Taste Guide

San Francisco

Discover the town, one bite at a time

By Alex Tieghi • Walker

 

The architectural vernacular of San Francisco is delicate and colourful – the buildings you see today were mostly built from redwood trees carried down the coast by boat from the north. The city is for the most part low-rise, but it is dense: with its hills and valleys and water on three sides, the wilderness encroaches and coexists with city life.

 

Built on a fortune of gold that had been pioneered then prospected in the Sierras to the east, the city was the largest – and most important – town west of the Mississippi by 1920, with a population of half a million. Immigrants arrived by wagons across the plains, and by boat from China. The Chinese worked hard as labourers, and built the great Pacific Railroad, which in turn brought more people and wealth to the Bay. Over a hundred ethnic communities now jostle for space on the 49-square-mile peninsula; and just a whistle across the Bay, Berkeley and Oakland further contribute to the cultural melting pot of the area.

 

Today, a vibrant tech scene has breathed new life into the city, and it is one of the fastest growing centres for business and culture in the US. It’s no wonder that it is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with vertiginous hills, matchbox charm and a thriving food scene set to delight and intrigue for many years to come.

Until 1847, “Yerba Buena” was the common name given to the dense cluster of ramshackle timber houses, wharfs and warehouses that existed way before downtown San Francisco took its place. Named for the creeping Californian herb that had blanketed the Bay Area hills for centuries,...

If New York was historically the primary gateway to America, then San Francisco was certainly a close second. In 1847, the provincial envelope of Yerba Buena had a population of just 400, crammed in to shanties clustered around a small natural harbour. It was gold that turned this village of...

San Francisco is often known as the Bay Area, but many visitors – and even locals – forget that in the southwestern parts exists an ocean. The beach rises up and crests in to dunes, which separate the Pacific from the streets of the Outer Sunset. Sand verbena grows naturally down...

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