The Resy Guide to Dining Like a Pro in San Francisco Parks
COVID-19 has changed dining for both the restaurant and the guest. Instead of eating at a table inside a dining room, we’re now eating outside, at home, or elsewhere, like one of San Francisco’s beautiful parks. And with a little creativity and effort, you can make put together some awesome, delicious meals in those parks, while supporting the restaurants you love and seeing the city you love. Consider this is a Resy Hit List of sorts: The Park Edition.
There’s nothing better than some good ‘ol Dolores Park action on a bright sunny Mission day. Of course you could grab some beers and burritos from La Taqueria, Cancun, or El Castillito, but with the slate of new takeout options, there are other delicious considerations. Consider heading to Elda and grabbing a couple cocktails (one for the road, then one for the actual park), then pop in to Dear Inga for an Inga dip, a sandwich of smoked brisket, onion jam, melted Emmental cheese and au jus. Grab another sandwich, or if you’re feeling meaty, a rack of beef ribs smothered with plum barbecue sauce. Once you’ve had your meal, it’s time for dessert. You know about getting a scoop (or a pint!) from Bi-Rite Creamery, but next door, Namu Stonepot also has fried butter mochi and matcha milkshakes. Get some sweets, go back to the park, and forget for a moment that there’s a pandemic.
Is it possible to stare at Painted Ladies and not sing the “Full House” theme song out loud? Is it possible to not find deliciousness all along Divis? The answer to both questions is no. Start with a cocktail at Horsefeather; definitely opt for the Le Peche Mode (peaflower vodka, peach compote, dill, lemon, soda), a nod to one of the greatest synthpop bands in the world. It comes in an eight-ounce version and a 16-ounce version; you know which one to get. Then walk over to Ju-ni for one of their beautiful, colorful chirashi bowls filled with fresh fish, uni, ikura, and all. Next, grab a bento box from sister restaurant Hina Yakitori just down the way a set of five skewers for $18 is a delicious deal. For dessert, Ragazza (open daily at 4 p.m.) is doing takeout only, and nutella pizza is on the menu. Order online, pick it up, and head straight to Alamo Square. Don’t forget to sing it: “Everywhere you look, (everywhere you look), there’s a heart, a hand to hold on to…”
Hayes Valley has so many great dining options these days. To start, head to Lers Ros for some of the tastiest duck larb you’ll find anywhere? It’s tangy, punchy, and spicy. Add on any other additions (noodles, a curry, or both), then head down Hayes towards Patricia’s Green, but be sure to stop by Anina‘s cocktail window. The sweet kick of the Lucila will pair well with Thai flavors; it features mezcal, lime, pineapple gum, and pamplemousse rose. For dessert, you may be tempted by Smitten’s super smooth and rich chocolate, but consider checking out the soft serve swirl over at the newly opened Arbor in the old Arlequin space; the salted caramel soft serve featuring Double 8 Dairy is ridiculously delicious.
NORTH BEACH/CHINATOWN TOUR
One of our favorite things to do in the city is to take a long urban hike outside. It’s especially nice if you take your time, realize there is no time, and pause every now and then to smell the roses … mask on of course. One of our favorite strolls through the city is through Jackson Square, North Beach, and Chinatown. Start at Verjus, grab a baguette (one of the finest in the city), some soft French cheese, and a bottle of pet-nat, step outside and take a second to look up at and take in the magnificence of the Transamerica Building. Then hang a right and head towards Mister Jiu’s for a couple of cocktails for the road and literally any dessert from the talented Melissa Chou — everything is guaranteed to be spectacular. From there, slowly make your way through Chinatown: Go north on Waverly, appreciate the architecture, then hop over to Stockton, and stop at China Live for dumplings and pork buns. From there, either cross over to Columbus or simply continue up Stockton a couple blocks to Washington Square Park. Maybe grab a slice at Tony’s if you want; you deserve it. You just walked a mile.
One fun thing you could do is go Mezcalito and drink some mezcal, in the form of a mezcal margarita of course. Order two — one for the road, one for later. Maybe add a couple of fish tacos and down them as you head down Polk towards Bob’s Donuts. Depending on time of day and luck, you may have to wait in line, you may not, but you’re here for dessert. Get whatever looks good and is calling your name, but the real pro tip is to get whatever is freshest from the fryer. Not sure? Just ask them. Finally, head down to Swan Oyster Depot. Grab some smoked salmon toasts, a combination salad, or maybe even a sandwich (if you know you know). Hit the road towards Lafayette Park.