I first visited San Francisco in January 2011. I was hooked and have been back a second time since before visiting Napa. It is definitely one of my all time favorite cities. The food culture there is so strong and within a short driving distance to wine country it’s hard to beat the pairing.
Upon arrival both trips, I went to the Swan Oyster Depot for lunch. This small seafood restaurant brings some of the best San Francisco has to offer in a tight little package. Recently it was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show “The Layover”. Fresh crabs, oysters, clams and other various seafood cover the menu of this old school establishment. The sourdough bread with butter is addicting and washing it down with the locally brewed Anchor Steam beer will make you never want to leave until your stomach can’t get any fuller. Swan Oyster Depot has been around since 1912 and it is still going strong. I suggest getting there before the noon rush because seating is limited. If you have to wait a bit trust me it will be totally worth it.
Being in the wine industry there are 2 must visit wine bars in US; Terroir in NYC and RN74 in San Francisco. Both have massive wine lists that will make any wine connoisseurs jaw drop. RN74 is part of Michael Mina’s restaurant empire. Mina’s restaurants strive for excellence and they have never seem to disappoint me in all aspects of a restaurant. Famed Sommelier Rajat Parr is the man behind the award winning wine list. Wine is not the only game here because the food alone is worth a visit. With a French inspired menu, they put a modern twist to some classic dishes. The roasted marrow bones, cassoulet, and duck confit were right up my alley. If I lived in San Francisco RN74 would be my hangout spot.
With so many options in San Francisco I am just scratching the surface. Walk through Chinatown and you are in another world with a different cuisine, including Vietnamese pho (pictured below). Fisherman’s Wharf (pictured above) is another exciting area to visit. The Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe is not to be missed. The most unexpected and incredible meal I’ve had in San Francisco was at Kokkari. I am from Mediterranean descent and this well known Greek restaurant I knew I had to visit. My first taste of Greek wine was at Kokkari, and the duck grape leaves were fantastic. But the lamb, yes the freaking lamb practically brought me to my knees! This slowly braised lamb shank with orzo might be one of the most favorite dishes I’ve ever had. It was fork tender with perfectly cooked orzo and topped with a Greek cheese called Myzithra. Words cannot describe how delicious this was. After having several apps I forced myself to put this down because it would of been a crime to leave a single ounce in the plate. Needless to say a wheelchair would of been nice to have after I left Kokkari. Bedtime was near.
With so much to do and see in San Francisco I will keep coming back as much as possible. One final word: the sourdough bread there really is on another level. Eat it up!