While I am writing quite a few reviews regarding my Honeymoon I thought I would tell you a little bit about the restaurants in San Francisco and what you can expect from there when you fancy a bite to eat. We were there for 4 days and did eat out quite a lot but some of it was at attractions such as Muir Woods and the Jelly Belly Factory. I will give you an honest opinion though on where we did go as I really enjoyed eating in san Fran as it was fab food.
San Fran is a huge and popular place so as you can imagine there is lots of choice. I am going to do this review in the 3 stages of the eating day.
We ate a lot of our breakfast on the move as there are plenty of places where you can pop in and get a croissant and a cup of coffee such as Starbucks. We did sit down once in Starbucks because it was just by Chinatown and looked busy with a good atmosphere so we gave it a go. It was nice and about the same price for everything as it is here in the UK. There were plenty of seats but this will be nothing new to some people so the next day we went somewhere else.
Next to our Hotel there was a lovely bistro called Cafe de la Presse which served all types of meals. We went for breakfast and I had a chocolate croissant and Dave had eggs Benedict. It did cost us around $18 for the 2 of us with some hot chocolate but it was lovely food and very filling for the day. They also did toast and normal things like that but then did salads for breakfast which we saw on a table next to us and they looked lovely.
There are plenty of cafes like this around San Fran but you have to look for them in the streets as you walk around but you should be able to find one. There are also lots of bakeries around if you fancy like just grabbing something but I would recommend cafe de la Presse if you find it by Chinatown.
Now we ate a lot of dinners out and just got sandwiches and pizza from places but in San Fran the best place for getting some lunch is at Pier 39. They have so much choice everywhere for proper lunches and snacks so you have plenty to choose from. We ate at Boudin bakery which has some seats and serves the famous sourbread which to be honest I was not a fan of. We shared and it cost us $10 for a huge sandwich and a drink. They also do clam chowder everywhere which is what San Fran lovers have.
There is a lot of seafood which is to be expected with San Fran and Chowders at Pier 39 sells lots of it if that is what you fancy. The smell was quite overwhelming from in here but for $10 each you could have a massive seafood lunch which was delicious. If you fancy normal sandwiches then there is a s which sells deli sandwiches and then if you want something really light you can get pretzels from the stands there.
There is also Wipeout and hook and cook which sells hot food and meal type food if you fancy that so as you can Pier 39 is brilliant for your lunch menu so I recommend going here.
I love eating out in the evening and we did ours in a variety of places. The first was an Indian restaurant which is by union square and I think it was called Shalimar. It was so swish and modern looking that I almost felt out of place in my denim skirt. It was delicious food and we had 2 courses with some wine and it was lovely. It cost is $65 and we both had Korma and then I had a crème brulee for dessert whilst Dave had a chocolate cake. It was delicious and I love Indian food. It was recommended to us by the staff in our Hotel and I would say it is def worth going to.
The second place we ate at was a small Italian restaurant we found on one of the streets and I cant remember the name of it but I am still looking for you all. It was delicious and this is the best thing about San Fran that you can stay in the main areas but sometimes you find little gems just down a side street. It was lovely food and cost us about $50 for 2 courses and we both had lasagne followed by a chocolate cake. So nice and the atmosphere in the evening although we were not in a main area was electric with so many people buzzing around.
We then ate at the Rainforest Cafe which was by Pier 39 so in a main area. It was lovely and had such a fab atmosphere inside as they have moving elephants and half hourly thunderstorms so we had a great time in here. We spent about $70 on the 2 course meal but we did have cocktails with souvenir glasses which are great. WE both had chicken burgers which were so nice and the food was spectacular and I just loved the staff.
Other restaurants we saw around San Fran were grills and steakhouses if you fancy that type of thing. There was a Hard Rock cafe and plenty of seafood restaurants too. You should be able to find somewhere to eat as we did and pretty easily all of the time.
In conclusion San Fran is good to eat out in because there is a huge variety of choice so you should be able to find somewhere to suit you and what you like or what you fancy on that day. We loved eating here due to the choice as where we had been previously we seemed to always get burgers and pizza unless you spend a lot of money so here was a nice surprise.
Thanks for reading.
The Rainforest Café is located at Fisherman’s Wharf and on entering from the street you walk straight into their shop. Here they sell all sorts of things, such as clothing, stationary, souvenirs and other general bits and pieces. Most of it with their logo on it. If you are lucky, whilst you are in the shop you may experience a tropical storm which consists of thunder clapping in the background, lightening flashing etc although you are spared the rain. A couple of kids who were in the shop when we were ran out crying! When you go upstairs to the restaurant you are basically entering a rainforest. There are trees and shrubbery everywhere, a huge waterfall in the centre and many animals dotted about the place such as elephants, tigers, gorillas etc. Needless to say these are not real but do come to life with the use of robotics and sound effects. It was very amusing watching kids go up to the elephants and suddenly the elephants coming to life shaking their heads, raising their trunks and roaring. Many a child and indeed adult was taken a little aback by this, (perhaps this was just my sick sense of humour). There are also quite a few marine and tropical fish tanks to view. All the tables and chairs were made to look like bamboo etc to give a tropical feel. The menu is extensive ranging from burgers, pasta, Caribbean, fish etc. I had a pasta dish that was both huge and extremely tasty. My husband had a jambalaya which he said was really nice too. The desserts are huge too. I ordered a slice of chocolate cake and the dish that turned up looked as if I have the entire cake to myself - it was absolutely delicious. Neither of us could fault the food and the ambience of the restaurant is certainly different. When you go to places like the Hard Rock, you are deafened by music etc, but at the Rainforest Café, you hear jungle noises, animals and the sound of huge waterfall – very nice. You also have the afore mentioned tropical
storm every so often. We paid $65 for one three course and one two course meal with drinks which is about £45 which we thought was good value considering the quantity and quality of the food and atmosphere. If you are in San Francisco it is definitely a place to experience, especially if you have kids. Most of the kids in the restaurant could hardly keep their eyes on the food as they were fascinated by all that was going on around them.
Spending 12 happy months in San francisco, and during my time there was able to get around a fair few restaurants and bars – there are still so many that I didn’t make it to, but here are a few of the ones which I would recommend… * Sunset (outer) – residential area MARNEE THAI This is Thai food. It is relatively cheap, good quality. This is very popular, need to go early or be prepared to wait. There is a good Irish bar on the opposite side of the road called DURTY NELLIES, if you're feeling home sick. These are at Irving at 23rd. Get the N-Judah muni from downtown Powell and Market. Stay on it for about 30 to 40 minutes and get off around 23rd and Judah, walk down one road right. * Sunset (inner) 9th and Irving - again get N-Judah muni and get off at 9th. There are loads of restaurants here, v good sushi bar down 9th. * Civic Centre - not the best area of town at night ZUNI CAFE This is modern in design and décor. It is on two levels and very shi shi with a price to match. Very good food, loosely Californian/European. Don’t always need to book. This is at Market at Franklin and Gough. * Mission - Hispanic, don't venture that far south in this area at night TIMO’S This is a very good tapas bar. A little on the pricey side, but worth it. You don't necessarily need to book. There is a good Mexican bar on the corner opposite. Situated on Valencia at 19th and 20th It is a bit of a hassle to get there, probably best to get the J-church from town, and walk the remainder. * SOMA - south of market, and easy to walk to from downtown There are several decent restaraunts here, but these are sometimes hard to find. LuLu - californian, moderately expensive on folsom at 4th CARRIBEAN ZONE - bar does carribean food - not tried the food. has a plane in the bar - down a bit of
a dodgy looking road and have to go into a building that looks like a corrigated iron shack, but stick with it. Natoma off 1st/2nd * North Beach - Italian, a ton of Italian restaurants here HOUSE OF NAN KING – This is the best Chinese, and very cheap. The surroundings are not great, and the service can be rude! Arrive before 7.30 or cue outside. Broadway (west of Columbus) BOCCE CAFE Italian, very good. Moderate price. If you need to wait they have a good bar which serves great cosmopolitans cocktails 478 Green street. There are loads of bars in this area, but try... VERSUVIO, expensive, but it’s a beat poet hang out. On Columbus and Broadway. For a less pretentious, pricey drink, where you can serve yourself at the bar etc, try SPECS down the alley opposite. For a shi shi and trendy hangout, try the hotel on the left up romolo place, go up a few steps and in the door on the left. Well, that’s my rundown of some of the good bars and restaurants in SFO. Some of the restaurants I have/will write more details op's on. Other recommendations which I didn’t make it to were Baker St bistro on Baker at lombard, and Tin-Pan Asian Bistro on market at Noe. Well, am dying for a good cosmopolitan now…why do you never have any limes in the house when you need them!