If You’re Eating in San Francisco… (Part II)

It’s been more than one year since I compiled a list of my favorite places to eat in San Francisco, and although I still stand by every single place in that post, I thought it was time for me to share my latest recommendations. Below are some new additions that are in our current rotation.

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Cafés/Breakfast/Coffee:

  • Cafe St. Jorge – adorable cafe, out-of-this-world almond butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Healthy options, too :P
  • Stable Cafe – the coffee and food is great (for both breakfast and lunch), but the best part about this place is the gorgeous patio full of Lila B. succulent arrangements.
  • Fayes Video & Espresso Bar – when I don’t find the time to make my own coffee before work, I love stopping by this shop.
  • The Mill – the infamous toast is totally expensive worth it.

Lunch:

  • Yamo – Burmese/Chinese hole-in-the-wall with the best noodles in all of San Francisco. The counter is pretty small, so you can also order your food to-go if you can’t get seats. Don’t know how I’ve lived so long without this place!
  • Curry Up Now – absolutely delicious Indian burritos (make sure to get them “Punjabi style”).
  • La Palma Mexicatessen – this place will change the way you think about tortillas.
  • Mission Picnic – A+ sandwiches.

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If You’re Eating in San Francisco…

Inspired by SF style and beauty blogger Gal Meets Glam‘s recent post, I decided to come up with my own list of favorite places to eat and drink in the City by the Bay!

I’ve lived in San Francisco for nearly 8 years now (3 in Cow Hollow, and 4 1/2 in the Castro), and I’ve had my fair share of incredible meals all over town. While you can certainly go to many restaurants where a great meal will cost at least $50 a person, one of the best things about SF is that some of the most wonderful meals in the city can be had for less than $10.

Not a bad looking city, eh?

Not a bad looking city, eh?

So if your travels bring you to San Francisco, below is the list of my favorite places to check out. Bon appétit!

Cafés/Breakfast/Coffee:

  • Philz Coffee – my go-to iced coffee.
  • Town’s End
  • Tartine Bakery & Cafe
  • Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Foreign Cinema – 3 words: homemade pop tarts.
  • Craftsman and Wolves – mmm… the rebel within!

Lunch:

  • Swan Oyster Depot – an absolute must for seafood-lovers.
  • Ike’s Place
  • Slanted Door (+ Out the Door
) – I’m completely obsessed with their spring rolls and peanut sauce.
  • Marina Submarine
  • Yank Sing – the most wonderful Shanghai dumplings in SF.
  • Red’s Java House – best place for burgers and chili fries before SF Giants games!
  • Twitter – yes, as in Twitter’s headquarters. Don’t miss a chance to have a meal there if you know an employee.

Burritos: (because, yes, SF burritos deserve their very own category)

  • El Farolito
  • Papalote
  • Gordo Taqueria
  • Taqueria Cancun
  • Espiga De Oro

Dinner:

  • State Bird Provisions – hands down, my absolute favorite restaurant in San Francisco.
  • Stones Throw – my new favorite burger in SF.
  • Hillstone
  • L’Ardoise – the best date night restaurant.
  • Shanghai Dumpling King – soooo many dumplings, soooo little $.
  • 
Spruce
  • nopa
  • Zazie

Drinks:

  • Blackbird
  • Trick Dog – really amazing cocktails.
  • Hi Tops – gay sports bar with awesome music and totally amazing food (brunch + dinner).
  • Southern Pacific Brewing Company 
  • Locanda – delicious cocktails (good Italian food, too).
  • Toronado

How Reliable is TripAdvisor for Honeymoon Planning?

Any savvy person knows that travel websites based mostly on user-generated content need to be taken with a grain… okay, maybe a huge pile of salt.  With these types of websites, anyone can pretty much post anything, good or bad, online for the rest of the world to read.  This means that competitors can unabashedly badmouth each other’s businesses, and friends of business owners can post unsubstantiated raving reviews.  In short, it’s no secret that these websites can be unreliable.

That being said, there’s a lot of potential value to websites such as TripAdvisor, assuming that there are also plenty of honest people out there who are willing to publish their unbiased opinions about hotels, restaurants, and things to do.  But weeding out the legitimate reviews from the phony ones can sometimes be hard to do, so it the unreliability even worth it?

In my own experience with TripAdvisor, here are a couple of rules I’ve established for myself over the years:

  • You need to actually read the reviews, don’t just rely on the number of stars/dots/mustaches*/whatever.
  • Don’t trust the reviews with awful grammatical or spelling errors.
  • If a review seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If a review is uncharacteristically angry, the reviewer is probably crazy.
  • If the reviews for a particular hotel/restaurant/thing to do are all over the place, it’s probably best to skip it.
  • The smaller the city or town, the more accurate the reviews will be.

Let me use San Francisco as an example of a big city with less-than-accurate reviews.  Below are two screenshots from my phone of the nine highest ranked restaurants in town as of 9:26 AM this morning:

TripAdvisor

My circle of friends and I go out to eat a lot, and many of us have been living in SF for nearly a decade, and no one I’ve asked has ever even heard of half of this list.  I’m certainly not saying that since none of us have heard of these places they cannot be great restaurants, but I am saying is that the list is not an accurate depiction of what many San Franciscans would name as the best restaurants in town (especially for tourists).**

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Where Should You Go on a July Honeymoon?

Last week Condé Nast Traveler’s resident travel expert Wendy Perrin wrote a blog post answering the question, “What are the best travel destinations for July?”  While her article wasn’t necessarily honeymoon-specific, she mentioned many popular honeymoon destinations that would be wonderful in July, and a bunch of others that should be avoided.  Check out her recommendations below:

The Good:

Tahiti (As if you need another reason to choose Tahiti for a honeymoon, in July you can also celebrate Polynesian culture at the Heiva Festival.)

– Seychelles (A great tropical-yet-cool-and-dry destination that isn’t too crowded in July.  August, however, is another story.)

– Barbados (Big off-season deals are easy to come by in July, and you can check out the Crop Over Festival.)

– Anywhere up north: Canada, Scandinavia, The U.K. (Warmer weather and extended daylight hours – what’s not to like?)

Tahiti

Tahiti in July? Yes, please!

The Bad:

Belize (Humidity + mosquitos?  No thanks!)

– The west coast of Mexico (It can be so hot that the sand will burn your feet.  Yikes.)

– Eastern Turkey (Also suuuper hot.)

– The French Riviera (Lots and lots of tourists.)

– Croatia (Too many cruise-goers in Dubrovnik, but other seaside towns should be alright.)

– Rome/Venice, Italy (Really overly crowded with tourists; the prices skyrocket.)

– Southern Spain (Yep, just too hot.)

Belize

Belize is totally gorgeous, but probably not the best destination in July

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My two cents?  I think that Greece is also an excellent destination for July even though it will be high season.  The Aegean Sea doesn’t get super warm, so if you go too early in the year you might find the water to be on the chilly side.  But if you go in August, the islands get extremely crowded with Italian tourists.

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