Top “Foodie” Destinations for San Francisco / by George Geary

The city by the bay! Since I took culinary classes in the city I get asked where are the places not to be missed. One day a place is hot the next it’s closed. Here is my personal list in no special order…

San Francisco Ferry Building  One Ferry Building

(415) 983-8030  ~

In 1898 opened as a transportation hub for the area. In 1989, it once again served as a transportation hub as the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the bridges and ferry service once again was used. In 2003 it transformed into the beautiful Ferry Building Marketplace.

My love for this building goes beyond the foods and historical value.. It’s now the center core of the city mainly during market days and mornings.


  1. Acme Bread. All over bread of the city are judged by Acme. Crusty, Fresh, Messy on your table! I love going to a restaurant in the city and right when the basket of bread is delivered I can tell if its ACME!
  2. CowGirl Creamery: This place takes me to my favorite cheese store in Cannes, Ceneri Cheeses. Here the gals from Pt. Reyes know how to create a stir. When you pull a ticket and wait your turn don’t be intimidated by all of the cheeses and aromas. Talk to the very helpful staff and tell them what you are thinking of doing with your bounty. Last time I was there I picked out 6 cheeses for a nice platter. The sales gal was impressed! I told her about Cannes.. Which she knew of and always wanted to see. 
  3. Recchiuti Chocolates: Two words.. Salt Caramels! I get cravings for these little squares of salty chocolate creaminess.  The packaging alone is priceless and perfect for a gift. My birthday is in June
  4. Farmers Market: Tuesday, Thursday and the very busy Saturday. I try to get to the market at least once a visit, and with three days a week its easy.. Saturdays are the bridge and tunnel people… But fun and exciting!

18th Street Food Rumble Area!

Between Delores and Mission…. A long block of bliss. First watch the parking signs. It’s not easy to get into these places… 


Tartine Bakery: 600 Guerrero


My favorite bakery for breakfast and coffee. If you go.. make it a weekday when the locals line up. Know what you want.. check the website out.. You order your pastry in the first line and the drinks in the second. If there are two of you.. You better not hold a table while one is ordering.. That’s a no no… Any of the fresh blackberry or cherry yeast things and a must are the Morning Buns.. If you are daring.. try making your own from their book Tartine Bread. If you want a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving order a month ahead.. order two in fact.. pick up the day before which you will see a line about 100 people deep (you get to cute to the front since you have a pre-order) and you can sell your extra pie for $200!


Bi-Rite Creamery 3692 18th Street 

It can be foggy and cold and Bi-Rite will still have a line with 30 minutes wait.  Check their website for the flavors of the day.. Again.. its best to know what you want prior to getting to the front of the line.. If you don’t want to wait.. You can always pick up a copy of their new book.. But really that would take so much longer.. My holiday flavors I love are Ginger Pumpkin and the egg nog.


Defina  Restaurant and Pizzeria Delfina

3621 18th Street ~ 3611 18th Street


This Italian establishment has won numerous awards from James Beard Foundation (2008 Winner). You can get a table as long as you book in advance or an early spot like 7pm. When I ate here after a wedding at city hall we sat next to a group of 12 spry 90 year olds.. They all were from an assisted living home and they go out to eat once a month to a fine place. Now this is a place I want to end up!

Again, check the website for the menu of the day. I love how so many are doing this without having to guess what you want.


Omnivore Books  3885 Cesar Chaves Street


Bookstores come and go.. (Borders, B.Dalton).. Cookbook stores come and go.. (The Cooks Library)… But Omnivore is here to stay. Celia Sack, owner of this small tiny yet functional cookbook store does it different. You have to think out of the box.. With the giants like Amazon selling books so low and postage free how does one have a store? Celia’s ideas are inspirational. All stores could work this way not just cookbook stores. She has a book signing at least once a week, most are free, so you can exchange cooking stories with your icons. A quarterly cooking contest with procedes going to charities, She sells vintage and Antiquarian books (I have jumped on a number of candy, baking and one of my favorite Brown Derby books) She has huge events sometimes at the Castro Street Theater.. Also a worthy signed book of the month type club. You should at least receive her tweets and newsletter as to what’s going on in the publisher world. Once I wanted a book signed for a friend and the author was coming the next week. They took care of it for me. Now just try to get that on Amazon!

Tante Marie’s Cooking School  271 Francisco Street


I must say I have never taught here.. But I have taken a number of specialty classes. If you are in the city for a few days and would like to hone your skills on a subject like knife skills or pies and tarts.. This is the place.  Since 1979 Mary Risley has been teaching the world is a better place when you know your way around a kitchen!

The Ice Cream Bar 815 Cole Street

Just the name itself insights the taste buds to jump.  A 1930s ice cream soda fountain. The owners found the back bar on ebay and drove miles and states to get it.. When you walk in you can see the bar is the focal point of the operation. All of the concoctions are named with humorous over tones. Try the Hot Fudge Sundae as the fudge is home made as the ice cream has been churned and the whipped cream is silky and smooth.  

Let me know if you have a favorite foodie haunt in SF..