Since it’s still hot/summer/traveling season and many may be making their way to the incredible city of San Francisco, I thought I might share a hidden and happening spot to discover. My favorite part about this quirky and colorful city, is how with just a turn of a corner, you can find yourself in a completely different district, country or even an era in time, whether it’s Chinatown, Japantown, Little Italy or even the 1960s in the Haight. So in total San Francisco style, I insist you check out a small alleyway in the bustling downtown Union Square area known as Belden Place (A.K.A. Belden Alley, Belden Lane, or Belden Street), which features side by side restaurants from various parts of Europe. Adhering to San Francisco’s eclectic tradition, Belden Place’s Mediterranean energy permeates to the streets and has San Franciscans always coming back for more.
The alley, dubbed as the French Quarter, is at its best when the skies are clear and the weather is warm as the outdoor patio seating is the place to be. However, Belden Place is situated between buildings so it’s guarded from the common SF winds; plus every restaurant features outdoor heating lamps!
And now for the restaurants…
The French bistros were the first to settle in the now booming Belden Place. Plouf (meaning the sound a stone makes when it drops into a French stream) is a favorite and specializes in mussels, unique appetizers, salads, seafood dishes, and meats – a truly Parisian dining experience. Another French eatery in Belden Place is the long standing Café Bastille which serves traditional French cuisine, but is so favored for its large outdoor patio.
For classic Italian cuisine and a great place for San Francisco people watching, try Café Tiramisu. This Northern Italian restaurant sports Fresco murals of Pompeii on its walls and a large outdoor seating area.
Enjoy sharing style, Italian plates at Belden Place’s Brindisi Cucina di Mare, which also offers tasty seafood. Be sure to come early for the patio tables.
If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, Spain you can’t forget the great tapas, paella and sangria. Belden Place brings that custom to San Francisco at its Catalan eatery, B44. This spot may be Belden Place’s most popular joint as it comes highly recommended.
The special French holiday on July 14, known as Bastille Day, is hardly celebrated in the U.S. But at Belden Place, it’s as big as St. Patrick’s Day. The alleyway is decorated with French flare and people come to eat, drink and be merry. Prepare for a packed house.
Belden Place is a one lane, one-way street (pedestrians only) that runs between Pine Street and Bush Street on a block that is bordered by Kearny Street and Montgomery Street.