San Francisco is a city of villages, many parts of which rarely get explored by tourists spending a few days in the city. But I think that is a mistake. The purpose of this series is to share some of the hidden gems by tapping into friends that live and work in these unique neighborhoods. So far we have explored the Sunset District via my friend Derek and Miraloma Park with Matthew and the Richmond with Jackie.
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After each interview, I have included some additional spots to check out should you choose to visit.
Today we are checking in on the Financial District, also lovingly (and sometimes not so lovingly) called FiDi. I am not sure if anyone lives in the Financial District, maybe some secret penthouses above all the office buildings, but I work in this area of the city every day, so I figured I could do a roundup. The area is chock-full of places to eat and I have also elicited help from Davina Baum of AFAR Magazine since their offices are in this corner of the city as well. She is a kindred spirit when it comes to food and I knew she would have some good addresses!
 Favorite thing about the Financial District.
Its location: easy to get to, close to the Ferry Building, North Beach, and Chinatown. Also, its hustle and bustle. I love hearing the cable cars ringing their bells down on California Street (right outside our office).
 Least favorite thing about the Financial District.
Totally dead on weekends. I go to Pilates ProWorks, and on the weekends there’s barely a café open. I have to resort to Starbucks.
 What differentiates this neighborhood from all the other parts of the city?
In a city full of cozy, personality-rich neighborhoods, FiDi is a little more generic. But recently, with cafes and juice bars opening up, it’s getting a little more interesting—at least on weekdays.
 Favorite coffee spot in the Financial District.
Coffee Cultures (225 Bush Street). [I agree!]
 Favorite spot for drinks.
Café Terminus (16 California St) is a new favorite.
 Favorite local hangout.
FiDi is lacking in great hangouts, but I’d say a martini at Tadich Grill (240 California St) is always a good time.
 Favorite breakfast spot.
Plant Café (101 California St). [Great vegetarian spot with Blue Bottle coffee.]
 Favorite lunch spot.
I have a few: Shorty Goldstein’s (126 Sutter S), Soup Junkie (388 Market St), Café Terminus, Plant Café, Cotogna (if I’m up for a walk) (490 Pacific Ave), Barbacco (220 California St) for business lunches.
 Favorite dinner spot.
Barbacco [Italian small plates]
 One thing you always do/spot you always take friends from out of town to do/see.
The Diego Rivera mural in the City Club (155 Sansome). It’s on the 10th floor. And of course the Ferry Building—not quite FiDi but certainly a must-see.
Here are more shopping, coffee, things to do and restaurants in San Francisco’s Financial District:
EAT – Breakfast/Brunch:
> The Golden West (8 Trinity Pl) a take-out window with cinnamon-crusted coffee cake and mega muffins.
> John’s Deli (40 Battery St) Korean deli, I wrote about their spicy chicken Kim Bap for breakfast.
> Fleur de Sel (308 Kearny St) for croissants and pastries.
> Happy Donuts (100 Bush St) one of the best glazed-donuts in the city.
> Front Door Cafe (1 Front St -btwn Market St & Fremont St) famous for their breakfast burritos.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post there are TONS of restaurants in the Financial District encompassing a wide price range. There are a few spots that close early (somewhere between 4-7) so I am categorizing them as “Lunch only” and then I am lumping everything else in Lunch/Dinner with less expensive spots first.
EAT – Lunch (Only):
> John’s Deli (40 Battery St) Korean deli famous for its kimchee burrito.
> Muracci’s Curry (307 Kearny St) to die for Japanese curry, get there early, take out spot (just 4 seats!).
> Oasis Grill (91 Drumm St) damn good falafel.
> U-Sushi (525 Market St) design your own sushi rolls.
> Sushirrito (475 Sansome St) match made in heaven…sushi and a burrito.
> Perilla (510 Mission St) known for its garlic noodles.
> There are several food trucks that visit FiDi during the week including: Hapa SF, Senor Sisig, Curry Up Now and 2 permanent Chai Carts at 545 and 298 Market. There is also a permanent spot with rotating trucks at The Truck Stop on Mission (between 1st & Fremont)
EAT – Lunch/Dinner:
> City Counter (115 Sansome St) retro dinette with amazing deviled eggs.
> Bun Mee (650 Market St) banh mi and amazing chocolate coconut cookies.
> Tender Greens (30 Fremont St) fresh made-to-order salads (long line!).
> Cafe Prague (424 Merchant St) excellent steak sandwiches.
> The Melt (One Embarcadero Center) great grilled cheese, get an egg on anything!
> Spice Kit (405 Howard St #310) awesome salads like chicken with jicama and mango.
> Super Duper (98 Mission St) one of the best burgers in the city, great burgers, fries (especially garlic) and shakes.>
> Belden Lane (btwn Pine Street and Bush Street) there are 8 restaurants in this alley all great!
> Alfred’s Steakhouse (659 Merchant Street) their slogan says it all: Real Martinis, Real Steaks, Real San Francisco
> Wayfarer Tavern (558 Sacramento St) Tyler Florence’s gastropub, deviled eggs, fried chicken and popovers…
> 5A5 Steak Lounge (244 Jackson Street) yes steaks, but truffle fries and mac n cheese too.
> Kokkari Estiatorio (200 Jackson St) gorgeous spot with delicious lamb dishes (and more!)
> BIX (56 Gold Street) great jazz supper club, martinis rock
> Yank Sing (101 Spear) one of my favorite dimsum spots
> Salt House (545 Mission Street) incredible beet salad…and poutine!
> Palo D’Asti (640 Sacramento St) regional Italian cuisine
> Hakkasan (1 Kearny) small plate (big price) Chinese including dimsum
> Gitane, (6 Claude Lane) Mediterranean small plates and great bar
> Town Hall (342 Howard St) unapologetic comfort food, great happy hour.
DRINK – Coffee Shops:
> Coffee Cultures (225 Bush St.) Counter Culture coffee, great croissants.
> Coffee Bar (101 Montgomery St btwn Bush St & Sutter St) delicious coffee, frothy latte, long lines (worth it).
> Espressamente Illy (123 Battery St) for those who like Illy coffee.
> The Plant Café (101 California St) Blue Bottle coffee
DRINK – Juice Shops:
> The Juice Shop (353 Pine St at Montgomery St) my favorite, raw cold-pressed juices, great people.
> Native Juice Co. (250 Montgomery St) made to order juice and smoothie bar.
> Thrive Juicery (One Embarcadero Center) focus is on cleansing.
DRINK – Bars:
> The Royal Exchange (301 Sacramento St) sports bar and pub food!
> Aquitaine Wine Bistro (175 Sutter St) bright eclectic wine bar.
> Comstock Saloon (155 Columbus Avenue) turn of the century saloon.
> Bubble Lounge (714 Montgomery St) sophisticated champagne lounge.
> Taverna Aventine (582 Washington St) Italian tavern with a great happy hour.
> La Luna Cupcakes (Crocker Galleria at 50 Post Street. Level 1) tres leches and tiramisu cupcakes, enough said.
> Fog City News (455 Market St.) amazing chocolate selection, great cards.
> New Tree Cafe & Chocolate Shop (16 Jessie St)
THINGS TO DO:
> Visit the Heineman Building (130 Bush St) originally built in 1910 as a belt, tie, and suspender factor still has gorgeous Gothic detail. (More info on it here.)
> Financial District Walking Tour a great way to learn the history of some of the amazing buildings in this area.
> TransAmerica Pyramid (600 Montgomery St) the tallest building in San Francisco, you can’t go to the top, but there is a live feed in the Visitor’s Center.
> Farmer’s Market Crocker Galleria (Montgomery & Post)
> Check out some of the fantastic rooftop terraces.
> Embarcadero Center (4 Embarcadero Center) tons of shops [and more restaurants].
> Artist & Craftman Supply (555 Pacific Ave) great stationary store
> Daiso (570 Market St) Japanese odds and ends.
> San Francisco Hilton (750 Kearny Street)
> Hotel Des Arts (447 Bush Street) in the French district of the city located within FiDi.
> Galleria Park Hotel (191 Sutter Street)
> Le Meridien (333 Battery Street) chic lounge area, classic rooms.
> Omni (500 California Street)
> Loews Regency San Francisco (222 Sansome Street)
> Palace Hotel (Two New Montgomery Street) grand dame of a hotel, offers tea service as well.
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
Here are other posts and guides from a few other local sources.
> Reporting from FiDi blog dedicated to the Financial District
> Thrillist SF, Best restaurants and places in the Financial District
How about you? Do you have any FiDi additions? Have you been to this area of San Francisco? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?
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