ESSELLESSE SAN FRANCISCO GUIDE: UNION STREET

curated by someone who lives here!

This post has been a LONG time coming!! As mentioned here, get ready for a lot a lot a lotttttttttt more San Francisco content!!!

I moved to San Francisco from Texas {my home state} in September 2013. I lived in Healdsburg for about a year and moved to San Francisco in August 2014. I lived by myself in the Marina District from 2014 – 2018. Currently, Erik & I live together right on the cusp of the Marina District / Cow Hollow / Pacific Heights.

For the most part, San Francisco is divided into ‘Districts’. Each district / neighborhood has a distinct personality. That said, I find whatever area you live in, that’s where you’re going to be spending the majority of your time. It’s much easier to walk to a local neighborhood joint than deal with Ubers or driving.

I have a TON of reccs, so I’m going to divide things up. Keep up with everything in my San Francisco section.

SO MANY more guides coming: think best pizza, best shopping, best steak, best date night joints, best sushi, my favourite places of all time, best places to see the golden gate, best beaches, where to get photos…. etc. Anything else? Just let me know. I touched on my favourite sf dispensaries here.

However, what you won’t see here on essellesse is Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, & especialllllly Pier 39 🙂 Trust me, there’s a lot a lotttttttt more to this city than that… and to be honest, they don’t show the true charm of San Francisco. It baffles me but I see a lot of blogs recommend going there. If you’re looking for a more local experience, that’s just not what you’ll want at all.

Today, let’s talk Union Street.

In the Marina / Cow Hollow area, there are two major streets where everything is: Union Street & Chestnut Street. They run parallel to each other and where the majority of bars / restaurants are. They are also super easy to walk from one end to the other since everything is right next to each other. Basically on Union for all the places: it starts at Pierce St and ends at Van Ness so it’s about 9 blocks in total.

I’ll do a Chestnut Street guide as well as an “in between” guide {there’s a lot of places between both Union / Chestnut} but today is all about Union Street!

places I like on union street, san francisco california • cow hollow

Shannon Silver at Perry's on Union Street • essellesse guide to san francisco {lazy luxury lifestyle blog}
Perry's Buffalo Tenders & Chardonnay • essellesse guide to san francisco: union street
buffalo tenders & chardonnay at Perry’s!

Perry’s: This is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in the neighborhood. I joke with Erik that my fave type of food is basically whatevers served at a golf cafe and this is soooo that. The food is always SO good & they constantly have specials like half off wine nights. Get the wedge salad & buffalo tenders! Erik also really loves the burger here. I always order a glass of their Perry’s Chardonnay too.

Tamashi: this is my favourite sushi place in the area. I love to get the avocado bomb but replace the salmon with spicy tuna. Other notable items: A-5 Wagyu, tempura {with truffle salt!} & spicy tuna rolls always. Also get the Toro – they add yuzu and lightly torch it and it is diviiiiine. If you go, say hi to Billy!!! He’s the best!!!

Roam Artisan Burgers: quick burger place with high quality ingredients! Super easy to customize & they have meat like elk & buffalo. I like their BBQ Burger {sub caramelized onions for raw red onions – reminds me of Texas!!}, truffle parm fries and looooooveeee their tahitian vanilla milkshake 🙂

Caffe Union: I absolutely love this place – food is fantastic and the portions are huuuge but it’s gotten pretty pricey over the years. My favourite thing to order is the chicken caesar pita or the reuben on potato pancakes! Erik loves the blueberry muffins and will bring them home on weekend mornings. Fun fact, but this was one of the first restaurants I went with Erik back in 2013.

Flores: a chic, high end Mexican restaurant. I love the decor here, especially outside. They have a great happy hour with empanadas, crispy tacos, & beers. Fun for date night too {& their guacamole is insanely good}

Italian Homemade Company: I probably go here 1-3x a week, I’m not even kidding. This is one of my absolute fave places on Union. Basically you choose your pasta and sauce and they put it together. As the name suggests, everything is homemade. I personally love the proscuitto tortellini with salsa parmigiana and topped with their spicy oil! The gnocchi is insane too.

Italian Homemade Company on Union Street: gnocchi with butter & sage & Vegetarian ravioli with white sauce • essellesse guide to san francisco, union street
Gnocchi with Butter & Sage, Vegetarian Ravioli with salsa parmigiana
cacio e pepe {w/ extra chile flakes & chile oil}
Proscuitto Tortellini!

Rose’s Cafe: A cute, Parisian café! I def recc eating outside vs inside. Everything here is good but you can’t miss the salmon cozy, or the fresh squeezed lemonade – they serve the simple syrup on the side so you can sweeten it to your liking! I also LOVE their iced cappucinos. This is my favourite place to have a girl’s lunch or blogger dates 🙂

West Coast Wine & Cheese: a fantastic wine bar that serves only west coast wines! This was started by an awesome local couple who decided to leave the corporate world behind and start a wine bar (and now multiple wine bars! – a dream of Erik’s and mine!). A really fun place to explore and experience California wines, especially if you are visiting. Great music here – the chef gave me his playlist to share!! check it out.

Toasty: An avocado toast cafe!! This is right on the corner of Union & Octavia and pretty small. Their avo toast is LEGIT & they have poke bowls, acai bowls, & turmeric lattes. I like to get the proscuitto toasty with an americano. Cute to sit outside but great for takeout – their coffee is soooo good too!

Brixton: the Brixton is always solid & can have a pretty lively scene. I like to go for lunch or brunch. The food is fantastic {I especially like their chicken macaroni soup – sooo comforting!!} and they have a fun brunch cocktail list: think cotton candy and prosecco!

Campanina: seriously the cutest, little intimate Italian cafe. I think the outside seating is so gorgeous. Perfect for date night! Get a table outside – it’s so darling.

Wrecking Ball Coffee: This is my favourite coffee shop on Union. It’s a little further out but worth it. The wallpaper is instagram famous {cute pineapples} & they make a mean matcha latte or cappucino. Bonus points for a variety of milks too!

Corsagna: This is only open during the week for lunch. A fantastic little Italian deli that’s been in business since the 80s. They are reasonably priced {Union Street can get expensive}, & top notch. I like the proscuitto sandwich or getting the BLT & subbing out mayo for pesto.

Epicurean Trader: Right next door to Italian Homemade. This is a specialty gourmet & wine shop with a deli. This is the best place on Union to buy a bottle of wine to take to the water, park, or Fort Mason. They also have a fantastic deli where you can get sandwiches. PS – they also serve Wise Son’s bagels! I like to come here for an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese in the morning.

La Boulangerie: Right next door to Epicurean Trader! We love to run in here to pick up some baked goods. Get some wine & cheese next door, then get some baguettes and take it to the park! To be honest, I don’t recc eating in, I recc it for taking things with you, especially if you head to the Marina & water. My favourite thing to get here are the whole wheat croissants, baguettes and coconut cold brew.

Pan e Vino: A cute little Italian trattoria on the end of Union Street. Great for a date night and there’s an intimate vibe. I also like to get their Diavola pizza for carry out! The sauce is so good & fresh.

Terzo: Okay so this is technically not on Union but right on the corner, across from Rose’s. I am a sucker for Mediterranean cuisine and after Mezes’ on Chestnut street closed, we went on a frantic search for a neighborhood Mediterranean place. Thankfully Erik had been to Terzo and recommended it as our closer and fantastically delightful option. A cute little Mediterranean restaurant and everytime we go, Erik & I always say we don’t go enough! Their hummus is fantastic and they always have great wines. Good place to solo dine too at the bar.

Marina Submarine: a no frills sandwich shop that makes a damn good sandwich!! They’re open daily but close at 430/5p. Great to get to go to take to a park nearby or to the water. Heads up – they’re cash only!

Extreme Pizza: I think this is a chain but it’s really good and they’re open late {SF in general closes early fyi 🙁 }. We like to get their biggest pizza on a Friday and enjoy it throughout the weekend – they have whole wheat crusts too! here’s the best way to reheat it 🙂

Bus Stop: this is my fave bar on Union Street! Super old school & has been open since 1919! Ice cold beers & pool tables – what more could you need? Erik is super jealous of the old timers who have their own lockers for their pool cues in the back. Beware, only eight ball is permitted here – no nine ball is allowed! Bonus points for this Texan but they serve LONE STAR BEER {which I miss oh so much} and they have snax in the back by the secret bar well.

(a dragon turned pool shark. also Erik’s shoes rukm?)

Palm House: super cute aesthetics with a great happy hour but heads up, this place turns into a legit club during the day on Saturdays and Sundays. The food & drinks are fantastic & all have a tropical vibe but if you want something a bit more lowkey, just know it gets crazy over the weekends. If you’re single and looking to mingle with some hottie Marina bros, this is your place on Union!

Blue Light: this place gets pretty wild over the weekend but it’s a fun bar – kind of cool interior too – they also have a pool table! tbh I don’t recc eating there – the food was literally just ok (but the last time we went was Dec 2018 so it could be better now) – but it’s a fun place to get your drink on.

Bar None: a no frills, looking for a good time, time bar. This also gets really sloppy over the weekends, which is fun if you’re looking for that! But Erik & I love to go here during the afternoon on a Saturday or Sunday. The lighting is perfect & there’s so many fun games {not to mention, it’s too early for the cool crowd!}

Hint Water Bar: have you had Hint water?? It’s SO GOOD! They have an in/out shop {& take apple pay so it’s SUPER easy!} to grab some Hint to go! They also have it super instagrammy. I personally love the sparkling watermelon and sparkling mint waters but trust me, they are all so good.

places to shop

Sephora: always helpful to know where a local Sephora is! This is the closest Sephora to the Marina District & super easy to get to. PS Sephora will make you samples of whatever perfume you want so this is perfect if you are traveling! here are some of my current favs 🙂

Modern Citizen: the boutique itself is GORGEOUS but I personally love the clothes here – very much along my style: think mocknecks, slouchy knits, & ribbed fabrics. Get a selfie in the mirror here!

Ambiance: cute boutique with an array of trendy clothes – it’s where I got this silver purse below! Be sure to check the sale section – it’s HUGE!

shannon silver wears faux fur, velvet dress, & silver ambiance bag for the holidays • essellesse a san francisco lazy luxury blog shares union street guide: where to shop, eat, & drink

Morning Lavender: a cute boutique with breezy pastels & fabrics. I like their slouchy knits a lot. This is a great place to find an outfit for wine tasting in Napa or Sonoma 🙂

Lush Cosmetics: the all natural beauty chain has a location here! I love their Sleepy lotion – more here

Bud Stop: a local, outdoor florist with gorgeous flowers to mix & match! I always like to tell them the vibe I’m going for & let them choose a bouquet. I almost always say the word tropical!

Pink Bunny: an intimate lingerie, loungewear, & sexual wellness store.

SuiGENERIS Consignment: this consignment store is very expensive but they have some amazing vintage treasures. Fun to look around but if you have some money to blow, they have some one of a kind finds here

topdrawer: this is probably my fave shop on Union – it’s a Japanese stationary store and they have such a fantastic selection on Japanese pens, journals, & more! Japanese pens are seriously the best & they have so many areas where you can test each one out. If you are visiting, head here and buy a journal to document your travels!!

Sydney Nails: this is right by Toasty and my fave nail shop in the Marina! They have a great selection of colours, love the massage chairs, but they’re one of the only nail salons in the area to serve unlimited wine which I always love lol (allllll the nail salons in TX did this!) – be sure to bring cash to tip!

also, I thought it might be helpful for me to categorize all of the above restaurant / bars for the experience you may want?

date night

campannina; pane e vino; tamashi; terzo; west coast wine and cheese

where to drink wine

west coast wine & cheese; terzo; perry’s; pan e vino; campannina

happy hour

flores; perry’s; brixton; palm house

quick bites / to go

italian homemade; roam; epicurean trader; corsagna; extreme pizza; hint water; wrecking ball; toasty; Marina Submarine

brunch

caffe union; rose’s cafe; brixton; palm house

let’s rage

palm house after 4p; bar none; bus stop; blue light

my personal fave places

perrys; rose’s cafe; campanina; pane e vino; italian homemade; bus stop; tamashi; epicurean trader; wrecking ball

Hope this was helpful!! If you have any questions or are visiting, let me know and I’m happy to help 🙂

Any places on Union Street I left out or anything else I need to order from the above?? LMK! I’ll keep this list updated with openings & closings too. {last updated October 2019}

x SLS

+ my favourite pizza in SF (close to Cow Hollow)

+ my fave dispensaries in San Francisco

about essellesse

essellesse is a lazy luxury lifestyle platform by Shannon Silver focusing on everything that’s important to living your best life – great food, wine, travel, vintage style, fitness and skincare. essellesse evokes a style of lazy luxury that’s fun, intimate, and easy breezy.

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