San Francisco Profiles – San Francisco’s Pacific Heights with Heidi

San-Francisco-Profiles
I have not spent a lot of time in Pacific Heights, just popped in and out a few times to try out restaurants. I would really like to house-sit for someone who lives in the area of San Francisco, especially someone who has an old Victorian. Before I lived in the Bay Area and knew anything about San Francisco, I imagined every neighborhood to be like Pacific Heights!

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in.

As I get to know my colleagues at work better, I begin to discover where they live and what they love about their little corner of San Francisco. That is what San Francisco Profiles is all about. Getting the best spots in each village from a local….aren’t you lucky??!

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to Heidi Mortlock when I shared a recent interview from her blog of the same name. Working with Heidi is a daily adventure, her Aussie humor, a quirky habit of giving everyone nicknames and gorgeous fashion sense makes coming to the office a pleasure!

I was honored when she agreed to share her favorite Pacific Heights spots with us.

Meet Heidi.

Heidi Mortlock

[1] Favorite thing about PH.

As an Australian moving to San Francisco, I had a vision of how it was going to look: incessantly flowing hills dotted with beautiful Victorian/Edwardian architecture, views of the Golden Gate Bridge at every turn, and leafy green streets filled with hippies. When I moved here two years ago, Pacific Heights seemed to come the closest to capturing this – sans the hippies!

Pacific-Heights-Homes

[2] Least favorite thing about PH.

It’s definitely a bit of a bubble of SF’s upper echelon. It doesn’t exactly offer a well-rounded taster of all the great sub-cultures that exist in the city.

[3] What differentiates your neighborhood, PH from all the other parts of the city?

It’s home to my favorite street in the city, Fillmore Street. I love the restaurants here, the shopping and my local bookstore, Browser Books, which has been around since 1976.

Fillmore-Street-PacHeights

It’s picture-perfect. I’ve lived in some beautiful areas before – including London’s Notting Hill and Sydney’s Bondi – but I find this area by far the most charming. While I am fond of several areas in SF, for me nothing compares to waking up each day to the striking architecture, overhead wires of the trolleybus and panoramic views of the water – it’s my quintessential San Francisco.

[4] Favorite coffee spot in PH.

I am a big fan of Jane on Fillmore. They serve Stumptown coffee, which is Portland-based and not often found here in SF – it’s delicious!

Jane-Fillmore-Street-SF
Jane of Fillmore, photo credit: Bria Hammel Interiors

This little café is vibrant and versatile, with tables downstairs and a great little loft area upstairs where you can settle in with a good book. It’s cozy, chic and always busy – so be prepared to wait a while! Oh, and make sure you try the egg white breakfast sandwich, it’s a winner!

[5] Favorite spot for drinks.

Palmers Tavern. It’s a bit of a trap as I walk past each day on the way home from work, so often find myself detouring for a glass of wine outside as the sun goes down. When it starts to get cold, we often sit inside and cozy up at the bar. There’s usually a bit of buzz, but it’s not so crowded that you can’t hear yourself think. They have a mean cocktail list; my leading contender is the Vieux Carre.

Palmers Tavern
Photo credit: Inside Scoop SF

[6] Favorite local hangout.

Alta Plaza or Lafayette Park. These are two of my favorite spots to frequent on the weekend, both a short walk from my home. I love park visits for some quiet time to read or write, or for a hit of tennis with my boyfriend.

I also love the Clay Theater for a foreign or art-house film – it’s one of the oldest theatres in San Francisco and has the nicest, most authentic old cinema feel.

Clay-Theatre-SF-WSJ
Clay-Theatre, photo credit: WSJ

Oh, and of course International Orange for a weekend spa treatment followed by a tea in the bamboo garden or a yoga class.

[7] Favorite breakfast spot.

Rose’s Café. More accurately located in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Rose’s is only a short walk down the hill from home and is my breakfast spot of choice. I go there for house-made granola with fruit & yogurt on weekdays, or a smoked salmon pizza w/ crème fraîche & scrambled eggs on the weekend. The coffee here is great – they serve it in this sweet pink patterned china. I also don’t mind a gorgeous glass of rose here in the afternoon sun!

rosescafe_smoked_salmon_pizza
Rosie’s smoked salmon pizza, photo credit: The Infatuation

[8] Favorite lunch spot.

The Grove. This is a great little spot to get comfy on a leather sofa and sit by the fire on a crisp day. It’s very simple, plays good music and the service is quick. It’s a good place to take the laptop to do some work or to catch up with a friend over a coffee (or wine!). I always opt for a Berkeley Bowl with tuna and sometimes their vegetarian chili with cheddar cheese- yum!

[9] Favorite dinner spot.

Fresca. This modern Peruvian restaurant is hands-down one of my favorites on Fillmore Street. Sit back, have a glass of sangria and bask in their relaxed dining setting. You can’t go wrong with the ceviche, and there is no shortage of flavors on the menu – they are all delicious! I also love their paella and the street food skewers: beef, catch of the day, chicken or shrimp.

Fresca-Ceviche
Fresca ceviche, photo credit: Mark Costantini

[10] One thing you always do/spot you always take friends from out of town to do/see.

The steps at Broadway and Lyon are a classic Pacific Heights must-see. Visitors are always impressed as they scramble to the top of the stairs and glimpse the conglomeration of colorful houses below and the Palace of Fine Arts and ocean backdrop in the distance.

I also always take my girlfriends for some shopping on Fillmore. My top pick for the home is without a doubt Nest, which is filled with a nice blend of rustic and urbane interior pieces, and some lovely coffee table books. Naturally, HeidiSays is also a boutique of choice for upcoming designers, both casual and formal.

Thanks Heidi!

Check out Heidi’s gorgeous website and check out her stunning images on Instagram.

Here are other great spots in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights:

San-Francisco-Addresses-Pacific Heights

EAT – Breakfast/Brunch:

> B. Patisserie (2821 California St. b/t California and Divisadero St) Everything in this place will fulfill any pastry fantasy.
> Sweet Maple (2101 Sutter St b/t Steiner St and Pierce St) Good old-fashioned American breakfast.
> Elite Café (2049 Fillmore St b/t California St and Pine St) great Bloody Mary’s, deviled eggs and biscuits.
> Ella’s Restaurant (500 Presidio Ave b/t California St and Masonic Ave) fried egg sandwich with cheddar cheese, pesto aioli, arugula, and avocado on brioche.

EAT – LUNCH:

> Ocean Taqueria 2 (1836 Divisadero St, b/t Bush St and Pine St) one of the best burritos in the city.
> Out the Door (2232 Bush St, b/t Steiner St & Fillmore St) George Phan’s Vietnamese food at non-Slanted Door prices.
> Pizzeria Delfina (2406 California St, b/t Fillmore St and Steiner St) get the Salsiccia with house-made fennel sausage.
> Ramen Yamadaya (1728 Buchanan St, b/t Post St and Sutter St) 20-hour tonkatsu broth.
> Woodhouse Fish Co. (1914 Fillmore St, b/t Wilmot St and Bush St) lobster rolls ad clam chowder, great oysters too.
> Spruce (3640 Sacramento St, b/t Spruce St and Locust St) burger with English muffin bun, oh yes!

EAT – DINNER:

> Elite Café (2049 Fillmore St, b/t California St and Pine St) oysters and Bloody Mary’s.
> Kiss Seafood (1700 Laguna St, b/t Bush St and Sutter St) get the omakase.
> Palmer’s Tavern (2298 Fillmore St, b/t Sacramento St and Clay St)
> SPQR (1911 Fillmore St, b/t Bush St and Pine St )
> Wild Hare (2801 California St, b/t Divisadero St and Broderick St) London-style pub.

DRINK – Bars:

> Harry’s Bar (2020 Fillmore St, b/t California St and Pine St) sports bar and $14 all-you-can-drink bellinis!.
> The Social Study (1795 Geary Blvd)

SHOP:

> Elizabeth Charles (2056 Fillmore St, b/t California St and Pine St) Small boutique with several fashion lines and a beautiful selection of accessories.
> March (3075 Sacramento St, b/t Broderick St and Baker St) home boutique with kitchen accessories and local cookbooks.
> NARS (2050 Fillmore St, b/t California St and Pine St) not your department store style cosmetics counter!
Spice Ace (1821 Steiner St, b/t Bush St and Sutter St) over 300 spices, peppers and dried herbs.
The Future Perfect (3085 Sacramento St) modern furniture, jewelry and tabletop adornments for the home.
The Kooples (2241 Fillmore St, b/t Sacramento St and Clay St) French clothing boutique.

LODGING:

> Hotel Drisco (2901 Pacific Ave, b/t Baker St and Broderick St) Pacific Heights mansion in a hotel.
> While Pacific Heights has a great balance of residential and commercial spaces, 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 Pacific Heights that include some of their locations to rent. [New to Airbnb? Use this link to sign up and get $25 for your first stay. (affiliate)]

WHAT OTHERS SAY:

Here are other posts and guides from a few other local sources.
> San Francisco Days – Pacific Heights photo guide
> Vanity Fair (Oct ’13) – Bluebloods and Billionaires
> SF Girl by Bay > A Perfect Day at Peet’s; Serena & Lily Opens; and Song Tea & Ceramics
> The Wall Street Journal > Fillmore Street: San Francisco’s Top Block for Shopping

How about you? Do you have any Pacific Heights additions? Have you been to this area of San Francisco? Did you find this post helpful for a future trip?

Like it? PIN it!

Eat See Do San Francisco California USA Pacific HeightsEat See Do San Francisco California USA Pacific HeightsEat See Do San Francisco California USA Pacific HeightsEat See Do San Francisco California USA Pacific Heights

58 Comments

  1. Jessica Johnson
    June 11, 2015

    What a lovely blog post! Especially appreciate the nod to Palmers, my personal fave spot to grab a burger, strong cocktail, and watch the Giants from the bar!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Jessica, their cocktails are DELISH!

      Reply
  2. Kelly
    June 11, 2015

    This is one of the many reasons why I like San Francisco. Like LA, they have so many great pockets of neighborhoods. For those of us that don’t live there though, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to go to and then what to do while we’re there, so I really appreciate the insight. I”m bookmarking and filing away in my San Francisco notebook for later!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Kelly, Paris is the same. Our plan of attack is to just explore one area at a time and not try to see everything.

      Reply
  3. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    June 11, 2015

    I have always wanted to visit San Fran. I was there for a layover once, but I want to actually go out and explore the city!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Robin, come back and explore!

      Reply
  4. This was a great read. I have to admit, the thing that struck me the most was that picture of the row houses. I felt like I was watching the intro to Full House. =D

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Stacie, glad you enjoyed it and that you could get nostalgic!

      Reply
  5. Wendy
    June 11, 2015

    The houses look so cute! I also love the pictures of the restaurants. They look like they have a great atmosphere. Would love to get the area someday.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Wendy, the restaurants in SF are gorgeous, makes the food go down a lot easier!

      Reply
  6. Christy Maurer
    June 11, 2015

    I have never been to San Francisco, but this is just how I picture it…probably because of Full House 🙂 I love all of the info you packed into the post. If I ever go, I’ll have to reference this!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Christy, so glad you found it helpful, hope you get to use it on a future trip.

      Reply
  7. Tiffany
    June 11, 2015

    Pacific Heights looks picture perfect! I live in the country and prefer a yard and lots of space between my house and the next one, but I would love to visit Pacific Heights just for a bit!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Tiffany, come for the food, get stuffed and then go back home to relax in a nice lounge chair looking at your backyard – best of both worlds!

      Reply
      1. Tiffany
        June 14, 2015

        Count me in!! 🙂

        Reply
  8. Cara (@StylishGeek)
    June 11, 2015

    Wow! This is an amazing feature on Heidi and Pacific Heights! I remember I visited Sydney Australia many moons ago and it actually reminded me of a ‘newer’ San Francisco. Anyway, Fillmore is one of my favorite streets too!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Cara, Fillmore has so much to offer, you can spend several days just on that street!

      Reply
  9. touristmeetstraveler
    June 11, 2015

    Wow, this all looks amazing! I would especially be very willing to try out that food, it has gotten me hungry!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @TourMeetsTraveler, that is the best part, isn’t it?!

      Reply
  10. Jeanine
    June 11, 2015

    San Fan. I have always wanted to go there. Ever since I was a little girl. It looks so beautiful. Now my girls are into full house and want to visit too. Hopefully one day!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Jeanine, you can take them to the houses in the show, they would love it!

      Reply
  11. Great post, I went to San Fran for the first time last summer why at BlogHer. I didn’t get to see everything, I certainly need to go back for some unfinished business.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Michellette, for sure. I was at Blogher to and SF is an hour away from San Jose, so you definitely need to come back.

      Reply
  12. Ourfamilyworld
    June 12, 2015

    I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to visit. I have a couple of cousins there whom I have not seen in ages. Hopefully, we can go next year.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @OurFamilyWorld, if you can stay with your cousins you can save money and eat and do more things – what else is family good for? (Kidding!)

      Reply
  13. Katie @ Domestiphobia
    June 12, 2015

    I need to figure out how to afford to live in Northern California when Justin retires from the military. I just do.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Katie, you can do it, you just need 4 jobs!

      Reply
  14. Shasta
    June 12, 2015

    Your pictures are beautiful! I would love to live in SF, but I would really love to live in Australia! 😉

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Shasta, I don’t blame you 😉

      Reply
  15. Chubskulit Rose
    June 12, 2015

    San Francisco is a beaituful city. We’ve been there once and would love to go back again if budget permits.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Chubskulit, I hope you get back here, there is so much to eat and see!

      Reply
  16. Murissa
    June 12, 2015

    Yet again I have discovered so many more reasons to go back to SF and explore!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Murissa, your trips are too short, you need to come back for longer stays!

      Reply
  17. Echo
    June 12, 2015

    This is a lovely post and a great way to get to know a neighborhood! Thank you so much for this interview!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Echo, so glad you liked it!

      Reply
  18. Uplifting Families
    June 12, 2015

    I haven’t had the chance to visit San Francisco yet. This sounds like a fun place to visit. I want to visit the book store.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Christy, tons of great book stores in SF! You’ll love it!

      Reply
  19. Lisa @bitesforbabies
    June 12, 2015

    Your pics are amazing and Pacific Heights looks absolutely stunning! I’ve always wanted to go there…if only for that FOOD! lol!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Lisa, every part of SF has delicious food, it is tough living here 😉

      Reply
  20. Maria
    June 12, 2015

    What a great post! Thanks for all of the sorted black book tips and suggestions. I would love to visit someday soon!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Maria, glad you enjoyed it and found my suggestions helpful!

      Reply
  21. Donna Ward
    June 12, 2015

    Fabulous city, San Francisco – and wonderful things to do in your list – and Heidi sounds like she really has found some of the best spots in the PH area – I would love to check them out! Thank you for the great post

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Donna, Heidi is quite dedicated to finding the best in life and that includes PH!

      Reply
  22. chanelle
    June 12, 2015

    As a fellow San Franciscan, Heidi’s summary of Pac Heights is right on the nose. I have also been to most of the eateries she listed and highly recommend them as well (especially B. Patisserie, Delfina & Spruce)!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Chanelle, B Patisserie is SO dangerous!

      Reply
  23. Rosey
    June 13, 2015

    I bet a smoked salmon pizza would make my daughter in law a very happy gal! 🙂 I’d love to visit the area.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Rosey, we are very lucky to have access to such great salmon on the West coast!

      Reply
  24. I’ve never been to San Francisco but this sounds like a very nice area to visit if I ever go there. It looks like there are a lot of awesome places to eat there!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Michelle, if you do get here, you’ll love it!

      Reply
  25. Yona Williams
    June 14, 2015

    I really need to visit San Francisco one of these days. This post would make an excellent guide for someone visiting the Pacific Heights area. Lovely architecture!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Yona, I hope you get there one day, so much to explore!

      Reply
  26. Krystal
    June 14, 2015

    I have always wanted to visit this city. It has everything that I am looking for in a destination.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Krystal, SF definitely does, something for everyone, especially kids!

      Reply
  27. Tamara
    June 14, 2015

    What a great guide! I’ve never really spent time in Pacific Heights, although it is always a neighborhood I like going through. This is perfect for my next trip to San Francisco.

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 14, 2015

      @Tamara, SF has so many really great neighborhoods to explore, but this one is particularly nice.

      Reply
  28. I LOVE San Francisco, it’s one of my absolute favourite cities in the world! I’m super lucky to have family living in the Bay Area too, which is something I’m very lucky to have!

    Reply
    1. Andi Fisher
      June 17, 2015

      @Nat, given how expensive it is, it is VERY lucky to have family in the area!

      Reply
  29. […] Hayes Valley Lower Haight Marina District Miraloma Park Mission District Nob Hill North Beach Pacific Heights Portola Portrero Hill Richmond District Sunset […]

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