Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios of The St. Regis San Francisco divulges the ways guests can embrace the city during the spring season.
By Taylor Dutch
The concierge team at The St. Regis San Francisco knows all the top places to shop, dine, drink and play in the city. Here, Antonio Barrios shares a few of his top recommendations for spring, cultivated through his years of experience at the St. Regis.
The best events to celebrate spring in the city involve the entire community. Barrios recommends the exciting two-day CARNAVAL SAN FRANCISCO, complete with Latin American and Caribbean music and cultural elements that conclude with a grand parade. This year’s 36th annual family-friendly event, which takes place May 24 and 25, honors the World Cup by dedicating eight blocks in San Francisco’s Mission District to display creative expressions of soccer, music, dance and exotic food from the countries around the world that celebrate this tradition. (415-206-0577; carnavalsf.com)
Venture to Japantown to enjoy a grand manifestation of Japanese culture as the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL returns to San Francisco April 12-13 and 19-20. In addition to a feast of traditional and nontraditional delicacies, hundreds of performers from Japan and California will partake in Japanese dancing, singing and martial arts demonstrations for thousands of spectators. (415-563-2313; sfcherryblossom.org)
An Icy Treat
Nothing compares to a cool treat from one of the city’s many delicious ice cream parlors on a lovely spring day. Indulge in some of the best local flavors with these suggestions from Barrios.
Located conveniently in beautiful Hayes Valley, SMITTEN is a revolutionary ice cream stand that was born out of founder Robyn Fisher’s idea to create the dessert from a rapid freezing cycle using liquid nitrogen. The result is delectable, made-to-order ice cream on a simple menu of just a handful of flavors and sundaes. Patrons can enjoy a new twist on old-fashioned ice cream in seasonal and traditional flavors like salted caramel and rhubarb crisp with homemade toppings while exploring the many small boutiques in the neighborhood. (smittenicecream.com)
For interesting and innovative flavors, guests are directed to HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE, a legendary Bay Area ice cream outpost. Using local dairy providers Straus Family Creamery, the Mission District ice cream parlor features striking yet delicious flavors such as cheese, bacon and chocolate smoked sea salt, in addition to the singular Secret Breakfast—a signature flavor that places Humphry Slocombe firmly in the ranks of ice cream royalty in the city. (415-550-6971; humphryslocombe.com)
Awaken your day with the best morning meal offerings in the city. THE CAVALIER recently opened under restaurateurs Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and Jennifer Puccio, owners and creators of the critically acclaimed local restaurants Marlowe and Park Tavern. Visitors are invited to an exploration of savory brunch favorites such as hanger steak, Greek yogurt and fried hen eggs or the bacon sandwich with watercress, shallot and mustard dressing. (415-321-6000; thecavaliersf.com)
“I would [also] highly recommend Vitrine here at the St. Regis,” Barrios says. “It offers an elegant and light-filled dining room with a sophisticated palette of sage green and white, custom-designed banquettes, chic tables and chairs, and rich herringbone-patterned wood floors designed by Toronto’s Yabu Pushelberg.” The 74-seat restaurant offers full breakfast and lunch menus with fresh, local ingredients. The chef adds a sophisticated twist to familiar dishes, creating a menu of refined comfort fare. Lunch specialties include the organic beef burger with or without a fried egg, American wagyu corned beef brisket and a daily fish selection from Japan’s Tsukiji Market. (415-284-4049; stregissanfrancisco.com)
Drinks for a Modern Age
Several local bars in the city are translating San Francisco’s distinct personality to their drink menus by experimenting with new versions of classic libations.
Specializing in traditional flavors of the Caribbean, exotic cocktails and liquid tributes to the Prohibition era, SMUGGLER’S COVE offers a mysterious and exciting take on rum. Using premium spirits and liquors, house-made ingredients and fresh citrus juiced in-house daily, Smuggler’s Cove yields a remarkable drinks-only menu with more than 70 specialty cocktails. (415-869-1900; smugglerscovesf.com)
Located at Pier 5 at the Embarcadero, COQUETA is a representation of Spanish cuisine, wine and cocktails that pays homage to its Bay Area roots. Though the menu of tapas and raciones is savory and satisfying, what’s especially noteworthy is the restaurant’s vast wine selection—a beautiful integration of Spanish wines from the various regions of the country, as well as a collection of California wines. (415-704-8866; coquetasf.com)