NFT San Francisco Hayes Valley / The Mission

Hayes Valley / The Mission

Essentials
It's two great neighborhoods in one--slightly more fashionable Hayes Valley to the north of Market and the beginning of the Mission to the south. This area has tons of mass transit, highway on/off ramps, festivals, parades, old buildings, new lofts, and everything else thrown in. You won't be bored.

Sundries/Entertainment
You'll never go hungry, whether you've got $5 or $500 to spend on food--everything from Pancho Villa and Limon to Delfina and Slow Club and dozens of places in between. Shopping is equally stellar--from the fashionable shops on Hayes to Valencia institutions such as See more.

>826 Valencia, Paxton Gate, and Good Vibrations.

Minako is organic Japanese, Manora's Thai is yum, and Luna Park is a consistent favorite, but Zuni Café's roasted chicken is sublime, even revelatory, and San Francisco's restaurant scene will be forever indebted to Judy Rodgers.

Window shop on Hayes Street. For your home, there's Monument, Harrington Galleries, and Propeller. Go to Box Dog Bicycles for your ride. At Clothes Contact you can buy clothes by the pound. Oh, and the ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery is great.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
High Culture Trifecta for Cheapskates!

By Catherine Wargo
Who needs money when you have opera... symphonies... and ballet? In San Francisco, all these things can be had on the (relative) cheap. So come, partake of these treasures before the tide turns.

Read More...
School Days

By Catherine Wargo
It's not just a popular 1907 song, it's a sentimental prayer for the past. But now that you're old and grey and the wheels of time cans't be rewound, indulge in some childish acts, from language-learning to craft-making to graffiti-tagging. Catherine Wargo will show you the way.

Read More...
Mission San Francisco de Asis: The Center of the City

By James Wigdel
The oldest extant building in San Francisco, "Mission Dolores" has weathered many storms, known many torrents. The times have changed, but the Mission remains.

Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Carolyne Rohrig
Photo:  Carolyne Rohrig

Absinthe
Before you go to the opera and the ballet have a bite at Absinthe. The Croque Monsieur is a toasty delight filled with Black Forest ham, Gruyere, Dijon mustard, and bechamel. The Cheddar grilled cheese is not your mother's recipe, but is filled with pickled red onion, jalapeno-sun-dried tomato jam, and go ahead, add bacon for that extra zing. The cocktails are delicious. The decor is tres French. And you'll be off to an amazing start before the show.



Posted By:  Andrew Savage
Photo:  Andrew Savage

Taqueria Cancun
The burrito which all burritos aspire to be. The wee-hours are usually the busiest time for this Mission staple, so be prepared to share lines with the late night set. You know the drill, gargantuan burritos wrapped in foil. They take two hands to eat. Comes with complimentary chips and salsa. All ingredients are fresh and used in accordance with one another. In other words, nothing clashes; nothing is superfluous. Fillings include an array of meats (carne asada, lengua, sesos, chorizo) or vegetariano. Wash it all down with cold Horchata.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

La Oaxaquena
Go ahead, try something new. If it's a chicken burrito or taco with carne asada you're craving, it's hard to go wrong at any Mission taqueria, but for something totally different head to La Oaxaquena. The name should tip you off that this is the place to go for Oaxacan specialties like tlayuda, a cross between a pizza and a tostada, and the chicken mole tamale. With all the Latin American and regional Mexican cuisines represented in the neighborhood, it's surprising that Oaxaca's food isn't more prevalent, which means I'm all the more appreciative of La Oaxaquena. The tlayuda, a large tortilla grilled and slathered with refried beans and topped with lettuce, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, and a choice of meat, is enough to feed a party of three. But if you are jonesing for something more Mission traditional, check out its specialty tacos topped with venison, ostrich, or even crunchy grasshoppers, when they're in season. This place doubles as a bakery, and a variety of desserts like flan, cakes, and sweetbreads are available as well. Consider getting a doggy bag for your food, so you'll have room for the sweets.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Pancho Villa Taqueria
I wasn't a big fan of the now-defunct Pancho Villa next to the Ferry Building, so I never considered stopping by at the location in the Mission. With Poc Chuc just down the street, and Puerto Alegre around the corner, why settle for the generic taqueria? But with this being the original, and being a neighborhood staple for many, I figured it was time to give it a try one night when I needed a quick and inexpensive dinner. My friend and I contemplated the extensive menu--we could get everything from burritos to enchiladas and carne asada dinner plates, but settled on the veggie burrito. It was...well, a veggie burrito, not much worse than what we would encounter in a comparable establishment in the neighborhood. I'd probably choose any wouldn't be my first choice when I'm hungry in the Mission but if you're just coming out of BART and looking for some fast grub, consider stopping by.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Arlequin
Saturday evening. 6 pm. Want dinner in Hayes Valley but don't have an hour and a half to wait for a table at Suppenkuche or comparable establishment in the environs. Quick service would be preferable. Solution: Head to Arlequin. It bills itself as a to-go joint, but there are tables to sit down at and some nice meals to be enjoyed, like Indian spiced lamb burger and a half-roasted chicken. If you're looking for something quick, the sandwiches and salads are also good. It isn't really the place for a leisurely dinner (the tables are small and cramped) but those looking for a fast meal before heading to the ballet or theater will find it beats waiting upwards of an hour to dine in a claustrophobic environment. And if you happen to be in the neighborhood and want a place to chill and read, the delicious-looking brownies and cookies will probably tempt you to come back.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Canto do Brasil
The 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics may still be years away, but it's never too early to get acquainted with the culture and cuisine of Brazil. Canto do Brazil may be the next best thing to experiencing the land of samba without a plane ticket. Inside the colorfully decorated restaurant, you'll find authentic Brazilian specialties like feijoada and bobo de galinha, or chicken cooked with Brazilian spices and coconut milk served alongside yucca flour and rice. If you're super hungry, consider the seafood special, which comes in a pineapple half. Be sure to wash it all down with a caipirinha (which comes in a variety of fruity flavors in addition to the traditional lime), or if you're craving caffeine, some guarana. At dinner, you'll be treated to samba performances, and if it's your birthday, you'll be invited to try on the carnival headdresses. There probably isn't a better place in the city to get a taste of Brazil.



Posted By:  Cristian Cartes
Photo:  Cristian Cartes

Clarion Alley
A colorful passageway between Hipster Mission and the Mexican Mission is Clarion Alley. San Francisco is filled with graffiti art, and there is a big concentration in the off the beaten paths of the Mission district. This alley has been present in SF history since the sixties. The Clarion Alley Mural Project produces more than 100 murals on the alley itself and streets around the neighborhood. The muralists who's work covers these walls run the gamut of experience and technique, often being new artists who are wanting a place to display their work. These muralists here come from every walk of life and include every social group. Conceptual and spray can art, folk and futuristic work all touch on important historical and present social issues that affect the Bay Area and the world today. So, while it can be intimidating to get lost in a new city, this is a place worth doing so.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Poc-Chuc
I'll never get sick of Mexican food. But much as I love tacos, huevos rancheros, and mole, sometimes I need a little change of pace, but without having to completely abandon the flavors of Mexico. Which means that instead of walking down Mission or toward Valencia, head in the opposite direction after exiting the 16th St BART station along 16th Street, past Van Ness until you get to Poc Chuc, where you'll find ancient Mayan cuisine with contemporary twist. Traditionalists will be pleased to see carnitas and carne asada tacos, but the specialty here is the restaurant's namesake dish, a citrus-and-spice-marinated grilled pork with black bean puree. The goods don't end there--the menu also includes panuchos, a black bean puree-filled tostada topped with shredded turkey and lemon-marinated cabbage, and tacos de escabeche, with pulled turkey in black mole sauce. If you order the pescado frito, you'll get the entire tilapia, with the head, scales, and fins intact. Whatever you fancy, you can't go wrong. Wash it all down with a giant mug of agua fresca--I highly recommend the jamaica.



Posted By:  Carolyne Rohrig
Photo:  Carolyne Rohrig

Stacks
Okay so Stacks is a chain. But that shouldn't stop you from going there, because it's one of the best places for breakfast and lunch in the Hayes Valley. Their crepes and waffles are tasty--loaded with fresh fruits and nuts; their salads and sandwiches are scrumptious; the wait-staff is courteous and knowledgeable; and the garden ambiance and Mediterranean color scheme is reminiscent of the elegant days of San Francisco when hats and furs were in.



Posted By:  Simon Hodgson
Photo:  Simon Hodgson

El Balazo
"No Al Pastor," said the lady with the silver tooth, apologetically. No Al Pastor? It's like the Salvation Army saying 'no bibles.' So I ordered carnitas with black beans, and sat down with a burrito as big as a baby. El Balazo, which opened in 2008, might not boast Niman Ranch pork or lightly-killed carne asada. It's all about the size. A super burrito should just about do you for a day. Not yet firmly established on Mission Street's taqueria alley, El Balazo faces nearby competition from evergreen Taqueria Cancun. But with cooking like this, a spacious, well-lit interior and a solid help-yourself rack of salsas, onions and chiles, this place looks like a keeper. 'Balazo' means bullet in Spanish, perhaps a reference to the quickfire service. Whatever the derivation, I'm going to be eating more burritos here, at least until I find the one with my name on it.



Posted By:  Eric Saxon
Photo:  nft

Double Dutch
With the release of the 2010 book and the new iPhone App, NFT hits San Francisco like a helpful Dirty Harry, maps and text spewing from both barrels. Come celebrate the newness of these products in old-school hip hop style at Double Dutch in the Mission (16th and Valencia) on November 11 at 6 pm. There will be great prizes available (think free JetBlue tix, nights at the W Hotel, gift certificates to local restaurants), and, at press time, negotiations for a mime dunking tank are proceeding smoothly for all parties. Fingers crossed! Free 2010 SF NFT (print version) for the first 100 guests; own the foreword that made the Mayor crazy. Note: this party is partially sponsored by Le Tourment Vert absinthe, and if you show the NFT app on your iPhone, you get a free cocktail. Bonus: Free beer from 6-7. Go to the NFT Facebook page to sign up and get more details.



Posted By:  Molly Riordan
Photo:  Molly Riordan

Four Barrel Coffee
Finally! A cavernous coffee roastery manned by sexy, tattooed baristas has made it to Valencia! Oh, wait... Okay so maybe Four Barrel isn't exactly reinventing the wheel (see: Ritual) but they do prove that people love wheels--er, espresso. The barn-like roastery and shop features exposed brick, vaulted beams, and animal heads, and though some other review sites whine that it's not drip-coffee-swilling-table-hogging-laptop-canoodler friendly, anyone with half a clue can see that that's not the point. The point, dear friends, is coffee, and Four Barrel is getting there. Though the french press still lacks vivid and precise flavors, frequent Barrelers say it's improved its single-region roasting skills since opening. Meanwhile coffee-snobs and coffee-slurpers alike can appreciate a cholesterol-laden accompaniment of Dynamo Doughnuts: apricot-cardamom, lemon-thyme, take your pick of fresh and unlikely combos. Thanks to Four Barrel, now you don't even have to trek across the Mission to get just-roasted joe.



Posted By:  Meat Meister
Photo:  Meat Meister

The Monk's Kettle
One of two excellent gastropubs in San Francisco, Monk's Kettle has a friendly and knowledgeable staff who love to educate customers about their frequently turned local and international beer selections. And should you make it through the near-Bible-ish girth of the beer menu, you'll learn more about types of beer than you came in for. Lager, pilsner, stout, doppel, Lambic, Gueze...it's a beer drinker's paradise. Chef Kevin Kroger's pork chop--brined in brown sugar and apple cider, topped with mustard bechamel and paired with a cheddar scallion potato cake and bacon-mottled Brussel sprouts--is among the best in the Bay Area. His chicken sandwich, pot pies, and mac-and-cheese also claim ardent fans. Lines start early for this tiny gem, which takes no reservations; Monk's Kettle is noisy, fun, has great food and energy, and certainly one of the best beer selections in the Bay Area.



Posted By:  Cristian Cartes
Photo:  Cristian Cartes

Zeitgeist
The time to come to Zeitgeist is now. Now, in the summer, where the days are hot and the sun in the afternoon beats down on you and your beer in their large outside patio, forcing you to drink faster. That's the allure of this staple, former biker bar. It has probably best and biggest outside patios in the city. And the large picnic tables encourage big and small groups, as well as the making of new friends. Opening at 11am this is the perfect spot to cure a hang over with one of the strongest and spiciest Bloody Mary's SF has to offer. Be warned! All drinks are by the pint. When you need a break from drinking you can treat yourself to some ridiculously inexpensive burgers (veggie also available). Take a breather, mingle and head to the bar again. Because on warm nights and days by the time you get your drink you will be thirsty again.



Posted By:  Rae Alexandra
Photo:  Rae Alexandra

Box Dog Bicyles
This place feels pretty cliquey--and occasionally snooty--when you first go in. But the people that own and run Box Dog are simply passionate about bicycles and want you to be too. Their friendliness levels go up in direct correlation to how often you go in there too, so regular customers will find the service exceptional. Bottom line: they genuinely want you to have the best bike for you--and that's to be applauded.



Posted By:  Rae Alexandra
Photo:  Rae Alexandra

Thieves Tavern
Now that the more obvious sections of the bar-laden Mission District are becoming increasingly overrun by folks from other neighborhoods and hipsters trying way too hard to look tough, it makes sense that the more low-key--but still hip--locals move a few blocks away. Thieves Tavern offers comfortable booths, friendly bartenders, two pool tables, ample space to dump your bike at the back of the room and a clientele that is actually willing to intermingle with each other. Ideal for those seeking dive bar goodness without all the posing.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Miette
I miss the feeling of being a kid in a candy store. My sweet tooth has since matured, of course, so it's only natural that I should move onto a candy shop for grown-ups. Miette Confisserie is just what you would picture an old-fashioned sweet shop to be, all decked out in pastels with bowls of hard candy and bubble gum imported from overseas, European and locally-made chocolates, as well as tasy macaroons and cakes from its sister patisserie. And just as your tastes have grown up since the days when you gobbled away at your Nerds and Sour Patch Kids, so have the prices. At 75 cents to $1 a piece, you'll hesitate to grab a handful of chocolates or gumballs. But you'll probably still come away with a good selection of sweet treats. Who can resist a place that sells chocolate-covered gummy bears from Sweden?



Posted By:  Rae Alexandra
Photo:  Rae Alexandra

The Painted Lady Tattoo
There are so many brazillions of reputable tattoo shops in the Bay Area, it can be totally overwhelming figuring out where to go and who to trust your precious, precious naked flesh with. Well, the Painted Lady should be at the top of your list. Not just because it's one of the friendliest, least pretentious parlors in San Francisco; not just because the owner, Kelley Premeaux, is one of the raddest (and wisest) ladies you'll ever meet; not just because it's an aesthetically pleasing shop... Most importantly of all, the work Kelley does--alongside Bobby Peru and Erik--is some of the finest, most detailed and delicate tattoo work around today, no matter what city you live in. She can do any style with aplomb, but if you're looking for dainty 'n' detailed, this is the only place to go. It may not be the most hyped tattoo spot in town, but it is certainly one of the best.



Posted By:  Cristian Cartes
Photo:  Cristian Cartes

Fecal Face Dot Gallery
This tiny studio sized gallery proves once again that size doesn't matter. FF Gallery is the physical counterpart to the culture and art community website fecalface.com. Open Wednesday through Saturday, this art space boasts monthly and during some summer months, weekly installations from artists who are inspired from the more underground, urban, skateboard, and graffiti counterculture. On reception nights the gallery explodes onto the street with people who've come by to see what new art FF has to showcase. You can often find folk, comic, and graffiti art, photography and mixed media pieces. The cozy space enhances the opportunity to mingle with guests and featured artist. So it's time to stop judging the gallery name and head over to what is easily one of the most vibrant art spaces in the city.



Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Citizen Cake Patisserie
In my continued quest to find the Bay Area's best cupcakes, I stopped into Citizen Cake's bakery to sample its mini cakes, though I was also tempted by its delicious-looking sandwich cookies. The cupcake selection is small and inventive, with each cake exquisitely decorated, especially the rocky road and the signature cupcake of devil's food cake filled with whipped cream topped with chocolate ganache. I went with the chocolate chip cupcake, garnished with a soft mini chocolate chip cookie. The cake was good, but at $3.50, a bit pricey for something that was not overly spectacular. If I'm paying more than average, I should get something that would rival Sprinkles. I'll probably end up coming back to sample another cake, although the cookies may be the better option.




Powered By Subgurim(http://googlemaps.subgurim.net).Google Maps ASP.NET

See Hayes Valley / The Mission...
Restaurants (93)
Nightlife (40)
Shopping (62)
Landmarks (10)