NFT San Francisco Financial District / SOMA

Financial District / SOMA

Essentials
With the Ferry Building's popular farmers market and AT&T Park's success, development dollars funnel into South Beach along the Embarcadero in the form of condos. During the daytime, the Financial District teems with workers scurrying around the Transamerica Pyramid and other historic buildings.

Sundries/Entertainment
A coffee shop or a big-bank ATM is most certainly on every corner, and there is no shortage of happy hour bars. For downtown lunch enjoyment there are hole-in-the-walls and fancy restaurants for all, whether a Downtown full-timer, a Moscone Center convention attendee, or a visitor to See more.

>SFMOMA on free first Tuesday of the month.

Perbacco comes as advertised and The Slanted Door is worth it. Meanwhile, Sam's Grill and Tadich Grill are two classics. R&G Lounge is a great inexpensive option. Possibly the greatest Chinese experience in all the land is House of Nanking in Chinatown, where you'll consider yourself lucky to wait in line only to be rushed out, with the best fried rice you've ever eaten in between.

San Francisco is one of the great literary cities, and City Lights is a national treasure. If you're looking for photography supplies, try Adolph Gasser, Photographers Supply or Discount Camera. Hit up Camper for shoes.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
People Soup: Tourist Tourism

By Dan Bollwinkel
Tourists: Graceless, smelly, and reminiscent of an M.C. Escher lithograph. Or so Dan Bollwinkel would have us believe. But that doesn't mean the fools are all bad. After all, they sure know how to pick a pretty bridge to photograph, and they do serve as visual examples of how the other 49 states live. So swallow your pride, and flagrantly violate the eponymous creed of our books and website. Follow the tourists!

Read More...
Biking the Hills of SF

By Jeremy Smith
Biking in San Francisco: So romantic, so liberated, so much more than you bargained for. Let Jeremy Smith guide your trembling hand cross the foothills, o'er the embankments as he leads you to a topographically enlivening land you never thought you deserved to see.

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On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Cristian Cartes
Photo:  Cristian Cartes

Red Blossom Tea Company
Located in the heart of bustling Chinatown, this little tea shop is a calming oasis. For the tea connoisseur and for the newbie this shop has it all. They have a wide array of oolongs, pu-erhs, green and whites teas. If you're baffled by what a "pu-erh tea" is, worry not! The staff is educated and friendly and they will teach you all you need to know about the different teas, their history, culture and properties. Red Blossom also sells teapot sets and steepers so you can have your own tea ceremony at home. If you're feeling a bit more daring and would like to make your own blend, they have a whole back section of herbs where you can mix and match and make your own custom herbal infusions. What's also fun about Red Blossom is that they take the time to do tea tastings where you can sit down with a tea expert, taste the tea and learn about where it comes from and what makes is unique. The prices on the vary, as some teas are higher grade than others but everything here is quite reasonable. You'll leave with some delicious tea and just a bit more knowledgeable about this age old tradition.



Posted By:  Cheri Lucas
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Rickhouse
Forget this spot if you're looking for a fast, cheap drink in a dive bar. Located in the Financial District, Rickhouse is an ideal drinking hole for suits getting off work, but also friends who want to meet up for creatively made cocktails in a classy yet cavernous space.(Seriously, at times it's like you're lounging in a cave of sorts, with liquor stacked high on the walls.) The stylishly dressed bartenders take their grand old time making your concoctions, and the atmosphere, particularly during happy hour and weekday evenings, is lively, a bit loud, but still tolerable. The bar's got an old-school feel: it's a refined place to sip your libation in leisure.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Miette
Dear Miette Patisserie, I've previously expressed appreciation for your Confisserie, but for me it's the Patisserie that takes the cake. Every time I walk by your Ferry Building shop, with your pink walls, impeccably decorated cakes, and beautifully packaged cookies, I swear I can hear the angels sing. I'm constantly tempted by your cute old-fashioned cake with its marshmallow icing topped with candied peanut, your tartlettes, your Parisian macaroons, and even your cute little chocolate chip cookies. I don't know how I can manage to resist buying the entire store whenever I stop by. Just promise me that you will never, ever give up your place in the Ferry Building. I, as well as many other loyal customers, will be devastated if you do.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Island Earth Farmers Market
We love our farmers markets, but they only come around once a week. If you miss it, you've got to wait it out for another seven days before we can pick up our farm-fresh produce and specialty foods. The Island Earth Farmers Market strives to be different from the others--it's indoors, for one thing, so it possesses the feel of a food court. But even without being in the open air, and without the scope of its larger counterparts at the Ferry Building and Lakeshore, the market delivers all the goods daily, so you can pick up your groceries at your convenience. Even if you're not coming for produce or specialty mustard, you an pop in for a cheap healthy lunch. Stalls offer everything from empanadas to pan-African cuisine, so you can add a bit more variety to your workday lunches than salads and burritos.



Posted By:  Meat Meister
Photo:  Meat Meister

Annabelle's Bar & Bistro
Locals have probably walked by Annabelle's Bar & Bistro a thousand times, thinking it's a last-minute eatery for tourists drifting over from the Hilton or astray from Union Square. And we're partially correct in our assumption. But a hopping after-work bar, plus sustainable-sourced steaks from the Painted Hills Ranch co-op in the capable hands of Executive Chef Larry Plaskowy make Annabelle's Bar & Bistro a downright delight for an evening of truly comforting American food. The pork chop and steaks are simply seasoned and grilled, and come with all the natural jus that makes each bite burst with flavor. And the Anchor Steam-braised short ribs, a menu staple, are like strips of velvet. There's a 3-course prix fixe for $33, but it's worth getting those meaty mains or the locally featured seafood dishes. The decor is casual comfort bistro style, with a more romantic back room imbued with stained glass accents. Annabelle's is a great downtown surprise.



Posted By:  Meat Meister
Photo:  Meat Meister

Taylor's Automatic Refresher
Harkening back to simple, 1950's-era burger joints, Taylor's Automatic Refresher has a toned-down sense of Americana. Folks line up daily for the great burgers, all grilled to order, and their milkshakes are meals unto themselves. The bacon-cheeseburger is superb but sadly, all fries (potato or sweet potato) are a la carte and nearly $4. Taylor's has a spacious indoor area with communal tables, plus a great outdoor patio with both tables and long picnic benches, but beware of the cadre of feisty pigeons that make roost above. If you're anywhere along the Embarcadero between Fisherman's Wharf and AT&T Park, this is your best burger destination.



Posted By:  Meat Meister
Photo:  Meat Meister

Eden & Eden
If you had an aunt with astounding taste hand-pick jewelry, clothes, and design items for you, you'd be stoked. Eden & Eden, a little shop in North Beach, emulates that fantasy experience. Smart jewelry from Tatty Devine, London bus window rolls that stretch from floor to ceiling, clothing collections from emerging European designers, and a few high-ticket temptations from London super-design group Established & Sons are among the standouts. There are also Wedgwood-produced artist plates and mugs featuring architectural drawings of postwar buildings and Natthakur's brilliant leather satchels that mimic sweet shop bags. Proprietor Rachel Eden's quirky style starts with the giant shop doorknob and ancient Vespa immediately inside (for kickstarts and giggles), and wins over locals seeking select objects of cool. Eden & Eden is like a personally curated event that you discover anew in every eyeful glance. It's nearly impossible to walk away without buying something that makes you smile.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

The Sentinel
I'm not one to spend $8 on a sandwich. Heck, I rarely grab sandwiches on the go. If I can construct one at home that's just as good for about 25% of the cost, why bother? I might as well save the money for a more worthy restaurant meal. But if there's one sandwich shop I'll make an exception and pay premium prices for, it's The Sentinel. Whether you prefer meat or veggies, the fillings are delicious and of the highest quality, generously stuffed into a buttery toasted roll. There's no way I can duplicate these goodies in my own kitchen. They even take enough care to keep the accompanying pickle in a paper sleeve to keep the sandwich from getting soggy. The selections, which often include B.A.L.T. (basil, avocado, lettuce, tomato) and corned beef, change weekly, giving us all the more reason to keep coming back.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Shanghai 1930
I'm more or less a purist when it comes to Chinese food. None of that sweet 'n sour stuff for me. And living up to the stereotype, I wouldn't drop big bucks for it, either. If it's not cheap, what's the point? So it would seem that Shanghai 1930 would be the last place I'd go for dinner. But being my friend's birthday, and it was her restaurant of choice, I didn't mind, especially since it wasn't P.F. Chang's. Selecting dishes of chicken, eggplant, and dumplings to share, I was quite satisfied with the food, although the garlic noodles left a little more to be desired. It wasn't authentic, for sure, but nicely done for what it was. The ginger creme brulee and jazz were definitely a bonus--and I don't even like ginger. Split between our party of five, the price was actually quite reasonable.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

SFMOMA
Just been laid off and suddenly find yourself with an abundance of free time, while spending too much money? Mark the first Tuesday of every month on your calendar, when the MOMA, DeYoung, and Asian Art Museum are free. It may have been years since your last visit, probably because you didn't feel like shelling out $12 for the entry fee and you were too busy working on the days that were free. So if you're a victim of the recession, you can at least take advantage of a free museum visit. Enjoy this opportunity while everyone else still has to work.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Paladar Cafe Cubano
Having exhausted all the decent burrito, chow fun, and deli sandwich joints within a 3-block radius of the office, I decided I needed to venture further to find a new lunch fix. And while 6 blocks may be twice the usual distance, it was still a reasonable walk to me to get to Paladar for Cuban food, a good change of pace from my usual haunts. The scrumptuous platos fuertes, like fricasse de pollo and camarones al ajillo, are on the heavy side, and pricier than what I'd normally spend. There are also bocadillos with delicious fillings, including chicken breast with roasted peppers, black bean spread and herb aioli, Spanish chorizo, and manchego cheese for those looking for a lighter and cheaper lunch. The distance and prices won't deter me from coming back. Paladar's food is definitely worth the effort.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Maya
Initially, I stuck with Maya's take-out counter. I didn't need a fancy sit-down lunch, and I really shouldn't be spending more than $10 for it. The chicken mole would taste equally good in a burrito as it would on a plate. But occasionally, it is worth a little splurge and indulgence, and I finally tried Maya's famous mole with a side of plantains. It was delicious, of course, and upon seeing the dessert menu, my coworker and I decided to splash out and get the chocolate tres leches cake as well. While the final bill may not have been pretty to look at, it was worth trying the proper Maya experience just this once. But in the future, we'll probably stick with the take-out counter--the same tastes at a fraction of the cost.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

What's Up Dog!
I haven't eaten a real hot dog since junior high, and have no real desire to start again. The very phrase brings back memories of the boiled, disfigured sausages of my childhood that I would rather not revisit, and besides, not to mention that I've since given up most pork and beef. Lately though, I've been craving a good, juicy sausage in a bun with toppings, and realized that many hot dog vendors have branched out to accommodate people like myself with discriminating palates. What's Up Dog, in addition to traditional pork sausages, also serves up delicious varieties like chicken linguica, Santa Fe turkey, and a veggie dog, all of which I'd love to try. Throw in an order of garlic fries and it'll easily make my day.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Stacey's Bookstore
First Cody's, now Stacey's. Another Bay Area institution has bitten the dust. Even after Berkeley's bookstore powerhouse closed its doors, I was glad that at least Stacey's was still around. A literary respite amid the hustle and bustle of Market, I could slip in during a break from work and scan the bestsellers, travel guides, and magazines for reading material. Now it's gone. Despite the store's failed efforts to keep the store running until the end of its lease, the 85 years it has had is still impressive. It's still a shame, though, that it became yet another victim o the economic downturn.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Mixt Greens
I don't like spending more than $5 on a salad when I could easily assemble one myself. So the prospect of spending $10.95 for one of Mixt Green's specialty salads was more or less out of the question, until I decided that a restaurant dedicated to environmental responsibility in every aspect of the business was worth a try. Not only is all of the food organic and locally-produced, but its take-out containers are made from 100% biodegradable corn plastic and the restaurant itself is built with sustainable materials. The salad itself came in a fairly generous portion, and the quality ingredients, like the herb-marinated chicken and white-truffle potatoes were enough to justify their premium price. Occasionally, it's worth paying a little more, when you can taste the difference and you know that you’re making an environmentally responsible choice.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Tropisueño
If there's one complaint I have about SOMA, it's that the Mission isn't closer. Without La Taqueria nearby, one has to settle for Chipotle, Andale, or Maya. Not necessarily poor choices, but they just don't provide the taste--or the price--of the Mission. But that was before Tropisueno arrived, tucked between St. Patrick's Church and the Four Seasons Hotel. At first glance, it wouldn’t look like a contender--a little too chic to be producing Mission-style burritos--but my first bite of a pollo asado burrito easily dispelled any doubts. Another place to add to my list, and one that's also classy enough for dinner and drinks after work to boot. Welcome, Tropisueno!



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Whole Foods Market
Working in SOMA, it's easy to overlook what's right in my backyard when I want to go out for lunch. There's the greasy Chinese take-outs, bulging burritos, overpriced Thai, gourmet delis--sometimes, you just need a break from the fast food, even if it's not KFC. Then I realized how close Whole Foods was. I could pick up some prepared food and do some grocery shopping. If I wanted to cheat, I could throw together a hot lunch plate. The selection is by no means limited--there are more choices (and more exotic and wholesome) than your college cafeteria. While a single enchilada is covered in enough cheese to give you a heart attack, the house-made sushi, agua frescas and lassis give me reason to believe that there are some decent choices to be found. Not that there is any reason to doubt; this is Whole Foods, after all.




Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

SF Farmers Market at Crocker Galleria
It's Thursday, one of my favorite days to be working in the city. Not because there's only one more day till the weekend, but 'cause it's the day of the farmers market (11-3) at the Crocker Galleria. The day that, in the heart of the hustle and bustle of downtown, there are lots of fresh produce and wholesome treats to be sampled. You can almost make a meal out of the slices of fruit, marinated olives, nuts, bits of smoked salmon, and fresh apple cider, not to mention Afghani bolani topped with a savory spread. As much as I love the Ferry Building farmers market, it's refreshing to have another one to look forward to, especially one that doesn't require me to walk all the way down to the Embarcadero.




Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Muracci's Japanese Curry & Grill
The name might throw you off or make some of us skeptical, but don't let it be a deterrent--Muracci's serves up a more than decent Japanese lunch. Curry is the specialty here, and unlike Indian and Thai curries that are known to be fattening, Muraccis' curry is cooked with vegetables, herbs and spices for 2 days, making it thick and creamy without the grease. As a bonus, there is no extra charge if you want brown rice. For a bit of variety, you can instead have your curry in a bowl of noodle soup, or go with Japanese lunch favorites like teriyaki chicken, katsu, or agedashi tofu that come with a small green salad and Muracci’s unique take on potato salad. Wash everything down with high-quality Lupicia tea.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Yank Sing
For being one of the city's best places to have dim sum, one would expect Yank Sing to also have a decent take-out service. But Yank Sing 2 Go, while a convenient alternative for those who don't have the time for a leisurely lunch, falls short of the high standards set by its dine-in counterpart. Surely they could do better than offering generic chow mein or fried rice with a few standard dim sum items. And what's up with the deep-fried cheese and prawn wontons that come with the Seafood Supreme package? Even if we don't have time for a proper sit-down lunch, we deserve something closer to the authentic, translucent shrimp dumplings or crispy tofu rolls Yank Sing is famous for. I must admit, though, it is a decent place to pick up goodies like pork buns, even if they are a bit overpriced.




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See Financial District / SOMA...
Restaurants (102)
Nightlife (38)
Shopping (43)
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