Outdoor Places in San Francisco

The sun is finally out- finally without a cold, bone chilling breeze or a cloud in the sky. It’s actually hot. I don’t want to rejoice too soon, but I feel like a kid in a candy store. Hot weather means plumper, juicier tomatoes and grapes also! 😉 There is no excuse to not go to the FM and load up fruits and snacks.  No one wants to be cooped up in a small apartment when the temperatures are just right. Here are some of my favorite outdoor places in San Francisco to hang out and take in the warm rays!

Working Cafes:

1. Dolores Park Cafe– the scene is vibrant, friendly, peers into Dolores Park, free WiFi, and situated across from Bi-Rite Creamery. There are a few outdoor seats, but you will not find a power outlet anywhere.
2. Samovar Tea Lounge Yerba Buena– Zen! Situated on top of the gardens, and a few feet away from the waterfalls. They have a huge patio and the lounge has floor to ceiling windows. Though, there is no internet or power outlets available. Unplug and read a book!
3. Radius Cafe- beautiful cafe with free WiFi and all locally sourced food and beverages.
4. South Park– has wonderful eateries (Butler and the Chef, AMGCK) and a couple of cafes as well as a picturesque park with slides and swings.
5. Sit at the backside of the Ferry Building with a refreshing fresh juice or iced Blue Bottle coffee with a book/iPad.

 

Radius Cafe- SOMA

Eat:

1. Magic Flute– an unassuming restaurant on the outside has a large, beautifully manicured patio. The brunches are excellent!
2. Tipsy Pig– you would think Bar Food, but think again. Delicious Southern food, perfectly executed and changing with season. Service can be slow, really slow.
3. Marengo– oh the retractable roof and sliders speaks for themselves.
4. Ferry Building– Take it to go and sit on the patio overlooking the ferries and Bay Bridge. Il Cane Roso for sandwiches, OTD for cooling salads, Blue Bottle for iced coffee, Miete for a sweet treat!
5. South Park– see above
6. La Mar Cebicheria– lunch or dinner, the redone patio is the place to be.
7. Cafe Flore– vibrant Castro scene, lush patio
8. Passion Cafe– haven’t been but they have a rooftop and it’s French food!
9. Starbelly– seasonal pizzas on the patio
10. Contigo– tapas + cava + outdoor patio= happy
11. Foreign Cinema– a SF institution, eat, drink and watch a foreign film playing in the background, under lines of pretty lights
12. Bar Bambino– have the cooling watermelon-basil salad

 

The backside retractable roof bar at Marengo- Cow Hollow

Drink

1. Marengo- urban modern retractable roof, blocking all wind, is perfect to nosh and imbibe.
2. Tipsy Pig– an urban-zen patio is large and relaxing, except for when the loud guys in oversized Flannel shirts and Marina Girls in seeking attention are there
3. Unwind– a large patio, but it’s more of sports bar feel
4. Bar Agricole– quality, hand crafted drinks, airy-modern architecture
5. Morac– Street patio in the Mission, hookah lounge

 

Ferry Building

Just remember to keep it healthy, safe, and fun!

I could go on and on, but I want to know your favorite outdoor places in San Francisco?

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Flour + Water

Restaurant Review: Flour + Water
Crowd: Mixed. Groups of Trendy Women and Men and Couples
Vibe: Lively and Energetic
Music: Dance music with strings and soft trance-like vocals
Decor: Dim lighting, urban yet earthy: refurbished, repurposed and reclaimed. All artwork is done by local artists: Jessica Niello, Jay Tyrrell
Layout: Long and narrow, small bar and communal table. Seats accommodating up to six.
Neighborhood: An abandoned corner of the Mission
Service: Unpretentious
Portion Size: Pizza for two/three, entrees for one/two
Imbibe: Beer and wine only
Enjoy: Pizzas and Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossom!
Waist Slimmer: Mushroom Brodo
Price: $147.47; 4 people, 1 bottle red wine, Roasted Beets, Mushroom Brodo, 2 Ricotta Squash Blossom + 1 extra blossom,  Margherita Pizza + Egg, Salmon, Chicken, Cappuccino, Espresso, and Budino

Seems like a hidden gem in an unknown part of town, except everyone has heard about this place and it’s nearly impossible to get a seat.  Unless if you make reservations long ahead of time on OpenTable or get there 10 minutes before their doors open at 5:30PM or when the crowd has passed on a weeknight at 10:00PM. Apparently, even Steve Jobs could not snag a seat at Flour + Water.  The restaurant is small, with only a handful of seats at the communal table. Their star dishes are obviously the pizzas. Eat them while they are hot, otherwise they will taste ordinary. The toppings are perfectly chosen and executed. We loved the squash blossom so much that we ordered a second with an extra squash blossom. (A little disappointing that the entire dish only had one squash blossom!) The quality of their produce is phenomenal. We had the seared sockeye salmon, but later found out that it could be on the endangered list.  Though, having an endangered fish on their menu would gravely contradict their local and sustainable vision, so please check with your server before ordering. I was very disappointed with the chocolate budino dessert, which our waitress recommended as the must-have for first timers. The overall experience was incredible.

The layout is long and narrow.

The bar is small and is subjected to the waitlist also

Reclaimed wood

Lighting is dim

Each table is lit with a candle in a lab beaker

Food:

Bardolino

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossom- roasted corn, blistered sweet 100's & padron pepper

The squash blossom = orgasam in your mouth

Mushroom Brodo- parmigiano fritter, chanterelle, summer squash, vidalia onions

Margherita- tomato, basil, fior di latte, extra virgin olive oil + farm egg

Roasted Chicken Breast- corn, lard roasted potatoes, pancetta, arugula

Roasted Beets- arugula and ricotta salata

Seared Sockeye Salmon- wax beans, cherry tomato, minted squash puree, chili, napolitano basil

Chocolate Budino- espresso caramel cream and sea salt

Perfect foam on the cappuccino

Espresso

Flour + Water l 2401 Harrison Street San Francisco, CA 94110 l 415- 826-7000

Samovar Tea Lounge

Restaurant Review: Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena Gardens
Crowd: Power lunchers in blazers and ties seeking a mini retreat, creative minds, and refined tourists
Vibe:
Peaceful, calm
Decor: City-zen, modern, bright, natural light, neutral and warm color scheme, silk fabrics, Buddha statue, various tea vessels
Layout: Indoors: Tea bar, wooden tables, bench seats.  Outdoors: wicker  and metal outdoor chairs and tables
Portion Size : Just right to large
Imbibe: The Masala Chai and Ocean of Wisdom
Enjoy: The Cherry Oat Scone with Devonshire Cream and Jam – makes me salivate just thinking about them!
Waist Slimmers : Almost everything on the menu!
Price: $45.61; Two people, 2 Masala Chai’s, Grilled Portabella Sandwich, and Braised Tofu Over Spring Greens Continue reading

Marengo on Union

Restaurant Review: Marengo on Union
Crowd: Attractive single women in blazers and skinny jeans wondering where all the single men are
Vibe:
Lively and Energetic
Decor: Bright and sleek. White marble counters to dark wooden floors. Organic plants to a retractable roof.
Layout: Open kitchen with a marble chef’s counter, wooden communal table and marble tables for two and four for a quieter experience. Back bar: Wooden communal table and bar all lined with wooden stools, under a retractable roof
Service: Friendly and genuine
Portion Size : Sliders
Imbibe: One Fo(u)r Champagne
Enjoy: The Black & Blue, Porky, Fry Sampler, Queso Marengo, and Chocolate Chip Slider
Waist Slimmers : The Shroomer  and The Jerk -protein style¸ Spinach Salad
Price: $30.61; Two people, 1 vodka soda, 1 glass of wine, 1 slider, 1 grilled cheese

This place is all about whiskey, wine, sliders, and a good time.  Exactly what Union Street needed! There are many healthy choices one can make and still have a great time. The food is unassuming, but really good. The sliders are small.  The spinach-strawberry is delicious (and organic). I would recommend ordering one regular slider and two protein style with a small salad. The wines are chosen carefully and service is super friendly. I look forward to their lunch and brunch service¸ where I can wear a sundress and sit in the back bar without turning blue from the cold.

Sunscreen and sunglasses required

Driftwood fixtures add color to the back bar

Marbled Chef's Counter

Enjoy chic champagne with your bff

The Jerk is really good!

The tiny grilled cheese, a bit over-priced, but yummy!

Roam Artisan Burgers

Restaurant Review: Roam Artisan Burgers Crowd: Britex Strollers, American Apparel leggings, Banana Republic collard shirts  Vibe: Cheery Decor: Urban Rustic, if that means a 200+ year-old beam reclaimed from a bar, glass bottle chandeliers, and hanging terrariums by Flora Grubb … Continue reading

Tyler Florence: Wayfare Tavern

Restaurant Review: Wayfare Tavern
Crowd: Blazers with loosened ties and blouses with black pumps
Vibe: Lively and loud
Music: Jazz
Decor: Turn-of-the-century San Francisco Barbary Coast
Layout: Four floors: 1. Basement floor for the restrooms and an entrance to the kitchen 2. Main floor with a raw bar, full bar, open kitchen with a Chef’s Counter, and booth seating 3. Second floor with a smaller bar, more seating, and a Billiard Room 4. A rustic, private dining room with a wine cellar.
Service: Genuinely Friendly, Professional, and Precise
Portion Size: Large
Imbibe: Jasmine Green Tea Cooler (non-alcoholic)
Enjoy: Fresh out of the oven Popovers and Goat Cheese Ravioli
Waist Slimmers: Chilled Watermelon Salad, Marin Tomato Salad, and Crisp Pacific Catch Halibut
Price: $177.85 across four people, three appetizers, three entrees, 3 glasses of wine, and one non-alcoholic beverage

The instant you walk in and pass the four eager hostesses, you feel like you have stepped away into another time and place. A feeling of mischievousness overcomes you, and you begin to wonder about all of the secrets this place might have, just like in the 1800’s. The bar is packed and the open kitchen is full of action. It feels a little chaotic, while I wait at the bar for the rest of my party to show. Despite, the opening week crowd, the bartenders are upbeat and do not give off the “I feel the pressure, I am too busy” vibe. There is a whirlwind of staff buzzing around and attending to your every need. At times, it feels like there is more staff than patrons. The general manager is very kind and talks to us in length about the making of Wayfare Tavern. The size and style of the menu is very representative of Old America, with a modern-Californian twist. It’s large with ample choices for the meat lover and pescatarians. However, there is only one vegetarian entrée with quite a few salads and sides to pick from.  We watch Mr. Florence carefully inspect and perfect each dish before it goes out, which is really amazing to see. He even tries to take a few minutes away and talk to patrons, which I really appreciate in a celebrity and chef.  As for the taste, I am a little disappointed. Maybe, my expectations were too high, but as a gourmet foodie, I find the food to be good, not great. The entrées are a little overpriced, but justifiable for the neighborhood. Though, I do plan to go back, just not too soon.

Wayfare Tavern l 558 Sacramento St San Francisco, CA 94111 l 415-772-9060

The Parlor

Stuffed animals and birds are common fixtures

The Classic American Menu

Elegant, rustic tablescape

Organic Marin Tomatoes with Black-Eyed Beans, Goat Cheese, and Chive Blossoms

Smoked Olive Oil Mac n' Cheese

Goat Cheese Ravoli with Summer Squash

21-Day Dry Aged Grass Fed Sirloin

The men on the table claimed it was above average

Intrigued by Club Dine In!

Frances, Oh My Frances

Restaurant Review: Frances Crowd: Polished men and women in their 30’s-60’s Vibe: Lively and Energetic Decor: Dim lighting, elegant yet earthy. You feel like you are at home. Layout: Long and narrow with a very small bar Neighborhood: On a … Continue reading