San Francisco – A Treasure Trove of Culinary Delights

San Francisco is known both for its spectacular sights and for its rich and varied food scene. With food from all the different cultures residing in the city to the locally produced seafood and the trendy meals sweeping the earth, there’s a dish to suit all palates.

Whether you’re enjoying a luxurious meal or fries at AT&;T park, rich flavour combinations and local produce are present throughout.

I recently travelled to San Francisco to sample some of the food on offer in this vibrant city. Intrigued? Then Keep reading.

BREAKFAST

While breakfast is always available at your hotel, San Francisco has so many different foods to try that we wanted to eat somewhere new every morning.

Venturing to the rooftop of Hotel Via, we devoured a beautifully fresh selection of fruit, pastries and sandwiches, all while looking out over the city and down towards the bay and piers.

And as no breakfast is complete without a good drink, mimosas and a Bloody Mary gave us a good morning kick. Open daily from 4pm-11pm, Hotel Via (which is owned by two Kerry men), is located just opposite AT&T Park and is an ideal spot for a bite to eat before watching the San Francisco Giants play ball.

For a sweet start to the morning, grab a pastry and coffee from the iconic Ferry Building marketplace located by the waterfront on the Embarcadero.

The Frog Hollow Farm café sells a number of pastries, with the famous piping hot peach tartlet catching my eye. Deliciously sweet, the organic fruit is all produced on the farm and baked fresh on-site at the Ferry Building.

To add a bit of Mediterranean to your morning, try some soft, flavoursome artisan cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, paired with some handcrafted cured meats from Boccalone Salumeria.

I’d recommend the salumi cone – ideal for eating while exploring the marketplace. For a truly unique tasting experience at the Ferry Building Marketplace, get an Edible Excursions tour.

LUNCH

Returning to the Ferry Building, the market has a number of eateries from many different cuisines. As soon as 1pm hits, there are queues outside many of the popular establishments.

For a meaty kick, make sure to visit Prather Ranch Meat Company, where you can purchase a number of organic meats from the company’s ranch.

To enjoy something right away, eat at Prather Ranch’s American Eatery, located just around the corner from the shop.

Lovers of Asian cuisine shouldn’t avoid The Slanted Door, a nationally acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant. First opened in 1995, the restaurant uses organic local ingredients to make the freshest food.

They also have a takeaway version of the restaurant so you can nibble a fresh spring roll while waddling to your next stop in the market.

One of the most popular lunch spots in the marketplace is Gott’s Roadside. Serving juicy cheeseburgers, tacos, onion rings and hot dogs, it’s a sure favourite among guests.

They’ve recently launched The Impossible Burger, which is a vegetarian burger for meat lovers. It has the look and taste of meat, without the environmental impact. It’s also absolutely delicious!

If you still have some room left while wandering the market, be sure to pick up a raspberry macaron from Miette Patisserie or a cool ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. I’d recommend the peanut butter curry – absolutely divine. Chocolate lovers should pop over to Recchiuti Confections and treat themselves to some handmade artisan chocolates.

When in America, attending a baseball game is a rite of passage and a lot of the time, you’ll end up getting your lunch at the stadium mid-innings.

Unlike the standard fast food offerings, which are available of course, San Francisco’s AT&T Park has gone the extra mile with their food, offering options for vegetarians, vegans and just those who want something a little different.

Located behind a wall under the scoreboard, The Garden at AT&T Park contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables, including avocados, kale, lemons, strawberries and much more.

Utilising the produce growing right in the unique park setting, The Garden also serves as an outdoor classroom that encourages children to live healthier lives.

DINNER

In the home of the famously historic San Francisco sourdough bread, Bistro Boudin offers a selection of locally produced fish, meats and vegetables.

Paired with Californian wines, the Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant looks out over pier and on a clear day, you can see Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

To start, I sampled the Black Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna Nicoise with Saffron Aioli, Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes and a Soft-Boiled Farm Fresh Egg. The flavours were beautifully matched to my glass of Virtu (St. Supery, Napa Valley, 2014).

My companion chose the Wild Mushroom, Fontina & Sourdough Rarebit with Sausalito Springs, Watercress and Fried Garlic Dressing.

Switching our wine for the main course, I enjoyed a Chardonnay (DeLoach Russian River, 2014), recommended as the best Californian wine for my dish, the Crispy Skinned Chicken Breast, stuffed with Goat Cheese, Fine Herbs and Spinach.

The dish was served with a Croustade of Wild Mushroom and Morel Cream. Drawn to this dish for its cheesy element, it didn’t disappoint.

Another member of our group chose the Wild Pacific Northwest Grilled Salmon with Clams, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, Moroccan Olives and Capers, served in a White Wine sauce with a Sourdough Crostini. This dish was paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio (Estancia, Sanoma, 2016).

While staying at the Palace Hotel, we were treated to a sample of Executive Chef John Hart’s cooking. Managing all of the hotel’s dining options, he was only too happy to explain the dishes to us.

We were first presented with a Petaluma Poached Egg & American Caviar, served with Fava Bean Espuma and Grilled Brioche.

Next up was the chef’s favourite dish of the night, a plate of Local Dungeness Crab with Fresh Hearts of Palm & Marble Potato Creme Friache, Micro Rainbow Greens and Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette.

Preparing the Italian Black Truffles in front of us, Chef John Hart gave us generous portions of the Italian delicacy. These were added to our Filet of Brandt Beef & Carmelized Foie Gras, which was served with Delta Asparagus, Thumbalina Carrot Roots, Torpedo Onion and Pomme Frites.

Feeling completely full and satisfied and believing there was no space for dessert, I quickly felt ravenous again as soon as the the chocolatey dish appeared.

A sinful Dark Chocolate Torte & Espresso Cream Puff with Cocoa Nibs and Pistachio Crumble went down a treat. The Driscoll Strawberry Carpaccio was particularly delicious.

MORE TO EXPERIENCE

If you assume that airport food is on par with hospital food you would be very wrong, especially when considering San Francisco Airport.

SFO airport is home to a number of high quality eateries, with many being smaller versions of larger restaurants in the city centre.

One example of this is 1300 on Filmore and their famous Fried Chicken paired with a waffle and maple syrup, which may seem like an impossible combination but it really works. It wouldn’t be something you’d want to eat on a regular basis but it’s suitably indulgent.

For a healthier option, Samovar Tea is located in the pre security area of the International Terminal, so you don’t even need to be flying off anywhere to enjoy the food on offer here.

The perfect option for those seeking a healthy snack, the Avocado and Almond Butter sandwiches were particularly delicious. Enjoy a chai latte to complete this nutritious treat.

Once you move through security, you can grab some wholesome food on the go from Napa Farms Market, who also have a great selection of health juices, salads and international cuisine.

For some top class Japanese food, make sure to stop by Tomokazu, who specialise in sushi, sashimi, nigiri, rice bowls, noodles and teriyaki.

The ramen was particularly delicious. Only open a few weeks, there was a queue out the door of Tomokazu, a testament to its popularity.

While I was in San Francisco, the opening night of Eat Drink SF was taking place in the form of the exciting Taco Knockdown event.

Chefs from a number of different restaurants in San Francisco used their own ingredients to make a taco, with both judges and guests voting for a winner.

While sipping various tequila concoctions, guests attempted to sample every single taco, from peking duck to grilled cheese and even a fruity ice cream taco.

For a drink with a difference, make sure to sample a cocktail at the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar, located inside the historic Fairmont Hotel.

With its tropical decor and music, the Tonga Room has been a popular food & drink destination since opening in 1945.

Failing to realise how large my cocktail would be, I ordered a Tonga Konga inside a freshly cored pineapple.

A fruity beverage containing Jamaican Rum, Coconut Rum, Coffee Liqueur, Cream of Coconut and Milk.

Although it was nearly too large to finish, a cocktail housed inside a pineapple is the perfect summer treat.

SIGHTSEEING IN SAN FRANCISCO

 Golden Gate Bridge – Try a bike tour from the San Francisco Bay to Sausalito. A bit tough on the hills, you get a great sense of achievement making it across in one piece. You can get the ferry back or cycle if you feel up for it. Available guided or unguided.

– Take a trip back in time with a visit to Alcatraz, the notorious island-based former prison.

 Walk along the Embarcadero and meet the resident sea lions on Pier 39. Consider getting a pedicab tour along the area if the weather holds up.

WHERE TO STAY

The historic Palace Hotel has been a San Francisco icon since 1875. Fantastically luxurious, the hotel is a great starting point for exploring the city and the perfect place to rest your head after an action packed day out.

FEATURE BY SARAH GLASCOTT

Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.

Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.

Sarah Glascott Sarah Glascott

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