We’ve found that no amount of feasible vacation days are really ever enough to truly experience a larger city, and because we tend to prefer exploring more rural areas while traveling, we’ve grown accustomed to spending only one night in the city out of which we’re flying. Although we wouldn’t trade our time in Carmel for San Francisco or the English countryside for London, these quick city overnights end up being a tease – there’s so much to see and even more to eat, we end up kicking ourselves for not budgeting just a little more time to make our way around the city. Lack of unlimited vacation days and endless travel budgets aside, I do love these quick jaunts of ours around a city, and our last trip to San Francisco was no exception. We had only enough time to eat lunch, grab a little afternoon snack, walk around the neighborhood, and enjoy an amazing dinner – all before our early morning flight the following day.
Much has been written about the food in San Francisco, and I won’t even pretend we did the city’s famed restaurant scene any justice in our all too short trip, but we loved each of the three places we tried and have continually recommended them to friends time and again. Of course, we’d love to hear your SF musts (food or other) in the comments below for any future trips we are lucky enough to plan!
I’ll admit that I always feel a little silly ordering pizza while traveling, but that anxiety completely vanishes the second I bite into really good slice, like the Neapolitan-style ones served at Pizzeria Delfina. Between the good people watching outside in the Mission District and the deliciousness before us on our table, we barely exchanged a word during lunch, but we were as pleased as we possibly could be.
Around the corner from Pizzeria Delfina is Tartine, one of the city’s most beloved bakeries that we were eager to finally visit after years of hearing about their famed pastries and breads. The line, out the door and around the corner, was more than worth it, and our afternoon desserts certainly lived up to the hype. We enjoyed our coconut cream and lemon tarts picnic-style in nearby Dolores Park for another round of SF people watching while we debated the idea of pushing back our return flight the next morning so that we’d have time to swing by Tartine and grab some croissants for the plane.
It didn’t take us long after we dropped our bags and began making our way around The Buchanan to see that the property certainly lived up to the praise it has received in the design community. Everywhere we looked, there was another element of interest to admire – from the lobby’s light installation made of 3,100 Japanese whiskey bottles, to the deep green paneled wall that displays a perfectly eclectic assortment of art, to the guest rooms that feature a rich, contrasting palette with bold prints and shibori-dyed pillows on the bed. Read more about our stay at The Buchanan here.
We rounded out our delicious day in San Francisco with dinner at Octavia, a relaxed neighborhood restaurant by chef Melissa Perello, only a short stroll from our hotel. This being our only dinner in a city known for its food, we had high hopes and they were most definitely met (and exceeded) at Octavia.
Please do share any SF favorites of your own in the comments below – they’re always so helpful to us and to our readers when planning trips!
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.