Our guest writer, Ana Silva O’Reilly, shares her thoughts on San Francisco, her favourite US city.
I have lost count of how many times I have been to the States – From NYC to Miami, LA to San Francisco, Chicago to Boston, I fell in love with them all, with each dramatically different from the other. But the one I keep going back to? San Francisco.
I first went 7 or 8 ago and I try to go back every couple of years. I am a California addict – I should have been a California babe, but being born in Portugal, it wasn’t meant to be. When Bon Vivant asked me to share my favourite places of good old SF, I had to think before saying yes. Do I really want everyone to know? Well.. yes!
When you land in San Francisco, the first night is always tough. I thought jetlag got better with repeat experiences, but I really struggle with the 8-hour difference. The first night for me is always non-existent and, of course, you wake up very early the next morning.
The silver-lining? I had San Francisco to myself. I was out at 6am ready for breakfast and even Chinatown was closed.
I stayed, as usual, at the Westin St Francis, bang on Union Square, which is where you want to be. I started my day at Sears Fine Food, for the ultimate American breakfasts – 18 Swedish pancakes with buttermilk and maple syrup and couldn’t help but notice that most people weren’t sharing!
We rode around town in the trolleys (cable cars) and had to make a special stop at the city’s hottest Spa, Mizu, where we treated ourselves to manicures, pedicures and massages. Then, of course, it was time for some shopping.
At Union Square you find all the department stores and all the designer shops just around the corner: It is a dangerous place to be.
We ventured down the Fishermen’s Wharf, which is a bit shabby and touristy, but the place to go for some delicious crabs’ legs and oysters. But my favourite places in town? Kokkari Estiatorio, my favourite Greek restaurant in the world.
It doesn’t feel like the usual Greek restaurants, it is smart, has a great atmosphere and seriously good looking people. And did I mention the food? I highly recommend the delicious watermelon and feta salad.
Another great dining option in San Francisco is La Mar Cebicheria Peruana – I love ceviche and paired with a good crisp California white, I can’t think of a better combination. Nights are best ended at the Clift bar at The Clift Hotel.
San Francisco is very different to the major American cities – the weather can play its tricks, but I think it just makes it more unique – and, of course, it has the famous bridge, which reminds me a bit of being in Lisbon.
Ana Silva O’Reilly – Mrs. O Around the World
Excited by all good things in life, Mrs O spends a significant part of her life travelling around the world and having a bit of fun. MrsOaroundtheworld.com is the place to come if you want to know where to go for your next luxe weekend or proper holiday getaway. She loves travel, loves people and she loves shoes.