Flying to the City by the Bay on Qantas’s new direct Melbourne-to-San Francisco service? Don’t miss these highlights.
Start the day at Tartine Manufactory, in the Mission District, with coddled eggs, trout roe and za’atar, an open smoked salmon sandwich or pain au chocolat. The two-storey bread oven is the heart of the light-filled space but equally impressive is the coffee sourced direct from South American and Ethiopian farmers. The baristas will make you a flat white, even though it’s not on the menu.
Hidden in plain sight, not far from the shopping hub of Union Square, Gibson is an Art Deco gem of patterned glass and leather banquettes. The ethos of this year-old bar and restaurant is summed up by Marco Battaglini’s ceiling mural, which combines Renaissance-style painting with graffiti. The cocktail menu also reinvents the classics. Try the Loosey Goosey (oak-aged mescal and gooseberry) or the Bijou (pisco, sparkling gin and dandelion syrup).
Built on more than 40 hills, San Francisco is one of the steepest cities in the world – a fact that its fittest residents like to tout. Explore the city’s topography via its public stairways. The Filbert Street Stairs zigzag past intimate gardens, where wild parrots perch in the trees, and up to fresco-filled Coit Tower. The Lyon Street Steps take in the mansions of Billionaires’ Row in the stately Pacific Heights neighbourhood. And the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps reward you with Pacific Ocean views at the top of 163 mosaic-covered stairs.
A 1926 flatiron building on Market Street has been transformed into San Francisco Proper Hotel. Original details such as the copper-washed cornice have been preserved and the rooms updated with striking wallpapers and pieces by local artists Jonathan Anzalone and Joe Ferriso. Almost 40 metres up, Charmaine’s rooftop bar and lounge has firepits and spectacular views of the city skyline.
After hosting more than 100 sellout pop-up dinners in the trendy Mission District, wunderkind chef Alexander Hong has made his bricks-and-mortar debut with Sorrel in Pacific Heights. The 50-seat restaurant celebrates the Bay Area’s abundance of produce with dishes such as snapper crudo with almond milk vinaigrette, smoked duck tortellini in brodo, and white miso and Jerusalem artichoke vellutata. Plants cascade from hanging boxes but if you prefer open nature, The Presidio national park is only a few blocks away.