Palihouse Santa Barbara
915 Garden St., Santa Barbara
The new Palihouse Santa Barbara is, in a word, dreamy. Located in the heart of the historic Presidio neighborhood, the hotel is perfect for a quiet, relaxing getaway with the cozy feel only a boutique property can deliver. We love the Spanish Colonial-inspired architecture, warm textiles, and pretty pool area. The swish hotel bar is a great spot to grab a Palisade sangria—peaches and white wine—before heading out for a bite to eat at (die-hard pizza fans should hit up Bettina). Thoughtful amenities like complimentary Linus bicycles, a Palisociety-curated neighborhood guide, Smeg toasters, and hot water bottles (nights can be chilly!) on-demand adds to the boutique, home-away-from-home feel. Next time we’re in town, we’ll be staying here.
The Anchovy Bar
1740 O'Farrell St., Fillmore
If you’re as obsessed with State Bird Provisions as we are, add Anchovy Bar to your SF roster. This slick, slate-gray space dishes up tasty platters of salty anchovies waiting to be smeared onto toasted ciabatta and topped with crisp radishes and crème Fraiche. This is the spot to dip into with a date or a friend to split grilled oysters, a few variations of those tiny, oily fish, and the unmissable Meyer lemon-miso clams. Images courtesy of Patricia Chang.
3340 E. 12th St., Oakland
Nyum Bai is all about contemporary takes on Cambodian classics with a soundtrack of sixties, Khmer rock and roll for the hungry diner. Savory clams in lemongrass broth, Khmer fried chicken, zingy shrimp, and what feels like a million spicy-salty-sweet-sour soups and sauces crowd the casual tables. Don’t leave without trying a Thai iced tea (the perfect ratio of black tea to cream to condensed milk) and the durian crème brûlée.
Quince at the Farm
615 Horseshoe Hill Rd., Bolinas
Chef Michael Tusk lives and breathes the farm-to-table philosophy. So much so that his San Francisco staple Quince has expanded its restaurant into a regular pop-up on Fresh Run Farm outside Bolinas. This expansion makes sense, given Fresh Run’s farmers are behind the dozens of heirloom varietals grown especially for Quince, Cotogna, and Verjus. How does it work? Lunch kicks off with a tour of the farm, followed by several courses of California’s bounty paired with Quince cellar wines. Afterward, wander, relax, and socialize with fellow diners around the lush grounds. Tusk’s pop-up is hugely popular, so snag a reservation early or commandeer a gang of friends and book a private gathering. Images courtesy of Dora Tsui.
528 Washington St., Jackson Square
Verjus is San Francisco’s answer to a contemporary Parisian wine bar. Think Septime, but in Washington Square. The owners are the duo behind Cotogna and Quince, so you already know the food will be fabulous. French-inspired plates like cheesy croquettes and duck confit dominate the sit-down restaurant menu (at the back of the space), while the tasting area is all about lighter bites, cheese, and tinned fish on toast. The wine list is, in two words: extensive and impressive. You could dine and drink at Verjus every week of the year and try something new each time. We love it here, and you will too.
Gallery Wendi Norris
8 Octavia St., Hayes Valley
Wendi Norris runs one of the most cutting-edge, meticulously curated galleries in San Francisco. Norris spent ten years in tech before pivoting to the art world. Her gallery represents a wide span of contemporary and modern creatives, focusing on Latinx surrealists like Leonora Carrington. To follow the gallery’s roster of artists is a commitment, given Norris’s penchant for site-specific exhibits across cities other than San Francisco.
3354 Grand Ave., Oakland
Cool, casual, packed with locals—dogs and kids in tow—Ordinaire feels like the village gathering space. And in a way, it is. It’s the kind of wine-bar-meets-tasting-room-meets-store where you pop in to buy a bottle and end up staying to taste a few glasses with strangers who become friends. A stalwart of the Oakland wine scene, the bar has been around for a while, but regular events and menu changes mean Ordinaire feels fresh every time. Images courtesy of Terri Lowenthal.
Minnesota Street Project
1275 Minnesota St., Dogpatch
This corner of Dogpatch is dedicated to providing accessible and affordable (on a long- and short-term basis) space for artists to thrive. Founded by collectors Deborah and Andy Rappaport, the project spans three cavernous warehouses and provides living space for San Francisco’s contemporary artists to call home. Two of these warehouses are open free to the public. Here. you’ll find ten galleries, each with its own hours. Don’t miss the current Raymond Saunders retrospective (until June 25th).
28 Waverly Pl., Chinatown
From the crew behind Mister Jiu’s, Moongate Lounge is that sexy, moody cocktail bar you dip into when dinner’s over but you’re not ready to go home. An exciting drinks list feels just right after plates of sea urchin and mapo tofu at Jiu’s downstairs lures you in. But it’s the plush velvet sofas, dusky pink light, and bowls of spicy peanuts that keep you lingering well past bedtime.
420 3rd St., Oakland
Airy, bright, and beyond soothing, Minimo is a space for lingering. A long communal table encourages tasting and talking with a pack of friends or whomever you find yourself next to. The name “Minimo” translates from Italian to minimal—a nod to the strictly low-intervention, mostly biodynamic, terroir-driven wine list. If outdoor sipping is more your vibe, Minimo’s patio area is part of a larger block party in collaboration with a neighboring brewery and grill. Take a seat, order a wine flight, or a bottle off the shelves inside, a cheese board or something tasty from the restaurant next door, and chill. To really get into the convivial Oakland vibe, join Minimo’s wine club or attend one of their tastings, often led by a wine-maker. Images courtesy of Alison Christiana.
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