Finding good food in Hayes Valley

In my first post, on getting around San Francisco, I said that the next installment would cover where to eat in the city.  I began this piece with the intention of covering all of San Francisco before quickly realizing my hubris.  I’m going to make this a series within a series and do a few posts about food, since there’s so much to cover.  Our first neighborhood: Hayes Valley.

I tend to find a neighborhood I like and hole up there, not venturing out into new ones until I have a very specific reason to so do. I was introduced to Hayes Valley by my fiancé, who was then living in the area.

Man drinking coffee.
David (Sarah’s fiancé) enjoys some coffee at La Boulange.

The first neighborhood I fell for in San Francisco was Hayes Valley.  Right off the Van Ness muni stop (one stop down from Civic Center BART station) the opera, SF Jazz Center, and the San Francisco Ballet are all within walking distance.  If you’re in the city for less expensive, day-trippy stuff, Hayes Valley is foodie heaven.

Here’s my shortlist of places to visit in Hayes Valley: (Vegan friendly is marked “V”/ Gluten-free is “GF”)

Ritual Coffee Roasters  not only has wonderful coffee but is also a really nice place to be on a sunny day, because of their outdoor tables.  The baristas are fun and laid back and, as many places in SF do, Ritual provides dog treats.  (almond milk is available) 

Juice Shop has pricey but wonderful cold-pressed juices.  Don’t be fooled by their closet-like appearance.  The juice delivers just what you’d expect from cold-pressed, seasonal, organic juice: good flavor, energy, and refreshment. V/GF 

La Boulange (closing soon :[ ) has lovely, affordable pastries and plenty of other food/coffee/tea.  Try to visit before they close (projected to be happening in September).  La Boulange is a company started in SF, and the atmosphere is really warm and fun – good for summer reading or a friend date. V/GF 

Patxi’s Pizza has great pizza that you’ll smell from a block away and not be able to resist. V

Two Sisters Bar and Books is just as it sounds; they even have a window seat.  One of the two sisters who started the bar is often there.  If you’re in the mood to chat, ask how the place got started. V (possibly GF, menu changes often)

Smitten Ice Cream makes your ice cream to order (freezing with liquid nitrogen, way cooler and less scary than it sounds).

– the Biergarten has such a great atmosphere – benches and blankets if it’s cold and lights strung up around the tables.  It’s a really relaxed place to get a beer or an authentic pretzel with friends (I lived in Germany, I know what authenticity tastes like ;]), though it gets rather loud and studying might be difficult.  V

There are so so many more!  An organic Mexican restaurant, Papito, a fully (and authentically) German restaurant, Suppenküche, a chocolatier (with vegan options), Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate … I could go on and on.  Instead, I encourage you to go visit on your own and to let me know how you liked it.


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