Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios offers insider advice for enjoying spring in San Francisco.
By Kelly Shannon
Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios and the concierge team of The St. Regis San Francisco know all the best places to dine, shop and play this spring. Here are a few of their top recommendations.
One Night Only
If traveling to San Francisco just for a day, Barrios has some fantastic insight on a few places you must experience in the city, whether you can do them all or just one. “One of the things I would do is send guests to Crissy Field, where they can walk the trail and enjoy the sheer magnitude of the Golden Gate Bridge,” he says (Beach and Marina Boulevard; 415-561-7690; crissyfield.org)
“Next, I’d suggest they pop into the Marina District, where they can indulge in breakfast and some shopping on Chestnut Street. Breakfast hotspots like Judy’s (2268 Chestnut St.; 415-922-4588; judyscafesf.com) and Squat and Gobble (2663 Chestnut St.; 415-441-2200; squatandgobble.com) are worth the trek.”
Because every San Francisco neighborhood has its own unique appeal, Barrios loves sending guests to a variety of areas so they can get a feel for each. He also recommends Pacific Heights and Fillmore Street; Haight Street, steeped in San Francisco history and ’60s iconography; and the Haight-Ashbury district. “Guests can savor lunch at restaurants like Magnolia Pub, which offers house-made, artisan beer including a selection of cask-conditioned ales, seasonal, local, sustainable food and neighborhood hospitality” (1398 Haight St.; 415-864-7468; magnoliapub.com)
“Union Square (bordered between Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets) and Chinatown (portal located on the corner of Bush and Grant) are also essential for getting that comprehensive San Francisco experience. If the weather is beautiful, I’d send them to Twin Peaks and Vista Point where they can soak in panoramic views of our breathtaking city.”
Girl’s Best Friend
Union Square has two new residents: Graff Diamonds of London and Bulgari. “Graff Diamonds is new to Post Street, solidifying Union Square as a definite diamond center along with De Beers, Tiffany & Co., et cetera,” Barrios says. The extraordinary diamond company produces tens of thousands of carats of rough diamonds, cut and polished by expert teams from around the globe. Each jewel is unique, from the perfectly cut diamond to the magnificent hand-finished piece (237 Post St.; 415-926-7000; graffdiamonds.com)
Bulgari is also new to Union Square, Barrios adds, in regard to the Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer. Spelled “Bvlgari” in the classic Latin alphabet, the company made a name for itself with jewelry. However, today it is a recognized luxury brand that markets several product lines including watches, handbags, fragrances, accessories and more. (200 Stockton St.; 415- 399-9141; bulgari.com)
As a cultural focal point on the West Coast, San Francisco’s museums contain some of the most unique art in the world. “The Asian Art Museum is currently showing ‘Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts,’ which will run through April and is truly a must-see,” Barrios says. (200 Larkin St.; 415- 581-3500; asianart.org)
“I always urge guests to visit the de Young Museum for both its current exhibits and permanent collections.” This spring, San Francisco will welcome, with great anticipation, “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk.” Guests can then hop across the green landscape that separates the de Young from the California Academy of Sciences, where they’re sure to enjoy all exhibits from the planetarium to rainforest dome,” Barrios says. (de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.; 415-750- 3600; deyoungmuseum.org)
Rome Sweet Rome
Choosing where to dine in San Francisco can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of fantastic restaurants, but just one is Barrios’ absolute favorite. “For dinner, i suggest Locanda on Valencia Street. It truly captures San Francisco as a culinary mecca.” The bustling Mission District eatery offers roman-inspired dishes from chef Anthony Strong, who sections off his menu to include antipasti, charcoal grilled entrees, pastas and “Quinto Quarto,” meaning the “Fifth Quarter,” which includes dishes such as sweetbreads, oxtails and additional unique, authentic roman cuisine. (557 Valencia St.; 415-863-6800; locandasf.com)