San Francisco is known for many things — creative minds, healthy lifestyles, and delicious food, among others. The hilly city that plays home to Ghiradelli’s chocolates, famous cable cars, and Gilroy’s garlic fries has plenty to offer even the most persnickety traveler. Once you’ve seen the Golden Gate Bridge, peeked inside the Legion of Honor Museum, and walked around the Haight, take Not for Tourists’ word and grab a bite at these following five local favorites. — Nicole Campoy-Leffler
(Photo, below, courtesy of Flickr/VerismoVita)
Breakfast: Dottie’s True Blue Café will look closed when you arrive. The doors open at 7:30 a.m., but by 8 a.m. there is a line to rival that of Ruby Skye’s on a Saturday night. Touted by locals as the “best breakfast in San Francisco,” the ten-table Dottie’s draws hordes of visitors, even though its location in the slightly seedy Tenderloin is a bit off-putting for some tourists. The phenomenal fresh baked goods include cream-cheese zucchini bread and chocolate-chip toffee scones. Dottie’s permanent menu has well-prepared standbys like eggs and potatoes with chicken-apple sausage. Not on the menu: ask for the amazing fruit salad mixed with homemade crunchy granola and yogurt.
If a sweet breakfast is more your thing, Dynamo Donuts offers a rotating list of about 16 different flavors, including apricot cardamom, coconut, spiced chocolate, and maple glazed bacon apple. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/everywhereATonce)
Lunch: Tu Lan's location on Sixth Street isn't the most desirable part of town, nor is the interior likely to earn a high mark for cleanliness. But don't let that deter you from enjoying the food, especially considering Julia Child once stopped by. The joint's most popular items are Child’s favorites — the pork kebabs, ginger fish, and imperial rolls. Come hungry, as the portions are huge. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Troy Holden)
Dinner: Weird Fish is one of those restaurants that wavers between being intimate and annoyingly small. It's a popular spot because Weird Fish serves delicious fish at un-fishlike prices, with interesting and unexpected side dishes. Some local favorites are the Little B. Stack starter, a dish of roasted yams, spinach, goat cheese, and marinated tofu and the Dijon almond-encrusted rainbow trout.
Drinks: Anytime you need to escape from a long or difficult day, Blackbird is there. It has everything anyone could want in a drinking establishment — a pool table, photobooth, elegant bar, rotating artwork, and chill ambiance. And with expertly crafted cocktails including a delectably spicy Bloody Mary made with chipotle vodka and a refreshing Red Wine Crush which marries OJ, cabernet, and brandy, it’s no wonder San Fran locals keep packing into Blackbird for more.
Local Gem: Velo Rouge Café is a hip joint with Blue Bottle coffee, free WiFi, and menu items named after cycling legends like the Leipheimer Breakfast Burrito, The Ulrich Tuna Melt, and the Coppi. Stop in for a coffee and an afternoon snack. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/geekstinkbreath)