Bon Appetit hailed the city as “simply one of the best places to eat right now.” Yep, if you’re a die-hard foodie looking for some of the best restaurants in the country with a wide-range of cuisines, styles and dining experiences — you’ll want to head to San Francisco. But where’s the best brunch? Where’s the best place to take a date? Where’s the best bar?
We asked Emily Beaven of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in San Francisco to show us around town. As a trained chef-turned-real-estate-agent and avid lifestyle blogger, Beaven has her pulse on the city’s vibrant culinary scene. In her prior life, Beaven enjoyed a successful career in lifestyle and food & wine marketing communications — which guides the food and wine recommendations she often shares with her clients (who appreciate her epicurean expertise).
“I love that SF’s food scene is so accessible — whatever your budget is, you’ll find something absolutely delicious to eat,” she shares. “For less than $10, you can have an amazing burrito in the Mission at La Taqueria, or an award-winning pastry, kouign amann, and cappuccino from B Patisserie. Wherever you go good food awaits.”
Here’s her current list of favorite hotspots in the city, both new and tried-and-true. Rather than follow our typical format, we’re focusing strictly on food for this column and we’ve broken her picks out by category.
FAVORITE BRUNCH SPOTS
“Brunch is taken very serious in S.F., with lines for days,” she tells us. “Luckily, having a toddler gets my husband and I up early and we’re usually able to beat the lines.”
Here are her current top five picks for brunch or breakfast:
Plow (1299 18th St.) – “A Potrero Hill staple, this small spot is known for their dedication to serving food from local purveyors and of course, their Almond Flour Pancakes. Every time I go, I also want to try something different. Yet I always fall back to the classic Plow: Pancakes, Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon (or sausage). It’s a feast that my son and I love to share.”
Eats (50 Clement St.) – “Found at the end of Clement in the Inner Richmond, Eats is a place we love to go on Sundays after a visit to the Clement Street Farmer’s Market. Eats is a low-key spot — perfect for kids. Their breakfast sandwich is solid, along with their fresh juices and huevos rancheros.”
Zazie (941 Cole St.) – “Located in Cole Valley, this French-inspired spot features everything you’d expect from a great French bistro including an excellent Croque Madame. We always start with their house-made cream cheese coffee cake. And if Eggs Benedict is your jam, they’ve got a robust list, including a Mer de la Saison with butter braised Maine lobster, avocados and green onions.”
Devil’s Teeth Baking Company (3876 Noriega St.) – “When you’re in a grab-and-go mood, head out to the Sunset and order the Special Breakfast: Two eggs scrambled, with pepper jack cheese, applewood smoked bacon, avocado and lemon-garlic aioli on homemade buttermilk biscuit. The biscuit is so flaky and tender and also goes great with their Chicken Curry Salad. This is a must-stop on your way to the beach, Golden Gate Park or the Zoo.”
FAVORITE DATE NIGHT RESTAURANTS
“We don’t get out nearly as often as we’d like, but when we do, we love going to Kabuki Theater to catch a movie,” says Beaven. “And since we live in Nob Hill Area, we’re so close to North Beach, we’ve been trying to go to different Italian spots. We actually have a pretty exciting date night planned coming up, which is a an afternoon at the always luxurious Nob Hill Spa and dinner at our fav — Foreign Cinema.”
She’s selected four ideal places for a romantic night out.
Zuni Café (1658 Market) – “Zuni Café is somewhat of an institution in S.F., and it has been our go to celebration spot for promotions, our engagement and big closings. Their roasted chicken is the best in the city and the perfect dish to share with a glass of champagne. It’s served over a bread salad of greens, currants, pine nuts, and scallions with a bright dressing, and it’s simply divine.”
Cotogna (490 Pacific Ave) – “Cotogna is dark, sexy and a perfect date night spot. The roaring fire from the open kitchen helps set the mood for romantic conversation over delicious hand-crafted cocktails and a great wine list. Chef Michael Tusk does rustic Italian right and the obsession runs deep with their Ravioli di Ricotta – a large raviolo filled with ricotta and runny egg yolk drizzled with brown butter – a dish he developed after a trip to Bologna. Cotogna is the more casual outpost of the Three-Michelin-Star Quince, which is next door. They are currently featuring a Sunday Supper for $55, featuring dishes such as Doppio Ravioli with Taleggio and Truffle, Roast Duck with Citrus Sauce and Chicories.”
Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.) – “We had our wedding reception for 50 in their private room, so this is the ultimate romantic spot for us. It’s actually a great spot for a couples date night out, as the atmosphere can be lively and fun. The service is top notch, and their menu changes daily. They have an extensive oyster and wine list, and they always feature a version of their famous Fried Chicken – a recent preparation being: Sesame fried chicken, Moroccan spied cauliflower, kale salad, hummus, ras el hanout honey, kishmish.”
Zero Zero ( 0 0 ) (826 Folsom) — “This SOMA spot is great before or after a movie. Zero Zero has some of the best pizza and pasta dishes in town – and we absolutely love sitting at their upstairs bar. Try the Anger Management: Bulleit Bourbon, Grapefruit, Cherry Heering, Laphroaig, Agave. They are known for their “Calipolitan”-style pizzas (Neapolitan pizzas with California ingredients) — so be sure to get at least one, along with their rotating pasta dishes. For dessert, keep it simple with a Strauss ice cream affogato.”
FAVORITE DRINK SPOTS
“I’m a wine gal and my husband loves a good whiskey cocktail,” reveals Beaven. “We try to get out at least once a week, just the two of us and then also with friends. We love to sit at the bar and talk with the bartenders — they always have the best recommendations, and you always get great service.”
Here are the five places she likes to hit up for cocktailing time:
The Riddler (528 Laguna St.) — “A new fun female-run champagne bar in Hayes Valley. Dishes include a tater tot waffle, topped with prosciutto or smoked salmon and caviar. If you’re in the mood for bubbles, this is place to be!”
Comstock Saloon (155 Columbus Ave.) — “Handcrafted-cocktails and great food in a historical setting. Top if off with live jazz every night and you’ve got a winning combination. Comstock is our go-to, since it’s close to where we live and a great option for both my larger mommy night out meet ups and his after work drinks, and our date nights.”
Union Larder (1945 Hyde St.) – Union Larder is a great spot to start your night with house made charcuterie, cheese and a glass of wine. The atmosphere is energetic and spirited.”
Top of the Mark (999 California) – Located in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill, Top of the Mark has the most spectacular views! They also boast an extensive martini list. This is a great spot to take friends and family from out of town.”
Bourbon & Branch (501 Jones) – “A modern-day speakeasy, this spot is a throwback to a different era. With house rules (no cell phones), you’re in for more than just a cocktail – it’s an experience. Reservations are required.”
Hungry yet? If you want to do a taste tour of the city or just want a guide to all of S.F.’s best kept real estate secrets, give Emily Beavena buzz at (415) 730-9759 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.