When you think of San Francisco, visions of 60s era hippies and beat poets from Haight-Ashbury usually come to mind. And while I love the Haight (prefer Lower these days, but hey), I think North Beach is one of those neighborhoods that’s truly San Franciscan.
It’s kept some of the old charm from years back, mixed with Little Italy roots, and modern restaurants and bars.
I used to go to North Beach a lot more frequently when Tom lived there, but still go back every now and then to grab a slice of pizza, a cocktail, or enjoy Washington Square Park.
A few weeks ago I revisited the area and stopped by some of my favorite spots:
I don’t know if this REALLY is a spot, but North Beach has some of the best food and drink in town. So, if you love Italian food, you’re in luck. Some of my favorites include Calzone’s (it’s outside and just damn cute), but also Tony’s Pizza. it’s consistently called out as one of the best pizza joints in SF and when you go, you’ll see why.
But if Italian isn’t your schtick, fear not. Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of Tacolicious and I’m sure there are a TON of other great restaurants in North Beach, but I’m a sucker and stick to the classics.
If drinking is more your thing, well…North Beach is a liquor lover’s paradise. My favorites include Comstock Saloon and 15 Romolo. They feel a bit more old school and take to the craft of cocktail making – something my boyfriend appreciates and loves. And if you’re not looking for anything fancy, Mr. Bing’s is where it’s at.
If you’re looking for a history lesson, head on over to City Lights – one of the most amazing and historic independent bookstores in SF! It was started in 1953 and has tons of books from new releases to smaller, hard to find titles.
And while City Lights is one of the only stores I usually check out in North Beach, I still love stopping by Goorin Brothers (HATS!) and Molinari Delicatessen (one of the last true deli’s in my opinion – RIP Lucca’s).
Other than that, I love walking around and even stumbling on North Beach’s closest neighbor – Chinatown. There’s SO much in Chinatown I hesitate to even start including it in this roundup, but if you’re looking for a good time, Chinatown is your place. It’s beautiful, has TONS of history, and the food. :)
Until next time!
Photography via Elisa Cicinelli Photography