Pacific Heights

Pacific Heights


San Francisco,

Pacific Heights

This privileged, elegant neighborhood embodies Hollywood's vision of San Francisco, and its blocks of Victorian mansions and its Cinemascope views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge make the area a perennial favorite with visitors to the city. San Francisco locals tend to be a bit more cynical about the exclusive air of Pacific Heights, but that doesn't mean you won't catch residents of other neighborhoods making a special trip for the eclectic, upscale shopping opportunities that Fillmore Street offers.

The neighborhood is loosely bordered by Van Ness and Presidio avenues and Pine and Vallejo streets and was first colonized by the nouveau riche of the late 1800s when the construction of a new cable-car line made the area accessible. The extravagant dwellings that characterize the district today stand as testimony to the desire of those early residents to impress their Nob Hill neighbors.

That legacy of luxury has persisted, and the neighborhood remains generally quiet and residential, with the majority of its activity clustered around Fillmore Street. For the most part, the activity of choice is shopping, with an emphasis on costly women's clothing and high-stakes luxury items. The strip is also peppered with nice gift boutiques, bath-and-body shops and consignment stores. But if you don't feel like spending money, it can be fun to settle in at a sidewalk cafe´ and watch everyone else parade by. The area draws a variety of American and international tourists and is always well populated by impossibly groomed and outfitted locals who seem capable of strolling through a windstorm without having a hair get out of place.

Best time to go

With its shopping options, scenic views and pretty side streets, Pacific Heights was made for sunny weekend afternoon strolling and coffee sipping. Though the area quiets down considerably in the evening, a crop of excellent restaurants have opened in recent years, giving night crawlers a reason to stick around after dark.

News: Fillmore St. gets free Wi-Fi (5/05)

Sights and Culture

Steps at Broadway and Lyon: For a quintessential Pacific Heights moment, descend these steps set between sumptuous houses and the Presidio. From the hedge garden you can glimpse of the Palace of the Fine Arts and the Bay below.

Alta Plaza Park: This small hilltop park to the west of Fillmore Street has tennis courts, a playground and panoramic city views.

Lafayette Park: On warm days, the green grass of this two-square-block park is full of sunbathers and dog walkers. The tennis courts have a bit more wind protection than those at Alta Plaza.

Haas-Lilienthal House: Go back in time with a visit to this fully furnished and preserved 1886 Queen Anne Victorian, replete with turrets and gables. The house, which serves as headquarters for San Francisco Architectural Heritage, is open for tours -- see the Web site for times and price info. 2007 Franklin St., (415) 441-3004. (Web site)

Spreckels Mansion: Romance novelist Danielle Steele and family reside in this ornate pre-WWI home fronting Lafayette Park. 2080 Washington St.

Shopping

Clothes

The Bar: The only liquid you'll need at this bar is your bank account. Featuring mostly European designers including Alberta Ferretti and Megan Park, label-savvy shoppers can expect to spend somewhere between $500 for a Casmari cashmere sweater to $40 for a California Dreamer T-shirt. Accessories are also a specialty, including locally designed jewelry. 340 Presidio Ave., (415) 409-4901.

Betsey Johnson: The Cyndi-Lauper-in-Hollywood fashions of this women's-clothing designer blend ruffles and leopard spots in a fetching fusion of schoolgirl-meets-strumpet. 2033 Fillmore St., (415) 567-2726. (Web site)

Blu: The classic couture at Blu stems from a core 15 European designers, including Kenzo and Martin Margiela, who create pieces from cashmere, silk and mohair blends with prices befitting high-end apparel. Accessories like Barbara Bui shoes and Alex & Lee jewelry complete the looks. The owners also run Cielo down the street. 2259 Fillmore St., (415) 776-0643.

Cielo: High-end European designers such as Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester cater to the hippest fashion connoisseurs and stars like Meg Ryan and Anne Heche, yet Cielo's friendly staff avoids the all too prevalent couture snobbery. Just check the price tag before doing permanent damage to your bank account. Cielo shares the same owners as Blu. 2225 Fillmore St., (415) 776-0641.

Eileen Fisher: This is the first San Francisco boutique for this established brand of well-made, flowing, comfortable basics in solid colors, fine fabrics and forgiving silhouettes. (-SF Chronicle) 2216 Fillmore St., (415) 346-2133.

Erica Tanov: This shop has lovely, simple clothes in beautiful fabrics, most of them Erica Tanov designs. The designer has collected antique fabrics for years, which shows in the overall aesthetic as well as in the clothes themselves. Bed linens, elegant underthings, imported sweaters and children's clothes to sigh over complete the picture. 2408 Fillmore St. (Web site)

Flicka: This chic, clean and spare Scandinavian-inspired boutique carries a handful of Scandinavian clothing labels as well as a small line of pillows, photo albums and lamps. On the racks, the clothes are black or white, gray, taupe, dusty rose or chocolate brown, and the majority of fashions are by Filippa K. On the floor, Lego sets are tucked underneath the coffee table for the kids, and big overstuffed white chairs and World Soccer magazines wait for the guys. On their sound system during the week are Swedish groups like Kent and the Cardigans. The weekends? ABBA, of course. (-SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 1932 Fillmore St., (415) 292-2315. (Web site)

HeidiSays: Known for its whimsical window displays, HeidiSays targets young professionals with its classic, yet edgy style. Designers like Nanette Lepore, Trina Turk, and Rebecca Taylor are all favorites. Casual lines such as True Religion jeans and James Perse sexy tees sit alongside other staples like hoodies and cashmere sweaters. Thyme lotions, Tocca candles, Hollywould shoes all round out the collection. Prices are mid-to upscale for the neighborhood. 2426 Fillmore St., (415) 749-0655. (Web site)

Her: Her Boutique prides itself on its diverse apparel, from casual styles such as Hudson Jeans and tees by Park Vogel to designer high fashion from the likes of Isabella Fiore, James Jeans, Mint and Pamela Brown. Prices are mid-range for the area. Get on their email list for heads-ups on sales and trunk shows, or sign up for an at-home personal shopping appointment (they'll bring the coffee) on the Web site. 2053 Fillmore St., (415) 923-9628. (Web site)

Margaret O'Leary: This Irish-born but locally-based sweater designer makes delicate knits and elegant casual clothing for women. The shop also carries some accessories and other items of apparel by like-minded designers. 2400 Fillmore St., (415) 771-9982. (Web site)

Metro 200: What sets Metro 200 apart from other shops on the block is its upscale apparel at reasonable prices, as well as the store's warm, friendly service. Most of the designers hail from Europe, mainly France and Italy. Metro 200 boasts the largest selection of Cop.Copine in the Bay Area. The fashions are unique, ranging from hand-beaded skirts to Save the Queen Italian tops. Metro 200 also carries jewelry from European designers. 2116 Fillmore St., (415) 776-5652.

My Boudoir: Carrying an impressive list of European designers, mostly from France and Italy, the selection of classic lingerie is geared toward a young clientele. Designer names include Versace, Chiarugi, Cristina Stott, Lise Charmel and Aubade. Specialty items include all silk sets and lingerie embellished with crystal. Prices are not for weak of heart -- a simple silk bra can fetch $200. Local designers provide jewelry and romantic candles. 2029 Fillmore St., (415) 346-1502. (Web site)

Yountville: For some 20 years, Yountville has been a neighborhood favorite for parents dressing their children. Catering to infant to size eight for girls and infant to size four for boys, the store carries stylish formal and casual clothes for kids as well as basics such as pajamas and sweaters. Specialty items set this store apart, including hand-embroidered booties from Turkey and Chinese-style sequined shoes. Prices are very reasonable. 2416 Fillmore St., (415) 922-5050.

Shoes & Accessories

The Casbah: Adjacent to The Bar and sharing the same owners, The Casbah dubs itself "A footwear Mecca." Indeed those seeking designer names underfoot, such as Constanca Basto and Giuseppe Zanotti, can find styles ranging from dress fashion to loafers and sandals, and materials from crocodile to suede. Prices are mid- to upscale. 344 Presidio Ave., (415) 409-4901.

Crosswalk Specialty Shoes: The specialty here is comfort-shoes made for people who are on their feet long hours at a stretch. Labels like Camper, Merrell, and Dansko fill the shelves. Crosswalk also carries a small selection of trendy styles for women, though comfort is still key. 2122 Fillmore St., (415) 921-0292. (Web site)

Gimme Shoes: Downtown styles in an uptown neighborhood. Choose from French and Italian brands like Miu Miu and Robert Clergiere for women and Costume National for men. 2358 Fillmore St., (415) 441-3040.

Paolo: For those in search of classic Italian leather shoes, Paolo features many one-of-a-kind styles for men and women. These high-end shoes don't come cheap, ranging in price from $150 to $700 a pair. Paolo, which also has locations on Sutter Street and in Hayes Valley, also designs handbags, gloves, and belts. Pine at Fillmore.

Gallery of Jewels: Find one-of-a-kind jewelry made by local Bay Area and Northern California artists. Gallery of Jewels sells good-quality midrange pieces by more than 100 jewelry makers whose work ranges in media from silver and semiprecious stones to clusters of funky beads. 2115 Fillmore St., (415) 771-5099.

Mrs. Dewson's Hats: Miss Dewson's ads say her hats are for "church shoutin' or steppin' out." Celebs like Sharon Stone to Samuel Jackson love to show off their Dewson creations. Mrs. Dewson also designed the Willie Brim, Willie Brown's famed felt snap-brim fedora. Men can find everything from a Montecristi Panama hat to the Borsalino Como. Women can select a Chantrelle mohair fedora or Hoodlum wide-brim felt hat among other options. 2050 Fillmore St., (415) 346-1600. (Web site)

Second-hand

Crossroads Trading Co.: Fillmore possesses a surprising number of thrift shops, but Crossroads represents the best of the bunch. Buy, sell or trade new and recycled clothes, shoes and accessories (including designer items). 1901 Fillmore St., (415) 775-8885. (Web site)

Next-to-New-Shop/Consignment Boutique: There are two sides to Next-to-New, one a consignment boutique, and the other based on donation. The consignment side features high-end labels at palatable prices. Chanel suits, Yves Saint Laurent shoes, and Armani jackets are just a few items in the racks. Aside from clothes, the boutique offers crystal glasses, handbags, prints, and porcelain collectibles. The deals are better on the donation side, which benefits the Junior League of San Francisco, supporting community programs for women and children. 2226 Fillmore St., (415) 567-1627/(415) 440-1500.

San Francisco Symphony Repeat Performance: All the benefits from this resale shop go to the San Francisco Symphony. The clothes come courtesy of donations, and suit the neighborhood clientele, with designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Bullock & Jones, and Jil Sander at affordable prices. Other items for sale include Babushka dolls, tea sets, books, and kitchenware. 2436 Fillmore St., (415) 563-3123.

Seconds-to-Go Resale Shop: Proceeds here benefit the Sacred Heart Scholarship. There are some gems among the wide range of stock. 2252 Fillmore St., (415) 563-7806.

Victorian House Thrift Shop: The clothes at this thrift shop are in excellent condition and include some designers at bargain basement prices. Other second-hand items include the usual books, videos, shoes, kitchenware and bedding. 2033 Fillmore St., (415) 567-3149.

Home

Aumakua: Though Amakua is a Hawaiian word for guardian spirit, most of the imports in this shop are actually from Indonesia and Thailand. This is gift heaven for those quirky, hard to shop for family and friends. Aumakua carries magic stones, decorative pillboxes, faux Limoge treasure boxes, clove baskets from the Moluccas, knit hats, Indonesian puppets and masks, and silk from Southeast Asia. Some local designers are also represented, included beaded necklaces made by one of the store's owners. 2238 Fillmore St., (415) 673-4200.

Max SF: James Do tired early of being an architect and moved on to furniture design. His San Francisco Collection, a full line of bedroom, living and dining room pieces that reflect a turn in his interests toward Asian lines. The pieces are dark-stained Asian mahogany and made in Do's native Vietnam, of which he is quite proud. His prices are competitive and the styling is in line with current tastes for modern, Asian fusion and Art Deco sophistication. (--SF Chronicle) 1633 Fillmore St. (at Geary), (415) 440-9002.

Nest: This home-accoutrements store mixes Parisian elegance with rustic country elements. Whimsical crystal chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, and shelves are laden with such goodies as chocolate-pear soap, glittery silver alphabet letters and beaded butterfly napkin rings. The stock of fine bed linens might include vintage coverlets, faded cabbage-rose sheets or satin quilts in peacock and tangerine. Also on Polk St. in Russian Hill. 2300 Fillmore St., (415) 292-6199.

Shabby Chic: Decidedly vintage, Rachel Ashwell Designs and Shabby Chic are known for their soft palette, English garden prints, soft textiles and slipcovered furnishings. Inside the spacious and airy store and you'll find a mix of mirrors, vintage wicker furniture, oversize chaises, beds and bedding, robes and towels and the signature baby line. (--SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 2185 Fillmore St., (415) 771-3881. (Web site)

Timeless Treasures: In this modest but delightful vintage-interiors store, owner Joan O'Connor sells American and French country and rustic things she collects on annual trips back to her New England roots. Along with a plethora of heart-shaped cookie-cutters, sterling lockets, boxes and other items, you'll find glassware from the 1920s to 1940s, cake plates, metal curio shelves, old paintings and linens. (-SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 2176 Sutter St. (at Pierce), (415) 775-8366. (Web site)

Zinc Details: One of the earliest purveyors of modernism in the Bay Area, Zinc Details made its mark by bringing the best of Scandinavian and Japanese design together with local designers and well-known international stylists. A full range of items for the home include housewares by Alessi and Iittala, Japanese lacquerware from the 1960s and an entire shop within a shop of Jonathan Adler's pottery vases; furniture might include a Danish modern desk from the 1960s or a Japanese tansu from the 1920s and '30s. Fun gifts like Lomo cameras and Oliblocks round out the stock. Zinc also features artworks by local artists regularly on its walls. (SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 1905 Fillmore St., (415) 776-2100. (Web site)

Beauty

Benefit Cosmetics: The fun, retro aesthetic of this cosmetics boutique gives patrons that special I-enjoy-being-a-girl feeling. Choose from lipstick colors such as "But Officer" and the "Kitten" line of sparkling powders designed for those who "prowl all night and nap all day." Benefit also offers waxing and other salon services, swiftly performed and yielding chic results. 2117 Fillmore St., (415) 567-0242. (Web site)

Hydra: If body soaps can be considered fine art, Hydra would be a soap museum. All the soaps are locally made with natural ingredients, but even more intriguing is the presentation. Many are sold in sliceable blocks by the ounce including the Strawberry Daiquiri, in the shape of a cocktail, and the Martini, which looks like two olives in a glass. The North Beach is almost good enough to eat, made from coffee, cinnamon and hazelnut. More basic natural soaps are sold, as are colorful sea salts and a popular Devil Ducks collection of rubber duckies. 1919 Fillmore St., (415) 474-9372. (Web site)

International Orange: Named for the paint color on the Golden Gate Bridge, International Orange emits New York City cool. Its stark decor is home to a spa and yoga studio. Treatments include a Holistic purification and a Custom Enzyme Boost. A variety of yoga styles are taught including Hatha, Ashtanga, and Flow. 2044 Fillmore St 2nd Fl., (800) 387-7918. (Web site)

Jurlique: The Australian-based cosmetics company Jurlique combines an all-Jurlique product showroom with small spa facilities. The lotions, body gels, moisturizers, bubble baths, and makeup are all 100 percent organic and animal curelty-free, using products mostly grown on a farm in Australia. There are two spa treatment rooms for facials, body treatments, waxing, and massage. 2136 Fillmore St., 415-346-7881, (Web site)

Kiehl's Since 1851: This purveyor of beauty products keeps its packaging simple, focusing its energies instead on an extensive range of lotions, cleansers and balms made from natural ingredients. The company's first retail location outside of Manhattan features old-fashioned pharmacy details like wooden wall cabinets and a pressed-tin ceiling. 2360 Fillmore St., (415) 359-9260. (Web site)

L'Occitane: This French fragrance company specializes in natural scents from Provence, including lavender, verbena, honey and blackberry flower. The range of products includes perfume, essential oil, a bath-and-body line and fragrances for the home. 2207 Fillmore St., (415) 563-6600. (Web site)

MAC Fillmore: Anyone in line for a makeover will find a plethora of cosmetics here. MAC lets customers try its line of eye shadows, lipsticks, and foundations, and the gregarious staff is always ready to help. 2011 Fillmore St., (415) 885-2966. (Web site)

Shu Uemura: This long-awaited store features not just trend-setting makeup, but also a Tokyo Lash Bar to add that ultra-glam, J.Lo touch. (Mr. Uemura has been busy crafting mink lashes ever since she wore a pair to the 2001 Oscars.) The Lash Bar sells high-end lashes Uemura has designed since the '50s in addition to 20 other styles. The usual mascara, liner, various brow products and expert assistance are also available. The rest of the store, modeled on Uemura's first boutique in Tokyo, showcases the line's extensive makeup, skincare and beauty accessory offerings, and a special commission mural by Japanese artist Ai Yamaguchi. (-SF Chronicle) 1971 Fillmore St., (415) 395-0953. (Web site)

Relax Now: This day spa offers a multitude of options for how to relax. Along with reflexology, Swedish massage, manicures, pedicures, and hot stone therapies, Relax Now has a menu full of appetizing body treatments. The Enya Oatmeal Honey Glow entails body exfoliation with loofa gloves while listening to Enya tunes. Seaweed and aromatherapy are used in the Lavender Mud Pie. Don't miss the Chocolate Bliss, wherein the body is covered with chocolate meringue cleansing and exfoliating grains. The finish is with a Swiss chocolate mousse butter body cream. 2241 Fillmore St., (415) 567-3529 (Also 339-A West Portal Ave., 504-6772), (Web site)

Books/News/Wine

Atelier Yarns: This knitting and needlework "studio" elevates the needle arts from a musty hobby to a creative and even therapeutic craft. Atelier's gracious owner offers a range of companionable in-store courses in which students can learn to make sweaters or socks -- or simply learn to cast on. Luscious yarns in jewel tones and heather tweeds line the walls; other supplies include patterns, needles, buttons and books. 1945 Divisadero St., (415) 771-1550. (Chronicle Article)

Brown Bag: The bulk of the stock here is in colorful office supplies and stationery goods, but neighborhood shoppers are devoted for the innovative party decorations, kitschy retro toys, paper-cutout novelties and a generous selection of fun odds and ends. 2434 California St., (415) 922-0390.

Browser Books: The only bookstore along this stretch of Fillmore, Browser Books is a cozy neighborhood spot with a reading table in back and a knowledgeable staff up front. Nice touches like Oriental rugs and a chirping bird by the door make visits here downright homey. 2195 Fillmore St., (415) 567-8027.

D & M Wine and Liquor Co.: D&M touts its Single Malt Scotch Whisky collection as by far the largest in the city. The store carries from 200 to 300 different Single Malts on its shelves at a time. It also boasts the largest selection in the world of Armagnac, produced in Southwest France. Nearly as impressive is the Champagne selection, which all hails from France. 2200 Fillmore St., (415) 346-1325. (Web site)

Juicy News: Don't miss this newsstand extraordinaire at the top of the hill, stocked with foreign and domestic newspapers, art journals and magazines for every taste. And if all that reading makes you thirsty, order one of the place's selection of smoothies (each named after a magazine) from the juice bar. 2453 Fillmore St., (415) 441-3051.

George: A pet-supply boutique for the furry friend who has everything. Biscuits and treats are top-quality, and toys and accessories are handsome and durable, but pricey. 2411 California St., (415) 441-0564. (Web site)

Oliviers & Co.: This exclusive boutique specializes in olive oils from specific regions around the world like Haute Provence, Sicily and Uruguay. Each oil is labeled with its year of harvest, which olives are used, tasting notes and information that's rarely provided with other olive oils. The store allows customers to taste the oils, and a well-trained staff is on hand to answer any questions. Olive-oil soaps, flavored olive oils, vinegars and other oil paraphernalia also are available. This is the first Oliviers store on the West Coast. (SF Chronicle) 2208 Fillmore St. (near Sacramento Street), (415) 474-1408.

Paper Source: The tempting selection of stationery and note cards at this paper-goods mecca inspires patrons to return to the imperiled art of letter writing. The back room is lined with shelves of blank paper and envelopes in an array of colors and designs. Up front, choose from exquisite wrapping and art papers, notebooks and rubber stamps. 1925 Fillmore St., (415) 409-7710. (Web site)

The Urban Pet: In addition to selling the rhinestone collars, high-fashion apparel and the trendy carriers so common at pet boutiques these days, this store invites you to design a custom pet chaise, couch or chair from available styles and fabric swatches. Further prove your devotion by purchasing one of the vibrantly colored animal paintings from The Rive Nestor Gallery, or have one commissioned. 3429 Sacramento St., (415) 673-7708.

Vino!: Not your run-of-the-mill wine shop, Vino! Carries more than 300 varieties of wines from around the world, with a focus on French and California wines. The shop considers itself similar to a wine club, with store assistants helping customers pair wines with food. Bottles average around $15, though some run lower and finer wines obviously a bit more. 2425A California St., (415) 674-8466.

Restaurants

(415) Asian Restaurant & Lounge: The San Francisco Jewish Community Center has revamped its restaurant space yet again, dividing it into California Street Delicatessen & Cafe and (415). The latter's focus is on Pan-Asian cuisine, including sushi and other choices such as five-spice tofu salad, salmon green curry, lemongrass beef satay, hacked ginger chicken and spicy lamb samosas. Rich chocolate browns and ebony, soft lighting and a hand-painted tiger-patterned floor make the space feel like a dramatic urban hideout. (-SF Chronicle) 415 Presidio (at California), (415) 409-0400.

Bittersweet - A Chocolate Cafe: A sister to the Bittersweet in Oakland's Rockridge district, this location offers all the same decadent treats: rich hotchocolates, the cinnamon hot chocolate cake (their specialty), a wall of premium chocolate bars and the legendary Blue Bottle coffee, which is brewed by the cup. 2123 Fillmore St., (415) 346-8715.

Boulangerie Bay Bread: A French patron of Pascal Rigo's sublime bakery and patisserie pays it the ultimate compliment: "It is just like in France; there is no difference." Choose between custard tarts and crisp, buttery croissants or baguettes and crusty country bread -- or, better yet, try one of everything. (There's also La Boulange around the corner; see listing below.) 2325 Pine St., (415) 440-0356. (Web site)

Cafe Kati: Kirk Webber brings a whimsical touch to fusion food, served in a modest storefront restaurant. (SF Chronicle) 1963 Sutter St., (415) 775-7313. (Chronicle Review/Web site)

Chez Nous: The interior of Pasqual "small plate" Mediterranean restaurant feels like a set from "Casablanca," with its spare, breezy decor and intimate candlelit tables. Pascal Rigo of Bay Bread, around the corner, brings the same magic to the menu here. 1911 Fillmore St., (415) 441-8044. (Chronicle Review)

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Stop in for a kick of sugar and caffeine at a caf� that was blending frozen coffee drinks -- the Ice Blended, to be exact -- before the Frappuccino was a glimmer in Starbucks' eye. 2201 Fillmore St., (415) 447-9733. (Web site)

Elite Cafe: The updated Elite still focuses on New Orleans flavors. Fans of the sweet, flaky biscuits from Joanna Karlinsky's closed Meetinghouse Restaurant can celebrate now that she's brought them here. Designer Charles a'Court updated the interior, with glossy mahogany boothsm a refinished bar, chocolate-plum walls and elegant chandeliers. (-SF Chronicle) 2049 Fillmore St., (415) 346-8676. (Chronicle Review)

Ella's: Though roundly esteemed for its contemporary American cuisine, Ella's is best known for its brunch, which has included such past favorites as brandied French toast. Once you've done your time waiting in the inevitable line, reward yourself with a house-baked sticky bun and a glass of fresh-squeezed juice. 500 Presidio Ave., (415) 441-5669.(Chronicle Review)

Fillmore Grill: Opened by the original owners of Hyde Street Bistro, Fillmore Grill attracts old-time Hyde Street fans as well as neighborhood folk. The setup is warm and inviting, with regulars sitting in private booths or sallying up to the bar for a lunch of soup and chardonnay. Featuring a chef who hails from Salzburg, it's no wonder one of the specialties is Wiener Schnitzel. 2298 Fillmore St., (415) 776-7600. (Chronicle Review)

Frankie's Bohemian Caf�: This Czech-American restaurant and bar is one of the livelier places to grab a quick bite or a swallow of Pilsner Urquell on this stretch of Divisadero. Choose from standard burger fare or Bohemian specialties such as brambory, a potato-zucchini pancake served with a variety of toppings. 1862 Divisadero St., (415) 921-4725.

Fresca: Ceviche comes in eight flavors in this modern Peruvian restaurant. There is shrimp ceviche with roasted jalapenos and tomato gazpacho, as well as Ceviche Chino, featuring red Ahi tuna with avocado mash and crispy wontons. Many main dishes are also from the sea -- crab cakes, calamari, seafood stew and arroz con mariscos, but rotisserie chicken is still a favorite. Fresca serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. 2114 Fillmore St., (415) 447-2668. (Web site)

Garibaldis of Presidio: One of the more lively spots in the area, Girabaldis serves California cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. House favorites are Chicken Breast Milanese, Mediterranean Lamb Tenderloin, and asparagus appetizer with pancetta, garlic, chili oil, and oyster sauce. Save room for the divine Chocolate Budino for dessert, featuring espresso ice cream, praline, and caramel sauce. There is also an extensive wine list including uncommon, "misunderstood" varietals. 347 Presidio Ave., (415) 563-8841. (Chronicle Review)

The Grove Fillmore: This neighborhood gathering spot is abuzz with laptops, cell phones and cool music, with customers fuelled by breakfast fare such as country baked eggs and huevos rancheros. The Grove's array of sandwiches run the gamut from the deli-style Reuben to a Sloppy Joe, while entrees vary from macaroni and cheese to lasagna. Also popular is the restaurant's line of exotic herbal teas. 2016 Fillmore St., (415) 474-1419.

Jackson Fillmore: Moderately priced Italian food includes zucchini carpaccio, sea bass fra diavolo, tiramisu and hot zabaglione. (SF Chronicle) 2506 Fillmore St., (415) 346-5288. (Chronicle Review)

La Boulange: Similar to the other French bakeries in the Bay Bread family and half a block away from the original (Boulangerie Bay Bread), this one offers fresh-baked pastries and breads, salads and coffee drinks. 2043 Fillmore St. (near Pine), (415) 928-1300. (Web site)

La Mediterranee: Savory food, reasonable prices and consistently friendly service make this narrow strip of a restaurant a neighborhood favorite. Don't miss the hummus, baba ghanoush and tabuleh appetizer combo. 2210 Fillmore St., (415) 921-2956.

Osaka on Fillmore: Known for its friendly service and generous portions, Osaka is popular with the local crowd. Osaka's specialty is sushi, which comes in a variety of mix and match combinations, but there is also a long list of Yakimono, or grilled options, and other cooked dinners. 1923 Fillmore St., (415) 346-6788. (Web site)

Quince: Michael Tusk from Chez Panisse and Oliveto opened Quince in December 2003 with a fresh Italian-inspired menu, and it's been a smash hit ever since. It's the perfect Pacific Heights hangout -- understated, yet sophisticated; pretty but unpretentious, lively but stopping just short of shout-from-the-diaphragm noise level. The menu changes nightly, but diners will always find something exciting, and can rely on the exceptional pastas. Great service, too. (SF Chronicle/SF Gate) 1701 Octavia St. (at Bush), (415) 775-8500. (Chronicle review)

Rigolo: This Laurel Village spot is baker-restaurateur Pascal Rigo's latest addition to the Bay Bread family. The restaurant, which means "a little funny" in French, combines a boulangerie and cafe and offers breakfast, brunch and lunch, all ordered at the counter. The menu also includes homemade pastas, pulled pork sandwiches and seasonal fruit tarts for dessert. (SF Chronicle) 3465 California St. (near Laurel Street), (415) 876-7777. (Chronicle review)

Royal Ground Coffee: Small and unassuming cafe is a WiFi hotspot and laundromat, making it a one-stop shop for many. 2060 Fillmore St., (415) 567-8822.

Solstice: Young hipsters flock to Solstice for its social dining and live DJs. The menus consists mainly of a variety of small plates, such as halibut ceviche, gorgonzola macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie, as well as shared plates in the line of wild mushroom pizza, baked brie fondue and pan roasted coconut curry mussels. The bar scene gets packed with singles on weekends. DJs spin Thursday through Saturday, while there is live music, usually acoustic sets, on Sundays. 2801 California St., (415) 359-1222. (Chronicle review/Web site)

Tango Gelato: Gelato takes on a whole new life here, with an enticing array of flavors. Some of the tastes include Dulce de leche, Tiramisu, Blackberry Cabernet, Irish Coffee. If gelato isn't your thing, the shop also serves apple tarts, truffles, smoothies and coffee. 2015 Fillmore St., (415) 346-4692.

Ten-Ichi: Don't stop with the sushi at this comfortable Japanese restaurant. Try the tasty tempura and teriyaki, or sample the innovative specials. 2235 Fillmore St., (415) 346-3477.

Vivande Porta Via: Order takeout pasta and dessert from the upscale Italian deli or stay for a meal in the charming restaurant, decorated with colorful ceramics hung on exposed brick walls. The new Piccolo wine bar features 17 wines by the glass, priced from $6 to $9, and three flights priced $11.50-$12.50. 2125 Fillmore St., (415) 346-4430. (Chronicle Review)

Zao Noodle Bar: There's nothing fancy here, but Zao succeeds in its mission of making Asian street food accessible to the American public. The smells inside this small spot are enticing, as is the variety on its menu. Traditional Vietnamese summer rolls and Thai curries are complemented by more unusual fare, such as the tofu fries appetizer and warm banana spring roll with chocolate sauce for dessert. 2406 California St., (415) 345-8088. (Chronicle review)

Nightlife

Clay Theater: Built in 1910, the single-screen Clay is one of the oldest theaters in San Francisco. Count on it for the current popular foreign release, a worthy art-house film or a midnight showing (it hosted SF's first in 1972 with the premiere of John Water's "Pink Flamingos"). Now managed by Landmark, it has digital sound, new seats and refurbished art deco and classic Greek decor. 2261 Fillmore St., (415) 352-0810. (Web site)

Harry's: One of the few nightspots along Fillmore Street, Harry's provides entertainment for neighborhood professionals looking to unwind. 2020 Fillmore St., (415) 921-1000.
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