p. 136)

ECLECTIC The Canvas Cafe/Gallery (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 146)

FRENCH Fleur de Lys *** (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$$, p. 104) Grand Cafe * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$, p. 105) Isa ** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 131) Restaurant Lulu * (SoMa, $$$, p. 111)

GREEK Kokkari Estiatorio ** (Embarcadero/South Beach $$$, p. 119)

HAMBURGERS Burger Joint (The Haight, $, p. 138; The Mission, p. 142) IN-N-OUT Burger (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 128) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Mel's Drive-in (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 115; SoMa, p. 132; The Richmond/Sunset, p. 147) Taylor's Refresher * (Embarcadero/South Beach, $, p. 122)

ICE CREAM Ben & Jerry's (The Haight, $, p. 137) Gelato Classico * (North Beach, $, p. 124) Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 128) Mitchell's Ice Cream * (The Mission, $, p. 143) Swensen's Creamery (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Toy Boat Dessert Cafe * (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 148)

INDIAN/PAKISTANI Naan-N-Curry (North Beach $, p. 126)

ITALIAN A16 *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Antica Trattoria *** (Russian Hill, $$$, p. 135) Cafe Pescatore (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Caffe Macaroni (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Delfina ** (The Mission, $$, p. 140) L'Osterio del Forno ** (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store (North Beach, $, p. 124) Pasta Pomodoro (Marina/ Cow Hollow, $, p. 126; North Beach, p. 133; Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, p. 135; The Castro/ Noe Valley, p. 145; The Richmond/ Sunset, p. 147) Pazzia * (SoMa, $$, p. 115) Puccini and Pinetti (Union Square/Financial District, $$, p. 108) Rose Pistola * (North Beach, $$$, p. 123) Tommaso's Restaurant (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Trattoria Contadina ** (North Beach, $$, p. 124)

JAPANESE Isobune (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Juban Yakiniku House (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Sanraku * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108)

MEDITERRANEAN Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) Foreign Cinema ** (The Mission, $$$, p. 140) Zuni Cafe ** (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129)

MOROCCAN Aziza ** (The Richmond/Sunset, $$, p. 145)

MEXICAN Cafe Marimba * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) La Corneta Taqueria * (The Mission, $, p. 142) La Rondalla (The Mission, $, p. 142) Pancho Villa Taqueria * (The Mission, $, p. 143)

PIZZA Amici's East Coast Pizzeria (Embarcadero/South Beach, $, p. 121; Marina/Cow Hollow, p. 132) A16 *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Blondie's Pizza (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Giorgio's Pizzeria * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147) Pizzetta 211 * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$, p. 146) Tommaso's Restaurant (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Vicolo Pizzeria * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $, p. 130) ZA Pizza * (Russian Hill, $, p. 137)

SPANISH Bocadillos * (Embarcadero/South Beach, $$, p. 119)

SEAFOOD Blue Mermaid Chowder House (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Hayes Street Grill * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129) McCormick & Kuleto's * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Tadich Grill (Union Square/Financial District, $$, p. 108)

SUSHI Isobune (Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Sanraku * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108)

THAI Khan Toke * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$, p. 146) Koh Samui & The Monkey (SoMa, $$, p. 115) Marnee Thai * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147)

VEGETARIAN Greens *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$$, p. 130) Millennium (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$, p. 105)

VIETNAMESE Ana Mandara * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 126) Slanted Door *** (The Embarcadero/South Beach, $$, p. 120)

Key to Abbreviations: $$$$ = Very Expensive $$$ = Expensive $$ = Moderate $ = Inexpensive

2 Union Square/The Financial District


Fleur de Lys *** FRENCH Ironically, the first entry in a chapter called "Family Friendly Dining" doesn't really fit that description. It is one of two exceptions I've listed for a night when you have a babysitter and want to experience one of the top restaurants in the country. It's clear from the moment you walk in the door and see the regal, intimate dining room, tented in 900 yards of richly-patterned red and gold fabric, that Fleur de Lys is the epitome of ultraluxurious dining. In keeping with the warm, inviting decor, the impeccable service is comfortably unpretentious.

As for the awe-inspiring food, the man behind the mastery is award-winning chef Hubert Keller, a native of the Alsace region of France who has trained with some of the top chefs in the world. Keller's kitchen is firmly rooted in classic French cooking, but includes some playful touches inspired by his new country, such as truffle-infused popcorn and an amazing mini foie gras hamburger. Choose from a menu of three, four, or five courses and expect to be blown away by such offerings as seared Moroccan spiced sea scallops with pomegranate jus, cauliflower flan, and Osetra caviar or veal tournedos scented with foamy lobster bisque and veal essence. A vegetarian tasting menu, with options like truffled white bean soup with green garlic fondue and wild mushrooms, is also available. The desserts and cheese selection are obscenely delicious, and the wine list includes several hundred selections. (Although I've noted this isn't a place for kids, I did once spot two pre-teen boys dining with their parents; they were well behaved and seemed to enjoy the experience.)

777 Sutter St. (between Jones and Taylor sts.). 415/673-7779. Reservations essential. 3-course menu $68, 4-course $76, 5-course $88. Mon-Thurs 6-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30pm. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Muni: 2-Clement, 3-Jackson, 4-Sutter, or 27-Bryant to Jones St.


Grand Cafe * FRENCH The restaurant certainly lives up to its name in terms of decor and style: from the soaring ceilings, massive columns, and wallsized murals that depict turn-of-the-20th-century Paris to the fine food, this brasserie is abuzz with energy and activity. Located next to the Hotel Monaco and close to the theaters around Union Square, tourists and locals gravitate to the stunning dining room for California-inspired French dishes prepared in an open kitchen with a theatrical flair. Appetizers may include herb-encrusted soft shell crab, to be followed by braised rabbit or sauteed skate, and, for dessert, a very tasty banana cream pie. Although the food has improved since the arrival of seasoned chef Paul Arenstam, it is not quite as majestic as the room that houses it.

For a taste of grandeur without the grand prices, check out the adjacent, more casual Petit Cafe for pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Even in the main room, children may order off the Petit Cafe menu.

501 Geary St. (at Taylor St.) 415/292-0101. Highchairs, boosters. Reservations recommended. Main courses $12-$17 lunch, $19-$25 dinner; Petit Cafe $7-$16. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Breakfast Mon-Fri 7-10:30am, Sat 8-10:30am, Sun brunch 9am-2:30pm; lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-11pm. Petite Cafe, Sun-Thurs 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-midnight. Muni: Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car to Union Sq.; walk 2 blocks west.


Excerpted from Frommer's San Francisco with Kids by Noelle Salmi Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents

20 Favorite Moments 1

1 The Best Full-Day Tours 5

The Best in One Day 6

The Best in Two Days 10

The Best in Three Days 16

2 The Best Special-Interest Tours 19

San Francisco Waterfront 20

Romantic San Francisco 24

Downtown Galleries 26

San Francisco Literati 28

A Day with a View 32

Hippie Haight 34

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge 38

3 The Best Neighborhood Walks 41

Chinatown 42

Russian Hill & North Beach 46

Pacific Heights & Cow Hollow 50

The Marina 54

Civic Center & Hayes Valley 56

Japantown 60

The Mission & the Castro 62

4 The Best Shopping 67

Shopping Best Bets 68

Shopping A to Z 71

5 The Great Outdoors 83

The Golden Gate Promenade 84

Land's End 86

Golden Gate Park 88

6 The Best Dining 91

Dining Best Bets 92

Restaurants A to Z 99

7 The Best Nightlife 117

Nightlife Best Bets 118

Nightlife A to Z 121

8 The Best Arts & Entertainment 129

Arts & Entertainment Best Bets 130

Arts & Entertainment A to Z 133

9 The Best Lodging 137

Lodging Best Bets 138

Hotels A to Z 142

10 The Best Day Trips & Excursions 151

Sausalito 152

Point Reyes National Seashore 154

Bohemian Berkeley 156

The Best of Napa in One Day 158

The Savvy Traveler 161

Before You Go 162

Getting There 166

Getting Around 167

Fast Facts 168

San Francisco: A Brief History 174

Index 176

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