North America, San Francisco, United States

North Beach/Little Italy Food & City Tour in San Francisco

August 13, 2010
Touring Little Italy and North Beach in San Francisco

Immediately after checking into my hotel in San Francisco last Friday, I rushed off to the Little Italy and North Beach neighborhood to take part in a food and city tour.   I was excited to eat some local treats and see San Francisco’s version of Little Italy.

The tours are run by  a company called Local Taste of the City Tours. They not only offer tours of the North Beach/Little Italy neighborhood, but also of Chinatown. There is even a night tour when guests are treated to food and city tours of both neighborhoods.

The tour was fantastic! It was 3.5 hours long and by the time it was over, I was full and very happy.

We started our tour off at Cafe Roma, a little cafe that makes their own coffee and has impressive selection of pastries and other goodies. I had a cappuccino, which was quite tasty! We got to see the machine they use to make the coffee and learned about the process itself.

Next, we walked over to Washington Square. We saw the locals hanging out on blankets, people walking their dogs, and even peaked inside Saints Peter and Paul Church – which happens to be a beautiful building.

The next stop was at XOX Truffles where we got to sample several different types of truffles that were made that morning. Delicious of course.  The place is famous in the US and well known for their truffles – definitely worth a stop if you’re in the city.

We then walked over to the Italian French Bakery. We sampled on several yummy treats like sourdough bread and biscotti. The group was taken to the back of the shop to see the equipment they used and the bread making in action.

The tour continued at the Dogfather. At this adorable little cafe, we sampled 2 different types of olive oil and also some Italian sausages.

We all started to feel like we couldn’t fit any more stuff in our bellies, when we ended up at the Victoria Pastry Company. Somehow I managed to find room for a chocolate eclair.

We walked a bit more and checked out some other sites in the area, like  The Condor which is the oldest topless bar in the US, Cafe Trieste where Francis Ford Coppola developed the screenplays for the first two Godfather movies, and The Beat Museum where we learned about Jack Kerouac and his famous friends.

For the record, we did not go inside The Condor and also just passed by Cafe Trieste. We did spend quite some time in The Beat Museum though. The Beat Museum is a cool little place and they have a great gift shop. Admission is included in the tour price and guests are also offered a 10% discount in the gift shop. I bought a couple of books!

The tour was fun and I would highly recommend it to others. Only suggestion I would have for the tour company is to offer the museum as a separate and optional excursion, still offering the free admission and gift shop discount. By the time we reached the Beat Museum, everyone was full and tired.  Many people in the group were not interested.

You can view photos from the tour here:

Warning: some of the photos from The Beat Museum contain profanities and other material that may be offensive to some.

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