As much as I love eating at restaurants, I’m also inclined to spare my wallet and time (sadly, brunch spots sans-reservation will cost you) by making my own picnic…and with the San Francisco weather getting better by the day, why not grab a few friends, some delicious food and enjoy the sunshine?
Washington Square Park
While I no longer live in North Beach, this tiny park (or grassy block) holds a very special place in my heart, if for no other reason than it’s steps away from some of my favorite restaurants and cafes. Bring your own baguette from the Italian French Baking Company or stop by Little Vine for one of their sandwiches and ginger beer. If you need a pick-me-up, Cafe Trieste serves a delicious latte.
Though not yet open, North Beach deli Central Station is Pete Mrabe’s newest culinary adventure. Judging by my obsession with his other two restaurants, Don Pistos and Chubby Noodle, I’m sure this too will become a new go-to spot, for sandwich and pasta enthusiasts in particular.
On a nice day in the city, there will rarely be a shortage of sun, or people, taking advantage of Dolores…and I have to believe the crowd at Bi-Rite will be equally as busy (though it’s always worth the wait). Thankfully, the newly open Mission Picnic, a sandwich-salad spot, will offer take out boxes perfect for any park-goer.
Craving dessert for lunch? Anthony’s Cookies is a must. I’m partial to the Cookies & Creme flavor but imagine the Toffee Chip is just as addictive.
Chrissy Field/Fort Mason
If it’s a clear day out, you’re guaranteed to find people in the northern part of the city, enjoying the unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz…and just about every other mountain, bird and sailboat in sight.
If you’re willing to take a leisurely walk to the Presidio, Off-the-Grid is hosting a weekly food truck picnic on Sundays from 11-4 (if you aren’t convinced already, Namu Gaji, Hog & Rocks and Nopalito are among some of the vendors). For those who want a more traditional grocery-brought picnic, Real Food Company is a great alternative to Safeway.