RUFF Guide to SF and Beyond

  1. Transportation
  2. Restaurants
  3. Wine Tasting
  4. Yoga and Fitness
  5. Other stuff to do in SF or nearby

One of SF’s sights to see: the big rainbow flag in the Castro! Fashion design and styling by Heather. Gender-bending by Gigi. Hyphen Magazine photo shoot.


Public transportation is relatively good in the city. Visit to type in your starting and ending points and the site will give the best route with arrival and departure times (times are usually 90% accurate).

If you are staying near a main street, cabs are generally easy to hail down, but take note of a few companies in case you need to call:

Yellow Cab 415-333-3333

Luxor 415-282-4141

De Soto 877-691-2170

Green Cab 415-626-4733

Veteran’s 415-648-1313

RESTAURANTS (including lots of places with Happy Hours)
Ragin’ Asian
Slanted Door – Posh Vietnamese food, good cocktails (Ferry Building on the Embarcadero) $$$$-$$$$$

Tu Lan – Mom and Pop Vietnamese food/SF institution (near Market on 6th Street, but be careful on 6th, probably best to come here for lunch) $-$$

Heaven’s Dog – Chinese, same owner as Slanted Door, serious mixology, good Happy Hour and fun pictures of dogs (it’s not on the menu, but if you’re a Moscow Mule fan, you must order one) (Our hood – Soma) $$$

Osha Thai – Tasty Thai food and good Happy Hour (there are a few around town–we go to the one in the Mission) $$-$$$

Kiji – Innovative, awesome sushi (Mission) $$$

Zushi Puzzle – More awesome sushi (Marina) $$$

Hapa SF – Organic Filipino food truck. Check their website to see where and when they will be on any given day. If the sisig tacos are on the menu (oh yes, you know we love our fusion), order up! (Various locations) $$

So Restaurant – This Asian fusion/Chinese place is casual and very reasonably priced. The wings!!! The wings!!! (Soma) $$

Bumpin’ Indian

Dosa – South Indian cuisine, good wine list (there’s one in the Mission and another one on Fillmore Street; mixed drinks only at the latter as well as good wine list) $$$-$$$$

Udupapi Place – South Indian/vegetarian (just down the street from Dosa in the Mission, and significantly cheaper) $$-$$$

Pakwan – Great Pakistani food, Mom and Pop shop: order at the counter and BYOB from liquor store across the street (Mission, on 16th near Guerrero) $-$$

Amber – We haven’t been for dinner, but just went to their great happy hour (Yerba Buena District) $$-$$$

Big German Grub

Schmidt – German food, great beer (Inner Mission, 20th and Folsom) $$-$$$

Suppenkuche – German food, great beer, plus outdoor beer garden (Hayes Valley) $$$

Cali Cuisine and Miscellaneous

Zuni – Cali bistro, oysters are good, and their roast chicken is some good frickin’ chickin’ (near Market and Van Ness) $$$-$$$$

Bar Agricole – Cali cuisine, serious mixology, nice patio, just started doing brunch (Soma) $$$$

Cafe Ethiopia – Yummy Ethiopian food, been going here since ‘98 (Mission) $$-$$$

Stacks – Awesome comfort food, tons of choices, only open for breakfast/brunch (Hayes Valley) $$-$$$

Kokkari – Amazing Greek food, but you need to call for res (Financial District) $$$$-$$$$$

La Mediterranee – One of our fave Mediterranean spots (we go to the one in the Castro; there’s another one on Fillmore) $$-$$$

Tartine Bakery – SF’s most famous bakery (and one of Martha Stewart’s faves ;)), take a book with you for the line/wait (Mission/Dolores) $$

Starbelly – One of our fave Cali bistro joints, interesting menu, get some mortadella and goat cheese with blueberry compote, if offered (Castro) $$$

Soma Streatfood Park – Check out SF’s street food culture all in one place! This outdoor food court in our hood features 10 different food trucks which rotate daily (Soma) $$

Zeitgeist – This is THE spot for the Bloody Mary of your life. It’s primarily a bar, but there’s an outdoor beer garden where you can order burgers and other grub (warning: sometimes they play metal in the garden, but the sunshine makes up for it) (Mission) $$-$$$

From the Expansive Seas

Hog Island Oysters – Words cannot do justice… amazing oysters! Plus you get to see the shuckers in action at the bar! Arrive early for Happy Hour on Monday and Thursday and order the Cowgirl Creamery grilled cheese! (Ferry Building on the Embarcadero) $$$-$$$$

Water Bar – $1 oysters every day from 11:30am – 6pm (cocktail HH only during the week) (Embarcadero, a few blocks south of the Ferry Building) $$-$$$$

Gigi’s Sotto Mare Oysteria and Seafood – Delicious seafood (the cioppino is the bomb!) We still have to meet the owner Gigi! (North Beach) $$$

Latin Flavas

Tropisueño – Sit-down Mexican, good Happy Hour during the week (Yerba Buena District, not far from Union Square) $$-$$$

San Jalisco – More of a Mom and Pop sit-down Mexican, the chicken mole is tasty (Inner Mission, South Van Ness @ 20th)

Balompie – Our favorite place to get pupusas (Mom and Pop), but the curtido is better at Panchita’s (Mission) $-$$

Panchita’s – Another Mom and Pop Salvadoran shop; we usually just order the pupusas here, so we can’t vouch for other things on the menu (Mission) $-$$

La Corneta – One of our favorite taquerias (Mission) $

El Farolito – This taqueria is open very late (rare in SF), the tacos de carne asada are good for sobering up (Mission) $

Taqueria Cancún – Los tacos al pastor son la bomba! And the tortas are pretty dope as well (Mission) $

Fresca – Nouveau Peruvian, they have a good Happy Hour on certain days (various locations, we usually go to the one in Noe Valley) $$$

La Mar Cebicheria – Very good (but expensive) ceviche, however, they have a great Happy Hour during the week (Embarcadero, a couple of blocks north of the Ferry Building) $$$-$$$$$

Classic Cali Pizza Joints

Little Star Pizza – Yummy yummy yummy pizza, deep dish/thin crust (two locations, one in the Mission and the other on Divisadero) $$$

Patxi’s Pizza – Super yummy yummy pizza, deep dish/thin crust (two locations in the city—Hayes Valley and the Marina, but only the Marina has HH) $$-$$$

Pauline’s Pizza – Original, interesting pizzas; they have a little wine bar around the corner in the alley that is open on some days during the week (Mission) $$$

Una Pizza Napoletana – More tasty pizza (Soma) $$$

Well, if you’ve never done Napa, then go for it. A couple of our favorites on the main road (road 29 = St Helena Highway) are St. Supery and Domaine Chandon  (if you like champers). Another really great winery that is not on the main road is Frog’s Leap.
Russian River
BUT! If you want to be a little more adventurous and check out other wine making regions, we would suggest the Russian River Valley. Check out the wine road map and plan on making your way down West Side Highway (north to south). Apparently there’s an app for the map on, as well as info for other wine making regions. If you decide to stay the night, consider Boon Hotel and Spa in Guerneville (we usually stop at a couple of wineries on West Side Highway, continue southwest into town and stay at Boon). Some of our fave wineries in Russian River (most are on the map):  C. Donatiello for serene picnic grounds, Arista for a great bottle of Gewurztraminer, Thomas George for wine tasting in a cave, and Porter Creek which is a very small and unique tasting room (grab a bottle of Carignane if there’s a current release). Be sure to pick up sandwiches from a deli or grocery store before you head up north so you can picnic on one of the grounds, as most wineries have picnic areas.
Santa Cruz Mountain Wines
We happily discovered this region recently. Cooper-Garrod is an interesting mixed-use facility: the folks who own the winery also run an equestrian school on site, so you can converse with the horses after your tasting. We also checked out Picchetti which is set in a historic ranch. Watch out for the peacocks! The last winery we visited was Ridge Winery which is accessible via a very windy road, but once you reach the top of the mountain, the view is amazing!  For more info about the Santa Cruz wine region, click here.On your way back to the city, ask for directions to Highway 1, and take a pit stop at the Half Moon Bay Brewery for great oysters, seafood and brews! (Get the beer sampler) The drive back to the city is amazing (the views along Devil’s Slide on Highway 1 are as breathtaking as Big Sur views).
If you have memberships at some of the chain gyms like Crunch, Gold’s (which, btw, is our gym in Soma, and offers super fun classes–Pablo’s zumba class is the bomb!), or 24 Hour Fitness, you can find them all over town.
For yoga lovers, there are a few different Yoga Trees (which the locals adore) in various neighborhoods. Urban Flowis another very popular studio that just opened up around the corner from our place.
Aside from the museums and galleries in the Yerba Buena Arts District mentioned on the ceremony page, other museums and galleries to check out:
Galería de la Raza – The oldest Chicano/Latino arts organization in the country (in the Mission). On your way to Galería, take a slight detour from 24th Street and stroll down Balmy Alleyto see murals.
Asian Art Museum– Directly across from the famous City Hall in all of its gold covered glory (near Civic Center/Union Square)
De Young– This is the fine arts museum of SF, but darn! The Gautier exhibit closes at the beginning of September (in Golden Gate Park)
Academy of Sciences– Very cool science exhibits, planetarium, etc. (but don’t stare at the albino alligator, it’s not nice) Great for kids! (in Golden Park, right across from the De Young)
Exploratorium– The museum of art, science and human perception – another great place for kids! (on the north side of town)
If sightseeing the Bay Bridge wasn’t enough…

Big Sur 

For big, amazing, unforgettable views, consider driving down to Big Sur. Stop at Nepenthe for lunch. It’s about three hours from San Fran, but you won’t regret it (unless of course it’s foggy that day).

Twin Peaks 

If you don’t have time to drive to Big Sur, you can get an amazing view of all of SF by driving to the top of Twin Peaks. Get directions here.

The Embarcadero Waterfront

The Embarcadero offers nice views of the Bay. You could walk north from the Ferry Building to Fisherman’s Wharf (for those of you who are itching to do a more traditional touristic activity and grab some clam chowder or fridge magnets while you’re at it). You could also walk south toward the Ball Park. If you go to the Embarcadero, you should definitely check out the Ferry Building Marketplace.

Golden Gate Bridge 

Can you believe that Gigi has never walked the GG Bridge! But she’s thought about it plenty of times. The bridge just turned 75!

Neighborhood Strolls

The Mission

SF’s hipster neighborhood. Lots of places to eat food from all over the world, especially on Valencia Street between 16th and 18th, but there’s tons of other restaurants, shops, and bars all the way up to 25th street. People watch at the newly renovated Dolores Park (between Dolores and Church and 18th and 20th Streets) and get a great view of the city from the top of the hill (there’s a playground and also a gay beach at the park).

The Haight

This is the famous Haight/Ashbury District (you’ve heard of the Summer of Love, Flower Power and all that… however, you’ve probably also heard by now that American Apparel, the Gap, and the like have set up shop over the years; it ain’t what it used to be, but nonetheless, it’s still interesting to check out).

The Castro

This is the world’s most famous gay hood. Lots of restaurants, shops, and plenty of bars with really great happy hours. Check out the biggest rainbow flag ever right on Market and Castro!

Hayes Valley

Centrally located, not that far from Union Square. Cute boutiques, shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes.

The Marina/Cow Hollow (Union Street and Chestnut Street)

On the north side of town (close to the Marina). Lots of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes. A few too many sports bars for our taste, but it can still be a nice stroll.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s