Hayes Valley is this cute, trendy and upscale area where I feel like not enough people who live in the northeast neighborhoods of San Francisco venture to. It has some of the best restaurants, cutest buildings, boutiques and cafes in the city, in my opinion. Next time you have a free day, wander over to Hayes Valley, and see for yourself. Here's a guide of things to do and see:
Download this neighborhood guide article (with GPS maps) on your smartphone here!
BEST OUTDOOR AREAS
Patricia's Green has lots of pop up shops, food stands, cool graffiti from floor to ceiling, and PROXY, an outdoor theater. You'll always find plenty of people hanging out and roaming around in this area on a nice day.
An outdoor beer garden with German bier and pretzels where you'll sit at large communal tables. This place is always packed on a nice, sunny day!
There are so many cute street corners, shops, and colorful buildings in Hayes Valley. Wander around and get lost in the neighborhood's charm.
Photo of the grilled ribeye from Rich Table
Rich Table is my new favorite restaurant. The chefs, Evan and Sarah Rich, are a husband-and-wife team. Sarah spent time working as a sous-chef for Michael Mina and Evan used to work as chef de cuisine at Quince prior to opening their restaurant, Rich Table, in Hayes Valley. The food here has two things you don't often see focus on: 1) each menu item has aspects of both sweet and savory, and 2) each menu item has textures of both soft and crunchy. I love these contrasting elements! My favorite dish here is the "Dried Porcini Doughnuts, Raclette."
Souvla is the perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner. Inspired by traditional Souvlaki joints in Greece, Souvla serves Greek sandwiches (gyros) with the most tender and delicious meats. ALSO, be sure to try their greek frozen yogurt. My favorite is the greek yogurt with olive oil and sea salt. Amazing is the only way to describe it. My mouth is already watering as I type this!
Souvla's american homestead pork shoulder sandwich
This gluten-free restaurant features amazing small, California-style dishes. They also have amazing coffee! The menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner look amazing, and not to mention healthy. My favorite dish here is the "Steak on NON Flatbread." The ambiance here is perfect too, full of minimalist design, wood, copper, and plants.
Photo of Little Gem's Steak on NON Flatbread
This carnival-themed restaurant serves circus-inspired Californian dishes. It's a very unique place. Definitely not healthy, but a creative menu and whimsical atmosphere that's necessary to at least try once. Straw was featured on the Food Network's "Weirdest Restaurants" and Cooking Channel's "Off-Beat Eats." As a huge doughnut fan, I was pretty much required to try their famous dish: "The Ringmaster: Straw's Favorite Doughnut Master." I do love the savory-sweet combo, but it is SO rich. I would recommend trying it, but sharing a few dishes because it's just too much for one person!
This place has truly authentic German food with fare like prezels and schnitzels. They also serve imported beers, in das boots! The portion sizes are huge, so you could definitely split an entree between two people. My favorite dish here is "Wiener Schnitzel vom Schweinmit Bratkartoffeln und Grünem Salat."
RESTAURANTS STILL ON MY BUCKET LIST
This is a cool clothing boutique with both women's and men's high end fashion. It's more on the expensive side with brands like Alexander Wang, James Perse, etc.
This is a cute, trendy, women's boutique offering jeans, shoes, accessories and more. I love the style here! They carry brands like Vince, Audrey, Paige, Cheap Monday, etc.
Dish has a mix of mid- to high-end fashion brands, with frequent sales and an amazing jewelry selection!
Cute store full of trendy jewelry and accessories.
This is a trendy bar with an old world ambiance. They have a variety of specialty cocktails as well as artisan spirits if you prefer to drink straight up. This is my favorite bar in Hayes Valley.
This bar has a vintage European vibe. There's lots of books if you are a book worm, it's a great place to go and read while having a cocktail, or to just socialize with your friends. I definitely want to bring my book club here for our next meeting!
Great place to watch a sports game without the "sports bar" look and feel. They have lots for cocktails and unique shots.
An upscale cocktail bar. This place also have screens, so like The Dobbs Bar, it's a great place to watch a game! Try the "Hayes Zinger" cocktail!
(NEWLY ADDED) Anina
Anina has the cutest, outdoor patio with string lights lining the sky, in addition to its floral interiors at the inside bar. Definitely swing by for an apertivo when the weather's nice!
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar (*I'm still yet to try!)
Listed above under restaurants to try as well, but I've heard this is also a great place to drink later in the night!
Smugglers Cove (*I'm still yet to try!)
This place always has a line. They let in ~45 people at a time, and it goes one person in as one goes out after that. So, net net - get their early.
BEST COFFEE SHOPS
A modern cafe that roasts beans with every order. You can also buy their beans to make at home.
This permanent pop up at Patricia's Green of a well-known coffeehouse chain in San Francisco. The coffee is so fresh and flavorful, as it's roasted daily.
This major player in third wave coffee, headquarted in Oakland, has a Hayes Valley location. It's arguably a favorite (rival of Philz) to San Francisco urbanites.
A great place to grab a coffee, snack, or get some work done. They have outdoor seating and a variety of vegan options.