Local Insights

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Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios shares his top recommendations for summer experiences awaiting guests of The St. Regis San Francisco.

By Dana Nichols

_MG_7079 SENDThe concierge team at The St. Regis San Francisco knows all the top places to shop, dine, drink and play in the city this summer. Here, Antonio Barrios shares a few of his top recommendations, cultivated through his years of experience at the St. Regis.

Alfresco Appeal 

Summer in California is the season for long days in the sun, boating and—in the golden state’s premier culinary destination —dining outdoors. Just in time for summer, the city’s hottest new restaurant COQUETA offers an alfresco experience by Michael Chiarello, celebrity chef and owner of famed Bottega Ristorante in Napa Valley. “It’s right on the Embarcadero on the waterfront, it’s got a great bar, really high energy and very good food,” Barrios says of the new Spanish tapas hotspot. (415-704-8866; coquetasf.com)

Another way to evoke tastes of the Mediterranean in San Francisco is to partake in the city’s rich tradition of authentic Italian cuisine—with pizza. “The really popular Italian restaurant FARINA opened up its pizzeria a block down from their original location. It’s a new vibe, and it’s very good pizza,” Barrios explains. The eatery, which is hip and lively, and offers outdoor heated sidewalk tables. Dine in-house to watch golden crusted rounds of classic Naples-style pies, bubbling with fior de latte mozzarella and Farina’s signature basil pesto, emerge from the black-tiled pizza oven, which was custom built with Mount Vesuvius sand. (415-565-1900; farina-foods.com)

Elsewhere in the Mission District, visitors prepare their appetites for sweet and spicy empanadas and braised beef short ribs at the trendy new Argentinean steakhouse LOLINDA. Rum and bourbon spirits are enjoyed with a rooftop city view. “The upstairs bar on the roof deck is just one reason why this is a hot restaurant, right at the heart of the Mission District,” Barrios says. The menu also features hearty vegetarian options and an impressive selection of Argentinean and Spanish wines. (415-550-6970; lolindasf.com)

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Coqueta

Fashionable Forms

If you’re looking for a San Francisco enclave, where high-end boutique browsing can uncover finds as special as California-made linen sheets or a fashion-forward lime green leather passport cover, head to the Hayes Valley district. Here, there’s a ban on chain stores and a decidedly superb concentration of sophisticated menswear.

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Aether Apparel

“The whole area is really becoming cutting edge as far as fashion is concerned,” Barrios says. “There’s really fun stores and fun little restaurants that are opening up; one in particular is AETHER APPAREL, a really cool men’s boutique.” You’ll know the stylish active and outerwear clothier when you see it—just look for three stacked shipping containers, which house the one-of-a-kind store. (415-437-2345; aetherapparel.com)

Purveyors of East Coast casual prep style, GANT, recently opened one of its only two locations on the West Coast. From buttoned-up professional to beach-ready attire, the store adds to Hayes Valley’s reputation among San Francisco neighborhoods for on-trend goods. (415-437-1949; gant.com)

One of Hayes Valley’s home design stores will surely turn up a unique find, Barrios says, but he also recommends a San Francisco standby: “The main store in the city to go to for gifts is GUMP’S, right up the street from the hotel. Their items are always beautiful.”  (800-766-7628; gumps.com)

Water Wonderful

Indisputably, there’s no other place to be this summer than San Francisco’s waterfront. Whether you have grandkids in tow or you’re setting out to catch a prime view of the highly anticipated regatta on the bay, you won’t want to miss the action along the city’s piers.

“The whole Embarcadero is really booming right now,” Barrios says. “Not only do you have America’s Cup, you have the new cruise terminal and the new EXPLORATORIUM. This summer, the whole area is going to be really alive with a lot of stuff going on.” Explore hundreds of hands-on exhibits at the museum, where interactive science ranges from plankton ecosystems to a giant self-assembling gear clock. (415-528-4444; exploratorium.edu)

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Exploratorium

Make your way between two hubs of activity, the AMERICA’S CUP VILLAGE at the Marina Green and the AMERICA’S CUP PAVILION at Piers 27/29, where acts throughout the summer include Train, Steely Dan and Jason Mraz. (americascup.com)

If you want to do something low-key, simply stroll and enjoy the view of the Bay Bridge, Barrios recommends. “I think it’s a really cool area to walk along the waterfront and end up in Fisherman’s Wharf,” he says. Walk even further to CRISSY FIELD to bask in one of the city’s most picturesque natural landscapes, complete with restored beaches, tidal wetlands, trails to the Golden Gate Bridge and more. (parksconservancy.org)