Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Courtesy of Digital Vision\Thinkstock


Published 1/1/2012
Ramon Jimenez, MD; S. Terry Canale, MD

Sneak Preview: San Francisco

Whether the 2012 AAOS Annual Meeting in San Francisco will mark your first or your fiftieth trip to the city, be sure to get out and about after you’ve earned your CME credits attending the educational sessions in the Moscone Convention Center. (See “There’s Something for Everyone at Annual Meeting,” page 47, for some recommendations from this year’s Program Chair, Michael J. Stuart, MD.) Beyond the Gateway Ballroom, you’re sure to find wonderful eateries, unique adventures, and great shopping. Here’s a sneak preview.

Ramon’s top 10 restaurants
With more than 1,000 great restaurants in San Francisco, it’s hard to choose favorites, but here are some for your consideration.

Epic Roasthouse—Located almost under the Bay Bridge at 369 The Embarcadero, this newest addition to San Francisco’s waterfront offers contemporary cuisine mixed with San Francisco tradition. Chef and owner Jan Bierbaum is a friend of orthopaedists and specializes in New Orleans cuisine and steaks.

Betelnut—At 2030 Union Street, this upscale Asian restaurant is modeled after the side street beer house, or pejiu wu, popular in port cities. Large mugs of beer complement the tantalizing “street food” made with fresh local ingredients and regional spices.

Coi—The North Beach area is home to this trendy spot (373 Broadway). Chef Daniel Patterson’s 11-course prix fixe “tasting” menu, prepared with exquisite detail, earns four stars from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Stinking Rose—Named for the garlic that flavors every dish, this North Beach restaurant (325 Columbus) offers “delightfully stinky” entrees, appetizers, sides, salads, and pastas.

Fleur de Lys—Located at 777 Sutter Street, this old San Franciscan favorite offers a romantic venue and excellent, if somewhat pricey, French cuisine that, according to one reviewer, “does not disappoint.”

Boulevard—Offering the finest American regional flavors with a French influence, chef Nancy Oakes has made this a culinary landmark at 1 Mission Street, near the Embarcadero.

The Cliff House—Upscale tourist fare and spectacular ocean views are available at this landmark (1090 Point Lobos).

Gary Danko—A relative newcomer to San Francisco, this upscale restaurant with fantastic service, has been rated “one of the best” (800 North Point).

Kokkari—Greek dining is not easy to come by, but this restaurant behind the Alcoa Building (at 200 Jackson Street) is excellent.

Grant Avenue in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Courtesy of Digital Vision\Thinkstock
“Go Terry’s” almost-famous places Go international with visits to Chinatown, Japantown (also known as Little Osaka), the Mission District (Hispanic), and Little Italy (located in the North Beach area). Have an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Café (2765 Hyde Street), just to the left of the Powell-Hyde Cable Car’s last stop in Fisherman’s Wharf. For a multicultural experience, take a walk down Irving Street and Ninth Avenue, near the Golden Gate Park.

North Beach Restaurant—You’ll enjoy wonderful Italian food and a great experience at this “must visit” dining establishment (1512 Stockton Street).

Things to see and do

  1. Rent a bike at Marina Green and bike to the Golden Gate Bridge—it’s invigorating!
  2. Take a ferry ride from the Ferry Building to Tiburon or Sausalito—enjoy great views.
  3. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge—a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
  4. Take in a Broadway show at the Curran, Golden Gate, or Orpheum Theatres.
  5. Visit the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park—it’s “fabulous.”
  6. While at Golden Gate Park, don’t miss a visit to the de Young Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.
  7. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is just across the street from the Moscone Convention Center.
  8. For a zany night, take in a cabaret show like Beach Blanket Babylon or Teatro ZinZanni.
  9. Shop and eat at Fisherman’s Wharf.
  10. Forget you’re in San Francisco when you visit Chinatown, home to the largest urban population of Chinese people outside China.

Golden Gate Bridge
Courtesy of Medioimages/Photodisc\ Photodisc\Thinkstock


Go gangster
You can drink hard, speak easy, and swing with the music at these haunts.

  • Café du Nord—At 2170 Market Street, this basement bar and music venue has classic Victorian interiors. Upstairs, the Swedish American Hall is another entertainment venue with country charm.
  • House of Shields—A historic bar, built in 1908 at 39 New Montgomery Street, features a subterranean network of tunnels once frequented by surreptitious tipplers.
  • Bourbon & Branch—A glimpse back on the 1920s and the era of Prohibition in an actual speakeasy that operated illegally at 501 Jones Street from 1921 to 1933. When you make your reservation, you’ll learn the password that gets you entry.
  • Slide—Ride a serpentine slide into an underground adult playground billing itself as a “Prohibition Playground. Once known as Coffee Dan’s, this club at 430 Mason Street was featured in Al Jolson’s 1927 movie, “The Jazz Singer.”
  • Additional venues for live music include the Boom Boom Room (1601 Fillmore Street), Lou’s Pier 47 (300 Jefferson Street), The Fillmore (1805 Geary Blvd.), Slim’s (333 11th Street), and Yoshi’s Jazz Club (1330 Fillmore Street).

Go natural
Looking for a change of pace? Get back to nature by walking the Land’s End Trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Pick up the trail near the Sutro Baths ruins.

Golden Gate Park ranges more than 50 city blocks and is one of the country’s most famous urban parks. See the buffalo herd, the Japanese Tea Garden, and its famous museums.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden, on the corner of 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way, features 55 acres of landscaped gardens, a horticultural library, and a garden bookstore with much more than books.

Go green
Recycling’s never been more fun with these retro and refashioned boutiques.

The Painted Bird (1360 Valencia Street) is a well-priced vintage outpost selling granny sundresses, glam disco bags, flash jewelry, and shoes and boots from the 1980s, 1970s, and earlier.

Ver Unica (437B and 526 Hayes Street) is where “vintage meets designer” and you can pick up unique retro finds.

Decades of Fashion (1740 Haight Street) and La Rosa Vintage (1711 Haight Street) are both located near Golden Gate Park (the Haight). La Rosa’s been called “the best vintage store” in the city by CBS San Francisco.

Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, practices in Monterey, Cali.; S. Terry Canale, MD, the editor-in-chief of AAOS Now, is Californian by way of Memphis, Tenn.