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.
Atelier Lan Jaenicke
431 Jackson St., Jackson Square
Savile Row, London, 1920s. That is what came to mind when we visited this impeccable atelier in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square. Owner and designer Lan Jaenicke will fit you for a custom piece, be it one of her architectural dresses or a silk blouse that feels like you’re cloaked in a cloud. Jaenicke, who has an unparalleled skill for creating clothing that is poetic and timeless, wanted the space to show the entire design process, from the fitting to the construction. (She actually sews some of the pieces on the premises.) You can also eye the ready-to-wear collection, all in silk, cashmere, and linen. And even if you’re not looking to shop and you’re just wandering down Jackson Street to admire the old facades, this boutique is worth a visit. Jaenicke has considered—and honored—every element of this 1860s brick-and-cast-iron building that was once the original Ghirardelli chocolate factory. She punctuated the space with antique scales, shimmering selenite hearts, and dried lavender. Everything is in harmony here.
19 Wentworth Pl, Jackson Square
The website doesn't really do Basil Racuk's artisan accessories justice, so it's a good thing he opened a brick and mortar boutique. Bags, pouches, clutches, and the like are all handmade on-site using natural hides and can be customized as little or as much as you like. We're particularly fond of the totes, which are longer in silhouette and come in metallics as well as neutrals. For guys, there are excellent luggage pieces.
490 Pacific Ave., Jackson Square
Not nearly as fancy as sister restaurant, Quince, Cotogna serves up Northern Italian fare using the highest quality ingredients from nearby markets. It’s the kind of stuff we’d happily eat on a nightly basis: fresh pastas, veggie plates, wood-fired pizza, and simple fish entrees. In the elegant, almost all-wood dining room, the vibe is lively but not loud as tables are generously spaced. If you can get a table, great, if not, dining at the bar while watching the chefs at work is pretty awesome, too. A better option yet is to snag the Chef's Table in front of the open kitchen (or reserve the entire place).
470 Pacific Ave., Jackson Square
Michael Tusk's Quince has fast become the standard for fine dining, so it's no surprise that his catering business, Tusk Events, is booming. They can handle events of any size, but it's good to remember that Quince's family-style tables can also be reserved for large parties—a nice option if you're looking to host a gathering with minimal-effort. The various tasting menus, aided by a miles-long wine list, make for a pretty perfect weekend date night or decadent catch-up session with pals.