San Francisco

  • Gina and I spent a day and a half in San Francisco before & after our Del Monte Harvest event and we were able to hit up a lot of popular spots. The key is to keep organized and to map out exactly where you want to go and do it in order. You don’t want to be jumping all over the map! Also, find out where you want to eat and if it’s in any close proximity to the spots you want to hit up. For the first half day I had in San Francisco, we strictly stuck to downtown San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Financial District/Pier Building. The second full day, we went to Muir Woods, Sausalito, Crissy Field, and then back downtown again. I felt we did a really good job given the amount of time we had. I highly suggest renting a car. It’s the way to get to a lot of places fast. Parking is a big pain but we were able to find lots and garages fairly easily. If you’re not much of a city driver or just don’t want to drive around, you can always take the cable cars everywhere or taxis or even the ferry’s!

    I’m breaking this post up into three sections. What to do, where to eat, and where to stay. This is obviously a very image heavy post so you might want to load it and come back to it (if it’s loading slow). I’ve tried to optimize the images for web to give faster loading time :)

    What to do

    We parked near Ghirardelli Square so we could go get some really good chowder at Blue Mermaid (look below at the “what to eat” section) and then get some chocolate! The area near Ghirardelli Square also has this huge lawn that a lot of people were taking advantage of to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge and to also take pictures with the cable cars. This is where the beginning of the cable cars start. The line is incredibly long so get there early if you wanna ride it!

    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    The San Francisco Ferry Building. I didn’t get a chance to go in it, but the last time I was in San Francisco, I went in and there’s SO much in there. You have to go in. There’s all these shops/restaurants/boutiques. They call it the Ferry Building Marketplace, or at least that’s what I heard it being referred to the most. You must get a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee Co.  and get reservations to eat at The Slanted Door.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I was most excited about this this time around since the past two times I’ve been to San Francisco, we didn’t rent a car so we couldn’t really get anywhere. Muir Woods!! Where the tallest redwoods are! You basically are looking up the entire time towards the sky because of how tall these trees are and how magnificent the view is! You’ll want to get there early as parking fills up fast. We got there around 8am on Friday and it wasn’t too bad but when we were leaving, around 1030, it started to fill up fast! There were no parking spots left and people were basically hovering over you to take yours. The line of cars coming in was also building. I can’t imagine what it’s like on the weekends! It’s a $7 admission fee that you pay before you enter the park (not before you park, but as you’re walking into the park).What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Gina and I!!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Sausalito. Gorgeous, isn’t it? This is Cass Marina and it’s a the far end of where you would enter Sausalito, but since we were driving down from Muir Woods, we came through Sausalito at the tail end of where everything is (shops, restaurants, etc). It was a picture perfect day. Simply stunning.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This is at the beginning of the little Sausalito strip (so on the other end of where we started). On a clear day, you can see the Bay Bridge, Golden Gate, and the skyline of downtown San Francisco!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    After Sausalito, we drove right on the Golden Gate Bridge!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We were supposed to stop at Battery Spencer, which is this WWII military fort that is RIGHT up next to the Golden Gate and where you get the postcard pics of it, butttt Google Maps was totally lost and it put us right on the Golden Gate and then it goes “you have arrived.” Hahaha, yeah so we had to re-route and go to Crissy Field instead. Much easier to get to!

    If you can find out how to get to it, the three spots I researched that have great Golden Gate views are (in order of what I think are the best views, but honestly, I’m pretty sure any view is spectacular!):

    Battery Spencer

    Crissy Field

    Fort PointWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I’ve never seen the Golden Gate without fog on top. Maybe my third time there will be the charm..What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Where to eat

    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    When we first got to downtown San Francisco, we went to Blue Mermaid. It’s adjacent to the Argonaut Hotel. It’s got the award-winning crab and corn chowder and the sourdough bread bowl is a must when you get the chowder!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Then, up the street was Ghirardelli Square! Chocolate lovers, you HAVE to go here. It’s somewhat of a tourist trap but I don’t care – the sundaes are a must and the square has some cute stores too. There’s a cupcake shop and another little boutique, amongst other stores!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Oh yes, the cookie bottom sundae. Don’t worry – this was shared between 4 of us, although, I’m pretty sure I could’ve eaten the whole thing myself ;)What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    If you’re in Fisherman’s Wharf, you have to stop at Boudin Bakery. This Boudin is crazy. It’s like two stories and there’s so much bread and desserts in there. Their sourdough is the original San Francisco sourdough French bread! You have to get a loaf, or if anything, have something off their menu with the sourdough bread. It’s seriously so good.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    For dinner, since we were already in the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier area, we went to La Mar Cebicheria Peruana. Reservations are highly recommended. It’s a Peruvian tapas place and was recommended to us by Jenna! It was SO.GOOD. There was 7 of us and we were all happy and full :) ask your server to help you pick out some appetizers/cold dishes/hot dishes. Our server was amazing and he really was into his Peruvian culture so he loved helping us out! I definitely think that’s key when eating somewhere – you need to have a server that is passionate!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    You have to get one of their cocktails there. Every cocktail they have there has pisco sour in them. Jenna and I got the scarlet. It had pisco sour, raspberry puree, champagne, and I think lime. It was amazing. It’s a dangerous drink though for a light-weight like me ;)
    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Cheers! Such pretty girly drinks!!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    These are their thin fried plantains that are complimentary. Kind of like bread at restaurants, they give you these to eat while you wait for your food.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    These are the causas tasting below, which are whipped potatoes (the yellow base) topped with seafood or vegetarian items. I believe one was octopus, crab, beet, and I forgot what the other one was.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Our server demonstrating to us how to eat it. You basically smash the potato and toppings all together with the back of a spoon.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Omg, this burrata, tomato, and quinoa salad was so freaking good.

    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This was like a paella. The flavors were INCREDIBLE.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We also got an empanada sampler.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We also got anticuchos (Peruvian skewers) samplers.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    The ONE dish I didn’t photograph (but is in the black cast iron bowl in the back of the last two photos) was this AMAZING quinoa stir fry. You HAVE to get it. It’s the most amazing dish I’ve ever ever tasted. It tastes kinda like fried rice but better.

    Oh, and we also got their ceviche sampler (which I didn’t take pics of because of how it was placed on our table). They were so fresh and the best ceviche I’ve ever tasted!

    This was the lunch place that Gina and I went to in Sausalito. Bar Bocce. I love the concept. The outdoor seating has a gorgeous view of the beach and there’s a bocce sand area in the back, as well! The fire pit would be awesome in the evenings!

    Oh, this was also where we saw MTV shooting Real World: San Francisco. There were these big cameras and sound being carried in and then this group of people walking to a table. We didn’t realize what it was until we asked our server and he said it was Real World San Francisco. Unfortunately, the manager told them they couldn’t eat there (because how many seats they’d be taking up from all the equipment) so they left.

    Unreal lunch view.

    And this was where you could play bocce ball while you waited for your food or while you had a few drinks.

    Roasted heirloom tomato soup. It was ok. I think I was just dying for the pizzas we ordered so I didn’t focus too much on this soup.

    Speck, burrata, and arugula pizza. This was to die for. It was so perfect.

    Then we also got a caramelized onion, fontina, and mushroom pizza. This was pretty good, too, but I was way more into the speck pizza than this one.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    For dinner in downtown San Francisco, near our hotel in Nob Hill, was Wayfare Tavern. It’s a Tyler Florence restaurant and it did not disappoint!
    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    They give you these amazing, buttery popovers as a complimentary starter and the butter they serve with it is so good. It’s got black salt on it and you just want to eat all it, hahaWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We got two appetizers and shared the entree. This was our first appetizer: kobe tartare. It was really fresh and I loved the egg yolk on top.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I’m so glad we decided to get this. It’s a poutine, but unlike the traditional poutine, this was a spin off of shepard’s pie. It was braised oxtail and gravy with melted cheese on top of french fries (the potato part of a shepard’s pie) and then carrots and peas. This was addicting. We couldn’t stop eating it!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We were recommended the buttermilk brined fried chicken. We were a bit skeptical because neither of us really order fried chicken at a fancy restaurant but we’re glad we did. The batter was light and the chicken was SO moist. It’s got a tang from the buttermilk, too.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    The restaurant isn’t terribly big. This was the upstairs seating area.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We debated and debated dessert and ultimately, how could you pass on this peach pie with BROWN BUTTER ICE CREAM?! That alone made me want to order it immediately. The rosemary on top was CANDIED. How awesome?! The peaches inside tasted as if they were marinated in amaretto or some liquor. It was such a great decision to order this, hahaWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Then, before we left, they stuffed us with even more dessert. A sampling of their brown sugar shortbread. Yum!!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Where to stay

    We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in San Francisco.

    They just newly renovated the hotel and the rooms got a beautiful facelift too. The decor is so vibrant and inviting. I love all the little details and I really wanted to take the color palette and some furniture pieces home with me. Obviously I refrained but really, the well-decorated rooms made the stay that much better! It was bright, airy, and clean.

    The staff is super courteous and willing to help at all cost. The concierge even stood in the middle of a busy intersection just to hail us a cab! It was beyond appreciative!

    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I love that Kimptons are pet-friendly and they even welcome your dog right at the front door!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    The hotel lobby is GRAND. It is so beautiful and just welcomes you in a grand way.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comCan you believe this staircase? Stunning.
    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This is right in the middle of the lobby when you enter. It’s really pretty and just makes you smile.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I believe this was a sitting area where you can just hang out and wait for your friends/family. This was closed off the night we were there because of a wedding reception!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This is the Grand Cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner under Executive Chef Alicia Jenish. She brings a southern French flair to the food. While we didn’t get a chance to dine there, walking into this cafe felt like being transported into a different world. It was literally grand as the name is so well fitting for the restaurant.What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    We finally retreated back to our suite and was welcomed by this lovely sight. Gorgeous rose colored walls and a comfortable couch with beautiful pillows. This was just the living room. What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I seriously wanted this chair. The pattern – I can’t get over it! It’s beautiful!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    I also wanted to take the pillows and mirror home with me. Although, we know how impossible that would’ve been. I’m dying to know where they get their decor from!!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    By the end of our day, this bed was just SHOUTING my name!! It was super comfortable and heavenly. I got a really good nights sleep in it!
    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This bathroom was HUGE!! I mean, HUGE!! It was larger than our master suite and home and the bathtub – oh man, the large soaking bathtub was also calling my name but I didn’t have time to get in it. A quick shower it was!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.comWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    So this night stand is super cute and I love the pattern on it…but wait…
    What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    How neat is that?! A little outlet is carved out in the shape of one of the clovers so you can plug your cell phone in next to your bed! One of my biggest gripes about hotels is not enough outlets near the bed, in fact, most of them that I’ve stayed in don’t have them anymore so you have to leave your phone across the room, lolWhat to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    This nice little business area in the living room was nice and spacious. You could get some business work done!What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    The staff at Kimpton was super sweet to gift us with this complimentary wine and pudding. Let me tell you – I nearly spoiled my dinner by digging into the chocolate pudding early. It was addictive and the smoothest and most luxurious tasting chocolate pudding I’ve ever tasted. It was REALLY good chocolate. I’m wondering if it was Ghirardelli ;)What to do, where to eat, and where to stay in San Francisco | tablefortwoblog.com

    Are you hungry yet? Are you itching to get off your couch and plan your own San Francisco trip?? You know you want to!!

    I hope I was able to give you a brief sampling of what there is to do in San Francisco. There is definitely a TON more, but I had a day and a half so I didn’t get to do nearly as much as I wanted. Here is a list of some that I didn’t get a chance to do:

    • Alcatraz
    • Cable cars
    • Pier 39 (where the seals hang out)
    • Lobard Street (the curvy road)
    • Drive by/see the Full House house

    Some more restaurant/eatery recommendations:

    • Bi-rite Creamery
    • Dynamo Donuts
    • Miette Bakery
    • Scoma’s
    • Zuni Cafe (grab reservations early and fast)
    • The Slanted Door
    • Incanto
    • Yank Sing Dim Sum

    Do you have any recommendations? Share them below!

    Disclaimer: The Kimpton Monaco San Francisco graciously hosted me for a night. All opinions are 100% my own.

    All photos taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. These are affiliate links.

  • 25 Comments
    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
    Meet The Author: Julie Wampler
    Dinner for Two Cookbook
    Order My Cookbook!

    Dinner for Two

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Comments

  • katie says:

    Looks like you guys had a great quick trip to San Fran! I was their on business a few years ago and did so much on my off hours in just a few short days (with no rental car)! I LOVE BOUDIN! They have then in Los Angeles are too and I always visit! Best french toast breakfast around!

  • Monica says:

    This is such a comprehensive list! I wish I had it a few weeks ago – we just came back from vacation in CA. My little one and I loved Ghiradelli Square (of course) and Boudin was huge! Shopping around at the Ferry Bldg was also awesome. It was also foggy at the Golden Gate for us! I think it most nearly always be that way!

  • Jamie @lifelovelemons says:

    Gorgeous! We are planning a trip to SFO and will definitely be referencing this when looking for places to visit!

  • Kathryn says:

    Oh this makes me want to go back to San Francisco so badly. It looks like you guys packed a huge amount into your time there!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough says:

    Oh this makes me so nostalgic for the vacation we took to SF earlier this summer! We hit up so many of the same places, but there are so many you mention here that we didn’t! Looks like we’ll just have to make another trip soon, darn. ;)

  • Erin says:

    Thanks! I’m going to San Fran on Sunday and I’ve never been. This info will definitely help!

  • Jordan says:

    I can’t wait to go in a few days! We will try these places!

  • Leah | So, How's It Taste? says:

    Oh wow, what a trip! Looks like I’m going to have to add San Francisco to my list of places to visit!

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says:

    I visited San Francisco last year, only for a day but I still got to to see some sights and I had amazing Mexican food, everything was so fresh! That Sourdough bread bowl looks so yummy! Love all the Nature shots you posted, especially with you and those beautiful trees!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says:

    I love SF, sounds like you both had a fab trip!

  • David @ From Ballparks to BBQ says:

    Your photos are fantastic! They really bring S.F. to life.

  • Kristen says:

    I was just in San Francisco last week and I ate at the Slanted Door! It was wonderful. I love all of your photos.

    I wrote about my trip (mostly meals) here: http://bostoninheels.wordpress.com/2013/8/23/40-hours-in-san-francisco

    • Julie says:

      Awesome! I must hit up Slanted Door next time.

  • Helen says:

    Incredible pictures!

  • Asmita says:

    Gorgeous clicks! San Fran is definitely on the list of places to visit. So beautiful!

  • Jaclyn says:

    I love San Fran! Such pretty photos!! Now I want a vacation :).

  • Sarah Lou Nails says:

    Looks like an awesome trip! I had a whole Cookie Bottom Sundae to myself in Disney last summer. Soo gooood!

  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker says:

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! Some of my favorites are:

    – Aqua
    – Michael Mina
    – Hog Island Oyster
    – One Market
    – Waterbar

    Love your photos Julie, they are gorgeous!

  • Diane says:

    Muir woods is a beautiful way to spend the day…..I live in the White mountains of New Hampshire which is pretty spectacular….. this was pretty special too…..

    • Julie says:

      It really is a beautiful way to spend the day and to get out and get fresh air!

  • Erika says:

    If you are in SF on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you can also check out the amazing Farmers market at the Ferry Building. The Saturday market is significantly larger than the weekday markets, but they are all a great way to get a taste of San Francisco.

    • Julie says:

      What a great tip! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to return to SF :)

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I loved Tartine and Toast Eatery the last time I was back in SF a few months ago. =) Also, the geek in me was SOOOOO excited when I went to the Muir Woods in SF for the first time cuz they filmed Endor Forest from Star Wars there!

  • whit says:

    We’re only staying in SF for 24 hours on our way to Napa, but I wanted to cram as much as I possibly could in. You’re list of suggestions is perfect! Thank you!

    • Julie says:

      Awesome, glad this helped you out! Enjoy SF!

  • 5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify Mealtime