San Francisco by Bartender

June 9th, 2010

This is probably my 10th or 11th trip to San Francisco in the last eight years. I like it here, I feel like I have a good lay of the land and know a fair number of great places to eat and drink. The only problem is that since I’m almost always here for work geekery, my free time is limited and so I often end up returning to the same old favorite places and neighborhoods and don’t get quite so much time to explore.
I usually ask around for recommendations, but this year I’ve got a theme. asked a few bartender friends for recommendations for both bars and restaurants to visit while in the area.
The list is extensive and if I get to a fraction of these places in the next four days, I’ll be lucky. Similarly, if I added links and whatnot to every place listed, this post would never go up. Google’s your friend folks, sorry.
After the jump, the bartenders and their recs. As a bonus, I also got a list of recommendations from the waiter at Incanto, where I had dinner Sunday night (more on that to come).

Mo from The Dove grew up in San Francisco, so has a good hometown perspective. Here’s her list:
North Beach:

  • Vesuvio
  • Tosca
  • Royale

The Mission:

  • Zeitgeist
  • 500 Club
  • The Cassanova
  • El Toro (for Burritos)
  • Velvet Cantina (for sit down Mexican)


  • The Top of the Mark
  • Starlight Room
  • Cornelian Room (Best View!)
  • Medjool

Old School:

  • The Tonga Room
  • The Taddich Grill (Amazing for lunch)

_MG_1962 - Version 2
Embarrassingly, I don’t remember this guy’s name. He was working the bar at B61 when I was in Red Hook to shoot the Jay Electronica show for Examiner. He and another patron got into a competition to tell me where to go while out here. Here’s his list:

  • El Farolito on 24th and Mission.
  • Taqueria Cancun on 6th and Market


  • Tu Lan just around the corner on 6th between Market and Mission.
  • No Name Sushi on 16th and Church
  • House of Nanking on Kearny and Columbus
  • Brandy Ho’s


  • Best Falafel Sandwich – Ali Baba’s Cave on Haight near Fillmore.
  • Best Indian at Shalimar on Jones between Geary and Post.

Finally, in North Beach, he recommended Caffe Macaroni and Mario’s Cigar Shop and for a birthday dinner, he said Boulevard would be a good splurge.
_MG_8584 - Version 2
Next up Chez from Madame X gave me her own list:
First off, she seconded the recommendation for Tu Lan on 6th between Market and Mission, specifically recommending the Imperial Rolls, which I love and will be sure to have in short order.
Beyond that, in no particular order, she spoke up for:

  • Dalva Bar – 16th between Guerrero and Valencia
  • Puerto Allegre for Mexican on Valencia between 16th and 17th
  • Dolores Park to hang out and enjoy the sun
  • El Rio, a bar on Mission at 28th Street.

It’s a lot to go through, but I’ve already managed one or two since I got here. I’ll be sure to report on wherever I end up over the course of the week.


One Comment:

  1. b61 bar! jaime!

Leave a comment: