A Weekend in San Francisco - Where to Eat and Stay

08/06/2013 03:40 pm ET | Updated Oct 06, 2013

San Francisco has always been one of my favorite places to visit. The charming city is known to be one of the food capitals of the world, and for good reason. Here are my recommends on where to eat and stay:


Opened earlier this year, the lower Pacific Heights patisserie will dazzle your palette. You won't find French pastries likes this anywhere in the city. The award winning pastry chef Belinda Leong has worked with Gary Danko and has trained with Pierre Hermé, to name a few. A must try is her signature pastry kouign amann (pronounced Queenaman) made of delicious layers of butter, dough and sugar. Address: 2821 California Street


Homemade pho doesn't get more authentic than this. At Turtle Tower, chef and owner Steven Nghia Pham takes pride in purchasing fresh ingredients from farmers markets and using free-range chicken in his famous Pho Ga. A small bowl of pho costs $6.50. There are multiple locations, but my favourite is the original spot in the Tenderloin district. Address: 631 Larkin Street


This neighborhood restaurant, founded by culinary couple, Evan and Sarah Rich, offers bistro food with a NoCal twist. From bar bites such as their famous sardine chips to housemade pastas, the menu offers adventurous plates to creative comfort food. The menu changes daily which adds an element of surprise every time you dine here. Address: 199 Gough Street

Founded by husband and wife team Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, this eclectic restaurant offers unique American tapas, dim sum style. Dishes like deep-fried garlic bread with burrata, guinea hen dumplings in soup and crispy deep-fried quail are pushed around on carts and are best shared family-style. Reservations need to be booked far in advance, or arrive at opening to get a seat at the bar. Dishes range from $5 - $20. Address: 1529 Fillmore Street

This bustling brunch hot spot offers Califonia-Mediterranean cuisine. The vibe is fun, friendly and creative, with international and foreign films playing in the courtyard. The fried eggs deglazed with balsamic and sliced prosciutto is a must try, and if you're up for some extra savoury, opt for a side of the brown sugar smoked bacon. Top off your meal with the banana french toast with orange-cardamom butter. Yum. Brunch dishes are around $15. Address: 2534 Mission Street

Benu $$$

This is fine dining at its finest. Chef Corey Lee (Thomas Keller's longtime right-hand-man at The French Laundry) combines Asian flavours with European techniques. Each dish offered in the 15-course tasting menu will have you food-orgasming at each bite. One of my favorite dishes include the duck with scallion and black truffle bun, chicken liver with caviar and green apple and the beef rib with crispy lily bulb and shitake mushroom. The set menu is $180 and the a la carte menu is offered on weekdays. Address: 22 Hawthorne Street



This colourful boutique hotel, part of the Kimpton group, is centrally located in Union Square, just steps away from shops and restaurants. The rooms are a good size with hip and modern decor. Rooms start at approximately $200 a night. Address: 501 Geary Street


Steps from Union Square and Nob Hill, this modern hotel has a hip and happening vibe in the common areas, but a relaxing, comfortable quiet in the rooms. The rooms have custom designed furniture by Philip Stark, luxurious Frette linens and the large windows allow for a generous amount of daylight. Rooms start at approximately $250 - $300 a night. Address: 495 Geary Street

Mandarin Oriental $$$
Located in the Financial District, this exquisite hotel is walking distance to Chinatown, Embarcadero and Union Square. Indulge in their new spa (opened last October) for a zen getaway and for a little more, ask for the "bridge to bridge" room which offers amazing panaromic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Oakland Bay Bridge. Address: 222 Sansome Street

Whether you're staying for the weekend or a week, San Francisco is full of possibilities with ample things to do. It's one of the rare cities you'll want to visit over and over.

Amy Chan is a travel and lifestyle columnist. To read more of her articles, visit