All the flavours of San Francisco
Each day you wake up in San Francisco, you have five (or maybe six, if you really put your mind to it) opportunities to consume the city's immense and super-diverse food scene. Seize every one of these opportunities, because you won't be disappointed.
Let your appetite guide you around San Francisco's ethnic strongholds, always with a meal in mind.
A wave of Californian cuisine
Dedication to local, seasonal and sustainable produce is the foundation for California cuisine, but the key ingredient is creativity. You'll find restaurants that are obsessed with using vegetables from root to tip and meats from snout to tail, using all kinds of innovative cooking techniques. Clean eating also a theme, with menus that are free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar, trans fats and GMOs (but still absolutely delicious).
You can't use the word California without thinking of seafood. Whether you go for the tried and true Fisherman's Wharf restaurant scene or catch a ferry to Sausalito, you can soon be immersed in a menu dripping with crab, sole, sea bass, halibut and wild king salmon. From May to October, local anchovies are a salty sensation.
Exceptional ethnic, with a dash of hippie
The fusion of cultures that is San Francisco is a wonderful thing for travellers who love food. You can let your appetite guide you around the city's ethnic strongholds, always with a meal in mind.
Start with Chinatown, which has been plying visitors with enticing flavours since the 1800s. From steaming clay pot stews to delicate custard tarts, all the specialties are here. For a side dish of history visit Ross Alley, the oldest alleyway in San Francisco.
The Mission district is where you go for Latino food, aka Mexican. North Beach has an Italian focus and the Tenderloin district is all about Southeast Asia. When you need to feed your inner bohemian, head for Haight Ashbury. It's hip and happening with hippie Thai, vegan food, rawfood smoothies and lashings of great coffee.
Sip it and see
To get a crisp, clear picture of local viticulture, find a bar that specialises in wines from Napa and Sonoma. You can get a customised three-pour 'flight' of wine for as little as $10, which goes down nicely with a side plate of cheeses and charcuterie. Look for wine bars on Russian Hill, Hayes Valley, Dogpatch, Mission and in the financial district.
Napa Valley is known for elite reds, particularly those based on cabernet sauvignon. Chardonnay's also big in Napa, delivering round, buttery flavours that harmonise beautifully with seafood, chicken and pork. Sonoma, which is right next door to Napa, has a focus on pinot noir and zinfandel. For a total immersion in Northern Californian wine culture, including gorgeous rural scenery, book a day trip through a wine tour company.
per person one way from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch
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