This rooftop bar, which are surprisingly hard to come by in SF, is located on top of the Kelly Wearstler designed Proper Hotel and is one of my favorite spots to meet for drinks. I love the eclectic California design and it has ample indoor/outdoor seating in case Karl the Fog decides to crash your date.
Jason and I went on one of our first dates here and well, you know how that turned out 😉. They have a superb wine, cheese and charcuterie selection that allows for maximum flexibility on a date. You can start with drinks and a cheese plate (be sure to ask the in-house cheesemonger which ones pair best with your wine choice) but if things are going well they also have a food menu with heavy appetizers that are enough to keep the night rolling into a light dinner.
If you don’t drink alcohol and/or coffee is more your vibe, I’d recommend The Mill on Divisadero Street. Grab a latte and ricotta toast before strolling to nearby Alamo Square, home of the famous Painted Ladies.
This is my all-time favorite restaurant in San Francisco. Its chic and cozy interior means there aren’t a lot of tables so be sure to secure a reservation far in advance! The service is impeccable and the food is quintessential California cuisine – think really fresh and pleasantly paired dishes. The lumberjack cake is not to be missed!
Newer on the SF restaurant scene, this restaurant is seafood focused and the chef comes from the same group as Saison (a 3 Michelin star restaurant in the city). It was on my hit list pre-pandemic, and I finally had the chance to visit the other week. I was blown away by the creativity and deliciousness of every dish – I’d highly recommend the big-eyed tuna with tomato jelly and shiso, radicchio salad and grilled hand-dived scallops.
This is a family-run Italian restaurant in my neighborhood and my go to spot for high-end Italian food in the city. I find the the squid ink pasta exquisite, but honestly this is the type of place where you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Che Fico (KAY-FEECO)
This Italian-California restaurant is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, with its open kitchen, Italian market essence and custom fig wallpaper. Gwyneth Paltrow and Anderson Cooper are known to visit but don’t go for a celebrity sighting – go for the pineapple pizza! Some of my other menu favorites (although it changes regularly) are the suppli and olive oil cake.
I love this Cantonese restaurant just as much as I love Brandon Jew’s desire to pay homage the Chinatown community he grew up in. The menu is phenomenally crafted – I think we ordered one of everything because it all sounded (and tasted) so good. You enter through an alley in Chinatown which adds to the mystique, and I love the back wall of windows that over look the cityscape all the way to the Ferry Building.
I also ordered the candle they had in their bathroom… anyone else ever do that? You can find it here.
Looking to impress
Spruce is a home run, every time. As long as you can secure a reservation, it’s guaranteed to impress a date. This Michelin-starred restaurant has an approachable menu (the burger is sublime), attentive service and one of the most impressive wine lists in the city.
Kokkari is a San Francisco staple and makes you feel like you’re eating at your Greek best friend’s house. It has a rustic, old-world charm epitomized by the giant fireplace in the front dining room… I always feel like I could dine here for hours. The food is outrageously good and generously sized – perfect for order a few plates to share. My must order items are the octopus starter, branzino special and goat stew.