Before relocating to Los Angeles, I lived in San Francisco for six years. I moved there as a bright-eyed recent grad, not knowing a soul, excited for a challenging new adventure ahead. For me, having grown up on the East Coast, the California lifestyle was a definite adjustment. It was different in so many ways… the food, the people, the politics, the landscape. But I settled in quickly and soon found myself the city’s biggest cheerleader (okay, well, one of them). I started a blog about my neighborhood. I became the editor of a San Francisco lifestyle site. I convinced friends to move there.
I tried everything. I went to any restaurant opening party I caught wind of. I met local tastemakers, business owners, and chefs. With so many awesome new businesses opening weekly, it was hard at times to keep up, but I made it my mission to visit as many old-school and new-school spots as I could. Why? Out of curiosity—and hunger—I suppose.
Despite the fact that I have a firm handle on the city now, creating this guide was not easy. I haven’t begun to scrape the surface of how awesome this NorCal town is with the recommendations below… But at the very least, I’ve given you a range of still-buzzworthy old favorites, beloved dives, and under-the-radar gems. I hope you’ll sample your way through the city—and leave plenty of time for discovery.
A16: Food + Wine by Nate Appelman and Shelley Lindgren ($23)
Fields of Greens by Annie Sommerville ($27)
Tacolicious by Sara Deseran ($16)
Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence ($23)
75 Years of Looking Forward by SFMOMA ($20)
Blue Bottle Coffee Gift Subscription ($22 and up)
Flour + Water: Pasta by Thomas McNaughton ($25)