San Francisco is a foodie heaven. It’s got a bit of everything – from street food served out of trailers, casual diners, steakhouses all the way through to high end restaurants.
Each district has it’s own distinct flavour. The Mission is where you can enjoy the best of Mexican or modern Mexican fusion; Fisherman’s Wharf serves up some amazing seafood dishes such as signature clam chowder, and in The Marina you will discover some absolute gems – Italian, French and a range of traditional cuisine done at its best.
A haven of great food and home to an eclectic mix of arts, theatre and sports, San Franciscans embrace life in every sense of the word.
I think I could spend an entire year eating my way around all the restaurants, pubs, bars and markets. But if I was to do San Francisco in a day, here’s my suggestions for paleo-inspired eating and dining.
The Ferry Building Marketplace - Take a stroll down to the famous Ferry Building on the bay. From here you have a choice of dining at one of the many eateries within the Ferry Building (and picking up some staples for a day out).
The Plant Cafe - walk along the water to pier 3 and try The Plant Cafe which specialises in organic and gluten-free food. Although not specifically paleo there are definitely paleo-friendly options and it’s a a scenic way to start your day.
Sausalito (fishing town across the bay) – for the adventurous at heart and for a great day out, hire a bike from one of the many bike hire places and navigate around the bay, across Golden Gate Bridge and to the little down of Sausalito. It has an amazing view of San Francisco across the bay. The ride takes around two hours depending on which way you go and how long you stop at all the scenic viewpoints. You can either ride back or take the ferry (with your bike).
For those who prefer not to ride, you can also catch the ferry directly from Pier 39 (San Francisco) to Sausalito.
If you want to try something local and delicious, I had the privilege of being introduced to a local seafood hot spot and I highly recommend it for lunch.
The restaurant is called Fish and it’s not easy to find if you don’t know where you’re going, so look it up on a map before you leave! It’s out of the city centre along the water, and situated within a business park. Don’t be put off by this!
Each day they offer a few different fish of the day and some specials. I’ve been told that the best dishes are on the specials menu but there are plenty of other options too. I ordered the local fish of the day on a salad (pictured). Need I say more?
Off the Grid - this is a food truck market. They have lots of different events and each Friday they have markets at Fort Mason in the Marina. I didn’t have a chance to get there but it was highly recommended by a local. The range of food options looks amazing so it’s definitely worth checking out (for lunch or dinner).
Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers - whilst in San Francisco I stumbled across a tiny burger joint called Pearl’s Deluxe Burgers. The meat is all grass fed, they produce great food and it’s not a chain restaurant so the quality is very high. They offer lettuce wrap burgers which come in large lettuce leaves so you can eat it just like a burger! My favourite was the Kobe Burger with bacon (and cheddar cheese, yes I know but I had to do it!) however the buffalo meat was absolutely superb. They also have turkey and buffalo burgers.
4505 Meats – this is a must for the paleo meat connoisseur. A butcher and restaurant in one, it serves up some mouth-watering cuts of meat. You can dine at their restaurant in The Mission district, or they also operate a market stall at various farmers markets. The owners are paleo and they have a range of products worth trying too, including the Chicharrones pictured below (pork crackers).
The Mission – I would recommend heading to The Mission for dinner. You really can’t go wrong there, all the restaurants are great! If you have specific dietary requirements I would book ahead and call the restaurant to talk to them about these. Otherwise I think you’d be safe to just head there and pick something you like.
As well as lots of great Mexican places (I know, not exactly paleo) there are heaps of great gastro pubs too. These are fantastic places to get slow cooked meat and I had some delicious pork chops at West of Pecos (mentioned below, oh and it had a great cocktail list too!) Here’s a list of popular places that have paleo-friendly options:
- 4505 Meats – (as mentioned above)
- Bar Tartine - Eastern European / American
- West of Pecos – Mid West and Mexican fusion
- Lolinda – Argentinian steakhouse
- The Monk’s Kettle – gastro pub
- The Abbot’s Cellar - fine dining
If you’re staying in San Francisco for a while or planning on doing a bit of self catering, I can recommend a couple of places for you to source great food and ingredients from.
Whole Foods Market – worth a visit to stock up on paleo basics and it’s also great for snacks and breakfast items. It has all the things you crave when traveling such as coconut oil and water, kefir products, fermented vegetables, fresh organic produce and anything and everything else!
Three Stone Hearth – if you’re interested in getting some amazing pre-prepared and paleo-friendly meals, I would recommend checking out Three Stone Hearth. This is an incredible operation – it’s run primarily by volunteers and each week they cook a selection of dishes (based on seasonal ingredients) for pick up in their Berkeley store or delivery. You need to order in advance, and not everything on the menu is paleo. However it is based entirely on most organic wholefoods. They do make extra dishes so if you don’t pre-order you can go out to their store and buy whatever they have available.
I picked up one of the nut milks (pictured above) to enjoy on my train ride back to the city and it was the best chocolate milk I’ve ever had, never mind the fact that it was also completely healthy!
For more tips on eating and dining in San Francisco, visit this fantastic website: http://www.7×7.com/
Here you will find information on all the latest food trends, new restaurants and hot spots in this amazing city.
There’s an endless number of food choices in San Francisco, and if you’re a foodie you won’t be disappointed!
Next stop, Mexico!
Hasta luego amigos