Haute Hood SF: What to Do in Jackson Square

Photo Credit: Bix Restaurant

On the border of the Financial District and North Beach, Jackson Square is one of San Francisco’s most beautiful and under-rated neighborhoods. The area is full of rich history: During the gold-rush era, Jackson Square was known as the Barbary Coast — the waterline came all the way up to Battery Street — and it housed factories, saloons, and brothels that were frequented by the sailors who came into town. Those looking for a physical square should note that there is no square in Jackson Square, but plenty of chic shops, restaurants and businesses line it’s quiet and charming streets. Keep reading for the best of Jackson Square.

Photo Credit: Quince

Several iconic San Francisco restaurants call Jackson Square home. First up is Michael Tusk’s recently remodeled James Beard Award-Winning Quince, an uber elegant and chic restaurant that specializes in French and Italian cuisine crafted with a California sensibility. Next door is Quince’s little sister, Cotogna. Here Tusk focuses on rustic family-style Italian food. There’s a wood burning oven and handmade pastas; the raviolo, a giant ravioli that’s swimming in a pool of brown butter and filled with ricotta and a farm fresh egg is a must order. Down a quiet alley, you’ll find Bix, an old-school institution that has been serving loyal locals since 1988. The piano player is often joined by a jazz singer, the martinis are consistently potent and icy cold, and the steak tartare is so haute it’s dressed tableside. At the large, bustling Kokkari, Greek cuisine is expertly prepared by the team of chefs. Pull up a seat at the bar and order the fried smelt with garlic potato skordalia or the gigante baked beans with tomato sauce and herbed feta or the grilled lamb riblets with lemon and oregano. It doesn’t matter what you order, everything that the waitstaff delivers at Korkarri is downright delicious and often times, finger-licking good.

Photo Credit: The Battery
Quite possibly the hautest hotel in all of San Francisco is a private club called The Battery. Although there are only 14 rooms, there are a variety of styles, from a garden deluxe room with exposed brick and views of the Battery’s garden to a suite with a balcony that looks toward the Bay Bridge and the Transamerica building. There’s also a stunning 6200-square foot penthouse with outdoor patio that can be rented out for events. All of the luxurious rooms were furnished by the fabulous interior designer Ken Fulk and many feature original art. Any guests staying in the hotel are treated like club members and have access to the bars, restaurant, spa, gym, and member events.

Photo Credit: La Boutique
There’s an eclectic mix of shops in Jackson Square. If you’re looking to score hard to find pieces from European designers like Amour Vert, MM6 Maison Martin Margiela, and Athe Vanessa Bruno, head to La Boutique L’Art Et La Mode. Equal parts shop and art gallery, La Boutique features a finely curated selection of clothing and art in a quiet and peaceful setting. Espresso affciandos must stop in at Thomas E Cara Ltd. This store is filled with an overwhelming array of espresso machines in every shape, color, and size. There’s also the necessary accoutrements like espresso cups, specially roasted beans, and coffee grinders. William Stout Architectural Books is another shop that’s not to be missed. It’s one of the nation’s last great architectural book stores and filled with tomes and tomes of creative inspiration.

Photo Credit: Transamerica Pyramid
The Transamerica pyramid sits on the border of Jackson Square. This towering triangular shaped building is a symbol of San Francisco. It is the landmark that defines the San Francisco skyline. Construction for the Transamerica pyramid began in 1969 and was completed in 1972. Today, it is an office building with 48 floors and some of the best views in the bay.