November 5 2008 by Chris McGinnis
A colleague of mine from Atlanta discovered this blog recently and sent me a query that I think bears repeating for everyone. Why? Because nearly every business traveler comes to San Francisco at least every few years for a meeting and for a good time...and good food. I can't think of any other business travel destination where there's more of a convergence of business and pleasure.
Here's the query:
A good friend of mine has a conference in San Francisco shortly after Thanksgiving and I wondered if you might have a couple of restaurant recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She's staying by Union Square and loves cozy places that are good for people watching (not the uber-trendy snooty tube-top crowd type stuff). And feel free to toss in a couple divey or low-brow places, too.
And my advice:
Great to hear from you and I hope I can help! First and foremost on the agenda: If you plan to entertain clients or colleagues, take them to see the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park (10-15 mins from downtown). It's the most important thing to happen in SF in years and has everyone agog. The key is to get there early because crowds swell after 10 am.
Some foodie ideas:
- TADICH GRILL in Financial District is very old and cozy and great for people watching at lunch, especially on Fridays when local executives go in for seafood and cocktails and then go back to the office for a nap! The best people watching is from the bar area.
- Another place I like is called LE CENTRAL-- a French bistro that's been around forever and attracts local politicos and ladies who lunch. Great wine and bistro fare like Salad Nicoise and Steak Frites. It also has a lively see-and-be-seen bar on weekends where you wait for your table.
- It's a cab ride from Union Square, but if you like cozy places for dinner, get over to the Marina and go to BRAZEN HEAD. There's no sign out front. Just a small door and windows edged with bushy window boxes. Tiny little bar, dark wood, fireplace, nice menu (my fave is pepper steak). Very cuddly on a cold fall/winter night!
- Take a break from your meetings and try to get down to BEARD PAPA for a cream puff. Believe me, it is worth the trip. It has gained a cult following, so you may have to wait in line. Located on Yerba Buena Lane between Market and Mission near Moscone Convention Center.
- If you are extending your business trip over the weekend and are lucky to have a nice clear and warm Saturday or Sunday morning, try to go to THE RAMP right on the edge of the bay near Potrero Hill for brunch. It's outdoors, so be sure the weather is nice. (It's a divey place, but a lot of fun and very popular with locals.)
- If you like seafood, check out the tiny but fantastic BAR CRUDO. Limited but inventive and amazingly fresh menu prepared before your eyes in this tiny nook of a place. You can walk here from Union Sq.
- One of my fave breakfast places is CHOW. It's out Market Street toward the Castro on the corner of Church St. (Take a vintage street car down Market St. to get there.) They have best eggs Benedict around. Also good blueberry pancakes and amazing homemade cobblers (which you can order at breakfast or lunch).
- Another great place for dinner near CHOW is 2223. This is on the edge of the Castro (at 2223 Market St) and is patronized almost exclusively by a local, fun, lively and diverse crowd. Great food. Not too pricey. Guaranteed goodness. One of my all around faves.