Contributed by Donald Ruthroff, Senior Architect at Dahlin Group Architecture / Planning
San Francisco remains one of the top food destinations in the world. Colleen Edwards and I agree that while you’re at PCBC this year, you should forego the hotel restaurant and explore the city that I call home and all the fantastic food it has to offer.
In the vicinity of Moscone Center where the convention is held there is a fantastic spot called Restaurant LuLu. It’s a venerable San Francisco favorite that features an open kitchen and a wood fired grill. The menu has daily features and an established group of favorites that give you plenty of dishes to choose from. It can be a bit lively inside, but the energetic vibe of this place will ensure that you have fun on your night out.
If you are willing to grab a cab, The Fillmore is just a short ride to one of San Francisco’s great neighborhoods. Once you are in this charming neighborhood, you’ll find SPQR, one of San Francisco’s Michelin starred restaurants. As an architect I don’t like to copy historic architecture; I prefer to take inspiration from classic architecture and give it a fresh perspective. In that same vein, I like to think that chef Matthew Accarrino at SPQR shares my take on revisiting the old and using it as inspiration for the new, as he uses the inspiration of Roman cuisine to create his sublime dishes. If you think of yourself as a foodie this is the restaurant that you may want to know about. Just don’t forget to make a reservation because they book up fast.
If Asian food is your gig, or maybe you’re following the Ramen craze that’s sweeping the nation, San Francisco has an offering here too. Ken Ken Ramen in the Mission District of the city is located along the BART line and in one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods filled with art and grit. Ken Ken is a small restaurant that doesn’t take reservations but they do deliver, doing their take on distinctly Japanese fast food. Grab a beer and a bowl of noodles and you will find yourself fully satisfied at the end of your meal.
Across town in the hip Marina District is another great Italian offering at A16. Owner and wine sommelier Shelly Lindgren has been nominated three years running for the James Beard award for wine service and, wow, does she know her stuff! I like to sit down in this charming restaurant, order what looks good (which is most anything) and just let her do what she does best! Here you can find wines that you will find nowhere else. Shelly sources many of them herself by traveling through Italy and meeting the vintners. A16 is known for its pizza, and you must find a way to include one in your dinner. Ask your server what the chef’s secret selection is on the night you visit. You will find that like SPQR, A16 understands hospitality and will make you feel totally at home.
Finally, California would not be a “food place” without some Mexican food. Brought to us via Manhattan is Rosa Mexicano, located downtown not too far from Union Square and the Moscone Center. When Rosa Mexicano decided to come to the west coast, they chose San Francisco as their home and they brought their delicious take on Mexican favorites with them, including their delicious table-side prepared guacamole. If you go, you must have some with their fresh made chips.
As you can see, San Francisco has a lot to offer in the way of food, so get out and explore while you are here for PCBC 2014. Who knows, we might run into each other at dinner.