Dining in San Francisco
is pretty much sublime year-round, but Fall is the season when newly
minted Michelin stars strut their accolades and the latest crop of new
eateries take to the scene. For those visiting for a long weekend, hotel
options are unusually grim in San Francisco with bleak installments of
Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis. Instead, opt for a room at
smaller, more charming properties like new Proper Hotel in the down-and-out Tenderloin or Hotel Drisco
with its historic architecture and Pacific Heights location that makes
the grandmotherly décor a bit more forgivable. For the best overnight
option, opt for pseudo-hotel The Battery
that's more like the Soho House of SF with its 14-suites designed by
Ken Fulk with access to the member's only bar and eatery that's recently
upped its culinary prowess.
Located in Jackson Square, long known as a historic district of antique shops, The Battery has brought with it a trendier selection of new neighbors like APC, Isabel Marant, Shinola and pop-up of Paris-based Carpenter’s Gallery - with represented artists like Rick Owens, Ingrid Donat and Nacho Carbonell. Nearby, Kokkari still packs them in with the best Greek food in California while Michael Tusk's Cotogna beams on a charming street corner next to his ever-elegant Quince - recently crowned again with a 3-star Michelin rating. A deeper walk into the Financial District reveals the effects of one of the worst homeless epidemics we've seen in any American city. Former outposts of Mandarin Oriental and Park Hyatt sit steps from homeless encampments and late-night bonfires that yield to 6 AM businessmen arriving obliviously to work at the Morgan Stanleys, Saleforces and Wells Fargos of the world.
As for Michelin Stars this year, last week's announcement of the 2018 winners included 3-star ratings for Quince, Benu, Saison and the return of Coi - re-establishing its rating under Baltimore-chef Matthew Kirkley for the first time since the departure of Daniel Patterson in 2016. Newcomer Californios, led by chef Val M. Cantu, is a true standout with its uber-modern Mexican in the Mission serving an exquisite and time-consuming 16-course tasting menu. As for other foodie standouts this season, Asian cuisine is finally getting its due with China Live that does a Chinese-take on foodie emporiums like Eataly with upstairs gourmand Eight Tables serving a Chinese tasting menu by George Chen that was too new for Michelin ratings this year. Afterwards, head to one of China Live's two cocktail bars that includes the super-secret Cold Drinks - accessible via a private stairwell that leads to a '20s speakeasy where bartenders wear tuxedos and the scotch-fueled night last 'til 2am.