Lower Nob Hill Survival Guide

The Tendernob, Upper Tenderloin, Lower Nob Hill, TL Heights...whatever you want to call it.

I've been living in this area since December 2014, so I have some good insider tips. This is more of a summary of the places I like and have learned about in this fuzzy area from roughly Ellis up to California St. between Van Ness and Powell that I occupy.

General TL Heights Info

The higher up the hill you go, the higher the income bracket. This is where the homeless don't reach. If you follow Leavenworth north for about 1.5 miles, you hit the famous Lombard Street. It's a good, hilly walk with some great views.

Around Hyde and Leavenworth is an aggressively friendly area I affectionately call Tranny Hooker Corner.

Lower Tenderloin: I do not recommend going south past O'Farrell St. after dark.

Trader Joe's on California & Hyde

  • They have a customer service desk in the corner where they have $10 rolls of quarters you can get in exchange for cash. There's a Chase ATM in the CVS next door.
  • They have Apple Pay, so I always just go with my phone. They also take Google Wallet.
  • Lines get EXTREMELY long during peak hours so try to avoid them when you can.

FOOD

These are the places I have been to and like.

Breakfast & Coffee Shops

  • farm:table: <$10 but it's super hipster and growing in popularity so expect small portion sizes and a lot of hype. It's next to a Porsche repair garage.
  • Golden Coffee Shop: <$10 and guaranteed to fix your breakfast cravings. Fast.
  • Angel Cafe: <$10. Best for breakfast. Good mix of Lebanese/mediterranean and American food. Good place to get stuff to go. One block down Leavenworth. Fast.
  • Another Cafe: <$10 - It has a great study atmosphere. Plugs.
  • Joy's Cafe: <$10 - Good Asian desserts (shaved ice!). Another good study atmosphere--there's plugs and fast-ish wifi.

Asian

  • King Ling: <$10. Reliably greasy and cheap American-Chinese food. Delivery is unreliable, though. One block down Leavenworth.
  • Osha Thai: $12-20 - one block down Leavenworth (south)
  • Sanraku: $20+ - this is my regular sushi spot. I think it's the best bang for your buck in terms of quality. Sit at the counter.
  • Cocobang: $15+ - if you see a crowd of young Koreans standing outside of a restaurant, it's Cocobang. Great KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).
  • Fresh Brew Coffee: <$10 - VIETNAMESE SANDWICHES ARE $5 HERE.

Other

  • Pearl's Deluxe Burgers: $10-15 - it's on the same block
  • Rove Kitchen: $15-30 - the next block down Post (east). Hipster/New American cuisine.
  • Pizza Hut & Domino's are both on Geary.

Handy Neighborhood Things

  • Farmer's Market (Civic Center): Wed & Sun, 7am-5pm. Food trucks and surprisingly cheap groceries.
  • Key Maker + Shoe Repair: $1.50 to copy a key and cheap shoe repair. Amazing. Go down Sutter and take a left at Stockton. It's a nondescript shop next to a sketchy massage parlor on the left. If you've gone under the bridge, you've gone too far. I took some pictures. 415.359.4016. The Chinese guy doesn't speak the best English but he's super friendly.


  • Knife sharpener: Town Cutler - prices will vary