Brunch: Tartine Manufactory
Housed in a big, bright, former commercial laundry, the Manufactory is a spin-off by Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson, founders of one of America's best bakeries, Tartine. It's a little difficult to navigate during the daytime, when there's limited table service, but it's worth persevering. Show up at 11am for unfussy breakfasts - coddled egg with toast and trout roe, corn grits with huckleberry, and house-roasted coffee - and then get back in line at 11.30 for sandwiches when the lunch menu kicks in. It's a pleasure to see their exceptional bread being put to good use.
595 Alabama St, San Francisco
Chef Chad Robertson from Tartine
Power lunch: Dad's Luncheonette
This place is nowhere near anywhere you're likely to do business, but if, like me, you believe power lunches are antithetical to lunch itself, cancel your meetings and drive 40 minutes south of the city. Beside Highway 1 is this converted train car serving burgers on slices of pullman loaf, herb salad and whatever soup and baked goods Scott Clark, a former chef of three-star restaurant Saison, is serving.
225 Cabrillo Hwy South, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County
Hamburger sandwich, potato chips and herb salad at Dad's Luncheonette
Chef Kim Alter has been quietly kicking around the Bay Area for years, at legendary restaurants Manresa, Ubuntu and as one of chef Daniel Patterson's top lieutenants. Now she has a space of her own to work her magic. Come early for a cocktail at the tiny adjoining bar, the Linden Room, and then witness Alter's thoughtful, enthusiastic take on California cuisine. The menu is both playful - a quail egg with brown-butter aïoli tastes like the best devilled egg you've ever had - and smart. Alter also breathes new life into familiar local ingredients such as beets, corn, spot prawns and Meyer lemon.
330 Gough St, San Francisco
Drinks: The Perennial
Most discussion about The Perennial centres on the restaurant's mission of ultra-sustainability. It's impressive, to be sure, but what rarely gets mentioned is the spacious, well-appointed bar with interesting cocktails and a solid wine list that also abides by the eco-friendly mantra.
59 9th St, San Francisco
Spicy Whiskey Ginger at The Perennial
Sleep: Hotel Zetta San Francisco
In a restored Neoclassical building on the edge of SoMa (South of Market Street), Hotel Zetta is lined up to fill the niche that boutique hotels Ace and The Standard occupy in other American cities: urbane and comfortable, with some real thought given to dining.
55 5th St, San Francisco
Coming soon: The Charter Oak
Laid-back digs from the team at ultra-soigné The Restaurant at Meadowood are due to open soon in wine country at St Helena. Can they create a vibrant, comfortable eatery in a neighbourhood sorely lacking in restaurants that match the area's wine reputation?
1050 Charter Oak Avenue, St. Helena