Neighborhood to Watch
San Francisco's Hayes Valley
Hayes Valley—anchored by Hayes Street between Franklin and Laguna—has emerged as one of the city's most intriguing shopping districts, with some very good restaurants to boot. You'll find all things French, from signage to soaps, at Champ de Mars. Look for exquisitely handmade porcelain orchids ($55) and a collection of antique maps ($65-$3,850). Down the street, Alabaster nearly glows with lamps and urns carved from its namesake ($125-$1,500), along with antique mercury glass and an assortment of vintage deco furniture. Retro-modernists will adore Flight 001, tricked out like a 1960s Pan Am lounge and stocked with candy-colored passport covers, travel pillows, and retro-style bags, such as the Philippe Starck weekender with brushed-aluminum details ($295). Gimme Shoes is where locals gets their fix of Prada, Paul Smith, and Marc Jacobs, starting at $170. Don't miss the well-edited selection of sunglasses and leather bags ($100- $600). Also getting high marks with locals are the his and her Bulo stores, specializing in sleek Italian designs by Alberto Fermani and Graffia (from $130). For lunch, duck into Frijtz for the fantastic Belgian-style frites with wasabi mayo ($5) and peach-infused Hoegaarden beer ($4.25). More high-minded is Jardinière, all mahogany and marble with great duck confit ($15) and sautéed scallops in truffle sauce ($21). At Absinthe the Belle-Epoque-style rattan chairs and copper tables make you want to order the French onion soup ($6) and coq au vin ($21). And at Citizen Cake, where the dinner menu includes a seared duck breast in rhubarb-star-anise jus ($20), the real treat is After Midnight ($7), a devil's food tour de force made with dark- and milk-chocolate mousse.
Champ de Mar At 347 Hayes St.; 415-252-9434.
Alabaster At 597 Hayes St.; 415-558-0482.
Flight 001 At 525 Hayes St.; 415-487-1001.
Gimme Shoes At 416 Hayes St.; 415-864-0691.
Bulo Men At 437A Hayes St.; 415-864-3244.
Bulo Women At 418 Hayes St.; 415-255-4939.
Frijtz At 579 Hayes St.; 415-864-7654.
Jardinière At 300 Grove St.; 415-861-5555.
Absinthe Brasserie and Bar At 398 Hayes St.; 415-551-1590.
Citizen Cake At 399 Grove St.; 415-861-2228.