HomeShoppingWhy you shouldn't overlook SF's Inner Richmond neighborhood

Why you shouldn’t overlook SF’s Inner Richmond neighborhood

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Sandwiched between San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Park and the lush, historic Presidio is the Inner Richmond. Although it can be overlooked by tourists, this unique neighborhood is known for its excellent dining scene, particularly its dim sum and Chinese food. However, you can also find almost any cuisine here, from Burmese to Italian to a selection of Irish pubs, alongside unique neighborhood shops along bustling Clement Street and Geary Boulevard.

If you’re planning a visit to the neighborhood, keep scrolling for the best things to see, do and eat in the Inner Richmond.

Explore the Inner Richmond’s parks, trails and more

When it comes to outdoor activities, the Inner Richmond is a great place to be. On the southern border of the neighborhood is Golden Gate Park. This enormous urban park spans 1,017 acres and is home to places of interest that include the recently renovated Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers and the lesser known Bison Paddock, which is home to a small herd of American Bison. Don’t miss out on the park’s museums which include the De Young and the California Academy of Sciences. The latter includes an aquarium and planetarium and a fun, adults-only night on Thursdays. If it’s a nice day, pack a picnic and rent a boat at Stow Lake to see the park from a different perspective.

To the north of the neighborhood is the Presidio, one of the city’s largest natural areas complete with hiking, biking and running trails, vantage points that include Inspiration Point and plenty of opportunities for bird watching, particularly owls at twilight. The Presidio offers some of San Francisco’s most visited places such as Lover’s Lane Trail and the famous Wood Line by artist Andy Goldsworthy.

While the neighborhood doesn’t have a ton of shopping, you’ll want to pop into the famous Green Apple Books, which has been a staple of the community since 1967 (while there are now multiple locations, the one in the Inner Richmond, at 6th and Clement, is the original). This charming independent bookseller has over 70,000 new and used books spanning all genres. Other cool shops in the neighborhood to check out include FleetWood, a gallery and boutique shop that sells locally made art, clothing, home goods, and jewelry; Tantrum, a toy store filled with puzzles, housewares and more; and Foggy Notion, which sells bespoke candles, body care, clothing and jewelry. There are also several specialty food shops that dot the neighborhood, selling everything from olives to spices to Turkish delight and Ukrainian items. 

Dine at the Inner Richmond’s beloved restaurants

Depending on what you’re in the mood for, the Inner Richmond has something to satisfy just about every craving. 

Dim sum including the five-color xiao long bao and scallop shu mai from Dragon Beaux in San Francisco, Calif.

Courtesy of Chelsea Davis, Special to SFGATE

Dragon Beaux

When it comes to Chinese food, there’s a lot to choose from. Dragon Beaux, known for its modern spin on Cantonese dim sum and Peking duck, is a popular spot that’s just a few blocks into the Outer Richmond, the neighborhood next door. This upscale spot is great for groups and features an extensive menu that includes all-you-can-eat hot pot, in addition to large format dishes like live Dungeness crab or lobster prepared as you like it. Dim sum highlights include the Instagrammable five-color xiao long bao; sea bass dumplings; scallop shumai.

Find it: Dragon Beaux, 5700 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121; 415-333-8899

Chili House

Another top notch spot for Peking duck is Chili House. The restaurant only makes 20 ducks per day, so come early. Ducks are served with the classic cucumber, green onion and sweet sauce, and also sliced and deboned, making it easy to eat.

Find it: Chili House, 726 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-387-2658

Good Luck Dim Sum

For a quick dim sum feast with a huge variety, head to Good Luck Dim Sum. This small, no-frills restaurant on Clement is known for its affordable dim sum. Highlights include the har gow, shrimp, dumplings and big chicken buns. This spot is cash only.

Find it: Good Luck Dim Sum, 736 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-386-3388



Mandalay 

Located on California Street is Mandalay, the city’s first Burmese restaurant. Opened in 1984, the restaurant brought Burmese food to the forefront of the dining scene with its popular dishes like the Rainbow Salad with 20 special ingredients mixed table-side; the Singapore style noodles; the savory curry pumpkin pork stew; and so much more.

Find it: Mandalay, 4348 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-386-3896

Burma Superstar

For another Burmese option, check out Burma Superstar, which offers authentic Burmese dishes like the complex tea leaf salad made with fried garlic, peanuts, fresh greens and dried shrimp. It’s a must.

Find it: Burma Superstar, 309 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-387-2147

Wako

For a fine dining experience, make a reservation at Wako which offers a memorable omakase menu of 10 chef’s choice sushi. The Japanese restaurant also offers a selection of cold dishes like its Kaisen Bowl, which has bluefin tuna, sea urchin and salmon roe; and warm dishes such as the grilled black cod with maitake mushrooms.

Find it: Wako, 211 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118; 415-682-4875

A plate of tacos from Taqueria Los Mayas in San Francisco, Calif. 

A plate of tacos from Taqueria Los Mayas in San Francisco, Calif. 

Courtesy of Chelsea Davis, Special to SFGATE

Check out other Inner Richmond dining favorites

Though the neighborhood is not known for its Mexican food, if you have a craving for tacos, stop by Taqueria Los Mayas which specializes in Yucatan food. The restaurant has a friendly vibe and serves excellent food and drinks. Craving Italian? Family-owned Italian restaurant Giorgio’s has been serving up a selection of pizzas, pastas and Italian classics like chicken piccata and beef lasagna for over 40 years.

Kitchen Istanbul is a great Turkish spot. Enjoy shareable mezes like the kofte meatballs or lamb loin kebab and heartier entrees like the traditional Moussaka with spiced lamb and eggplant. Moku Yakitori-Ya is an unassuming hole-in-the-wall spot that serves Japanese pub fare and consistently offers surprising dishes for a great price. Give it a try; you can thank us later. 

Enjoy some sweet treats in the Inner Richmond 

The Inner Richmond is a great place if you have a sweet tooth. Schubert’s Bakery has been baking incredible desserts since 1911. While it may be tough to pick just one or two things from their huge selection of cakes and pastries, you must order their famous Swedish Princess cake. This best seller frequently sells out thanks to its delicious layers of white cake, kirsch custard filling, whipped cream, thin layer of raspberry and final layer of rich marzipan.

Ice Cream cone at Toy Boat by Jane in San Francisco, Calif.

Ice Cream cone at Toy Boat by Jane in San Francisco, Calif.

Courtesy of Chelsea Davis, Special to SFGATE

Nearby is one of our favorite spots in the neighborhood, Toy Boat By Jane, which serves ice cream from San Francisco creameries including Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Double Rainbow and Hometown Creamery. Enjoy a selection of desserts and pastries, as well lunch items, while surrounded by nostalgic toys and funky, colorful decor.

For one of the best croissants in the country, make a stop at Arsicault Bakery. The baked goods — particularly the almond croissant — are worth the wait. Get there early as the bakery tends to sell out. For tasty Asian-inspired treats, start your morning at Breadbelly, where you can enjoy their signature kaya toast with its bright green zigzag coating of coconut pandan jam. In addition to sweet pastries like the not-ube tart and honey citrus sesame Danish, Breadbelly offers breakfast sandwiches and snacks like lumpia and chicken karaage.

Grab a drink in the Inner Richmond

When it comes to libations, the Inner Richmond has a nice selection of bars, Irish pubs and great places to grab a margarita. The Bitter End features trivia nights, darts and pool tables, alongside beer, cocktails and Irish fare such as fish and chips and Shepherd’s pie. Another fun spot is The Plough and Stars, which has live Celtic music most nights and a Celtic jam Sunday afternoons, along with pool tables, beer on tap and a laid back atmosphere (dogs are even allowed.)

This story was edited by Hearst National Editor Kristina Moy; you can contact her at kristina.moy@hearst.com.

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