San Francisco's fusion of new-California and global taste sensations has become more than a consuming obsession. With a slew of Michelin-star restaurants and great neighbourhood eateries, it is a gourmet itinerary that caters to all tastes and budgets. But remember, no guilt.
Just For You Cafe
It's hard to go wrong with the city's cafes. For brunch go to Just For You Cafe in Dogpatch for a generous serving of buttermilk pancakes or eggs Benedicts. The uncomplicated setting is a perfect way to start your day full of sightseeing. Other great coffee houses include Sightglass Coffee and Caffe Trieste, where Jack Kerouac and Francis Ford Coppola use to hangout.
Another regular haunt for locals in the Mission District is Plow, a well-priced and talked-about eatery that is famous for its lemon and ricotta pancakes as its biscuits. Even the toppings are organic and fresh.
The perfect chow-down is found at Outerlands at Ocean Beach, where the long wait will reward you with delicious Dutch pancakes with roasted apples or a plate of fanciful scrambled eggs with lashings of bacon on the side.
Foreign Cinema brings the right element of drama to the table. Chomp on jalapenos, roasted peppers and poached eggs beneath a squadron of classic film posters or move outdoors to its courtyard where art-house classics are screened against the back wall. Despite its theatrical element the real focus remains on the incredible Mediterranean dishes.
Mobile food trucks (or gastro-fleets to locals) are now considered de rigueur. Found at SoMa Streat Food Park, Off The Grid and The Whole Beast, you can order anything from scrumptious Mediterranean wraps to mouth-watering squid and Moroccan tacos. Ignore the queue fatigue; all lead lines to something delicious.
The city is packed with star power; from one Michelin stars to three. Try season favourites, Benu and Saison (there are six, three-star restaurants alone in this category). You can also follow the talk of the town at Manresa in Los Gatos where the focus is on a witty presentation of seasoned vegetables. So trendy, you will need concierge to get you a reservation on short notice.
With 50 restaurants receiving coveted Michelin-stars, it's easy to break out into hives if you are on a budget. Fear not, as San Francisco has other acclaimed eateries and restaurants; many found in the heart of North Beach and around Union Square where the wine is mellow and the prices are just right. Try Boulevard in SoMa and Greens in the Marina District. Gary Danko's California cuisine is just as tempting at Fisherman's Wharf along with perennial favourite, Zuni Cafe on Market Street, where its Caesar salad, light pastas and mouth-watering pizzettas allow you to eat and run without guilt.
Try the multiple French courses at La Folie in Russian Hill. Or take a cab to Sausalito for the best serving of sushi at Sushi Ran. For signature dishes closer to the city, you should not go past Tataki in Pacific Heights. Delfina offers mouth-watering pizzas in the Mission District. And a fusion of light, Italian-Californian cuisine are the bill-of-fare at SPQR in Pacific Heights, truly one of the city's major hotspots.
Toast (yes, really) has willfully inched its way into San Francisco's cafe scene, much to the chagrin of the city's food aficionados. For as little as $4.00 you can order a cinnamon toast or French toast with lashings of calories, or move up a notch to grilled cheese sandwiches, a perfect staple lunch for any visiting Aussie. Go to The Mill, Toast Eatery, Trouble Coffee Co and Stuffed for the best artisanal toast.