When Al's Place opened on Valencia Street in 2015, no less an authority than Bon Appétit called it the best new restaurant in the country — a compliment echoed in the Michelin star it achieved in 2016 and 2017. Basically: If you haven't checked it out yet, you're missing something great.
Here, chef Aaron London shares his picks for a full day of eating around town — except breakfast, which he always eats at home. To make up for it, though, the snack section is double-size.
“This is the perfect lunch spot: lots of tasty Mexican food made from great produce. I pretty much always get the totopos and the fish tacos, and at least one other thing — often the huaraches — and, of course, horchata to wash it down. They also have a great mezcal selection if I’m feeling naughty.”
Snack: Hayes Valley
“I like Hayes Valley for snacking. It’s perfect. I love going to Cala and grabbing a few of their light seafood dishes to get the night started. Their trout tostadas are a must. It’s a great one-two punch to follow up Cala with a stop at Monsieur Benjamin for some oysters and a glass of bubbles.”
Dinner: The Progress
“This is totally my go-to. I love this place because it's such a beautiful space and always has interesting and delicious food. I have a hard time not going here once a week. It works great with a group, or if I’m just eating by myself at the bar. The menu is always changing, but I usually start with a crudo of some sort, and then make sure to get the dumplings and a couple of other things.”
“I love going to ABV for drinks. I have an appreciation for cocktails, but generally just like to drink whiskey on the rocks. I like coming here and knowing that I can pick my whiskey from a great selection, and that no matter who I’m with, there will be plenty of solid beverage options for them, all made with the best technique possible.”