Hayes is in the center of the city, and it’s full of diversity, tech, old school, new school… a little bit of everything. Shopping & restaurant life is fantastic around here. Here are some highlights:
Food & drink
Souvla - These are dispersed throughout the city, and will be included in all of my city highlights where relevant. It’s honestly a go-to. I order a bowl of amazing: pork, cucumber, feta, pickled red onion… I don’t like salads traditionally, but this is one of my favorite easy quick meals. Their frozen greek yogurt with baklava and honey is Jack’s go-to. ;)
20th Century Cafe - It’s old school, sort of with a European charm and one of the best cakes you’ll ever eat. If there’s a line (usually), you wait to order until there is a table available, and then you have a seat. It actually makes a TON of sense, even if you can’t understand why you’re standing in a line not ordering, and the food and vibes are a dream.
The Riddler - Perfect indoor/outdoor spot that also has those Euro vibes. It’s small, it’s beautiful, and it is perfect for girls night or date night.
Cala - Ohhh Cala. It’s that chic, Mexico City style Mexican food. They actually have a sister restaurant in Mexico City. Everything we’ve tasted there has been so fresh, and presented like art. The space is stunning and modern but not a bit pretentious. Seafood done so right.
Wise Sons - Bagels in that NY style. I love bagels too much, and wish I didn’t. These are good and legit. I will admit that NY still has edged us, but these are a GREAT option for locals who want the next best.
The Grove - Classic breakfast spot. The fresh squeezed orange juice is unreal, both in price and taste. ;) So good. For food, I recommend eggs benedict, Dave’s Way.
The Loving Cup - There are a few locations, and I have trouble walking by without stopping. The coconut rice pudding is my vice, but my family loves the frozen yogurt with toppings. It’s not just generic frozen yogurt… it’s like extra good. Trust me.
Salt & Straw Ice Cream - So listen. If you’re in Hayes Valley, I think you need to stop and have SOME cold treat. Salt and Straw is a family favorite for us. I personally don’t like strawberry ice cream, but when I go here I can’t NOT order the strawberry tres leches because it is incredible. The ingredients are super local… like in all their locations they hit up the local favorite things (like Mt. Tam cheese and Sightglass Coffee), and create ice cream from those ingredients. I respect that.
Smitten Ice Cream - This ice cream is extra because your individual order is literally churned right in front of you. Kids love the liquid nitrogen steam (?) or fog or whatever that you see while it’s being made. I’m not a pretzel girl, but cookie dough with pretzels and chocolate here is so good. The pretzel is mixed in, so you just get the crunch and not the pretzel flavor itself. So good!
Miette - If you’re not into cold treats, there are still sweets to be had, don’t worry. Hayes has your needs covered too. This is like the old-school candy shop, but with a prettier aesthetic from the outside in. When it comes to candy, I go straight to the sour section, but they have a great selection of everything. There are also mini shortbread cookies and things. There’s another location in the Ferry Building that’s super cute too.