Lunch time in Farmshop: avocado hummus and pita bread for starters.
The light white interior of Petit Crenn. Image via SF Eater.
Modern Vietnamese food at Out the Door. Image courtesy of the restaurant.
Fresh flowers on the counters, always. That’s Boulettes Larder. Image credit: Mariko Reed.
Lounge area at the back of the dining room in Farmshop. Image credit: Mariko Reed.

Food to love

It is easy to eat well in San Francisco with so many wholesome, delicious possibilities available. Here’s something to try.

Boulettes Larder
Restaurants come and go, Boulettes Larder remains, although the concept has developed since the restaurant opened over a decade ago. Besides the quality of the food, there is something very unique about this place. The love and consideration shines from everything you see, smell, taste and touch here: the large flower arrangements, beautiful interior, linen drapes and chair covers, wooden counter and tables, and the tableware, kitchen utensils and pantry organized neatly but unpretentiously on open shelves. The owners, Chef Amaryll Schwertner and Lori Regis, are there every day. That makes me happy and reminds me of Italy where running a soulful restaurant is a lifestyle. Amaryll’s food makes me feel happy, healthy and nourished. In the morning, I will have fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, freshly pressed citrus juice and maybe some toasted bread with butter. For lunch, a selection of meze, maybe, or share a gourmet pizza and some salad with someone. Last time I ate lunch in Boulettes, I had a glass of Italian pinot grigio and a salad made of shredded roast chicken breast with some crushed walnuts, dates and chestnuts, cilantro leaves, extra virgin olive oil and little gem lettuce. Simple and lovingly prepared food is the best food there is.
1 Ferry Building, Suite 48
San Francisco, CA 94111

Petit Crenn
Chef Dominique Crenn is best known for her two Michelin star rated restaurant Atelier Crenn, located on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Crenn also starred in the documentary series The Chef’s Table. Inspired by her mother, grandmother, and home in Brittany, France, her bistro, Petit Crenn focuses on Normandian home-cooking. Menu changes every day. It is seven courses and everyone gets the same, unless you are allergic to something. Most courses arrive on one dish in the middle of the table and are meant to be shared. You may get two, three courses served at a time, which makes both eating and socializing feel more effortless than if you waited the waiters to clear your plates after each course. Even though Petit Crenn was nothing mindblowing in culinary sense, I loved everything about it. The white interior, peculiar small plates, silver cutlery and champagne flutes felt different than anywhere else right now, more feminine than the minimalistic cool that has been around for several years maybe, and with notable French accents. Menu was strictly vegetables, fish and seafood which felt nice too. The small oysters we began with were especially delicious.
609 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102

Introduced by a friend a few years back, Farmshop has become my mealtime staple when visiting the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur. Coming from San Francisco, you can take a ferry or come by car. The best features of Farmshop: fresh, high-quality ingredients, hand-crafted feel, effortless atmosphere and that large wood-fired oven. I know gas-fired ovens are more practical but nothing beats the good old thing. So you must try something oven-baked here. If not a pizza – which is great, especially the basic margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil – at least order some avocado hummus to start with. It comes with freshly baked pita bread on the side.
2233 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939

Out the Door
Sister restaurant of Slanted Door in Ferry Building, Out the Door serves fresh modern Vietnamese food in an easy-going, upbeat environment. Lunching alone, I ask the waitress for recommendations and go with them: a half portion of spring rolls and a chicken salad, with a glass of cava. Everything is fresh and house-made. On the next visit, we choose to sit at the large, wide marble kitchen counter, where you really get to see what the dishes are made of and how they are prepared. Impressive work. We order several dishes to share – a steamed bun, rolls, asparagus, organic lemongrass chicken – and enjoy everything.
2232 Bush Street (at Fillmore)
San Francisco, CA 94115

For more tasty meals in the city: Heirloom Café, Tartine Bakery, Nopalito, Outerlands.