Via magazine
Via magazine - Your AAA Magazine

Bernal Heights Weekender

Sweet Edwardian buildings, one-of-a-kind eateries, funky shops, and a hopping farmers’ market surround a beloved hill with a 360-degree view of San Francisco.

  • Bernal Hill hiker, Bernal Heights, San Francisco, image
    Photo caption
    Bernal Hill offers views of San Francisco from every path.
  • Red Hill Books, Bernal Heights, San Francisco, image
    Photo caption
    Bernal Heights' Red Hill Books carries best sellers, graphic novels, travel guides, and records.
  • Tai nigiri at Ichi Sushi, Bernal Heights, San Francisco, image
    Photo caption
    Tai nigiri—Japanese sea bream—tempts at Ichi Sushi.

Area code is 415.

Alemany Farmers’ Market Sat. 5 a.m.–5 p.m. Asian greens, mushrooms, and apples, plus prepared foods such as hummus and 14 flavors of tamales. Peralta Avenue and Putnam Street, 647-9423, Bernal Heights Natural Area The hill at the center of Bernal (it rhymes with kernel) offers great city views. A paved path and dirt trails lead to the top, which boasts both a multiuse park, where dogs are allowed off leash, and a rock formation composed of ocean organisms. Bernal Heights Boulevard near Anderson Street, 831-6330. Holiday Evening Stroll Dec. 8, 6 p.m.–9 p.m. Toasty refreshments, live music, winetasting, and deals on gifts at various shops along Cortland Avenue and Mission Street.

Heartfelt A temple to the joys of randomness: retro toys, vintage-style linens, stationery, a wall of socks, and (not for sale) Kikker the parakeet. 436 Cortland Ave., 648-1380, Red Hill Books Named for the area’s supposed communist past, this thriving independent stocks best sellers and remainders, children’s books and cookbooks, art titles and zines. 401 Cortland Ave., 648-5331. Succulence Part nursery, part urban general store. Walk through Four Star Video to an unexpected jewel of a garden shop offering glass terrariums, wooden clocks, jars of pickles, and astonishing succulents. 402 Cortland Ave., 282-2212, 331 Cortland Inside a compact storefront five food-related vendors sell wares including spices and chai, pickled goods and hearty sandwiches (Bernalogna, anyone?), plus new and vintage Japanese and European knives. 331 Cortland Ave.

Ichi Sushi This culinary hit impresses with traditional fare such as salmon nigiri sprinkled with bonito shavings, and a somen noodle salad bathed in shiso pesto. 3369 Mission St., 525-4750, Liberty Café Its flaky potpies keep patrons coming back. A cottage at the rear houses a morning bakery and a wine bar with live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. 410 Cortland Ave., 695-8777 Locavore Serves house-made sausages on buns. Recent favorites: a Mexican roasted-chile dog and a porter kielbasa. 3215 Mission St., 821-1918. Piqueo’s Billed as Peruvian fusion, this handsome, dimly lit restaurant pleases with pan-seared scallops and transcendent dulce de leche parfait. 830 Cortland Ave., 282-8812. Sandbox Bakery Mutsumi Takehara’s pastries combine French and Japanese inspiration (melon brioche) with American essentials (morning buns). 833 Cortland Ave., 642-8580.

Photography by Luna (13) Photography

This article was first published in November 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.