San Francisco’s North Beach
One of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco is North Beach. To me it is the most authentic and rich in Italian traditions. North Beach is also a rare thing – a neighborhood that manages to be a perennial favorite with tourists and also remain beloved to San Franciscans.
All photographs taken by Ashley Urban
North Beach is nestled between the Financial district and Chinatown. It compresses cabarets, jazz clubs, galleries, family style restaurants, and gelato parlors into less than a square mile. There’s no better place in San Francisco to prowl for historic landmarks, sample house-roast espressos, shop and dine on Italian food.
So I’m taking you to visit some of my favorite places in North Beach. I suggest we take a detour off of the main drag of Columbus Avenue, where we will be more likely to run into unexpected treasures of shops, restaurants and spectacular views.
(This is one of my favorite views of Saint Peter and Paul Church, which overlooks Washington Square Park. It was the site of the Joe Di Maggio and Marilyn Monroe’s wedding)
Our first stop is at Liguria Bakery, which is famous for their focaccia bread.
Actually, focaccia bread is all they sell. Doesn’t the owner looks like she’s out of central casting?
I’m taking home the garlic and rosemary focaccia, the perfect Italian bread to serve with dinner or as an antipasta. Have any of you ever eaten at Mama’s, the restaurant behind me? It must be good because they’re is always such a long line to get in.
Our next stop is Hole in the Wall Coffee.
As you can see, it is a hole in a wall, though one that offers wi-fi, daily Tai Chi lessons and plenty of seating.
Let’s order some Pookie cold brew shots, which I’ve been told tastes a little like Christmas would if it had a flavor!
After being fueled by the expresso, this is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.
North Beach is known for its many painted murals. In honor of my Charlotte and Olympia lip shoes, I can’t resist posing in front of this one.
Lola’s is the best shop to pick out the perfect greeting card and unusual hostess and children gifts.
A visit to North Beach would not be complete without enjoying a sit down meal. L’Osteria De Forno serves traditional Italian food. It’s also the ideal spot to take in all the hustle bustle of Columbus Avenue. Where do you like to dine in North Beach? I’m always looking for good recommendations.
We tucked into classic burrata and arrugala salad.
sage and ricotta ravioli
and salad with shrimp.
Of course, the meal wouldn’t have been complete without ordering blood orange and rose favored gelato from Gelato Naia. They are the only gelato shop in North Beach that still makes their own Italian ice cream.
Soggiorno bene fino alla nostra prossima riunione!