NFT San Francisco Marina / Cow Hollow (West)

Marina / Cow Hollow (West)

Flanked by the Presidio to the west and the Bay to the north, this neighborhood has some of the best sea-level strolling and views in the city, particularly from Marina Boulevard along the shore of Marina Green. Main drags Chestnut Street and Union Street offer shopping and a mix of bars and restaurants. Busy Lombard Street has motels, drugstores, fast food, and other necessities.

Throngs of twenty-something professionals bar hop along lively Chestnut Street. Shoppers will find old standbys like Lucky Brand as well as a freckling of unique boutiques. For dinner on the fancy side, Isa is a good bet. For something different, hit Liverpool Lil's pub next to the Presidio gates.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Is there any restaurant in on Chestnut that doesn't fall into the "it's too pretentious" category? I suppose that The Grove wouldn't, but it's still borderline because, hey, I can't spend $10 on a salad. But right around the corner on Scott St. is Pluto's, which, although part of a franchise, offers comparably fresh and delicious sandwiches and salads at a more reasonable cost. With even a half portion of salad coming in a heaping portion and heaps of toppings, you can feed yourself well without the pocketbook of a Marina resident. And as a major plus, the food comes out fast, perfect for those of us who don't have the time for a leisurely lunch.

Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Kara's Cupcakes
I've tasted quite a few cupcakes around the Bay, but until now I had yet to sample Kara's. I had high hopes for this shop, which prides itself in using only quality, locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients. And with flavors like java, passion fruit, meyer lemony lemon, and fleur de sel, it seemed like I couldn't go wrong, especially when they were so beautifully decorated. I went for the fleur de sel, but the caramel filling oozed out of the cake as soon as I took my first bite, and the below-par chocolate cake promptly began to crumble. The chocolate ganache frosting was probably the only part that saved it. I'll give them props for offering mini and regular-sized cupcakes in all of its flavors. Note to self: next time, go for the mini. That way, I could get a taste before the cake starts to fall apart.

Posted By:  Valerie Ng
Photo:  Valerie Ng

Stern Grove Festival
Living in the Bay, we're spoiled with a world-class symphony, opera, and ballet. But it's kind of hard to enjoy all that when you're pinching pennies. For those of us without the dough, the 72nd annual Stern Grove Festival takes place every Sunday through the end of August. Each week, the festival showcases high-quality performing artists of varying genres. The open-air performances always bring out a large crowd arriving early with their picnic baskets full of wine, brie, fresh fruits, and snacks. Though technically free of charge, there are no shortage of requests for donations throughout the day. Considering the enormous cost of staging the events, and the unparalleled experience of enjoying great performances in nature, it's well worth forking over a few greenbacks.

Posted By:  David MacFadden
Photo:  David MacFadden

As Lombard St. makes its bid for domination over the marina scene, this new bar will no doubt become a neighborhood favorite. Bin 38 is a wine bar that sheds pretension and opts for comfort over stuffiness. Sunday night beer swillers will appreciate the fact that here you can take the missus out for a respectable evening and still drink a beer without offending the grape gurus–in fact, the beers are plugged right into the menu as recommended pairings. Following the Garret Oliver (of Brooklyn Brewery) school of thought on this matter, beer is given nearly equal billing to wine. Both liquors are dominated by new world varieties, and their nourishing counterparts are also forward-thinking: Steak tartare is served with lettuce cups and roasted potato wafers, making for a dashing presentation. And the cheese plate, rather than including a French bleu, boasts “Oregonzola.” The dishes could either be called small plates or upscale bar food, just as the establishment could be called a gastropub disguised as a restaurant. For dining en plein air, two picnic tables presently line the street, and a backyard is scheduled to open during November (not a bad break considering their supercharged heating lamps).

Posted By:  Sarah Date
Photo:  Sarah Date

Terzo is the third effort from the Rose Pistola and Rosie’s Cafe team. Opening an Italian restaurant in restaurant-saturated Cow Hollow might seem like an overly confident venture, but this is San Francisco and apparently we can’t get enough of trying out new dining options, especially when they are good. Busy straight out of the gate, Terzo offers tapas and small plates in an elegant and romantic setting. Choose to sit at the bar, at high tables or deeper into the restaurant at tables lined up along a banquette and enjoy the caramel lighting and friendly service. Choose a selection of the evenings’ offerings from a short and sweet menu that might include Sao Jorge cheese slices with celery and medjool dates, spiedini of chicken, or delicately turned out halibut on chickpeas. The wine selection is not overwhelming but has something for everyone. A lovely experience all around.

Posted By:  Ben Bleiman
Photo:  Courtesy of Bay Trails Project

The Wave Organ’s song is part whistle, part sea lion bark, and part fog horn. When you press your ears against its pipes, you might think that your mind is playing tricks on you, but after a few moments, certain sounds simply do not go away. Your ears have just acclimatized to the wave organ. Built in 1986 by Peter Richards and George Gonzales on a long, slender peninsula that juts out from the western side of the Marina Green, the Wave Organ is an interactive mixture of landscape architecture and sculpture. The organ’s song is so delicate, it is often difficult to decide where its melody stops and the sounds of the City by the Bay begin. But one thing is for sure—anyone who hasn’t yet stopped by the Wave Organ on a sunny fall day, sailboats drifting past, the waves lapping the shore, and the pipes releasing their soft, natural song, is missing out on a true San Francisco landmark.

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