This past weekend, Taylor and I spent a couple of days in San Francisco and Napa Valley. It was an amazing trip, and I’m so excited to write about it for those of you who have trips planned there/are planning to go soon!
Where we ate
The most important part right? San Francisco has SO many great food options. You could eat somewhere new every meal of the day for years and never try the same restaurant twice, I swear! I am so glad I already had in mind some places I wanted to knock out; I would have been so overwhelmed otherwise!
- Ferry Building Farmers Market
- The Ferry Building is a MUST if you’re in town on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s a huge, indoor/outdoor farmers market with all local, fresh produce. There are also permanent restaurants inside the building that offer some amazing items as well. We quite literally ate our way through the farmers market and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
- Golden Gate Meat Company
- This is a restaurant inside the Ferry Building! Taylor and I shared a breakfast sandwich from here and it was excellent!
- The Mill
- This place is frequented by the locals, so you know it’s good! They serve specialty toast and it is to die for. Taylor and I shared a couple of different options including the almond butter and pumpkin butter toast, but the cinnamon sugar toast was one of our favorite things we ate on our trip! They also serve lattes, cold brew, etc. A must try for a quick breakfast!
- This is a chain located at Pier 39. Taylor got the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and said it was okay, but nothing to rave about. Just a good, cheap option for lunch if you’re at the pier around lunch time!
- Super Duper Burgers:
- This is located near Union Square, so if you’re out shopping and need something fairly quick, I highly recommend it! It’s similar to Smash Burger or Shake Shack; a fast casual place to grab a burger, veggie burger, salad or chicken sandwich. The garlic fries were phenomenal!
- Oz Pizza
- We ate at Oz after we got in super, super late on Thursday night. If you’re in need of some late night pizza, this is a great spot! Two pieces of pizza and a drink were less than $10 so if you need something super quick and cheap, this is your spot.
- Original Joes North Beach
- Original Joes was highly recommended to us, and we loved it! It was definitely more on the expensive side but it was well worth the money. It’s traditional Italian; we shared the spinach artichoke dip and pasta carbonarra and were super impressed. Be sure to share the entrees, they’re huge!
- El Farolito
- This is place is the number one reason I love asking locals for recommendations when it comes to food. It’s the definition of hole in the wall and we never would’ve stopped to look twice had we not heard about how great it was! It’s a family owned Mexican restaurant known for their gigantic portions of phenomenal Mexican food. Taylor got a burrito and I got a quesadilla and they are two of the best things we ate on our trip. It’s super cheap, and great for late night/post bar eats if you’re in need of something along those lines!
- Tipsy Pig
- This was our favorite restaurant of the entire trip. It’s a “Californian Gastropub”; even the locals rave about it, so you know its a hot spot. We split the mini burgers and Taylor and I agreed, they were the best burgers we’ve ever had. I can’t recommend this place enough. Their drinks were great too! We recommend both the Moscow Mule and the Mamacita Margarita!
- Tiffanys Mini Donuts
- If you’re at Pier 39, don’t leave without trying these mini donuts! They’re warm, cinnamon sugary pockets of heaven. They come in a pack of 6, or a mini bucket if you’re really hungry! They’re cute, different, and you won’t find them anywhere else!
- Palm House
- This place is one of my favorite places we went! They’re known for their tiki/island style drinks, and you’ll feel like you’re at the cutest beach bar from the minute you walk in! I had the chipotle mango margarita, and Taylor had the lychee dark and stormy; we highly recommend both! Check out their happy hour if you can make it in time!
- We spent the afternoon drinking wine here on Saturday! The drinks aren’t super cheap but the ambiance is really cool and the service was fantastic. We had garlic monkey bread as we waited for our drinks and if you ask Taylor, he’d say it’s the best thing we ate the entire trip! Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.
- Anchor Steam Brewery
- If you have a free afternoon, this place is a must. It’s an awesome brewery with a ton of beer options we loved. It’s also just a really fun place to sit and hang out. They had football games on and a big open outside seating area. We did a couple of flights, but the “Blood Orange Blonde” ended up being our favorite!
What We Did
We didn’t have a ton of time in San Francisco, but a couple of things we did that/we would recommend!
- Ferry Building Farmers Market
- This is a local farmers market and it’s HUGE! Like I said previously, if you’re in town on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a must! Be prepared to eat your way through the entire market!
- Walk around Union Square
- This is where the shopping is! High dollar shopping that is. I would describe it as New York City on a smaller scale. There are a couple of stores like Zara, Forever 21, and Nordstrom Rack, but the majority of the stores we didn’t even venture into. Louis Vuitton, YSL, Harry Winston, are just a few of the big names in this area.
- Walk/bike the Golden Gate Bridge
- If you’re up for the bike ride, we heard this is such a fun thing to do! I’m still not quite up for biking the 10ish mile trek, but we did walk along the beach to the Golden Gate and it was just as fun. There were tons of dogs along the beach (the park is actually called Chrissy Field) and it’s such a beautiful and scenic view, but definitely pack your tennis shoes!
- Picnic in Delores Park
- Delores park was only a 30 second walk from where we stayed and I can attest to the fact that it looks exactly like all the pictures! It’s a fun place to take a blanket, relax, enjoy a picnic, and partake in some pretty great people watching. This park doesn’t allow any alcohol, so make sure to leave the wine at home when packing your picnic!
- Walk around Ghiradelli Square
- Ghiradelli Square is a 5 minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a cute, newer area and there are a couple of really cute shops and places to eat. Ghiradelli is obviously there, but there’s a fun brewery, area to sit outside, and cheese/wine shop that are all worth checking out!
- Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39
- These are technically two separate places, but they’re super close together and extremely similar. There are tons of touristy shops, restaurants, and things to see. My favorite part of this area was watching the sea lions on the docks. They were the most entertaining thing we saw our whole trip. If you’re into clam chowder, there are about 10 different places in this area for you to get some here! Just a forewarning, this place is NUTS. It was the most highly concentrated with tourists of any place we went, so just be prepared!
Other Highly Recommended Options:
- Take the ferry to Sausilito
- Hike Muir Woods
- Alcatraz Tour
- Ride the cable car
We only spent one day in Napa and I’m already actively planning trip #2 because I could’ve stayed at least two more days. I loved it SO much and I cannot wait to go back. If I were picking between San Francisco and Napa, I’d choose Napa in a heartbeat. It totally depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation, but Napa is so much more up my alley!
Note: I don’t have any food recommendations (besides V. Sattui; it’s the only one that served food of any kind) because we only spent about 8 hours there. We went on a guided winery tour so we didn’t have any say in regard to where we went!
- Roberto Mondavi Winery
- This winery was the most beautiful in my opinion. The landscape is seriously incredible and hard to even portray in pictures. We sat outside and could not get over how amazing the landscape was. You truly feel like you’re in a postcard. Highly recommend this one just to sit outside and soak in the view!
- Castello De Amoroso Winery
- This winery is most known for it’s architecture which is a castle! It’s really cool and unlike any other wineries we saw. It’s definitely pretty commercial and that’s the one thing I didn’t love about this one. The wine was really good, but the service was just okay, and there isn’t much to see once you’ve done your tasting.
- V Sattui
- This was by far our favorite winery we visited. The wine is not the most extravagant, however it ended up being our favorite. Not only that, but the service is incredible and I truly felt like the tasting was personalized just for us. The sommeliers are so friendly and truly make every tasting special. We tried multiple wines that were not a part of our tasting, but ones they knew we would love based on our feedback in regard to other wines we tasted. It’s a smaller winery, much less commercialized and this is so evident in the experience we had. I highly, highly recommend! This winery also has a market where you can buy sandwiches, cheese, oils, etc., and have a picnic in the beautiful outside area.
That’s a wrap on the recap! I hope you enjoyed reading about San Fran/Napa, and if you are heading out that way soon, please let me know if you try anything on this list! Also, don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any other specific questions! As always, thanks for reading!