261 Columbus Ave., North Beach
This massive indie bookstore has been around since the '50s (when it served as a meeting spot for the literary-minded beatniks) and is now a bona fide San Francisco institution. Make sure to check the events calendar before your visit.
1652 Stockton St., North Beach
The "park" in Park Tavern is a reference to Washington Square Park, which sits directly in front of the history-steeped space that originally housed a wood and coal yard. Dinner at this Jennifer Puccio-run spot is a grand affair with a fish and meat-centric menu to match. In addition to just-caught roasted halibut and outstanding roasted chicken, you’ll also find the "Marlowe" burger—a carryover from their sister restaurant, Marlowe. Their private room on the Mezzanine level has cool black-and-white graphic wallpaper and a dedicated bar.
242 Columbus Ave., North Beach
This historic kitchen (the space has been around for over a century) churns out the kind of no-frills, endlessly satisfying Italian food we all love. After a two-year closure, Tosca is back with new ownership and a refreshed interior courtesy of Ken Fulk. Settle into their comfy parklet for a morning cappuccino, or commit to the full prixe-fixe menu of Italian classics for dinner.
1519 Grant Ave., North Beach
This homey shop has been taking up the same space in North Beach for 25 years, so it makes sense that owner Howard Gee has had plenty of time to figure out exactly what his clientele wants. And apparently, what they want is really great denim from established (APC, 3x1, Levi's Vintage Collection) and on-the-low (Matias, Rogue Territory brands, Ubi). It's also one of the few stores in the area catering to both men and women.