Whether this is your first visit to San Francisco, or you’ve been living here all your life, we hope you’ll find these links useful.

Restaurants We Love
Our Favorite Foodie Hotels
Great Books About Chocolate
Food-related Charities & Nonprofits
Other Culinary Tours

Restaurants We Love

COCO 500
We love this South of Market hotspot because of the chocolate/caramel colored walls and their new “noncommittal” dessert offering – a single ounce of Venezualan El Ray semi-bitter chocolate.

Aromatherapy for food. Only 15 tables tucked away in a seedy North Beach neighborhood. The tasting menu should offer plenty of opportunity for foam, and even homemade butter.

Why wait for hours at Burma Superstar when you can eat here? An inexpensive and fun introduction to Burmese cuisine.

Chez Papa
The first property by the San Franciscan Parisian Mafia. As trite as this may sound, you really will feel like you’re in Paris!

Tiny, tiny, tiny. But there is another reason it’s so hard to get in here. Amazing food, all prepared by the chef and owner and served by one all-knowing waiter. This spot is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This restaurant’s been getting a lot of attention for leading the charge to gentrify San Francisco’s Divisadero thoroughfare. Get to know some real neighborhood folks by sitting at the community table.

You may be familiar with standard Indian cuisine, but what about southern Indian? Their eponymous specialty of the house is a thin, spicy crepe, filled with anything from veggies to cheese. Come early, or at off hours.

Blowfish Sushi
While there are plenty of amazing sushi spots in San Francisco, we love this place because of its unique vibe: thumping techno and semi-risque manga will drive you to try another sake cocktail or just go out dancing.

Why didn’t food taste this good in Peru? Don’t leave with trying at least one of this Peruvian restaurant’s ceviches.

Pacific Catch
This tiny seafood spot in the Marina offers fresh fish done every way possible, including a tasty Japanese style. We love the ahi salads and the rice bowls. Family friendly.

Supper Club
Don’t come here for the food (though it’s not bad), but for the bizarre performance art experience. What Zagat’s says feels like Eyes Wide Shut– inside The Matrix. Where else can you enjoy dinner in bed?

Slow Club
No relation to the Supper Club. Here you’ll sit at tables and enjoy a farmer’s market inspired menu that changes daily. No reservations.

Our Favorite Foodie Hotels

Please don’t stay in Fisherman’s Wharf. You can find good deals at some of the boutique hotels listed below, and you’ll be closer to the real foodie action!

Cavallo Point
Just over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Cavallo Point Lodge offers a beautiful retreat from the city, with stunning views and historic lodging. Check out their cooking school programs and special guest chefs. Their historic residences are perfect for family reunions and special holidays.

Hotel Adagio
A luxury boutique hotel in Union Square, right across the street from San Francisco’s best theatres. The “New Mission” design meshes well with the hotel’s popular restaurant, Cortez. Mediterranean cuisine, small plates, artisan breads.

Harbor Court Hotel
The Harbor Court is San Francisco’s premier waterfront hotel. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “None of the Embarcadero's new, stylish hotels oozes history like Harbor Court.” And it’s perfectly located across the street from the start of our Chocolate Tours.

Hotel Vitale
Another luxury hotel on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. The Vitale has an amazing spa, complete with outdoor rooftop soaking tubs with views of the Bay. A copy of Patricia Unterman’s Food Lover’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area in every guestroom. Dog friendly.

St. Regis Hotel
Not as stuffy as you might think, the new St. Regis has a great location. It’s adjacent to the SF MOMA and the sunny Yerba Buena Gardens. On the top floor, you will find Ame, voted Zagat’s Best New Restaurant for 2007, and SF Chronicle’s Top 10 Restaurants of 2006. Here you’ll find new American cuisine, and plenty of sashimi, crudo, tartare and carpaccio. Dog friendly.

The Westin St. Francis (home to Michael Mina)
This hotel is classic San Francisco. You’ll be right on Union Square and atop one of the best restaurants in the city: Michael Mina. He was voted “Chef of the Year” in 2005 by both Bon Appetit and San Francisco Magazine. We like his elegant presentation of trios, and his tableside classic root beer float. Dog friendly.

Great Books About Chocolate

Chocolate, A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light, by Mort Rosenblum
Mort Rosenblum doesn’t claim to be an expert, but he takes the reader on a journey with him as he immerses himself in the world of high-end chocolate. He travels to cacao plantations, to Mexican kitchens, to Parisian workshops and even to Hershey Pennsylvania.

The Chocolate Connoisseur, by Chloe Doutre-Roussel
If you don’t mind some hyperbole, and a little bit of snobbery, then this little pink book will fit right into your purse and tell you all you need to know about chocolate. Doutre-Roussel is a true connoisseur, who tastes about a pound of chocolate a day and wakes up by 6 am to conduct her tastings on an empty stomach!

The True History of Chocolate, by Sophie and Michael Coe
For the real historian, this book tells the story of chocolate from the discovery of the cacao tree to today’s chocolate for the masses. Only here can you find out what a cacao bean could buy you in the colonial era or word-for-word hymns to chocolate sung in Italian.

The Great Book of Chocolate, by David Lebovitz
David Lebovitz, who worked as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse for 12 years, also happens to be an excellent writer. This book offers a basic chocolate primer, with mouth-watering color photos, as well as 30 chocolate recipes. My favorite are the black-bottomed cupcakes!

Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
Tita, the youngest in a Mexican family, is told she cannot marry and must stay at home in her mother’s kitchen. She pours her heart and soul into the only weapon a woman can wield – her cooking. (also a movie)

Chocolat, by Joanne Harris
A woman arrives in a small French village with her daughter and opens up a chocolate shop. While most villagers can’t keep away from her store, the church will do anything to shut her down. (also a movie)

Food-Related Charities & Nonprofits

Share Our Strength
This incredible organization is dedicated to ensuring that no child goes hungry. Get involved by attending a Taste of the Nation event or hosting a Great American Bake Sale.

San Francisco Food Bank
It is estimated that 1 in 5 San Franciscans face hunger each day. The San Francisco Food Bank collects donated food from supermarkets and restaurant suppliers and distributes it to people in need. They will distribute over 28 million pounds of food this year to hungry people in San Francisco.

Chefs for Humanity
Founded by Cat Cora (the only female Iron Chef!), this relatively new organization is comprised of a group of culinary professionals working to fight hunger and provide food nutrition education and emergency food relief when the need arises. We especially like their volunteer vacations.

Other Culinary Tours

Plans to visit another city? Culinary walking tours are becoming more and more popular with both tourists and locals. Consider the following:

Foods of New York
Two great tours to choose from: Greenwich Village and Chelsea Market/Meatpacking.

Chicago Food Planet
Their specialty is the Near North Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour.

Michele Topor’s North End Market Tours
Join one of Boston’s leading authorities on Italian food, wine and culture on a walking tour of Boston’s famous North End.

When in New York City, try their uptown Luxury Chocolate Tour or their downtown New Cuisine Chocolate Tour.

Chicago Chocolate Tours
Valerie Beck’s chocolate tours visit the Loop and the Magnificent Mile.

Just need to find a chocolate shop? And fast? This website lists chocolate shops all around the world.

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