SAN FRANCISCO’s BEST ●Attractions●Neighborhoods/Shopping+Restaurants
HAYES VALLEY’s BEST
Shops and restaurants run thick and heavy for three blocks between Franklin and Laguna streets.
Currently the area is in a construction uproar, and things are changing rapidly.
SFJAZZ Center 201 Franklin St./Fell St.
Polanco 334 Gough St./Hayes St. Named for the lovely neighborhood in Mexico City, this small gallery is filled with colorful arts and crafts from Mexico.
True Sake 560 Hayes St./Laguna St.. America’s first sake store, this is also the first dedicated sake store outside of Japan and sells only imported Japanese sakes. Sake bottles can be beautiful so you can enjoy just a browse here, too. More than 220 sakes are stocked, and the staff is trained and ready to answer your questions.
Warby Parker 357 Hayes St., (415) 906-5313. Stop in this sleek shop to try on frames from the full collection of mail-order Warby Parker eyeglasses and sunglasses. Associates will help you select a frame that is just right for you. Amazingly, though these frames are inexpensive, this company still manages to give away a pair of glasses for each pair it sells.
Espetus Churrascaria 1686 Market St./Gough St., Hayes Valley. Operating within a glass-walled corner building, this authentic Brazilian steak house provides comfortable seating at well-spaced tables. Fine paintings by renowned Brazilian artist Edgar Cliquet depict Brazilian scenes. Meals are a set price and include as much as you can eat; drinks and desserts cost additional. Skewers of meats cooked over an open fire are brought around to each table by skilled carvers and sliced onto diners’ plates. Meats include filet mignon and other cuts of beef as well as pork, lamb, chicken, housemade sausage, and shrimp. The salad bar is a cornucopia of delights. It offers tangy Brazilian potato salad and coleslaw and also some typical Brazilian side dishes. Two kinds of sangria, signature cocktails, and Brazilian beers are available in addition to wine, and desserts include a tasty passion fruit mousse and a classic tres leches pudding cake.
The Grove Hayes 301 Hayes St. Situated in one big open room that still has the feel of many different spaces, this branch of a popular local chain has a rustic wood floor and huge stone fireplace. Inviting seating includes fireside couches. Breakfast is primo, with granola, bagels, omelets and scrambles, huevos rancheros, and really good oatmeal on the menu; it is served until 4 p.m. Lunch brings on soups, salads, and sandwiches. Everything is made fresh in house—sauces, roast turkey, Bolognese sauce, meatballs, and giant cookies are baked hourly. Beverages include coffee drinks galore and OJ that is squeezed fresh into your glass.
Papito Hayes 425 A Hayes St./Gough St.
Zuni Cafe 1658 Market St./Franklin St., on the outskirts. It seems that all seats are good in this cheery warren of asymmetrically shaped spaces, where both the Market Street parade and chefs in the kitchen are part of the visual treat. The menu changes twice each day, and everything but the bread is housemade. A delightful brunch might consist of an antipasto plate spread with delicious local Molinari salami and baked ricotta, followed by a pizza baked in the wood-burning brick oven and topped, perhaps, with artichoke hearts and capers. Other options might include eggs baked with tomato, fennel, and white beans and served in an oversize earthenware bowl, or the acclaimed house-ground hamburger on grilled rosemary focaccia bread (not available at dinner). The restaurant is known for both its brick-oven roasted chicken and Caesar salad, and they are always good choices. Do leave room for dessert, especially if the divine rhubarb tart is an option.
Days Inn 465 Grove St., (800) 325-2525, (415) 864-4040. Continental breakfast. No pets. This ordinary motel is in an extraordinary location, within a block of and abundance of fine restaurants and artsy shops.
Though Double Decker is located at the same address at the end of one wing, it is under independent ownership. It is in a quirky little building, with some seating available downstairs and more upstairs in a round room with nice views. The well-priced menu is a variety of burgers made with Niman Ranch beef plus fries and salads.
image courtesy of venue
Hayes Valley Inn 417 Gough St./Hayes St., (415) 431-9131. 3 floors. Breakfast; afternoon tea. Shared bathrooms and toilets, in-room sink. Self-parking nearby, $20/night. Though this European-style inn has no air-conditioning, it does have ceiling fans and that usually is adequate in naturally air-conditioned San Francisco. Be aware that is has no elevator, but it does have nicely decorated, comfortable rooms.