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San Francisco: Where to Stay and Eat in Union Square

There are honestly so many hotels to choose from that, like me, you’ll likely feel crossed eyed during your search. But, let me just say that from the moment I arrived at the little boutique hotel, Inn at Union Square, it was easy to see what a good choice it was. I was greeted with big smiles and, “Oh, good, you made it in a little earlier than we expected,” which made it seem so personal, as if arriving at a favorite Aunt’s house to stay. The staff goes out of their way to think of everything and they make you feel completely comfortable and at home, from breakfast each morning right down to the scrumptious warm oatmeal cookies put out each evening.

The hotel and rooms have had the character preserved in that, “old timey feel” but with a very tasteful modern renovation that incorporates sleek lines. In addition, the rooms are meticulously cleaned to perfection. All this in combination, makes you feel like you’re in a brand new building that’s just bursting with authentic character. I was comped an upgrade to the “Studio” without even asking, just because it was open. It’s so nice when hotels do this! The Studio is spacious, and perfectly appointed with much more than I needed for amenities, and two huge bay windows.

Christian, the manager, went out of his way to help with several things during my stay. And, I’ll admit that I was a fairly needy guest. From watching for and receiving my Hamilton tickets, which had been mailed overnight from Las Vegas, to holding luggage an entire day while I toured Alcatraz and Pier 39 and then made a late move across town to an Airbnb on Golden Gate Park, he was more than happy to assist in every aspect. I honestly just hit the jackpot with this hotel choice!

The location of the hotel is ideal as well, with several playhouses in close walking distance and so many highly rated restaurants nearby, you literally won’t know how to choose….but I’ll try to help a little! 🙂


I had scouted a few places to eat ahead of time, because for me, trying to make a selection when I’m already hungry and tired just never works well. For the first night, I chose a place less than a block away called, Hogwash. Yelp said it was a great place for beer and brats, which are not really my usual choice, but as I investigated more, I found several things that looked intriguing.

Let me just say, that this place is a must. Yes, they have a great selection of beer, but they have nice wines and a full bar as well. They also make all of their sausages in house, and it’s not just that they are homemade, and it’s not the size 🙂 , it’s what they do with them. Oh my! Everything I had was divine, but the thing that absolutely put it all over the top was the Swine Cookies and Cream for dessert! Imagine fried chocolate chip cookie dough balls with bacon, and the best salted vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had, combined into one. It’s an insane dessert!

Another place I chose before arriving was Tacorea, because of it’s close, easily walkable distance from the Inn at Union Square. With a ridiculously cheap menu full of mouth watering items and all the reviews and pictures posted on Yelp, I’m convinced that you cannot go wrong here. Try the Korean Spicy Pork Tacos and the Totchos, which are essentially, the best nachos you’ll ever have made with tater tots instead of chips! What?!  I also caught a glimpse of someone else’s MASSIVE Wet California Burrito (that just sounds naughty), and it looked ridiculously good as well.

If you’re not accustomed to going out on the town to fancy upscale places, Farallon will look a bit intimidating, I won’t lie to you. And yes, you’ll need to dress up a bit and it is a tad on the pricey side, but trust me on this one, it’s worth it. I realized while sitting here that I live a very casual day to day life in Hawaii! (It’s also located between the Inn at Union Square and The San Francisco Playhouse which makes it the perfect “before show spot” to eat).

The inside of the restaurant is decorated in a sea theme, and I swear, it feels like you’re in a fancy version of Tokyo Disney Sea (Which happens to be my favorite Disney Park!). But don’t worry, the staff are all very nice and not uppity snots. You’ll feel comfortable.

Make sure you call ahead for a reservation, and request one of the smaller, but still huge, intimate booths in the back room, unless you have a larger party. Sometimes when you go to a place specifically for the location and ambiance, the food is a bit less than desired, but not here. I read several Yelp reviews beforehand and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong.

The menu is changed daily as local ingredients are sourced. I had sturgeon over asparagus and chanterelles with a poached egg on top, as well as, truffle mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe. Then, there was also this Nutella Crumble Bar thing that was, well…nuts! Don’t forget to have one!

Read my other posts about fun things to do while staying in Union Square by clicking on the links below:

San Francisco Shows: The Best Way to Plan and Book

Hamilton: How To Get The “Impossible” Tickets

Alcatraz and Pier 39: The Best Way to Spend a Day on The Rock


*The businesses listed in this post are not paying me, or compensating me in any manner for this endorsement. I am simply sharing my own experience and knowledge in the hopes that others can use it to plan a great trip to Union Square in San Francisco as well.


  • Reply
    Richard W Dill
    April 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I will add some of these restaurants to my list for my next layover in SFO. We stay in Union Square!

    • Reply
      Bethany Eells Porter
      April 17, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Oh, that’s great Richard! I’m happy to hear that this will be useful for you.
      I’m a bit jealous that you will get to have the Swine Cookies and Cream before me. I’ve been thinking that I need to get back there just to have that again! 🙂

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