With sidewalks lined with bistro tables and a lingering bohemian spirit, North Beach is the most European of San Francisco’s neighborhoods.
Where to Eat
At 105-year-old Liguria Bakery (1700 Stockton St. 415.421.3786), freshly baked focaccia sells out every afternoon, and at Molinari Delicatessen (373 Columbus Ave., 415.421.2337) hefty Italian sandwiches are assembled against a backdrop of hanging salamis and basket-woven Chianti bottles. Recent Italian transplants run the Italian Homemade Company (716 Columbus Ave., 415.712.8874), a market and deli specializing in from-scratch pastas and cassoni. Lines run long at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (1570 Stockton St., 415.835.9888), whose namesake owner, Tony Gemignani, is a World Pizza Champion 12 times over.
Where to Drink
Soak up the street scene over coffee and a pastry at a sidewalk table at Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store (566 Columbus Ave., 415.362.0536). With a dimly lit interior crammed with curiosities, Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe (12 William Saroyan Place, 415.421.4112) resembles the type of watering hole Indiana Jones might frequent. Next door, Devil’s Acre (256 Columbus Ave., 415.766.4363) stirs up craft cocktails in a stylized apothecary setting.
Joltin’ Joe [DiMaggio] and Marilyn Monroe snapped their wedding pictures at Saints Peter and Paul Church (666 Filbert St., 415.421.0809), the twin-spired edifice fronting Washington Square Park. Its sprawling green expanse begs for a picnic, and nearby Little Vine (1541 Grant Ave., 415.738.2221) can set you up with a basket filled with cheese, bread and charcuterie. Independent bookshop and publisher City Lights (261 Columbus Ave., 415.362.8193) was a regular hang for the Beat Generation, and these days it hosts regular author readings.