For the third installment in my San Francisco Food Guide, I'm going to share my favorite places to stop for snacks. One of the things I enjoyed most about living in San Francisco was going on weekend city hikes and stopping for nibbles and libations along the way. San Francisco is a town where there is something yummy to eat on practically every block so instead of making plans to have big lunches and dinners, why not plan an outing where you try a little of everything that makes San Francisco such a great noshing town.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite places. Will update as more pop into my brain, and if you'd like to share a favorite place for a quick bite or drink, please leave it in the comments below.
At the Ferry Building:
Delica Rf-1. Kobe beef sushi and mind-blowing wasabi potato salad with accents of crisp romaine and creamy edamame. Heaven!
Boccalone: Salumi heaven. Buy some lardo and some fresh peaches or pears and combine for a taste that's out of this world.
Tsar Nicoulai. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, it's right to blow $40 on a California osetra caviar blini and a glass of champagne.
Rosamunde Sausage Grill. They make dozens of different sausages (lamb, boar, duck...). Perfect for a pick-me-up as you walk through the Haight.
On Clement Street or in Chinatown, anyplace you see ducks hanging in the window walk in and ask for a piece of roast pork with crispy skin. Indicate the piece and quanity you'd like and have the butcher hack it up for you. My sister and I have been known to stop in for a pork snack, licking our fingers as we walk down the street.
Absinthe in Hayes Valley is my favorite place to stop in for a mixed drink. They make killer Bloody Mary's with homemde tomato juice and pickles. Their frites are sublime.
The taco trucks near 18th and Harrison in the Mission. $2 for al pastor perfection.
Swan Oyster Depot. Yes, this is on everyone's list, but it's because it's damn good. This is the place to go for top quality oysters, shrimp cocktail, smoked fish and chowder. They bring you a bowl of ketchup that you can doctor up yourself to make your own cocktail sauce (if you like). Get there early, it's only open in the day time.
Nick's Crispy Tacos. I don't know what ever possessed Nick to wrap a crispy taco in a soft one (probably drunkness), but never you mind. Their tacos--and especially their salsas--are freakin' delicious. No, it isn't "authentic," but you just have to trust me--go with it. Highly recommend their shrimp tacos. They are on the same street at Swan Oyster Depot.
RoHan. No, it isn't a Lord of the Rings-inspired bar. It's soju cocktails and Korean-influenced bar snacks and small plates in the Inner Richmond. A great place to stop for a pick-me-up after exploring Clement Street.
Atlas Cafe. I am crazy-nuts about their roasted yam sandwich. It's just a really cool and mellow place to have a late breakfast or lunch.
Old Shanghai Restaurant. Who says you can't just duck into a restaurant for an order of Shanghai soup dumplings (use a spoon to catch the broth which bursts forth from the dumplings with your first bite) and a pot of tea?
Bombay Ice Cream in the Mission is the place to go for rose or chai or cardamom or pistachio ice cream. It's fun to poke around in the Indian market next door as well.
More in this series:San Francisco Food Guide: Favorite Markets