Hayes Valley is a pretty great place to live. Or just to be. You’re centrally located, it’s not a foggy wasteland, and when there’s an earthquake you won’t sink into the sea like those fools who live in the Marina (like us).
Hayes is also home to a slew of excellent spots for wining and dining, some obvious (hello Biergarten line) and some not so obvious (the hidden gem that is Fig & Thistle). So we’ve laid out a meal by meal guide to eating and drinking your way through Hayes. Get to it.
Arlequin has excellent omelets, pork confit breakfast burritos, and some of our favorite pastries around. Tons of outdoor seating in the back and a few sunny tables on the sidewalk in the morning make this a neighborhood breakfast staple. Swing by in the afternoon for a glass of wine and a decent lunch. They have dinner service, too.
Perhaps you have seen the preposterous creation that is the Straw burger that has doughnuts for buns. Guy Fieri dreams of it as he slumbers. If you want to eat like a normal person, Straw’s scrambles and omelets will do you right.
Hangover brunch bonanza is the specialty of Boxing Room. The Southern food is hearty, and the beignets, pork belly hash, and biscuits will ease the pain. If you’re feeling up for culture on a Sunday morning, they do a jazz brunch.
If you like eating in classy museum cafes and also support clean eating and avoiding gluten and sugar, Little Gem is your mecca. We strongly advocate stopping in for the delicious (but small) granola for breakfast and the steak wrap and kale salad later in the day. Added fun: great light for your Instagram escapades.
Fatted Calf is a perfect place to grab lunch for a picnic. Tons of bread, cheese, and meats, and some insanely good sandwiches are all on the table. The roast beef and pulled pork sandwiches could turn a vegan into a hunter.
As stated as often as possible, we love Souvla. We love the fries, we love the lamb, we love the Greek yogurt. It’s an awesome spot for a quick lunch or dinner with a fun vibe that makes you feel like you really could be in the Greek Islands. And no matter what you do, get some of the Greek frozen yogurt. Topped with baklava.
Will you be blown away by the creativity and whimsy of The Grove? Absolutely not. But you will be very happy with the hearty salads, sandwiches, and general chill situation of this corner spot with some solid outdoor tables. Breakfast all day should be in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize, and the breakfast tacos here are delightful.
The ski chalet of your schnitzel dreams, Suppenkuche serves up very good German food and beers in a rustic space on the corner of Hayes & Laguna. Get the potato pancakes to start.
A more or less permanent pop-up within the Noir Lounge. Perplexing, yet delicious. Breakfast all day (up against The Grove for that Nobel) and massive sandwiches that are perfect for your scheduled afternoon food coma. The Turkey Drizzle is our current fave.
This teensy sushi spot consisting almost entirely of bar seating and a few outdoor tables is affordable, pleasant, and very much a local spot. We come here all the time, and you probably should, too.
In an alley off of Gough St., this tiny Blue Bottle outpost has the usual pour-over coffee of perfection and a few pastries. We are all about the granola, served in a mason jar with milk. Plus, everyone loves a good souvenir.
Rich Table is our perfect neighborhood restaurant. It makes every dinner feel like a special occasion, and every dinner IS a special occasion when you get to eat porcini doughnuts.
A great lox bagel, great egg sandwiches, and some actually reasonable prices for food keep us coming back. There’s not a ton of seating so the best move can be getting your breakfast to go.
Steak tartare, frog legs, a French dip. Oui, c’est vrai. Monsieur Benjamin makes French food cool and fun. Monsieur Benjamin has made us love frog legs.
Our favorite Thai in SF, Lers Ros is ideal for sharing stuff with a group and not feeling like you got totally price gouged on pad thai. The tom kha kai (aka coconut) soup is bomb and the larb moo (or as we call it “the duck thing”) is amazing, too.
The pour over coffee trend is sweeping the Hayes Valley shipping container scene. Ritual makes great coffee and has some pretty decent scones for a quick breakfast at their little outdoor area.
Science + ice cream = magic things. This shipping container turned dessert laboratory is the best sweets spot in the hood. We’re partial to the mint chip, but you really can’t go wrong.
A go-to spot for cocktails and beers. The service is appropriately full of attitude, and the back seating area is a solid spot to gather a post-work happy hour crew. They are also very friendly re: dogs in the bar, so extra points.
Fig & Thistle is hands down our favorite bar in the hood. An awesome selection of California wines and beers, an amusingly over the top cast of characters behind the bar, and an inexplicable bunk bed without mattresses set the tone. When you need some sustenance after a few drinks, they have a killer cheese plate.
The divey cousin of the snooty restaurant around the corner, we are all about drinks and strong cocktails at Dobbs Ferry Bar. Good spot to watch a game in a pinch as well.
We love this spot for the beer, the pretzels and sausages, and generally laid back sit-at-a-picnic-table vibe. If you work in the area, leave the office at 3 on a sunny day and post up here. Trying to get in at 5 p.m. or later on a nice weekday is just a fool’s errand.
Fro yo has died a slow death across the city as real ice cream takes over. Not mad about this. However, if you are craving some tasty soft serve, or, for some reason, want rice pudding, Loving Cup delivers both, and does so very well. They blend the toppings right into the chocolate or vanilla soft serve. Can’t go wrong adding Oreos.