Marina DistrictThe story of San Francisco's Marina District is the story of land and water repeatedly and dramatically altered by nature and by human development.
Eight thousand years ago, American Indians lived on the dunes and near the tidal marshlands that today are the sites of apartment buildings, luxurious homes and some of the city's trendiest shops and restaurants. When the Spanish arrived here in 1776 and established the Presidio -- on the Marina's western border -- the marshlands looked pretty much the same as they would over a century later, then in 1906, it was re-shaped when the city of San Francisco was shaken and then burned by its first devastating earthquake and the resulting fire.
It wasn't until the aftermath of the big quake that major development began in the Marina. Tons and tons of brick and rock rubble from destroyed downtown buildings were brought over and dumped into the Marina's marshlands, forming an initial (and unstable) foundation for development. A few years later, when the site was chosen as the location of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco had the impetus it needed to turn what began as a haphazard dumping ground into a breathtaking exhibit of architectural beauty.
The Panama-Pacific, and its iconic surviving building the Palace of Fine Arts, introduced the city to the commercial and residential development possibilities of the recently formed prime waterfront real estate. In the decades following the exposition, apartment buildings, homes and businesses sprouted up rapidly and in great numbers until the Marina had become one of San Francisco's most desirable places to live, work and visit. Until 1989, that is, when another earthquake rocked the city and sparked 27 fires citywide, including the devastating Marina blaze, and many of the area's poorly supported buildings collapsed atop the unstable ground. The Loma Prieta earthquake was a wake-up call for Marina developers; the reconstruction effort brought with it new standards of earthquake-sturdy construction, and within a decade the Marina had been rebuilt and revamped with a shiny new face and a stronger bone structure.
Today the apartment buildings, shops and restaurants seem to be bursting at their seams with beautiful, young and fit 20- and 30-somethings. The singles scene is hopping on Friday and Saturday nights, with lots of fresh-faced post-grads with cocktails in one hand and cell phones in the other. Union is arguably the best street in the city to window-shop the hours away on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and, a few blocks down, Chestnut has an incredible variety of high-quality restaurants catering to every palate.
If you're looking for diversity or an edgy or progressive feel, the Marina probably isn't your neighborhood -- unless you count Fort Mason, which hosts a bounty of cultural museums and nonprofits. Overall, this is the land of SUVs, chic fashion and killer spa treatments. Love it, or leave it to the pretty young things who call it home or home-away-from-home.
Sunny weekend days are truly dreamy in the Marina, especially down by the water. As far as Chestnut and Union are concerned, just follow this motto: Any day is a good day for shopping; any night, a good night for dining. If you're looking for a mellow or sophisticated night out, stay away from the infamous "Triangle" (Fillmore at Greenwich) bar scene on Friday and Saturday nights. And unless you want to pay to park in one of the neighborhood's few garages, don't drive to the Marina; finding a parking spot can take up to an hour.
Sights and CultureCrissy Field: In a relatively short period of time -- since 1921 -- Crissy Field has been transformed from one of the country's most important and active military airstrips into an abandoned stretch of crumbling asphalt into the recent crowning achievement of the Golden Gate National Parks Association. With over $34 million in grants and donations (the vast majority were private gifts under $100), the GGNPA has fulfilled its vision of creating a space that synthesizes recreational public space with environmental restoration. Walkers and joggers have embraced the field's shoreline path, known as the Golden Gate Promenade, and on sunny days, kids, picnickers and Frisbee enthusiasts blanket the grassy 28-acre expanse. Cyclists have their own bike-only path, and, when the wind is good, world-class sailboarders can be seen skipping and soaring across the water. On the environmental end, huge portions of Crissy Field's original airstrip have been pulled up to allow for the attempted restoration of 20 acres of original tidal marshland. So far, the effort looks promising; for the first time in 60 years, some native animals are timidly beginning to show their faces in the area. The Crissy Field Conservation Center is a progressive, multicultural community environmental center providing various programs addressing the wide range of issues and concerns Crissy Field faces as a park straddling urban and environmental boundaries.)
Fort Mason: Like Crissy Field, Fort Mason is a former military enclave now protected under the auspices of the Golden Gate National Parks Association. Visitors will most likely want to focus on the lower buildings and piers, officially know as Fort Mason Center. The center provides a wealth of cultural and educational societies, museums and nonprofits, including but not limited to the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society, the Museum of Craft and Folk Art and the Museu ItaloAmericano. Fort Mason hosts numerous performances, festivals and exhibits throughout the year, so be sure to check the calendar or call (415) 441-3400 before you go.
Palace of Fine Arts: Created as the landmark building for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts is indisputably the Marina's (if not all of San Francisco's) architectural grand dame. Though the structure was specifically designed to honor the completion of the Panama Canal (and was intended to be temporary), its construction and the exposition itself were symbols to city residents and to the world that San Francisco had overcome -- and in fact risen above -- the catastrophe of the 1906 earthquake and its consuming fire. Today the Palace of Fine Arts is home to one of the city's most beloved museums, the Exploratorium, which hosts more than 600 science and art exhibits, including the Tactile Dome, an experiential maze designed to disorient the senses. Call ahead to find out about special events and exhibits. 3601 Lyon St., (415) 397-5673. ((8/05)
Hespe Gallery: Hespe primarily represents emerging and mid-career California-based painters and artists. Shows in this small space change monthly and openings are often held on second Thursdays, though there are a few held on Saturdays.1764 Union St., (415) 776-5918
Hourian Fine Art Galleries: The space is a bit disheveled, but this small gallery has a decent selection of paintings and prints from local artists, including works by owner Mohammad Hourian himself. The gallery also offers custom framing and restoration. 1843 Union St., (415) 346-6400.
Images of the North: North in the case of this gallery refers to the Arctic, featuring Inuit sculptures, prints, masks, and jewelry. Sculptures of bears, eagles, and mythological figures fill the space. 2036 Union St., (415) 673-1273. (Web site)
ClothingAbigail Morgan: Boutique owner Abigail (whose last name is not Morgan) and her husband Andy have created a comfortable setting for women to sift through its girly wares. Abigail carries everything from T-shirts and jeans to high-end dresses, featuring mostly small, independent designers. Gift items include candles, baby pillows, and glasses. 1640 Union St., (415) 567-1779.
Ambiance: It's easy to lose yourself amidst all this urban chic. The Marina Ambiance location overflows with standout designs, such as Free People Angora shirts, formal Laundry dresses, wool jackets, and Hot Kiss pants. Ambiance offers colorful accessories including Steve Madden shoes, handbags, jewelry, and knit hats. 1864 Union St., (415) 923-9797 (also at 1458 Haight St., (415) 552-5095; 3985 & 3989 24th St., (415) 647-7144).
Azadeh: Most of the real world can only afford window shopping at Azadeh, but even that is an entertaining endeavor. The San Francisco designer has gained worldwide recognition for her custom couture evening wear and suiting. Her designs have donned the royal family of Saudi Arabia as well as many top models in high profile magazines. Azadeh's main specialty is wedding gowns, hence the bridal salon in the back. 2066 Union St., (415) 292-9898.
B.B. Gear: This shop focuses on women's contemporary designs. Hand-loomed sweaters are a special feature, running about $285, MAG shirts cost about $128, while Michael Stars tank tops and shirts are more reasonably priced. B.B. Gear also carries some shoes and accessories. 3207 Fillmore St., (415) 447-7779.
Bianca Luna: One of the block's newer boutiques, Bianca Luna appeals to a young clientele with its vintage Mickey Mouse tank tops, casual European imports, and Yanuk jeans selection. The shop is big on big jewelry, as well as Venetian glass ashtrays, soaps, and other gift items. 1849 Union St., (415) 345-1346.
The Blues Jean Bar: No ID is required at this Marina bar. Only denim is served -- over 20 styles of jeans for women and a dozen for men. Some of the designers include Bartack, AG, Future Vintage, True Religion, and Von Dutch. The counter, which is a long wooden bar made of old growth wood, is flanked by barstools and covered with samples of each of the brands. Aside from jeans, the bar sells shirts, belts, and purses by Sobella made with a strap that doubles as a necklace. 1827 Union St., (415) 358-5986.
Bryan Lee: Revered by locals as one of the best of the myriad Union Street boutiques, Bryan Lee has gained its reputation through its personal service. The emphasis for both men and women is finding the exact fit and right look for each individual. That includes jeans, as the store considers itself denim specialists. The store carries a variety of designers including Nanette Lepore, Bianca Nero, and Laptina & Lomeli. 1840 Union St., (415) 923-9923.
Canyon Beachwear: For those rare occasions in the city when it feels warm enough to shop for swimsuits, Canyon Beachwear carries designs from all over -- New Zealand, Europe, and the U.S. The racks spill with Lisa Curran and Verde Veronica swimsuits, among other names. Canyon also sells sarongs, loose, lightweight tops, and flip-flops. 1728 Union St., (415) 885-5070.
Cara Mia: Cara Mia's claim to fame is its large stock of Jack Rogers sandals, the favorite shoe of none other than Jackie Kennedy. Aside from sandals, Cara Mia carries luxury brands, such as Max Mara, Marc Jacobs, and Cynthia Rowley for casual as well as evening wear -- everything for a day at the picnic to a rehearsal dinner. The pricing is also luxury, with a Max Mara jacket fetching $765. 1814 Union St., (415) 922-CARA.
Chadwicks of London: This famous local lingerie boutique continues to give the Victoria's Secret down the street a run for its money. Pieces range from basic cotton undies to French lace bras. 2068 Chestnut St., (415) 775-3423.
Dantone: Shoppers don't come to Dantone for the decor. Almost every inch of space is packed with clothes, bags, shoes, and sunglasses, all in an apparent whirlwind. Among the stacks are imports from top European and U.S. designers, such as Laundry, Max Mara, She, Armand Basi, and more. Dantone is mostly known for its separates as well as its variety of shoes, from the likes of Sacha and Freelance. The men's section is not as extensive as the women's. 1796 Union St., (415) 776-7008.
Dreamy Angels: With the distinction as the longest running clothing store on the street, Dreamy Angels features a hodgepodge of items, such as crocheted scarves, slippers, and men's Nicole Miller socks embroidered with football players, doctors, and the like. It also carries a small section of fine quality clothes including Nell Couture jackets and Lauren Hansen shirts. 1943 Union St., (415) 922-3386.
Dress: This small women's clothing boutique focuses on the basics from a variety of brands, such as Citizens of Humanity, Seven, and Diane Von Furstenberg. Most of the items are casual wear, including a selection of Paul Frank shirts. 2271 Chestnut St., (415) 440-3737.
Entrance: This second-floor shop, upstairs from Thursday's Child, features young fashions at inexpensive prices. Casual, sexy designs by the likes of Symphony fill the racks. Entrance also offers the gamut of accessories. 1980 Union St., (415) 931-0756.
Firuze: This open and well-lit space provides a nice break from the typically small and cramped Marina boutique. A stylishly conservative collection accurately reflects the store's motto: "For women who dress up for the occasion and dress down in style." 2001 Union St., (415) 921-5809.
Georgiou: Georgiou fills two floors with its smart and sassy designs, from basic jeans to formal dresses. Though many of the styles tend toward a generic look, there are some creative outfits. Prices are reasonable. 1725 Union St., (415) 776-8144
Girlfriends: Started more than 11 years ago by two college girlfriends, this boutique appeals to an eclectic mix. The merchandise varies from a sexy camisole and thong set to French-designed baby clothes. Girlfriends also boasts its own label, with its name emblazoned on shirts, hats, baseball caps, and tote bags. 1824 Union St., (415) 673-9544.
House of Cashmere: Touting itself as the oldest cashmere shop in San Francisco, House of Cashmere opened in 1972 and has since seen many stars walk through the doors. Everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Jerry Brown has shopped here. Many of the sweaters, jackets, and other cashmere items are made in Scotland, Italy, and Hong Kong. Other natural fiber goods, such as Irish wool sweaters and Angora or Alpaca sweaters are sold here. Cashmere sweaters range in price from $150 up to $500, depending on thickness. 2764 Octavia St., (415) 441-6925.
Jacks: One of several Marina men's shops, Jacks features contemporary casual and weekend wear at mid-scale prices. Designers include Ted Baker, AG Denim, and Theory. Jacks is owned by the same people as run Dress across the street. 2260 Chestnut St., (415) 567-3673.
Jennifer Croll: This expansive shop is divided into men's and women's sections, the women's filled with comfortable couches and the men's a decorative pool table. Aside from ready to wear and special order bridal gowns, the women's section features top designers such as Trina Turk, Nanette Lepore, Theory, and Rebecca Taylor. The store also offers some suiting for women. Designers Ted Baker and Michael Brandon comprise much of the men's section, which focuses more on casuals rather than tailored clothes. Accessories include faux fur neck wraps, L.A.-designed jewelry, and there is also a jeans section. 1810 Union St., (415) 749-1810
Jorja: Formal- and bridalware, including bridesmaids' dresses and designer wedding gowns. Purses, jewelry, shoes and other accessories complete the look. 2015 Chestnut St., (415) 674-1131.
LF: Chock full of colors, LF supports creative, independent designers. This women's clothing shop carries mostly casual wear, including basics like T-shirts and jeans, and the not-so-basics, such as butterfly embroidered denim skirts. LF will appeal to those willing to take a few risks with their wardrobe. 1870 Union St., (415) 567-6872.
Lorenzini: See, the Marina does have unique upscale boutiques for men -- well, at least one, anyway. Lorenzini specializes in elegant, tailored work and dress-up clothing for guys. 2149 Union St., (415) 346-2561.
Lululemon Athletica: (Opening in November) Leading designer of comfortable, stylish yoga wear, Lululemon allows you to remain fashionable even as you sweat. 1981 Union St., (415) 819-6736.
Mezzanine: This shop offers the same hip Marina women's wear as a lot of other small boutiques in the same neighborhood do, only the prices here are a little lower. 1977 Union St., (415) 441-9972.
Mimi's on Union: Packed with wearable art, such as embroidered jackets and hand painted silk tops, Mimi's makes for an entertaining visit. Unique accessories include colorful cell phone cases, beaded purses, and an assortment of costume jewelry. Merchandise isn't presented in the most organized manner, but that only adds to the experience. 2133 Union St., (415) 923-0454. (Web site)
Mingle: Clothing, accessories, jewelry, lingerie and art from emerging designers like Erin Mahoney, Hand Maid and Spare Change Designs, all handmade and many one-of-a-kind, stock this boutique where new pieces are introduced weekly. Most of the styles are for women. 1815 Union St., (415) 674-8811. (Web site)
Mona Lisa Boutique: Featuring European designers, Mona Lisa focuses on specialty items for women that you won't find in your average department store. Cocktail dresses and formal wear with all the frills can range anywhere from $100 to over $1,000. There are some more affordable casuals such as tops for under $30. Mona Lisa features an assortment of accessories, such as jewelry from Paris and handbags. 2277 Union St., (415) 346-8190.
Nida: Bohemians seeking a sophisticated yet hip look can find a number of options at Nida. This boutique touts its large collection of Vanessa Bruno lingerie, clothes, and shoes. Other designers include Emilio Pucci, Margiela, and Citizens of Humanity. Pricing is mostly mid-range, though a Bruno top can run from $100 up to $385. 2163 Union St., (415) 928-4670.
Oceana Rain: Sporting a highly selective mix of modern, contemporary, edgy fashions, Oceana Rain knows how to create a youthful look. Designers include Diane von Furstenberg, Catherine Malandrino, BCBG, and Blue Cult for everything from upscale dresses to trendy jeans. The store also carries a selection of nostalgic Trunk t-shirts, such as Pink Floyd: The Wall, which goes for $89. 3024 Fillmore St., (415) 346-2797.
Porto: Offset from Union in what looks like a small house, Porto is a find for women who love Italian clothes. Aside from designers like Marina Babini, Porto features its Emozione collection, designed at Porto and produced in Italy. The focus at Porto is knits and textures crafted into classic apparel with a bit of an edge. 1770 Union St., (415) 440-5040.
Rabat: Featuring top-name designers from New York, France, and Los Angeles, Rabat brims with chic. Whether it's formal dresses from BCBG, a Margaret O'Leary sweater, or stylish shirts from cop.copine, the emphasis is on unique fashions. Rabat also features a tempting high-end shoe section, also with name designers. Rabat, which has been in business over 24 years, has three locations. 2080 Chestnut St., (415) 929-8868 (also at 4001 24th St., (415) 282-7861 and 1825 4th St in Berkeley, 510-549-9195).
Red Dot Chestnut: Red Dot's Chesnut locale is its smallest, packing in a quality selection of designer clothes at deep discounts. Red Dot offers affordable accessories, include shoes under $100 and vegan handbags. 2176 Chestnut St., (415) 346-0606 (also 508 Fourth St., (415) 979-1597). (Web site)
Red Lantern: The exquisite creations in Red Lantern vary from antique furniture from China to fine silk brocades. Fashions are custom tailored, using all natural fabrics. Other objects of art include old Buddha statues from China, and yes, red lanterns. 2157 Union St., (415) 776-8876. (Web site)
Riley James: This aesthetically appealing boutique spans two floors, the upstairs women's clothes, and the downstairs for men's. The women's area has a back lounge with comfortable chairs and magazines. Clothes range from casual to upscale with labels like Punk Royal, J. Lindeberg, Lamb, and See By Chloe, as well as four denim lines. Hip and offbeat shoes by Hollywood range from $300 to $400. The men's section (officially opening this November) has a game room in back, old school video arcade games, poker nights, and a wireless PlayStation, in addition to its line of clothes. 3027 Fillmore St., (415) 775-7956.
Rin: Predominantly a woman's clothing boutique, Rin mainly carries independent lines of clothes from New York and Los Angeles, including Development, Blue Colt, and Louis Verdad. The large, friendly space, including a plush couch in the center, invites patrons to spend time shopping, whether it's for a $280 Corey Lynn Calter silk dress or a pair of jeans for under $100. Rin carries jewelry from local artists. 2111 Union St., (415) 922-8040.
Sean: Sean carries the Emile Lafaurie French line of elegant suits and casual wear. Clothes are a slender fit and run the mid to high end in prices. Dress shirts and slacks run in the $100 to $150 range, while suits cost about $500. Sean offers suiting and alterations. 1749 Union St., (415) 474-7363. (Web site)
Shaw: For more than 34 years, Shaw has been celebrating women's feet with a dizzying array of high-end Italian shoes. The selection, mostly formal wear, would make Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw squeal with delight. Labels include Casadei, Dolce & Gabbana, Rene Caovilla, all offering playful designs, such as pink leopard spot boots and butterfly-adorned sandals. Prices range from $195 up to $1,200. 2001 Union St., (415) 922-5676. (Web site)
Studio on Chestnut: This warm and welcoming space focuses on clean lines and simple, softly structured clothes. The designs are loose and easy to fit women of any size. Clientele range from ages 40 to 60. The studio also sells elegant silk scarves. 2233 Chestnut St., (415) 776-5078.
Tampico: Though the layout is a bit haphazard, the help is extremely friendly and excited about the wares. Vintage kimonos, silk scarves, and knit hand-dyed jackets are all at relatively low prices. Tampico also carries antique jewelry, vintage costume jewelry, silk suits, and other natural fiber clothes. 2147 Union St., (415) 563-3785. (Web site)
Three Bags Full: The walls of this small boutique are lined with its signature hand-knit sweaters. Some are imported from England while many of the funkier designs hail from Japan. Pricing is not cheap, but is reasonable, even for the cashmeres. An intricate handmade jacket from Japan can cost $695, while a simple cashmere pullover runs about $130. Bernard and Linda Faber first opened shop in 1979 and now have four locations, three in San Francisco and one in L.A. 2181 Union St., (415) 567-5753. (also 500 Sutter St., (415) 398-7987; 3314 Sacramento St., (415) 923-1454). (Web site)
Trendy Moda: Trendy is the key word, as this boutique caters to women under 30. Teens can find Bling Bling emblazoned T-shirts as well as an assortment of colorful casuals, such as Lucca three-quarter-length pants. 1951 Union St., (415) 440-1702.
Twenty One Tango: Tango features designer labels, such as BCBG, YMI Jeans, Shameless, and Pepper, at discount prices. YMI jeans run about $35 while Soprano shirts cost $30. A good spot for filling in on the basics. 1799 Union St., (415) 409-2121.
Uko: Uko steers clear of mass produced labels, appealing to urban dwellers with a penchant for the counter culture. Designers hail from France, Japan, New York, and L.A. and cater to women as well as men from their 40s through 60s. Only one of each style appears on the racks. Uko also sells accessories such as watches, handbags, and jewelry. 2070 Union St., (415) 563-0330.
Vivo: Featuring trendy designs for women in their 20s and up, Vivo fills a niche with its casual yet offbeat wares. European imports include Gerard Feraud three-quarter pants and Baglietto cashmere and silk shirts. and 2124 Union St., (415) 931-6888
Walkershaw: Named after designer Connie Walkershaw, who started the Walkershaw label in 1986, this store features Connie's styles alongside those of other local designers. Connie's clothes meld the worlds of vintage and modern, using mostly natural fibers. Also featured is designer Lola's line of funky-shaped hats fashioned from polar fleece, and a line of classy jewelry. 2274 Union St., (415) 474-4442. (Web site)
Workshop: Workshop holds a San Francisco exclusive on many of its lines. Featuring designers from Europe, Australia, and Japan, the clothes range from finely made basics, such as cashmere sweaters, to more adventurous wares. There are also accessories such as shoes by Emma Hope, knit hats, and jewelry. Don't miss the separate cottage out back, featuring lingerie as well as swimwear by popular European designers such as Tomas Maier. 2254 Union St., (415) 561-9551
Kids' ClothingMinis: For more than 13 year this spacious locale has been outfitting babies, kids, and mothers to be. Minis began as a children's wear manufacturer for stores throughout the country, but opened its own shop to build its identity. The shop also carries baby shoes, carriages, cribs, toys and books, and has a maternity section. 2278 Union St., (415) 567-9537. (Web site)
Mudpie: This gorgeously appointed kids' clothing store is the ideal place for wealthy aunties and grandmas to browse for $300 one-of-a-kind dresses for 6-year-olds, but it's generally the wrong place for back-to-school and play-clothes shopping. Everything downstairs is half price, however. 1694 Union St., (415) 771-9262.
Thursday's Child: Holding steady since opening in 1970, Thursday's Child is like walking into a larger version of your kid's closet, every nook and cranny overstuffed with toys, clothes, stuffed animals, and everything else imaginable. The proprietor calls it a poke and look store, and it's definitely worth poking around. Everything from fuzzy pink slippers to formal dresses for girls is here. Don't come in a rush, it takes time to sort through all the goodies. 1980 Union St., (415) 346-1666.
Wee Scotty: All the apparel at Wee Scotty, which focuses on girls ages two to 14 and boys sizes two to seven, is made on the premises. The clothes range from the bold, such as a fuzzy orange jacket, to the more subdued, such as a line of fall ponchos. The owner designs the clothes with her nine-year-old daughter, and offer sewing classes to kids and adults as well as knitting and crocheting classes. 2266 Union St., (415) 345-9200. (Web site)
ShoesBulo: Ah, to find the perfect pair of boots -- or another perfect pair of boots. While Bulo's selection isn't huge, it is pristine. The sweet smell of buffed leather and the crisp, shiny ambience encourage men and women to take their shoe shopping seriously. 3044 Fillmore St., (415) 614-9959. (Web site)
Smash Shoes: Friendly, attractive salespeople are eager to help you find (and buy) perfectly gorgeous, hip, designer men's and women's footwear in this urban shoe boutique. High ceilings make the long, narrow shop feel spacious and welcoming, but bring a stuffed wallet, as high fashion comes with high prices. 2030 Chestnut St., (415) 673-4736.
AccessoriesAma: Ama offers Italian accessories with a '60s flair. Colors are bold for all items, including belts, handbags, and scores of chunky jewelry. The bright colors and hipster look translates to other accessories, such as headbands, scarves, and hats. 2276 Chestnut St., (415) 345-1090.
Cecile & Jeanne: Standing far apart from the Marina's multitude of wedding ring jewelers, Cecile & Jeanne caters to a more discriminating clientele with its handmade French jewelry. Hilary Clinton has been photographed wearing one of the shop's broaches, and Carrie from Sex and the City wore a piece on the show's final episode. Many pieces are 24-karat gold plated, with prices ranging from mid-level to uber expensive. 2086 Chestnut St., (415) 474-1870 (second location at 255 Grant Ave., (415) 677-0904).
David Clay Jewelers: For the past 25 years, David Clay has been gaining a reputation for its custom design work. Wedding and engagement jewelry are the store's bread and butter, but this mom and pop business also carries watches, gemstone jewelry, and the works of a few outside designers. 1872 Union St., (415) 922-4339.
Gallery of Jewels: Three-quarters of the handmade jewelry designs here are crafted by Bay Area artists. The designs are all distinctive, some catering more to the casual birthday gift, while others fit as a more elegant anniversary present, though all are of top quality. Local jewelry designers host trunk shows almost every Saturday at the Union Street location. 2101 Union St., (415) 929-0259, (other store locations: 4089 24th St., (415) 285-0626. 2115 Fillmore St., (415) 771-5099.)
Excessorize: One of the highlights of this all accessories shop is its handmade shoes, designed in New York with the fabrics from Italy. Other accessories include jewelry, mostly from Paris, as well as women's hats, scarves, and purses. 2150 Union St., (415) 776-8585.
Ina Vera: For those who care more about the look than the label, Ina Vera sells European knockoffs of high-end handbags. There is no waiting for a Birkin bag here, and also no paying $5,000 for the privilege of owning one. Instead, the Italian-made replica costs $300. Some bags are made from recycled crocodile skin and recycled leather. Ina Vera also has original designs from Italy, France, and Argentina, and carries sandals from Brazil, jewelry from Switzerland and Japan, and other accessories. 1739 Union St., (415) 567-3337.
Iacomini Jewelry: Yet another of the Union Street jewelry shops, Iacomini focuses on watches from Switzerland and jewelry from Italy. Marcello Iacomini, who has worked with David Clay as a watchmaker, carries lines like Omega and Maurice Lacroix. 2030 Union St., (415) 409-2600.
Jest Jewels: A big and packed -- but nicely arranged -- showroom displays tasteful jewelry in almost every style imaginable (everything from chunky amber bracelets and bright beadworks to platinum and 14-carat-gold classics). Handbags, accessories and hundreds of gift ideas might keep you browsing for hours. 1869 Union St., (415) 563-8839. (Web site)
Partita: Noted for its custom design jewelry and extremely helpful customer service, Partita stands as one of the top jewelry spots on the block. Though the showroom area is small, the designs are top quality. Partita, like many jewelry shops in the area, makes a large chunk of its business on wedding jewelry. 2235 Chestnut St., (415) 447-0795.
See Eyewear: The first Bay Area location for this eyewear chain, with styles made exclusively for the company, and hurrah -- no locked display cases, so that you can try on anything without having to call over the salesperson with the little key. Metal-rimmed aviators, $229; plastic rectangular frames, $250. (-SF Chronicle) 2100 Union St., (415) 561-9948.
Silver Moon: This jewelry store focuses on elegant pieces from a variety of California and New York designers. Other designers include Zoppini Firenze and Frederic Duclos. Silver, gold, and gemstones are all represented. 1832 Union St., (415) 775-9968.
Stuart Moore: The showcase itself at Stuart Moore is exquisite, displaying its selections in glass boxes set on pedestals throughout the airy, open space inside. Stuart Moore's own collection places diamonds and gemstones in unique settings and designs. The store also carries over 30 top name, mostly European designers, such as Henrich + Denzel, Roland Humphrey, Steve Kretchmer, and Gunter Wermekes. 1898 Union St., (415) 292-1430.
Union Street Goldsmith: This classic jewelry shop focuses on wedding rings. Seventy percent of the jewelry is made on the premises, using precious stones, gold, and platinum. 1909 Union St., (415) 776-8048. (Web site)
Health and BeautyBare Escentuals: If you know the line, you probably love the stuff. If not, this spare and spanking-clean face and body shop is worth checking out, if only to breathe in the soothing aromatherapy. 2101 Chestnut St., (415) 441-8348. (Web site)
Benefit: A true Shangri-La for girly-girls looking for maximum sparkle, color and gloss for their pretty mugs. The staff are as bright and cheerful as the products, including professionals trained in facials, tinting and waxing. Schedule appointments for services ahead of time. 2219 Chestnut St., (415) 567-1173. (Web site)
BodyTime: This standard perfume-and-oil bar offers custom-blended scents, lotions, shampoos and bath gels. The funny and enthusiastic staff members are a bonus to the dab-and-sniff experience. 2072 Union St., (415) 922-4076. (Web site)
Heaven Day Spa: A pure retreat from the urban grind, Heaven Day Spa offers the usual massage, facial, and body treatments. But this spa goes beyond the norm, with its wellness center and alternative therapies. Reiki, cranial-sacral, and acupressure treatments are available. The wellness center also offers acupuncture, nutritional counseling, posture alignment, and even Botox therapy. 2209 Chestnut St., (415) 749-6414. (Web site)
Lush: When there's chocolate in your soap and your bath is filled with rosebuds, it's a Lush life. The UK-based company has long been a cult favorite, thanks to its scrumptious fresh-made bath and body products. This is the second SF location (the other is near Union Square). 2116 Union St., (415) 921-5874. (Web site)
MAC: This Canadian based makeup designer fills an entire store with eyeliners, foundations, mascaras, brushes, and the like. MAC offers makeovers, lessons in applying makeup, and can host makeup related parties. 1833 Union St., (415) 771-6113. (Web site)
Novella Salon/Spa/Imports: An exotic, intelligent and sophisticated lady of a spa, Novella will charm your clothes right off -- which is a good thing, considering the vast array of spa treatments to choose from. In addition to regular spa fare, Novella offers a tonic bar, with assorted restorative beverages, and a big, beautiful gift shop featuring unique papers, pottery and fabrics imported from Asia. 2238 Union St., (415) 673-1929.
Primadona: Focusing on skin care for men and women, Primadona offers a variety of facial treatments for hydrating and balancing the skin. The Epicuren uses an exfoliating enzyme-protein lifting mask, while the Darphin Paris uses plant extracts and essential oils. Fridays between 4pm and 7pm, Primadona offers complimentary makeup application with the booking of an Alpha-Beta Peel facial. 2103 Union St., (415) 775-3614.
Pure Beauty: Just the place to track down your favorite salon shampoos and other hair products at slightly reduced prices. The packed-in floor stock includes hairbrushes, accessories and a decent scented-soap and lotion section. 2085 Chestnut St., (415) 922-2526.
Rezvan Beauty Therapy and Spa: If you are in need of a tune up, Rezvan has many ways to help you relax. Whether it's a hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, or anti-aging facial, Rezvan is up to the task. This is also the place for a body polish and scrub, including the Magnolia Blossom, using magnolia, jasmine, ylang ylang and lavender. 1996 Union St Suite 300-302, (415) 567-1577.
Sephora: This cosmetics superstore can be a bit overwhelming. But it is fun to walk through and test samples of makeup and fragrances. Attendants are at the ready to help with the selection. All the top names are here, including Versace, Polo, and Yves Saint Laurent. 2083 Union St., (415) 614-2704.
Sumbody: Not only are all the body scrubs, face masks, and lotions chemical free, everything in Sumbody is so pure the whole store is edible. The Sebastopol-based company hand makes its entire line, using the highest quality ingredients, such as pure Pacific sea salt for its exfoliating and cleansing items as well as cocoa and shea butters for moisturizing. There are detailed cards on each item listing ingredients and benefits. 2167 Union St., (415) 775-6343.
HomeATYS: Tucked away in an alcove off Union Street, ATYS is worth seeking out. This shop features some of the most unconventional household and gift items in the city. Each product doubles as a utilitarian item as well as a work of art. Most are imported from Europe and Japan, including cigar cutters, mezuzah cases, a steel fireplace toolset, and nature-oriented blown glass. 2149-B Union St., (415) 441-9220.
Bee Market: Furniture never looked more classic, clean, and modern than at Bee Market. The French designs can be customized for size as well as wood content, whether patrons want their tables, bureaus, or the like in mahogany, walnut, or oak. Custom pieces take from four to six weeks to produce. Bee Market also carries linens from Italy and stylish, functional accessories from Europe. 3030 Fillmore St., (415) 292-2910. (Web site)
Decor: Decor custom makes home items -- sofas, beds, chairs, bookcases -- the whole lot. The rustic look is the store's specialty, using 20 to 30 different shades of wood. Items are ready in about four to five weeks. 1775 Union St., (415) 922-9544.
Eurasian Interiors: The name of this home furnishings store says it all. Ninety percent of its Asian furniture, mainly from China or Japan, is from the 18th and 19th centuries, while the remainder are contemporary designs. Many of the large pieces are beautifully crafted, such as a 19th century wedding cabinet from China and more contemporary walnut art deco dining table from Austria. The amount of merchandise is overwhelming. Prices are marked down from regular retail, because items are imported directly. 1861 Union St., (415) 775-1610.
Ever Arts Antique Furniture: Antique imports from China date back to the 17th and 18th centuries at this peaceful shop. The tables, chairs, bureaus, and other pieces hail mostly from northern China, and are mainly carved from Elmwood. 1782 Union St., (415) 776-7582.
Garuda: It's easy to pass this quiet shop, but is worth a drop in. Dominant are the cases of jewelry, mostly from India, including many large, colorful pieces. Garuda also carries a wide selection of silk and wool shawls from India and Nepal as well as brocade tablecloths. 3108 Fillmore St., (415) 771-0570.
Gity Joon: One of the highlights of any day of Marina shopping is a stop at Gity Joon, the namesake of its owner. No less than 41 countries are represented, with most imports from India, Asia, and Egypt. Different parts of the store focus on different religions -- the Jewish area features hand-crafted dreidels and mezuzahs, the Hindu section carved Ganeshes and Shivas, and so on. There are even seasonal Nativity scenes, hand-painted from Italy, in the garden out back. The likes of Keanu Reeves and Kevin Spacey have shopped here for Tibetan rugs and Buddhas. Don't leave without seeing the divine 108-piece hand-painted 24-karat gold leaf 18th-century bed from China, used as a wedding bed by Chinese royalty. The price tag -- a mere $68,000. 1828 Union St., (415) 292-7388. (Web site)
Krimsa: Rugs, rugs, and more rugs fill this massive space, hanging from the walls and stacked around the show floor. Most of the rugs are imported from Iran and Turkey, with a few from Pakistan, Egypt, and Nepal. Most are new and either one of a kinds or small productions. Prices for a typical 8x10 piece fetches from $4,000 to $8,000. 2190 Union St., (415) 441-4321. (Web site)
Light Me Up: As the name implies, lamps and chandeliers fill the white walls and wood floors at this modern-style lighting store. Aside from local designers, Light Me Up showcases a colorful array of lamps from Italy, France, and Canada. 2263 Union St., (415) 409-6800. (Web site)
Little Tibet: One of the newest Tibetan shops in the city, Little Tibet carries an appealing display of the usual -- Nepalese bags, Indian clothes, carved Buddhas, prayer flags, and Tibetan and Indian CDs. For that spiritual special someone, this is the place to pick up those Dalai Lama greeting cards. 2385 Chestnut St., (415) 674-3657.
Past Perfect: The diverse range of items at Past Perfect reflects the 38 dealers contributing to this collective. Items range from antiques to '70s modern home decor. This one space appeals to myriad tastes, from those searching for a $1,600 Danish sterling tea set to those looking for a $895 zebra drum table. Past Perfect specializes in chandeliers of all eras and styles. 2224-30 Union St., (415) 929-7651.
Pavillion de Paris: A definite feast for the eyes, Pavillion de Paris overflows with glittering crystals and irresistible figurines. One case features a wide variety of Wee Forest Folk miniatures, its star mouse in a number of settings, such as kayaking or Trick or Treating. Pavillion sells Disney figurines, Betty Boop collectibles, miniature chic sandals, crystals from Europe, fashion jewelry, and a host of other fun items. 1837 Union St., (415) 885-0852.
Twig: One of the more funky, whimsical shops on Union Street, Twig features American handcrafted goods by artists from around the country. Items range from glass to ceramics, jewelry to woodwork, some sophisticated and others created with a touch of humor. Ideal for specialty gifts such as scrabble charms, fish plates, and shot glasses adorned with real zippers. 2162 Union St., (415) 928-8944.
T.Z. Shiota: Art collectors will find an array of unframed contemporary prints produced by a variety of Japanese artists -- from watercolors to silk-screened creations. T.Z. Shiota also has a small section of antique furniture and home accessories. 3131 Fillmore St., (415) 929-7979.
Von Demme: Von Demme is the San Francisco representative for New York's Dialogica furniture collection. Dialogica is known for its form and function -- clean lines, warm colors, and overall simplicity. Other store items include cowry shell lamps, sleek glass bowls, and Murano glass candlesticks. 1690 Union St., (415) 441-1696.
Warm Things Outlet: The cuddly, cozy shop to end all cuddly, cozy shops, Warm Things has been providing top-of-the-line down comforters, pillows, sheets, blankets and other bed items for almost 30 years. It now also features clothing, slippers and a special line "just for baby." 3063 Fillmore St., (415) 931-1660.
Wingard: Quirky and tres modern, the housewares and gift items at Wingard are colorful with funky designs. Items include leather photo frames, travel kits, and a white terry spa and baby collection. 2127 Union St., (415) 345-1999.
Wonders of Tibet: Wonders of Tibet showcases higher quality Tibetan and Nepalese imports than most shops of this ilk. A hand-painted Tibetan cabinet runs $3,000 while Tibetan hand-woven rugs cost $400. Other items include beautiful prayer wheels, Buddha and Ganesh carvings, silk embroidered shirts, and pashmina shawls. 1771 Union St., (415) 409-2994.
Z Gallerie: This reasonably priced home and furniture store offers all the basics with a lot more flare than a run of the mill Crate & Barrel. Aside from basic bedding and couches, the store's two Union Street locations feature accoutrements such as vases, curtains, and even paintings. Quirkier items such as a casino night game set or shot glass chess set are also here. 2071 Union St., (415) 346-9000, 2154 Union St., (415) 567-4891.
Specialty1887 Dance Shoppe: If you are looking for that special pink tutu, Danskin pants, or a Mirella bodysuit, this is the spot. The shop is crammed with dance-related items for adults and children, including dance shoes for ballet, tap, modern, and jazz. 2206 Union St., (415) 441-1887.
The Animal Connection II: Pet owners can find their own little paradise in these two stores. Aside from the usual collars or cat and dog toys, the Animal Connection carries a few extra goodies such as liver biscottis for dogs. Cat store: 2415 Chestnut St., (415) 409-1246; Dog store: 2419 Chestnut St., (415) 567-5335.
Bella & Daisy's: Dubbed "A dog bakery and boutique," Bella & Daisy's will help pamper your pooch. Treats include Doggie Latte cookies in the shape of a coffee mug, veggie twists, and chicken rawhide bones. It's even possible to special order a dog birthday cake. Dog shirts with sayings like "Security" and "Spoiled Rotten" are also on sale. Cats are not forgotten, though their toys and treats section is dwarfed in comparison. A dog spa is in the works, as well. Don't miss Friday evening Yappy Hour. Wine and cookies for humans and water and treats for the canines. 1750 Union St., (415) 440-7007. (Web site)
Blush: Easy to miss, this small shop adds a risque edge to the more conservative Marina tilt. Blush offers everything from edible finger paints to a Kama Sutra spinner game. It also sells sexy lingerie and X-rated DVDs. 2381 Chestnut St., (415) 292-GIFT. (Web site)
Books, Inc.: An unconventional layout -- wide open, with short, angled stacks and numerous special display shelves -- adds an element of adventure to the book-hunting experience; this is the place to find that perfect book you never knew you needed. Book-loving little people will adore the extensive kids' section and the story hour every Sunday afternoon. 2251 Chestnut St., (415) 931-3633. (Web site)
Bjorn Eyewear: Bjorn Thuvesson not only designs all the eyeglass frames in his shop, but his employees also grind lenses on a state-of-the-art machine and he hand-paints the edges of rimless frames. Bjorn's frames, with lenses, run about $250 to $400, depending on the prescription. He carries about 60 styles of eyeglasses (as well as about a dozen styles of sunglasses), mostly rectangular, in unusual colors. (-SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 1954 Union St., (415) 447-4224. (Web site)
City Optix: In addition to its comprehensive frame and sunglasses collections, City Optix also offers a fun selection of novelty lenses that just might get you hankering for a whole new look. 2154 Chestnut St., (415) 921-1188. (Web site)
The Collector's Cave: Though it seems a bit out of place in the Marina, the Collector's Cave is a popular spot for comic books, action figures, toys, baseball cards, and movie posters. The store is crammed with new and vintage items, including Simpsons figures, Catwoman card sets, Spiderman comics, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and Pokemon paraphernalia. 2072 Union St., (415) 929-0231.
Color Me Mine: For those with a creative edge, Color Me Mine offers the chance to choose and paint a piece of pottery. They glaze and fire the finished work, and you return to take home your own ceramic art. The studio offers a variety of ceramics classes, as well. 2030 Union St., (415) 474-7076. (Web site)
The Enchanted Crystal: Enchanted indeed. This is easily the most magical spot on Union Street. Everything inside begs for attention, from the myriad fairies and dragons to the large wooden Buddha figures. Enchanted Crystal glistens from floor to ceiling, with glass mobiles, fairy plaques, magic stones, quartz crystals, glass vases, colorful gemstone jewelry, sachets, candles, and more. It's a fantasyland for adults. 1895 Union St., (415) 885-1335. (Web site)
Eyes in Disguise Optometry: An on-site opthamologist makes getting your prescription lenses replaced easy, while those just looking for great shades will find a complete (if pricey) selection right off the rack. 2189 Union St., (415) 474-5321.
Giggle: Giggle aims to be a one-stop shopping for parents. Expecting parents will find a full range of items for setting up a nursery, with an emphasis on healthy, natural, chemical-free products. Toys are made from naturally finished wood and washable fabrics. 2110 Chestnut St., (415) 440-9034. (Web site)
Goldleaf Chocolatier: Formerly known as the Chocolate Bear, Goldleaf is known for its creamy, delectable truffles, fudge, and uniquely shaped chocolates. Chocolates are fashioned into Golden Gate Bridges, cable cars, Olympics medals, Oscar awards, cell phones, and champagne bottles, just to name a few. It's dangerous to come in here hungry. 2250 Union St., (415) 922-5711. (Web site)
House of Magic: This magic and costume store makes the most of its relatively small floor space. Every inch is packed with face paint, wigs, prosthetics and the like. There are guaranteed Halloween finds here, including a rich selection of couples' costumes -- just don't wait until the last minute. 2025 Chestnut St., (415) 346-2218.
Kozo Arts: This truly gorgeous paper-crafts boutique offers high-quality quills and inks alongside elegant handmade paper, journals and picture albums and frames in a variety of sizes -- the perfect place to find a gift for writing enthusiasts. 1969A Union St., (415) 351-2114. (Chronicle article/ Web site)
Mathrays Flowers: You might not think you need a fresh, artistic arrangement of flowers literally bulging with color and glorious scent, but you do -- oh, how you do. Just set one foot inside Mathrays Flowers and you'll see the light; the cut flowers standing in pails seem (and smell) like they are growing straight out of the floor. Delivered bouquets are of a reliably higher caliber than the typical carnation-padded arrangement. 2395 Chestnut St., (415) 921-3838.
Paper Source: Paper Source offers custom invitations, a wide array of stationary, as well as classes in book binding and paper flower making. 2061 Chestnut St., (415) 614-1585. (Web site)
PlumpJack Wine Store: Wine buffs will fall in love with this uniquely stocked and meticulously organized wine shop. Staff members are well versed in the store's entire selection and are helpful when asked to recommend a good value. 3201 Fillmore St., (415) 346-9870. (Web site)
Union Street Papery: Featuring solutions for gifts in need of that perfect finishing touch, this busy little shop features creative gift wraps and stationery and solid greeting-card and invitation selections. 2162 Union St., (415) 563-0200. (Web site)
RestaurantsA16: Named after a highway in Campania, the region where Naples is located, A16 turns out Campanian specialties and Neapolitan-style pizzas crafted by a real pizzaiolo. Customers can watch the pizzas coming in and out of the oven from ringside seats at a marble-topped bar, or sit at tables overseen by tiles and paintings of mythical Neapolitan figures. The wine list focuses on Southern Italian wines as well as California-made Italian varietals, 40 of which are available by the glass and half-bottle decanter. Entrees range from $14-$18.50. (-SF Chronicle and SF Gate) 2355 Chestnut St. (between Divisadero and Scott), (415) 771-2216. (Chronicle Review)
Abigail's: The beautiful pastries are crafted by owner Cuong Do, but it's chef Josh Bush who has created the California-French menu that makes Abigail's a spot that has the potential to become a neighborhood staple. (Chronicle Review)
Ace Wasabi: Hip, loud, young and hot: This is either the casting-call note for "Melrose Place" or the description of Ace Wasabi's Rock and Roll Sushi. Either way, Ace's does have decent sushi for a reasonable price, but the flavor of the place will either keep you coming back or drive you fast and far away. Update: a new "protein-friendly" menu includes sushi rolls wrapped in daikon instead of rice. 3339 Steiner St. (near Lombard), (415) 567-4903. (Chronicle Review)
Alegrias: Tapas like tortilla espanola, sauteed spinach and baked goat cheese are fabulous. Wonderful flan. (-SF Chronicle) 2018 Lombard St. (near Webster Street), (415) 929-8888. (Chronicle Review)
Andale Taqueria: Don't let the "taqueria" fool you; this restaurant exudes a clean, fresh, healthy aura. Stop by on a nice day and enjoy a plate of beautifully displayed, 100 percent unprocessed, thoroughly tasty Mexican food on the spacious patio. 2150 Chestnut St., (415) 749-0506.
Baker Street Bistro: Great prices for excellently prepared, classically inspired French fare. Good service, cozy dining room. (-SF Chronicle) 2953 Baker St. (near Lombard), (415) 931-1475. (Chronicle Review)
Barney's Hamburgers: What first strikes the eye in this eatery is the lineup of Best Burger awards from a variety of sources. Barney's sets the mood with a comfortable wood decor, or there is an outdoor garden. Vegetarians can delight in an extensive list of garden and tofu burgers as well as several salad specialties. 3344 Steiner St., (415) 563-6921.
Betelnut: This self-described "pan-Asian tapas" restaurant is bursting with atmosphere and flavor. Giant fans swoosh back and forth from the ceiling while waiters carrying trays of towering tropical cocktails nudge their way around customers in the usually packed bar. While it may be an impossible to get same-day reservations, Betelnut does take walk-ins. The minced chicken with lettuce cups, spareribs, crispy calamari and towering tropical cocktails are worth planning ahead for or waiting in line for. A parking garage is conveniently located just across the street. 2030 Union St., (415) 929-8855.
Bistro Aix: Local Marina dwellers head to this understated, calming bistro for its fresh food and list of 150 wines, mostly French and Spanish. The chef uses simple ingredients and offers organic daily specials. The menu takes on several international flavors, including a thin-crust pizza, several pastas, and duck confit. Aix is open only for dinner. 3340 Steiner St., (415) 202-0100.
Bistro Yoffi: The food, by all accounts, is yummy California fare with Mediterranean accents, but it's Bistro Yoffi's charming ambience that will bring first-timers back for more. This small, skinny bistro, decorated primarily with dozens of lush potted plants and colorful Tuscan village-style accents, is quaintly romantic. 2231 Chestnut St., (415) 885-5133.
Bombay Curry House: Maria Therese Kinard, who closed her tiny Marina District eatery in 2001, Maria Therese, has reopened the space as Bombay Curry House. Whereas Maria Therese was a French restaurant, Kinard, who was born in India, has gone back to her roots to open the first Indian restaurant in the Marina. The tiny space (40 seats) is open for lunch and dinner daily. The menu features traditional Indian favorites, with entrees generally under $10, and the most expensive item -- rack of lamb -- at $14.95. At those prices, it's no wonder she's packed most nights. (-SF Chronicle) 2034 Chestnut St. (at Fillmore), (415) 567-8124.
Brazen Head: An English pub atmosphere offering a mostly American menu. Dishes can be inconsistent but braised short ribs, pepper steak and scampi are fine. Open late. (-SF Chronicle) 3166 Buchanan St. (at Greenwich), (415) 921-7600.
Cafe Organic Lettus: California cuisine with global touches, like Asian-inspired mango chicken lettuce cups with chile-tamarind sauce, or Mediterranean-style butter bean bruschetta. Vegans will love the quinoa bowl topped with vegetables and ginger-miso sauce. Organic ingredients are used wherever possible, with a focus on fresh, local produce. That's particularly evident in the made-to-order salads, with a variety of healthy seasonal toppings. Breakfast is served all day and includes indulgent choices like lemon-ricotta pancakes and French toast. Diners order at the counter and servers bring the food to the table. The narrow spot is sleek and noisy, with backlit wood-slatted walls and cool tones of green and gray. (-SF Chronicle) 3352 Steiner St. (near Chestnut Street), (415) 931-2777.
Cafe Maritime: Evoking a New England seafood shack with hammered galvanized steel covering the tables, a boat-shaped wooden bar and a wave-like, silvery divider, Cafe Maritime offers seasonal catches like soft shell crab and Copper River King salmon. Appetizers include grilled calamari with smoked tomato sauce and lime-spiked creme fraiche, and grilled sardines served over white bean sauce and a tart salsa verde. Alaskan halibut and Oregon Bay shrimp linguine are among the entrees. Hand-cut Kennebec fries, finer than even shoestring fries, accompany the lobster roll and hanger steak. Desserts include coconut cream pie, a hot fudge sundae and root beer float. (-SF Chronicle) 2417 Lombard St. (at Scott), (415) 885-2530. Dinner nightly.
City Tavern: Stick to simple favorites like fried calamari with remoulade dipping sauce and crispy pizzas at this inviting pub/restaurant. (-SF Chronicle) 3200 Fillmore St. (at Greenwich), (415) 567-0918.
Cozmos Corner Bar & Grill: Since its opening in November 2001, Cozmos has steadily built a reputation as a Marina hangout. The brick walls and large center bar give Cozmos a casual feel. Though entrees change daily, some past specialties have included rare seared ahi with a sticky rice cake and stir fried Chinese long beans and wasabi aioli. Small snacks to accompany drinks are available, such as fried green olives filled with Gorgonzola. The upstairs is for sipping cocktails after dinner. 2001 Chestnut Street, (415) 351-0175.
D Den: Neatly presented Thai dishes, including good larb ped, salmon yang and panang gung. Intimate atmosphere and caring service. (-SF Chronicle) 2120 Greenwich (near Fillmore), (415) 292-0770.
Dragon Well: This tiny, airy pan-Asian food joint offers a small selection of healthy, flavorful dishes at moderate prices. 2142 Chestnut St., (415) 474-6888.
E'Angelo: Old-fashioned Itali