Hot Picks - San Francisco

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

San Francisco is a great culinary and travel destination. Here are some options for your visit!
Click on the picture to find the information you want.

 


Where to Stay

Where to Eat

What to Do

 

Hot Picks: San Francisco

Where to Stay

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

 

The Omni Hotel


Photo by Michael Reiss

With a prime location right on the cable car line in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District, this 1926, 17-story hotel retains its Florentine Renaissance look while providing the latest in modern amenities.


The Omni San Francisco's lobby glows with gracious elegance.

Photo by Michael Reiss

The lobby has been authentically restored and the rooms exude a gracious, yet elegant old world feel. The finest Frette bed sheets and comfortable, firm mattresses offer true relaxation from the bustle of the city. The health club is large and well appointed with the latest in work out equipment. The staff are particularly gracious and accommodating.


The Omni San Francisco Hotel is located next to the Financial District and it is near China Town and Union Square
--a fine, central location!


Photo by Michael Reiss

The Omni San Francisco Hotel
500 California Street at Montgomery
415 677 9494


 

The W Hotel


Photo by Michael Reiss

What does the "W" stand for? It is nothing less than wow! If you're interested in experiencing a luxury hotel without the pretense and formality usually associated with a luxury-level hotel, the W Hotel fits the bill. The decor, the service and the vibes all set the tone for a memorable stay. Not only are the rooms spacious, sleek, sophisticated, and soundproof, but they are wired for your every high-tech desire, including: high-speed Internet access, 27" television, video cassette recorder / player, and we can't forget the signature "heavenly beds."


The W Hotel is located next to the S.F. Museum of Modern Art , Mascone Center, Yerba Buena Gardens. Wow, what a location!
Photo by Michael Reiss

Need to know what to do, where to go, what to eat? The concierge staff at the W Hotel, who call themselves the "Whatever/Whenever Service," is ever-present and genuinely helpful. Want to take a dip in the pool or get a cardio workout? The fitness center is well-equipped and open 24 hours for your convenience. Want a thoroughly "hip," trendy upscale hotel experience? Stay at the "W"!


The W Hotel's bright and luminous pool area and fitness center is open 24 hours.
Photo by Michael Reiss

W Hotel San Francisco
181 Third St. (Howard St.)
San Francisco, California
(415) 777-5300
(415) 817-7823 FAX

 

The Hotel Nikko


Photo by Michael Reiss

The Hotel Nikko offers an oasis of luxurious, refined space in the midst of the bustling city. Walk into the lobby, take in the gracious sense of calm that immediately envelopes you, and know that an ethereal experience awaits you. The check-in procedure reinforces a sense of calm welcoming which is highlighted, as you enter your elegantly appointed room. The Japanese inspired interior combines understated elegance with a sense of place.


The Hotel Nikko 's elegant modern lobby features ANZU Restaurant at the top of the stairs.
Photo by Michael Reiss

The fitness center and indoor pool, surrounded by Japanese rock gardens, further enhances your restful, rejuvenating respite from the heart of downtown San Francisco, a brief few blocks from your doorstep. Ready, set, go...to The Hotel Nikko !

Hotel Nikko San Francisco
222 Mason Street,
San Francisco, Calf. 94102
(415) 394-1111

 

The Queen Anne Hotel

The Queen Anne Hotel is a San Francisco Victorian gem.
Photo by Michael Reiss



The Queen Anne Hotel is a San Francisco Victorian gem fully restored to its 1890 glory. The restoration took place under the direction of over 50 preservation experts. The Queen Anne Hotel's 48 rooms show off heirloom antiques, wood-burning fireplaces and warm Victorian charm. In addition there are many rooms which have modern conveniences such as refrigerators, king size beds, cable color TV's and direct-dial modem phones. 

There is a complimentary continental breakfast, newspaper to your room door, and an afternoon tea service. The hotel is conveniently located near public transportation lines that make its San Francisco neighborhood location a good one for visiting downtown or other tourist attractions. 

The Queen Anne Hotel
1590 Sutter St.,
San Francisco, CA 94109 

(800) 227-3970
(415) 775-5212 FAX 

 

 

Hot Picks: San Francisco

Where To Eat

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

Ana Mandara


Photo by Michael Reiss


The ancient story behind Ana Mandara or "beautiful refuge" greets you as you open the beautiful menu in this beautiful, exotic Vietnamese restaurant. The decor is sumptuous without being overwrought. The service is genuine without being overdone, and the cuisine is authentic without being traditional. You will experience an elegance and savor a refined style of preparation that hails the talents of Executive Chef Khai Duong.

Notworthy is the gracious and friendly greeting by General Manager Lam Nugyen. Wines are expertly presented and paired by Sommelier Joanna Breslin.

 


Ana Mandara's beautiful and elegant interior invites you to linger.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Crispy Lobster Ravioli with Mango &Coconut Sauce
Crunchy Green Papaya Salad with Prawns, Jelly Fish and Chili - Lime Vinaigrette

Favorite Entrees:

Mokfish Curry in Claypot with Snap Peas, Yams, Oyster Mushrooms and Japanese Eggplant
Grilleed Rack of Lamb Rubbed with Vietnamese Cinnamon & Star Anise, Spicy Tamarind Sauce

 


Ana Mandara's modern Vietnamese cuisine combines classic French with Asian touches in this innovative fois gras preparation.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Dessert

Crispy Mango Springrolls, Coconut,Vanilla Creme Anglaise, Mango Sauce

Ana Mandara
891 Beach Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109
Ghiradelli Square
415 771 6800

 

One Market Restaurant


Photo by Michael Reiss


Chef Adrian Hoffman, a 2002 nominee for James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year Award, has breathed new life into this ever popular San Francisco favorite. His American interpretation of classic European traditions makes for some innovative and brilliantly executed dishes. The exceptional wines by the glass program offers plenty of excitement for wine pairing enthusiasts.

 


Chef Adrian Hoffman makes innovative and brilliantly executed dishes at One Market.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Shaved Foie Gras and Hazelnut Salad on duck liver brioche with frisee, red oak and cherry port syrup
Pan - Roasted Louisiana Prawns on white wine pasta sheets with pesto and cherry tomato salad

Favorite Entrees:

Atlantic Skate Wing crisped in brown butter and thyme over a creamy lobster risotto with English peas and lobster tarragon sauce
Braised and Glazed Organic Pork Shoulder on green onion farro with a grape and toasted almond salad.

 

 


One Market's "Salmon Cooked Three Ways" is a striking dish.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Dessert

Frog Hollow Warren Pear Tart, Huckleberry Compote, Mascarpone Ice Cream

One Market Restaurant
Market Street, San Francisco
415 777 5577


 

Silks at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel


Silks Restaurant has a beautiful and elegant interior.

Photo by Michael Reiss


Yet another restaurant transformation is in the making at this elegant, financial district eaterie. The new Chef de Cuisine, Christophe Vessaire, a native of Lyons, France comes to the Mandarin with impeccable pedigree and credentials. His goal is to bring Three Star Michelin quality to a restaurant whose guests and repeat diners expect the best. He strives to "make the senses come alive" with his cuisine and indeed he achieves his purpose. Consider the "Chef's Featured Tasting Menu" with accompanying wines or the a la carte selections, and take advantage of the reasonably priced "Silks at Six," pre-fixe special dinner available from 6-7 P.M. daily.

 


Silks at the Mandarin has a new chef, Chef de Cuisine, Christophe Vessaire.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Appetizers:

Wild Mushroom Risotto, Truffle Essence, Aged Balsamico
Pan Seared Foie Gras of Duck, Orange and Sugar Syrup, Onion Fondue and Young Baby Leeks

Favorite Entrees:

Seared Hamachi, Chinese Long Beans, Taro, Citrus Juices
Braised Loin of Sonoma Lamb with Root Vegetables, Sautéed Bone Marrow and Sweet Garlic Jus

 

 


This is one of Chef Christophe Vessaire's elegant new dishes at Silks.
It is the Fennel Dusted Alaskan Hallibut-Whipped Fingerling Potatoes,Saffron-Sented Shellfish Nage.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Dessert:

Goat Cheese Napoleon, Served with Concorde Grape Sorbet and a Balsamic Port Syrup

Silks at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
222 Sansome St.
415 986 2020

 

The XYZ Restaurant


Photo by Michael Reiss

Located adjacent to the lobby of the W Hotel, this sleek, sparsely decorated space with an equally understated menu serves sophisticated complex cuisine. The newly appointed Executive Chef, Malachi Harland, previously worked as the sous chef at Masa's and is currently revamping the menu to reflect his personal style with the promise of some exciting surprises in the next few months. Stay connected for an update.


Manager and Sommelier Jack Moore has organized an exciting new wine program at XYZ.

Photo by Michael Reiss

The wine list at XYZ Restaurant, organized by the restaurant General Manager, Jack Moore, is thoughtful, eclectic and poised to expand with their increased cellaring capacity.

XYZ Restaurant
at the W Hotel San Francisco

181 Third St. (Howard St.)
San Francisco, California
(415) 817-7836
(415) 817-7823 FAX

 

 

Bob's Steak and Chop House


Photo by Michael Reiss

 

 

 

Located in the Omni San Francisco Hotel, in the heart of the financial district, this is one of the top restaurants of its genre. Only the absolute best steakhouses qualify to be among America's Finest Prime Time Top Steak Houses. These provide fabulous dining experiences and serve the most flavorful and tender USDA Prime Midwestern Corn Fed Beef.

The restaurant provides a comfortable, relaxing environment that whispers of luxury and harkens back to the era of private dining clubs.


Bob's Steak and Chop House boasts a gracious dinning room.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Appetizers:

Fried Calamari
Spinach Salad tossed with honey poppy dressing and topped with mushrooms, bacon, chopped egg and onion.

Favorite Entrees


New York Strip Steak
Prime T-bone Steak

Favorite Dessert:

Key Lime Pie


Bob's Steak and Chop House has a varied menu which includes excellent salads and vegetables, as well as steaks and chops.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Bob's Steak and Chop House
Omni San Francisco Hotel

500 California at Montgomery
415 677 9494

 

Anzu Restaurant


Photo by Michael Reiss

Anzu Restaurant, located off the second floor lobby of the Hotel Nikko is a San Francisco gem waiting for your discovery. Steak and Sushi lovers, as well as devotees of creative Cal-Asian cuisine will be delighted with the wide range of selections, all executed to perfection by Master Sushi Chef Kazuhito Takahashi and Executive Chef Mark Pettitjohn.

Favorite Appetizers:

A variety of traditional and innovative sushi and sashimi platters ( $16.50 - $36.00)
Deconstructed Tuna Roll: Toasted Sesame Sushi Rice, Maguro and Shredded Nori, Ginger Soy Dressing ($9.50)
Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops with Blood Orange-Kaiware Salad, Curried Tobako Oil, Crispy Basil ($12.50)
Combination Appetizer: Vietnamese Beef Salad, Dungeness Crab Cake, Avocado& Kaiware Maki Roll ($19.50)
Warm Spinach Salad with BBQ Bacon Dressing and Frizzled Onions ($8.00)

 


Anzu's exiting cuisine is beautifully presented.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Entrees:

Prime Cuts, featuring Allen Brothers' beef lightly basted with special marinade, served with a choice of sauces including Classic Béarnaise, Chinese Mustard Demi, Five Peppercorn Marsala, Port Wine Reduction
Petite Filet Mignon 6 oz. $27.00; Ribeye "Cowboy" Steak 12 oz. $31.00
"Asian Ciopino" (Shrimp, Scallop, Mussel & Salmon) in Lemon Grass, Tomato& Garlic Jus ($25.00)
Oven Roaster Rack of Lamb with Apricot Scented Pearl Cous Cous, Red Wine-Star Anise Reduction($32.50)
Curried Apple-Ginger Risotto, Stir Fried Vegetables and Roasted Pepper Coulis ($15.95)

Favorite Deserts:

Warm Almond-Apricot Cake with Vanilla Apricot Syrup ($6.50)
Chocolate Truffle Cake ($6.50)
Banana Tempura Split with Almonds Brittle and Honey Caramel Sauce ($6.50)


Check out Anzu's famous Sunday Brunch with live classical broadcast with KDFC 102.1.
This radio broadcast was co-hosted by Nikko's own Philip Striffeler, Dir. of Food & Beverages.
Pictured are Brunch Chef Ben Fields, Sommelier Raphael Piveteau, and Announcer John Evans.
Photo by Michael Reiss

ANZU Restaurant
at The Hotel Nikko San Francisco

222 Mason Street,
San Francisco, Calf. 94102
(415) 394-1111

Philip Striffeler, Director of Food & Beverages
Robert Falls, Food and Beverage Outlets Manager
Raphael Piveteau, Asst. Food and Beverage Outlets Manager/ Sommelier

 

Kokkari Restaurant


Photo by Michael Reiss

This dramatic, rustic restaurant offers authentic contemporary Hellenic cuisine "fit for the Gods." Traditional Aegean dishes are interspersed with modern innovative interpretations of the classics, such as moussaka, roast lamb, and meze platters. The wine enthusiast will find a wine list with many "international" offerings, including a notable selection of Greek wines. The knowledgeable and international wait staff add to the sense of place that this Mediterranean gem offers diners.


Kokkari's kitchen glows with activity and excitement.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Appetizers:

Ktenia Salata - grilled scallop salad with arugula, saffron, pickled onions, chickpeas & grapefruit ($10.50)
Mithia - steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with tomato & ouzo broth ($10.95)
Kalamata Pita - flatbread of caramelized onion, Kalamata olives, Myzithra & Parmesan cheeses ($10.95)
Avgolemono - traditional egg-lemon soup with chicken & rice ($7.50)
Kokkari Salata - mixed field greens with pickled beets, oranges, toasted walnuts & Manouri cheese($8.95)

Favorite Entrees:

Kokinisto me Manestra - aromatic braised lamb shank over orzo, served with Mysithra cheese ($22.95)
Pastitsio Lahanika - layers of roasted winter vegetables & pasta, finished with yogurt bechamel ($17.50)


Kokkari's Spanakotiropita is made with crisp and flakey filo.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Deserts:

Galaktoboureko - semolina custard wrapped in filo, served with a pistachio parfait ($8.00)
Rizogalo - rice pudding a baked crepe shell with caramazlied fruit ($8.00)

Kokkari Estiatorio
200 Jackson St. (Front St.)
San Francisco, California
(415) 981-0983

Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise


Photo by Michael Reiss

 

A dining experience at Tommy Toy's is one you'll not soon forget. The service, presentation and ambiance is classic French. The food, spices, style and decor is haute Chinese with touches of French influences. The combinatination is a highly refined mix of two culinary traditions that compliment each other and make for an elegant gourmet evening.


Tommy Toy's serves inspired dishes with French elegance.
Photo by Michael Reiss

 

The "Signature Menu" at Tommy Toy's is a prix fixe menu offered at $57.50 per person and, as such, is a remarkable value! This six course menu includes whole Maine Lobster, Peking Duck, wok-charred beef, minced squab, a seafood bisque and desert, all served with great elegance and flair.

Tommy Toys
Signature Dinner


Minced Squab "Imperial"
served in iceberg lettuce petals

Seafood Bisque oven baked and crowed with
French Puff Pastry

Whole Fresh Maine Lobster Braised with
fresh Mushrooms and young Chives in
Peppercorn Sauce served on a bed of
Angel Hair Crystal Noodles
*One Lobster Per Person*

Peking Duck with Lotus Buns prepared and
served at tableside

Wok-charred Medallions of Beef with garlic,
wine and a touch of Rosemary accompanied with
fresh Asparagus spears
Four Flavors Fried Rice

Peach Mousse in a Strawberry Compote

$57.50 per person
(all above items included)


Tommy Toy serves "Whole Fresh Maine Lobster" in their "Signature Dinner."
Photo by Michael Reiss

Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise
655 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 397-4888
(415) 397-0469 FAX

Farallon


              Farallon's striking interior creates a magical dining experience. 
      Photo by Michael Reiss
Farallon elevates seafood restaurants to a new level of excitement. This stunning, elegantly executed oceanic decor leaves nothing out, except the mermaid! Their philosophy is to not simply serve excellent food but to also provide the atmosphere for a great time! 
From our observations, a great time was had by all including those diners who prefer turf to surf since there are several items from which to select.

Our favorite appetizers include “Wild Salmon and Scallop Tartar,” “Herb Crusted Rare Yellow Fin Tuna”, “Roasted Ruby and Golden Beet Salad”, and  Globe Artichoke Risotto”.  Our favorite entrees include the " Roasted New Zealand John Dory," and "Seared Mediterranean Branzino." However, because it’s a seafood restaurant and they pride themselves on offering the freshest and often, most exotic fare from across the oceans, give careful consideration to the specials. Among the dessert offerings, we suggest selections from the artisan cheese menu with several interesting selections from France.  The dessert menu includes unique creations such as "Tangerine Blinis," "Banana Chocolate Tart," and "Warm Calvados Apple Cake." The selection of wines by the glass is extensive and reflects the broad background of the sommelier. 
 
 

            
      Farallon's fish preparations are carefully and artfully prepared. 
Photo by Michael Reiss





Farallon
450 Post St. (bet. Mason & Powell Sts.)
415-956-6969
 


 
Boulevard


     Boulevard has an exciting, high-energy atmosphere. 
Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Boulevard consistently delivers what many diners want when they eat out. A seasonal modern American menu, prepared with creative Asian, Mediterranean and Latin influences in a high energy, exciting belle epoque-inspired atmosphere, provide a formula for success.  This formula has made Boulevard a San Francisco favorite for over eight years. 

Our favorite appetizers include “Duck Three Ways (sautéed foie gras, grilled smoked duck and duck prosciutto),” “Fresh Dungeness Crab and Porcini Risotto,” and “Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartar.” Our favorite entrees include “Pan Roasted Local Halibut, Sea of Cortez Scallop & Jumbo White Prawn,"and “Wood Oven Roasted   Rack of Lamb. ”  Boulevard offers a cheese plate with international selections as well as creative desserts such as “Apple Tart Trio” served with a cup of spiced cider and a green apple sorbet and “Warm Chocolate Cake” with a gooey center accompanied by caramelized bananas and Calvados ice cream. 
 
 

         Boulevard serves creative food with great flare.
           Photo by Michael Reiss





 Boulevard
1 Mission St. (Stuart St.)
415-543-6084
 

  Gary Danko

Photo by Michael Reiss





Gary Danko offers superb quality American cuisine prepared with impeccable French technique. The prix fixe only menus offer a wide variety of items including an exceptional cheese course with farmhouse and artisan cheeses from Europe and the United States presented with great finesse tableside. The wide variety of wines by the glass offer the opportunity to pair each course with an interesting selection from virtually all parts of the globe. 

Our menu favorites include an appetizer of "Seared Foie Gras, Caramelized Onions, Fuji Apples and Essencia Sauce", an entree of "Roast Maine Lobster with Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Fine Herbs", a selection of French and American cheeses and a "Baked Chocolate Souffle with Two Sauces."
 
 


Gary Danko serves inspired, impeccable prepared cuisine. 
            Photo by Michael Reiss
 

 

 

 

The menu options of 3 courses for $55, 4 courses for $64, or 5 courses for $74, although pricey at first glance, represents an exceptional value in fine dining. This special occasion restaurant is a stellar example of the finest quality dining experience available in the United States. Gary Danko is one that rivals the "Michelin Three Star Restaurants" in France, for a fraction of the price! 

Gary Danko
800 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94109-1228 
(415) 749-2060 

 

 

Hot Picks: San Francisco

What To Do

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

 

Teatro Zinzanni: Love, Chaos and Dinner


Photo by Michael Reiss

Teatro Zinzanni is a unique, engaging and thoroughly entertaining evening combining cabaret, circus arts, theatrical antics, and a five course dinner set in an antique tent on Pier 29.

From the moment you enter you are bewitched, beguiled and captivated by the ambiance and characters. This an an evening worth the price of admission! The admission is $99 during the week, $125 on Saturday.


Teatro Zinzani beckons!
Photo by Michael Reiss

Teatro Zinzanni
Box Office
Pier 29
San Francisco, California
(415)438-2668

Culinary and Historical Walking Tours of Chinatown Presented by Shirley Fong-Torres


The Shirley Fong-Torres Walking Tour of Chinatown is informative and entertaining.
Photo by Michael Reiss

This two hour tour, culminating in an optional lunch at a Chinatown restaurant, covers the history, people, culture, folklore and food of the Chinatown district in San Francisco. Highlights include stops at a herbal pharmacy, fish and produce markets, pastry shops, temples , and an artists studio. Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides make this a memorable experience. The cost is $25 per person without lunch, $37 per person including lunch.

 

 

 

Cooking Class with Shirley Fong-Torres


Shirley's cooking class is fun and informative.
Photo by Michael Reiss

Shirley starts the 2 1/2 hour workshop with a walk to nearby Chinatown markets to purchase the freshest ingredients and learn about Cantonese culinary traditions. Then the fun begins, as you watch and "wok" your way through a multicourse feast prepared by Shirley and the class. Woking is interspersed with tasting and lively conversation that makes for a thoroughly enjoyable culinary experience. The cost is $75 per person including all food.

Shirley Fong-Torres
Walking Tours and Cooking Center

654 Commercial St.,
San Francisco, California
(800)281-9255
(415)981-8989

 

 

Victorian Home Walk Tour
 

Jay Gifford, rain or shine, everyday conducts the fascinating Victorian Home Walk Tour.
Photo by Michael Reiss


 
 

A great way to see San Francisco's famed Victorian "painted ladies" is through the Victorian Home Walk Tour. Jay Gifford, himself a San Francisco resident who owns a Victorian home, conducts this well-researched and fascinating tour. You can view over 200 meticulously restored Victorians and learn how to appreciate the difference between a Queen Anne, Italianate, and Stick Victorian home style. 

The tour leaves daily from the St. Francis Hotel lobby off of Union Square at Powell and Geary streets. This is your opportunity to have a close-up view of San Francisco architecture in a non-rigorous walking format. The cost is a remarkable $20, including transportation. 

Victorian Home Walk Tour
(415) 252-9485 
 

City Guides Free Walking Tours

Get to know the heart and soul of San Francisco by exploring the city on foot. Knowledgeable and entertaining volunteer tour guides share secrets, stories, history, lore and more. Call City Guides for the current schedule which includes: "City Scapes and Public Places" ; "Art Deco Marina" ; "Haight-Ashbury" etc.

City Guides Free Walking Tours
(415) 557-4266

 

 


 


 
 

 

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