SAN FRANCISCO’s BEST ●Attractions●Neighborhoods/Shopping+Restaurants
NOE VALLEY’s BEST
Centered at Church/24th streets, between the Mission District on the east and the Castro District on the west.
Getting here by public transportation: From Union Square area/Powell St., take the J Church streetcar that runs along Market Street downtown. An easy on-off stop along the way includes 20th Street at Dolores Park.
This usually sunny neighborhood is a great place for brunch. Restaurants and boutiques abound along 24th Street between Church Street and Castro Street, as do babies and dogs. You’ll find all kinds of foods, including bagels, baked goods, and candies, plus plenty of fragrant flower shops.
3800 BLOCK of 24th STREET, going west, beginning at Church Street, passing Vicksburg Street and Sanchez Street:
Noe Valley Farmers' Market 3861 24th St. Free. Local organic farmers sell their goods, and musicians play live music.
The Dubliner 3838 24th St. This classic Irish neighborhood pub looks like you would expect it to, with a woodsy relaxed atmosphere that includes TVs tuned to sports. It’s a great place to hunker down for pint. Darts and snacks are available, but no food service.
24th Street Cheese Company 3893 24th St. Local and imported fine cheeses are highlighted here and samples are given. You’ll also find cured meats, olives, olive oils, and wines--even Noe Valley honey. It’s the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies.
La Boulangerie de San Francisco 3898 24th St. This coffee shop and bakery has counter service and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Cafe au lait in big bowls and a variety of croissants make me say oh, la la!
3900 BLOCK of 24th STREET, beginning at Sanchez Street and ending at Noe Street:
Folio Books 3957 24th St. This small, but deep, bookstore stocks an impressive selection of books. An inviting space for children welcomes them to take a look at this well-stocked section and stay a spell in a tiny tent. Free gift wrapping is available.
Just for Fun/Scribbledoodles 3982 24th St . This party supply shop stocks greeting cards and stationary as well as an array of gift items and toys.
4000 BLOCK of 24th STREET, between Noe Street and Castro Street:
Rabat 4001/4005 24th St. This sleek shop is filled with expensive and fashionable urban shoes, clothing, and accessories.
Qoio 4068 24th St. This beautiful, spacious shop features loose brick floors, high ceilings, live plants, great natural light, and plenty of buddhas. A sort of temple to jewelry, it displays a large assortment of high-quality original, and pricey, jewelry, including amber. The owner makes about 90% of the inventory herself, and items can be made to order.
Chocolate Covered 4069 24th St. This long and narrow-- and long-established--shop specializes in chocolates from around the world--more than 500 varieties. In addition, you can choose from a large selection of cyanotype photoprint gift boxes that are made in the back of the store.
Noe Valley Bakery 4073 24th St. Super popular items include red velvet and pink coconut cupcakes, scones, cookies, and breads and breadsticks, not to mention refrigerated cookie & scone doughs to bake at home. Oh, and did I mention the cherry-chocolate bread, dried cherry and coconut scones, blueberry-pecan scones, and loaves of crusty white bread?
4100 BLOCK of 24th STREET, between Castro Street and Diamond Street:
Lupa Trattoria 4109 24th St. This cozy, friendly Roman-style trattoria presents a menu of delightful dishes: bruschetta with fava beans, fennel and artichoke salad, tomato and bread soup, tortelloni with creamy mascarpone sauce, and housemade fettuccine Tartufate (porcini, shitake, and oyster mushrooms in a black truffle sauce).
Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers 4138 24th St. Giant burgers include a good veggie version and come with a large selection of toppings. Also good: chicken Cobb salad, strawberry-chocolate shake, spicy curly fries with ranch dressing. You can sit in the spacious dining room or on a shady outdoor patio.
4200 BLOCK of 24th STREET, between Diamond Street and Douglass Street:
Firefly Restaurant 4288 24th St. Sporting an intimate setting with low lights, this sweet spot is perfect for a special occasion. Acme bread with a seasonal spread starts things off. The menu changes often and might include a delicious classic fried chicken with mashed potatoes and biscuits, or rock shrimp cakes with corn, nectarines, peaches, and avocado purée. Desserts have included apricot sorbet and coconut cream-cheese ice cream with cashew alfajores, and an apricot-brioche bread pudding. Tasty vegetarian options are also available. The prix fix menu offered Sunday through Thursday is a great deal.
Philz Coffee 4298 24th St. Though small, this branch of Philz is busy.
CHURCH STREET, going south from 24th Street:
Lovejoy’s Tea Room 1351 Church St./Clipper St., (3 blks. S of 24th St.). Begun in another location as an antique shop that served tea and named for a fictional antique dealer named Lovejoy, this delightful tea room is as cozy as anything encountered in England and provides a welcome retreat from city streets. The menu offers all things English--toasted crumpets, scones, tea sandwiches, sausage rolls, pasties. Tea service ranges from a simple Cream Tea (two scones with Devon cream and fresh fruit) to an expansive High Tea (two tea sandwiches, two salads (green and cabbage), and a tea biscuit are added) to a Queen’s Tea (a crumpet with lemon curd and petit four are added), plus a special Wee Tea for children (cream cheese and jelly sandwich, a scone, fresh fruit, and a petit four, with an option to sub in hot chocolate for tea). My favorite tea is the delicious black vanilla with lavender and the fragrant decaf Lady Grey with apricot. The tea room is a popular spot for celebrations, and most customers show up dressed up and many wear sweet hats. For those who forget, a hat rack offers loaners. Tables here are covered with antique cloths, and the tableware is mix-matched vintage china. More images.
Across the street, Lovejoy’s Attic purveys a tea-related inventory that includes items both antique and new. You’ll find tea towels, fancy tablecloths, tea paraphernalia and accouterments, honey and lemon curd, and a fragrant back pantry filled with bags of teas. Why, there are even bags of broken china to use for art projects. I say, old chap, what fun.
Noe Valley Pet Company 1451 Church St./Cesar Chavez St. This well-stocked pet store has plenty of fun, and necessary, items for your pet. It also offers low-cost vaccinations and operates a dog-walking service.