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

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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!


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 make 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!


[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.


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 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, 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!

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, 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.


> 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!


> 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)


> 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.


> 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 includes some of their locations to rent. [New to Airbnb? Use this link to sign up and get $25 for your first stay. (affiliate)]


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?

For a visual summary of this post, check out my Pacific Heights web story!

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