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Cal’s guidebook

Cal

Cal’s guidebook

Neighborhoods
This where I live. Colorful, busy, friendly and centrally located. Smack in the middle of the city, the Castro District borders six residential neighborhoods: Mission District, Noe Valley, Eureka Valley, Twin Peaks, Cole Valley, Lower Haight.
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The Castro
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This where I live. Colorful, busy, friendly and centrally located. Smack in the middle of the city, the Castro District borders six residential neighborhoods: Mission District, Noe Valley, Eureka Valley, Twin Peaks, Cole Valley, Lower Haight.
Nearby Restaurants and Cafes
L’Ardoise is an excellent French bistro that gets it right. Dark red walls and candlelight create a romantic setting. The coq au vin is superb. 151 Noe St. Reservations recommended. (415) 437-2600
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L'Ardoise
151 Noe St
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L’Ardoise is an excellent French bistro that gets it right. Dark red walls and candlelight create a romantic setting. The coq au vin is superb. 151 Noe St. Reservations recommended. (415) 437-2600
La Mediteranee Restaurant is excellent, inexpensive, and authentic Mediterranean cuisine. You can get seated quickly even on weekends! Try the Pomegranate Chicken and Lebanese Tomato Salad. 288 Noe St.
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La Mediterranee
288 Noe Street
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La Mediteranee Restaurant is excellent, inexpensive, and authentic Mediterranean cuisine. You can get seated quickly even on weekends! Try the Pomegranate Chicken and Lebanese Tomato Salad. 288 Noe St.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret the locals have. Weekend brunch have long lines everywhere . . BUT at Catch. The food is fantastic, but the restaurant is big enough that it doesn't get crowded. The front-facing outdoor patio seating (with heat lamps) is also great, especially in the sunnier months. So if you're looking for bunch, look no further! Good brunch menu with lots of classics like Eggs Benedict, omelettes and crab cakes. They also have a tasty dinner. 2362 Market St, (415) 431-5000.
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Catch
2362 Market St
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I'm going to let you in on a little secret the locals have. Weekend brunch have long lines everywhere . . BUT at Catch. The food is fantastic, but the restaurant is big enough that it doesn't get crowded. The front-facing outdoor patio seating (with heat lamps) is also great, especially in the sunnier months. So if you're looking for bunch, look no further! Good brunch menu with lots of classics like Eggs Benedict, omelettes and crab cakes. They also have a tasty dinner. 2362 Market St, (415) 431-5000.
Gyro Xpress, just up the street, is a solid option for cheap, fast Middle Eastern fare. Open late. 499 Castro St.
Gyro Xpress
499 Castro Street
Gyro Xpress, just up the street, is a solid option for cheap, fast Middle Eastern fare. Open late. 499 Castro St.
Starbelly is a classic example of a nice SF restaurant - lovely to look at, tasty food, and chock full of hipsters. Features Californian cuisine with an Italian slant. Outdoor seating and excellent cocktails. Particularly good wood-fired pizza. Very few gluten free or vegan options, however. 3583 16th St. (415) 252-7500
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Starbelly
3583 16th Street
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Starbelly is a classic example of a nice SF restaurant - lovely to look at, tasty food, and chock full of hipsters. Features Californian cuisine with an Italian slant. Outdoor seating and excellent cocktails. Particularly good wood-fired pizza. Very few gluten free or vegan options, however. 3583 16th St. (415) 252-7500
New place just 2 blocks from my house. Blind Butcher is a casual bistro with very hearty fare, good for a steak and a glass of wine, or brunch on the weekends. Come hungry. 4058 18th, (415) 529-2478
Blind Butcher
4058 18th St
New place just 2 blocks from my house. Blind Butcher is a casual bistro with very hearty fare, good for a steak and a glass of wine, or brunch on the weekends. Come hungry. 4058 18th, (415) 529-2478
Eiji Sushi has excellent nightly specials and specializes in several types of housemade tofu, which they make over fire before your very eyes. Small and popular - expect a wait on weekends. 317 Sanchez St. (415) 558-8149
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Eiji
317 Sanchez St
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Eiji Sushi has excellent nightly specials and specializes in several types of housemade tofu, which they make over fire before your very eyes. Small and popular - expect a wait on weekends. 317 Sanchez St. (415) 558-8149
Our go to casual neighborhood sushi place. Excellent fish, reasonable prices, hideous decor. It's large enough there is usually no wait to be seated. 2512, 524 Castro St, (415) 701-0082.
Wasabi Bistro
524 Castro Street
Our go to casual neighborhood sushi place. Excellent fish, reasonable prices, hideous decor. It's large enough there is usually no wait to be seated. 2512, 524 Castro St, (415) 701-0082.
One of my fancier recommendations! Foreign Cinema is elegant and delicious. We’ve been many times and never leave disappointed. Some outdoor seating, a giant fireplace, and classic movies projected on the wall make for great ambiance. 2534 Mission St. Reservations recommended (415) 648-7600.
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Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St
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One of my fancier recommendations! Foreign Cinema is elegant and delicious. We’ve been many times and never leave disappointed. Some outdoor seating, a giant fireplace, and classic movies projected on the wall make for great ambiance. 2534 Mission St. Reservations recommended (415) 648-7600.
One of the best Italian restaurants in the Bay Area is just a block away. All of the pasta is handmade, excellent cocktails, and they project vintage black and white Italian movies on the back wall. Sinfully delicious, very romantic, and totally Italian. Very popular - reservations recommended, although it's so close it's always worth walking by and asking if anything has become available. 4072 18th St, (415) 252-9325
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Poesia
4072 18th Street
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One of the best Italian restaurants in the Bay Area is just a block away. All of the pasta is handmade, excellent cocktails, and they project vintage black and white Italian movies on the back wall. Sinfully delicious, very romantic, and totally Italian. Very popular - reservations recommended, although it's so close it's always worth walking by and asking if anything has become available. 4072 18th St, (415) 252-9325
Le Marais is a charming French cafe just a half block down the street. The breakfast and lunch are tasty, but service can be slow. There’s some outdoor seating. If you’re in the mood for pastry, I recommend walking a few more blocks to Tartine instead! 498 Sanchez St, (415) 872-9026.
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Le Marais Bakery
498 Sanchez St
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Le Marais is a charming French cafe just a half block down the street. The breakfast and lunch are tasty, but service can be slow. There’s some outdoor seating. If you’re in the mood for pastry, I recommend walking a few more blocks to Tartine instead! 498 Sanchez St, (415) 872-9026.
Ahhhh Tartine. . . One of the best bakeries in the US is just down the street from you. Giant croissants, elegant tarts, cakes, pies, seasonal bread pudding, and hot open-faced sandwiches served on huge slices of their signature bread. There’s no sign, but the line of people out the door marks the right spot. Everything is very rich, expensive, and delicious. Fresh baked loaves come out of the oven at 4:30pm each afternoon. Absolutely worth the wait. 600 Guerrero St., at the corner of 18th St.
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Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero Street
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Ahhhh Tartine. . . One of the best bakeries in the US is just down the street from you. Giant croissants, elegant tarts, cakes, pies, seasonal bread pudding, and hot open-faced sandwiches served on huge slices of their signature bread. There’s no sign, but the line of people out the door marks the right spot. Everything is very rich, expensive, and delicious. Fresh baked loaves come out of the oven at 4:30pm each afternoon. Absolutely worth the wait. 600 Guerrero St., at the corner of 18th St.
For anyone craving High Tea! Lovejoy’s Tea Room is a tea room is the best British style. The best scones in San Francisco, and an excellent high tea complete with dainty sandwiches, cookies, fruit,and huge pots of tea. They also have hearty English fare like shepherd’s pie and sausage rolls. Call ahead - they book up early, but sometimes can seat you on short notice. 1351 Church St., reservations recommended (415) 648-5895. 25 minute walk.
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Lovejoy's Tea Room
1351 Church St
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For anyone craving High Tea! Lovejoy’s Tea Room is a tea room is the best British style. The best scones in San Francisco, and an excellent high tea complete with dainty sandwiches, cookies, fruit,and huge pots of tea. They also have hearty English fare like shepherd’s pie and sausage rolls. Call ahead - they book up early, but sometimes can seat you on short notice. 1351 Church St., reservations recommended (415) 648-5895. 25 minute walk.
Families
826 Valencia is “the world’s only independent Pirate Supply Store.” Created by the writer Dave Eggers. This store is a wonderland for kids, cool fun for grownups, and all proceeds go toward the 826 Valencia tutoring program. 826 Valencia St. (415) 642-5905
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826 Valencia St
826 Valencia St
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826 Valencia is “the world’s only independent Pirate Supply Store.” Created by the writer Dave Eggers. This store is a wonderland for kids, cool fun for grownups, and all proceeds go toward the 826 Valencia tutoring program. 826 Valencia St. (415) 642-5905
Paxton Gate has many strange and wonderful things: vintage and wooden toys, carnivorous plants, and even puppet making workshops. 824 Valencia St.
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Paxton Gate
824 Valencia St
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Paxton Gate has many strange and wonderful things: vintage and wooden toys, carnivorous plants, and even puppet making workshops. 824 Valencia St.
Randall Museum focuses on the arts, crafts, sciences and natural history. On view are live native and domestic animals, interactive displays, and a miniature train. 199 Museum Way. (415) 554-9600.
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蓝道尔博物馆
199 Treat Avenue
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Randall Museum focuses on the arts, crafts, sciences and natural history. On view are live native and domestic animals, interactive displays, and a miniature train. 199 Museum Way. (415) 554-9600.
California Academy of Sciences is housed in a giant new, award-winning building that features a grass roof and indoor tropical rain forest. World-class exhibits of fish, insects, and animals abound, including a live albino alligator named Claude. The planetarium is a must see. 55 Music Concourse Dr. in Golden Gate Park.
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加州科學博物館
55 Music Concourse Dr
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California Academy of Sciences is housed in a giant new, award-winning building that features a grass roof and indoor tropical rain forest. World-class exhibits of fish, insects, and animals abound, including a live albino alligator named Claude. The planetarium is a must see. 55 Music Concourse Dr. in Golden Gate Park.
The Exploratorium is a hand-on, highly interactive science and arts museum, perfect for children and also fun for adults. Pier 15 at the Embarcadero. (415) 528-4444.
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Exploratorium
Pier 15 The Embarcadero
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The Exploratorium is a hand-on, highly interactive science and arts museum, perfect for children and also fun for adults. Pier 15 at the Embarcadero. (415) 528-4444.
Sightseeing
Dolores Park has a fancy and extensive new playground, and is a popular spot for people of all ages to picnic and people watch. Dolores St between 18th and 20th.
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Mission Dolores Park
Dolores Street
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Dolores Park has a fancy and extensive new playground, and is a popular spot for people of all ages to picnic and people watch. Dolores St between 18th and 20th.
An easy, flat hike with gorgeous views of the seacoast, including Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. There is access to scenic Mile rock beach if you're up for a short hike down a hill. There are benches where you can sit for a simple picnic. Tends to be mildly windy even on sunny days, so bring a jacket. It's about a 20 minute drive from the house.
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Lands End Trail
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An easy, flat hike with gorgeous views of the seacoast, including Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. There is access to scenic Mile rock beach if you're up for a short hike down a hill. There are benches where you can sit for a simple picnic. Tends to be mildly windy even on sunny days, so bring a jacket. It's about a 20 minute drive from the house.
Bars and Bites
Blush Wine Bar is an elegant place with a great wine selection (complete with wine flights) small but delicious menu featuring salads, charcuterie and cheese plates. 476 Castro St, (415) 558-0893.
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Blush! Wine Bar
476 Castro Street
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Blush Wine Bar is an elegant place with a great wine selection (complete with wine flights) small but delicious menu featuring salads, charcuterie and cheese plates. 476 Castro St, (415) 558-0893.
Beer enthusiasts - look no further! Monk’s Kettle is a bar and restaurant that is serious about it’s beer. A multipage beer menu awaits, and the fresh Bavarian pretzels are tasty. 3141 16th Street.
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The Monk's Kettle
3141 16th Street
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Beer enthusiasts - look no further! Monk’s Kettle is a bar and restaurant that is serious about it’s beer. A multipage beer menu awaits, and the fresh Bavarian pretzels are tasty. 3141 16th Street.
Blackbird is an upscale bar with a long list of specialty cocktails and a cadre of bartenders who take their work seriously. Fantastic cocktails, crowded on the weekends. 2124 Market St.
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Blackbird
2124 Market Street
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Blackbird is an upscale bar with a long list of specialty cocktails and a cadre of bartenders who take their work seriously. Fantastic cocktails, crowded on the weekends. 2124 Market St.
Amnesia is an atmospheric bar on Valencia that offers live music most nights. The Gyspy Jazz on Thursday nights is always popular. Sadly, they do not serve food. 853 Valencia Street.
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Amnesia Beer & Music Hall
853 Valencia St
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Amnesia is an atmospheric bar on Valencia that offers live music most nights. The Gyspy Jazz on Thursday nights is always popular. Sadly, they do not serve food. 853 Valencia Street.
The Lookout is a boisterous gay bar on the second floor, with a great view of Market street below. Perfect for day drinking, dancing, people watching and making new friends. 3600 16th St.
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Lookout
3600 16th Street
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The Lookout is a boisterous gay bar on the second floor, with a great view of Market street below. Perfect for day drinking, dancing, people watching and making new friends. 3600 16th St.
The BEST Tiki Bar in the bay area (if not California... If not the entire world). A must visit for Tiki enthusiasts! Huge drink menu, 3 floors of tiki decor, serious bartenders who turn out nuanced, balanced drinks (not too sweet!) with exotic ingredients. No food. 650 Gough St, (415) 869-1900.
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Smuggler's Cove
650 Gough Street
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The BEST Tiki Bar in the bay area (if not California... If not the entire world). A must visit for Tiki enthusiasts! Huge drink menu, 3 floors of tiki decor, serious bartenders who turn out nuanced, balanced drinks (not too sweet!) with exotic ingredients. No food. 650 Gough St, (415) 869-1900.
Sweets and Gifts
THIS is where to go to get gifts for folks back home. Excellent, locally made chocolates (free samples!) wrapped in gorgeous, handmade paper, assorted other treats, and your best source in the Bay Area for thick, European-style bittersweet hot chocolate. 740 Valencia St, (415) 349-0942
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Dandelion Chocolate
740 Valencia St
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THIS is where to go to get gifts for folks back home. Excellent, locally made chocolates (free samples!) wrapped in gorgeous, handmade paper, assorted other treats, and your best source in the Bay Area for thick, European-style bittersweet hot chocolate. 740 Valencia St, (415) 349-0942
Bi Rite Creamery. World Class ice cream, worth the wait. Ask for a taste of their Salted Caramel flavor - it’s the most popular for a reason. If the line is too long, walk in to the right past the line and grab a pint to go from the freezer! 3692 18th St, (415) 626-5600.
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Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th Street
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Bi Rite Creamery. World Class ice cream, worth the wait. Ask for a taste of their Salted Caramel flavor - it’s the most popular for a reason. If the line is too long, walk in to the right past the line and grab a pint to go from the freezer! 3692 18th St, (415) 626-5600.
Ahhhh Tartine. . . One of the best bakeries in the US is just down the street from you. Giant croissants, elegant tarts, cakes, pies, seasonal bread pudding, and hot open-faced sandwiches served on huge slices of their signature bread. There’s no sign, but the line of people out the door marks the right spot. Everything is very rich, expensive, and delicious. Fresh baked loaves come out of the oven at 4:30pm each afternoon. Absolutely worth the wait. 600 Guerrero St., at the corner of 18th St.
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Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero Street
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Ahhhh Tartine. . . One of the best bakeries in the US is just down the street from you. Giant croissants, elegant tarts, cakes, pies, seasonal bread pudding, and hot open-faced sandwiches served on huge slices of their signature bread. There’s no sign, but the line of people out the door marks the right spot. Everything is very rich, expensive, and delicious. Fresh baked loaves come out of the oven at 4:30pm each afternoon. Absolutely worth the wait. 600 Guerrero St., at the corner of 18th St.