Hayes Valley is a cute little neighbourhood in San Francisco that I’ve enjoyed getting to know. Here you’ll find the perfect pastry, ice cream, coffee, a large outdoor cinema screen, all kinds of boutiques; restaurants to satisfy just about culinary craving and even America’s first Sake shop! The list could continue. Perhaps I’m a tiny bit biased because we’re living in this neighbourhood but if you’re visiting San Francisco then an afternoon or evening here is worth being on your list. Whilst we’re still making our way through the food spots, below are a few places that have stood out to me so far:
BOULANGERIE 500 Hayes St
A bowl of latte is how I’d describe the ‘small’ coffee I first bought here on my 2nd day in SF. It’s fair to say they’re generous with their sizes and have every type of coffee, every possible type of pastry and bright orange chairs that make for a cute picture. I like popping in here during the week. You can also find a Boulangerie in several other locations around SF (six to be precise).
SOUVLA 517 Hayes St
A popular Greek lunch spot serves a good selection of amazing meats in either a wrap or a salad. The salad is actually easier to eat and a bit tastier. So far I’ve tried both the pork and chicken, both excellent. (Salads / wraps range from $11-14). We also tried the greek olive oil & sea salt frozen yogurt ($4) The first mouthful was interesting to as you can imagine but it grew me! Next time I need to try the greek fries! You’ll also find Souvla on Divisadero St in Nopa and in The Mission.
TRUE SAKE 560 Hayes St
An entire shop dedicated to Japan’s drink of choice. Remember that if you buy anything here, it’s against Japanese tradition to pour your own sake; so make sure have someone on hand to be your personal server!
MIETTE 449 Octavia St
An impeccably decorated, colourful sweet shop selling a mixture of traditional pic n mix; cakes, beautiful chocolates, biscuits… oh god I want to be in there now! Take a peak and treat yourself to a little purchase!
CHANTAL GUILLON 437 Hayes St
The intense smell of sugar hits you as you walk through the front door. This is another niche store in Hayes that specialises in selling one product and focuses on doing that one thing really well and in this case it’s macaroons. Apparently everything is handmade daily and they also provide gluten free options. I’m not really a macaron fan but I may need to break that tradition and try what’s claimed to be the best macaroons in SF.
ANINA 482 Hayes St
Anina is as new to SF as I am! This bar opened at the beginning of March as describes itself as an ‘Island inspired’ cocktail bar and it’s exactly that. Sporting a bold interior, colourful lanterns hang from the ceiling, whilst palm print dresses the walls. But perhaps the most prominent feature is the large outside courtyard that’s lined with fairy lights and plenty of benches, making it a good spot to go with a few friends. Although it’s still in it’s infancy, it’s proving to be a popular bar as it’s always busy. If you like a gin, try the Fairway cocktail!
LAVISH 508 Hayes St
Stationery, cards, accessories and a tonne of beautiful bits & bobs. I’m bit of a sucker when it comes to stationery. As lame as it sounds I’m actually sad I left my box of ribbons and label maker in London! So it’s no surprise that I enjoyed finding Lavish. To me, this is a boutique version of all of Paperchase’s best bits. So if you need a cute postcard, I’d 100% head here.
ORIGINALS VINYL 701 Fillmore St
I can’t tell you an awful lot about this vinyl shop, except that they obviously sell records! Truth is, I liked the entrance so I took a photo! Plus the guy at the door also reminded me of my old housemate James Yorke aka Jimpong (who is often spotted in a vinyl shop on’a Saturday – his Soundcloud is linked if you fancy it!)
PAPITO HAYES 425 Hayes St
I mentioned Papito’s in a blog post back in October because I love it, so here it is again! A simple, Mexican bistro that isn’t too expensive, serving traditional classics. 2 tacos for $10 and churros absolutely worth trying.
SMITTEN ICE CREAM 432 Octavia St
Smitten bake their own cones, use all-natural ingredients and somehow make the ice cream using a liquid nitrogen machine; surely that’s enough to make you stop and try? Sticking to the list of gimmicks, they’re are also situated in one of the converted shipping containers at the centre of Hayes Valley. Try their salted caramel ice cream for $5 per scoop; worth every penny.
BIERGARTEN 424 Octavia St
Situated next door to Smitten, this shipping container beer garden serves pretzels, burgers, sausages, good draft beer (so I’m told) but also a really good bottle cider – situated in a casual outdoor seating area. It made me feel at home; kind of like having a Friday night drink in pop up in Hackney.
Hopefully there’s something that makes you want to stop by soon! The image below, gives you a flavour of the gentrified outlets that are popping up in the centre of the Valley.
The Ridler 528 Laguna St
A champagne bar with a classic interior that also serves also selection of wines. You can also help yourself to free popcorn with every possible flavour or sugar & salt you can imagine! It’s fairly small inside, so either get there early or reserve a table. #Chic #$$$ #atmospheric
Loving Cup 535 Octavia St
Frozen yogurt & rice pudding! I’ve only tried to fro yo but there’s endless choice with loadsa toppings and it’s as simple as that!