Everybody dreams of little by the water and while San Francisco is on the bay and there is access to it from several areas in the city, the best place to be near it up close is to be in the Marina. You might have to fight the tourists on the weekends for its awesome green space and water access, but it well worth it whether you are walking or biking.
I am very, very lucky to have Melissa of Savvy in San Francisco helping me out today with her favorites from her ‘hood. I first met Melissa virtually when we worked on a holiday project together. Then we met in-real-life last year while working on the Westfield Dine on Time project. We are both francophiles and Melissa is super fun and very stylish!
Let’s meet Melissa.
 Favorite thing about the Marina.
I adore the location of the Marina. Crissy Field is your backyard! Crissy Field Beach is one of my favorite beaches in Northern California with the most gorgeous backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can quickly get to other San Francisco neighborhoods, but you are also a couple of minutes from hopping on the Golden Gate Bridge and being in Marin.
 Least favorite thing about the Marina.
The Friday and Saturday night partiers who have maybe enjoyed themselves a bit too much at the neighboring restaurants and bars.
 What differentiates your neighborhood, the Marina from all the other parts of the city?
The Marina has such a great energy about it. You are just blocks away from Crissy Field beaches, running paths and grassy areas. The houses are beautiful and have a unique design to them. Plus, it is full of tasty restaurants and a great nightlife.
 Favorite coffee spot in the Marina.
Le Marais Bakery – Not only is it a great place to grab a latte, but they have amazing sweet treats to enjoy with your coffee. It is also a really cute space. Le Marais bakery transports me to a Paris café.
 Favorite spot for drinks in the Marina.
Reed & Grenough – It’s the nicest bar in the Marina. It has a hip vibe to it, shuffleboard and pool tables along with some pretty tasty libations.
California Wine Merchant – If you are looking for a little spot to have a nice glass of wine while people watching on Chestnut Street, this is your spot.
 Favorite local hangout in the Marina.
Peets Coffee – They just remodeled their space in the last year and have turned it into such a unique space for people to come to meet for a coffee, work on their laptop or have a meeting. They put a lot of thought into the layout and even includes a living wall and very unique San Francisco art.
 Favorite breakfast spot in the Marina.
Rose’s Café – They are up on the corner of Union & Steiner and have been one of the best brunch spots for a very long time. It can be crowded on the weekends, but if you are able to get a table outside on a sunny San Francisco day, the wait can be worth it. Their breakfast pizza is a must-have!
 Favorite lunch spot in the Marina.
Tacolicious – Fresh Mexican food with a more modern twist and delicious margaritas. Two of my favorite tacos from there are the shot-and-a-beer braised chicken and their braised beef short rib tacos.
Delarosa – Besides having delicious Roman-style pizzas, pasta, and small plates, they also have a fabulous cocktail and wine list. Their Eggplant Caponatina with Burrata is my favorite item on their menu.
 Favorite dinner spot in the Marina.
Bistro Aix – This Mediterranean inspired restaurant has been in the Marina for a long time. My husband and I actually had our rehearsal dinner on the back patio before they turned it into an atrium. The food has always been fresh and delicious. You can’t go wrong with any of their meat dishes and their steak frites has always been one of our favorites.
 One thing you always do/spot you always take friends from out of town to do/see.
A walk down Crissy Field to the base the Golden Gate Bridge is a must when bringing friends from out of town.
Here are other great spots in San Francisco’s Marina:
EAT – Breakfast/Brunch:
> Dynamo Donuts (110 Yacht Rd) the best donuts EVAH!
> Le Marais Bakery (2066 Chestnut St b/t Steiner St & Mallorca Way) traditional viennoiserie made with hyper-local ingredients.
> Causwells (2346 Chestnut St b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) French toast bites in brandy syrup.
> Rose’s Cafe (2298 Union St b/t Steiner St & Fillmore St) breakfast pizza with smoked ham, Fontina, and eggs.
> Sabrosa (3200 Fillmore St b/t Moulton St & Greenwich St) aquiles rojos are the bomb!
> The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut St b/t Pierce St & Avila St) amazing huevos rancheros.
> Thrillist San Francisco also did a killer boozy brunch guide that includes a ton of Marina spots!
EAT – Lunch:
> Balboa Cafe (3199 Fillmore St b/t Pixley St & Greenwich St) great balboa burger on a baguette (oh la la!).
> Benjarong Thai Cuisine (1968 Lombard St b/t Webster St & Buchanan St) some of the best pumpkin curry in the city.
> Blackwood (2150 Chestnut St b/t Steiner St & Pierce St) Thai-American fusion.
> Blue Barn Gourmet (2105 Chestnut St b/t Steiner St & Pierce St) amazing grilled cheeses.
> Chubby Noodle (2205 Lombard St b/t Steiner St) dimsum, seafood, and fried chicken ramen.
> Delarosa (2175 Chestnut St b/t Steiner St & Pierce St) get the Bartender’s Special pizza.
> Eastside West Restaurant & Bar (3154 Fillmore St b/t Pixley St & Greenwich St)
> Lucca Delicatessen (2120 Chestnut St b/t Pierce St & Steiner St) Italian deli with all the expected meats and over 50 cheeses!
> Palm House (2030 Union St at Buchanan Street) Delectable Caribbean food.
> Patxi’s Pizza (3318 Fillmore St b/t Chestnut St & Lombard St) an SF favorite.
> Pluto’s (3258 Scott St b/t Lombard St) massive salads any way you like.
> Super Duper Burgers (2200 Chestnut St b/t Pierce St & Avila St) Niman beef burgers and outrageous garlic fries.
> Umami Burger (2184 Union St b/t Webster St & Fillmore St) umami….it’s in the name!
> The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut St b/t Pierce St & Avila St) get the Tipsy burger with smoked cheddar spread.
> Viking’s Giant Submarines (1418 Lombard St b/t Van Ness Ave) classic sub sandwiches.
> Zushi Puzzle (1910 Lombard St b/t Buchanan St) creative sushi rolls.
EAT – Dinner:
> A16 (2355 Chestnut St b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) wood-fired pizza.
> Bistro Aix (3340 Steiner St b/t Chestnut St & Lombard St) seasonal California-French bistro.
> Boboquivari’s (1450 Lombard St b/t Van Ness Ave) crab dishes and dry-aged steaks.
> Capannina (1809 Union St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) squid ink risotto topped with slickly caramelized scallops.
> Greens Restaurant (Fort Mason) sophisticated, meatless menu.
> Isa Restaurant (3324 Steiner St b/t Chestnut St & Lombard St) French small plates, don’t miss out on their foie gras!
> Mamacita (2317 Chestnut St b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) try the carnitas tacos or pork meatball enchiladas.
> Stock In Trade (2036 Lombard St b/t Webster St & Fillmore St) sausage mac & cheese.
EAT – Dessert:
> Causwells (2346 Chestnut St b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) All-Star Donut Bread Pudding.
> Ristobar (2300 Chestnut Street b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) decadent Italian desserts.
> Over the Moon (2144 Chestnut St) creamy ice cream gooey cookies.DRINK – Bars:
DRINK – Bars:
> Reed & Greenough (3251 Scott St b/t Lombard St) oyster happy hour.
> Lightning Tavern (1875 Union St b/t Octavia St & Laguna St) chicken wings and drinks!
> The Interval Bar at Long Now (2 Marina Blvd. Fort Mason Center)
DRINK – Coffee:
> Cafe Franco (Fort Mason) get your coffee with an amazing view.
> Chestnut Street Coffee Roastery (2331 Chestnut St b/t Divisadero St & Scott St) neighborhood coffee spot with awesome scones.
> The Interval at Long Now (2 Marina, Fort Mason) bar, cafe, museum, very cool spot.
> There are tons of small shops on both Chestnut Street and Union Street (which straddles Marina and Cow Hollow).
> The Marina is a mainly residential area, so lodging is a bit tough to find. Your best bet for living like a local here is renting a private home or apartment via services like Airbnb. They have a great guide for the Marina that includes some of their locations to rent. [New to Airbnb? Use this link to sign up and get $25 for your first stay. (affiliate)]
THINGS TO DO:
> Palace of Fine Arts (3301 Lyon Street at Bay St)
> Chrissy Field Park
> Off the Grid Friday Nights at Fort Mason
> Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market on Sunday
> Architecture and history tours from San Francisco City Guides
WHAT OTHERS SAY:
Here are other posts and guides from a few other local sources:
> A Local’s Only Guide to Eating in the Marina from San Francisco Magazine
How about you? Do you have any Marina additions? Have you been to this area of San Francisco? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?
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